Archive for the 'Arcade Cabinets/Coin-Ops' Category

Dragon’s Lair Coloring Book: ‘Dirk the Daring Battles the Giddy Goons’ (Marvel Books, 1984)

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There were two coloring books and two coloring/activity books based on Dragon’s Lair, all of them published in 1984 by Marvel Books. The second coloring book is The Magic Sword, and the coloring/activity books are Dirk the Daring Battles the Black Knight and Dirk the Daring Battles the Crypt Creeps.

More on Dragon’s Lair here, and I talk about the Marvel Books imprint here.

(Images via Dragon’s Lair Fans)

Arcade Zen: Arnie’s Place, 1984

Arnie's Place 1984

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Photo and article are from Electronic Games (November, 1984). Arnold Kaye opened his “game room” in 1981, despite being refused a zoning permit by the puritanical city officials of Westport, Connecticut, and it closed in 1994, to the dismay of everyone who wasn’t a horse’s ass. One resident and father of four summed it up:

It really stinks that they forced him to close down… It’s one of the few places in town where kids can do something at night that doesn’t involve trouble. I always felt my kids were safe here.

But Kaye was tired of being harassed, and times were tough. “My threats got more and more bizarre as my frustrations grew,” he said. “All I wanted to do was provide a clean, wholesome environment for kids where they could play and have fun. I’ll always be proud of having done that.”

Kaye, a boisterous and inflexible personality, had chained himself to a Town Hall door in 1982 to protest “unfair treatment,” and in 1983 threatened to convert the arcade to a “porno movie theater” after the zoning commission didn’t approve an increase in games allowed inside the facility.

Kaye died in 2003. Thanks for fighting the good fight, Arnie.

Concept Art for Return of the Jedi ‘Speeder Bike’ Arcade Cabinet, 1983

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The game was unproduced, sadly, but what a cool concept. “Wizz Bang” all the way! Note that steering on the last cabinet design is “similar to Battlezone,” a very popular Atari cab released in 1980. The art is from Atari Coin-Op Division Records via the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, a repository housed at The Strong National Museum of Play.

Arcade Zen (1982)

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Los Angeles arcade, May 20, 1982. (Photo: Nick Ut/AP)

Only games I can make out are the two nearest the camera: Phoenix (1980) and Circus (1977).

I’m pretty sure that’s a Chuck E. Cheese’s hat next to the Yankees hat, as seen here.

(Photo via Forbes)

Williams Joust Poster, 1982

Joust 1982

The artist’s signature is on the bottom left, but I can’t read it. Let me know if you know who it is or have a closer close-up.

UPDATE: Andy Goldman pins the artist as Python Anghelo, the gentleman who actually designed the game and did the cabinet art (why was the poster art here not used for side art?), who passed away last year. Thanks again, Andy.

(Image via Video Game Auctions)

Tron Video Game Tournament, 1982

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That’s Cindy Morgan (Lora/Yori) and David Warner (Dillinger/Sark/MCP) in the first two photos. One of them looks luminous, and it ain’t the one dressed like a bum. Do you remember the monitors on top of the arcade cabs? No added pressure or anything.

According to the promotional poster below, the finals were held at Madison Square Garden on July 6th and 7th, 1982. Tron premiered on July 9th.

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(Images via the Tron Forums, the Examiner, Kolonai, All in for a Quarter, and the Unfiction Forums)

Atari Gauntlet Commercial, 1985

First time I’ve seen this, and I don’t know if it ever aired. According to the source, it’s from a VHS tape belonging to Alan Murphy, a graphics programmer at Atari (1980-1987) who worked on coin-op and console games, including Gauntlet and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The animation is excellent!

Sega’s Killer Shark Cameo in Jaws

Killer Shark Cab

There’s an excellent article by Keith Stuart at The Guardian about Spielberg’s early interest in video game and computer technology (his father was an electrical engineer) and how the shot of Killer Shark (1972) at the beginning of the film perfectly encapsulates the entire narrative: “It’s effectively Brody’s nightmare, and his objective, rolled into one flickering image on an ancient coin-op display for a few redolent seconds.” Stuart continues:

In a movie filled with legendary cinematic moments, this brief sequence is a minor one, but as with many other elements of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 picture, it was also prescient. The director, a keen games player and watcher of pop culture trends, foresaw an era in which Hollywood would be seduced by the popularity and the visual spectacle of the emerging video game arcade scene. He got the appeal of these new entertainment machines, but he also understood how computer graphics represented a new way to present narrative to audiences – even if, in Jaws, it was a few seconds of footage.

As Stuart notes, Killer Shark was actually Sega’s last mechanical game, not a video game, the shark animation a result of a projector inside the cabinet. You can also see Computer Space (1971), the very first commercial coin-op video game, in the background of the same shot.

In the Roger Corman-produced Piranha (1978), a brilliant Jaws and eco-horror parody written by John Sayles and directed by Joe Dante, there’s a shot (below) featuring Atari’s Shark Jaws (1975): sort of a parody within a parody within a parody.

(Images via Jaws Wikia, Pinterest, and The Electronic Playground)

Arcade Zen (1982 – 1984): Frenzy, Omega Race, and Crossbow

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July 14, 1982. (Photo: Weyman Swagger/The Sun)

Original caption:

Game exhibit aims to ‘blip’ opposition. At the National Association of Counties convention, officials who may be regulating video games play at a manufacturers’ exhibit.

If this lady ever takes the stick out of her ass, she might start to enjoy herself. She’s playing Kangaroo.

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April 14, 1982. (Photo: Paul Hutchins/Evening Sun Staff)

Original caption:

Players try video games at the 7-Eleven store on Frankford Avenue, one location appealing city ban on them in certain areas.

Frenzy was the 1982 sequel to Berserk. That’s Make Trax (1981) on the far right.

Arcade 82-3

March 16, 1982. (Photo: Weyman Swagger/The Sun)

Original caption:

Video game players at Pollock Johnny’s on The Block.

Omega Race, Midway’s only vector game, came out in 1981. It was a rare sight in my parts, like Space Duel. I loved all the vector games. There was something a little magical about them.

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January 9, 1982. (Photo: The Sun)

Original caption:

Battling the bug-eyed monsters. Anatol Polillo, 23, aimed his sights on outer space yesterday without the help of a telescope. Instead, he pitted his reflexes against “Space Odyssey,” one of many popular video games in the Maryland Science Center’s second “Great Computer Invasion.”

The Maryland Science Center, founded in 1797, is still going strong.

Arcade 1984

The Machine Shop Arcade, August 6, 1984. (Photo: Pix L. Pearson/The Sun)

Crossbow (1983), like Venture before and Gauntlet after, was inspired by the success of D&D. I was really bad at it.

(Photos via the Tribune Photo Archive)

Discs of Tron Environmental Cabinet Tour

Just found this brilliant, super comprehensive tour by supertechnoboy of the Atomic Buffalo Arcade and had to share. Can you guess how many light bulbs this thing uses? Let’s see if you get chills when the music starts.


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