I am not amused

Since we can no longer borrow money I guess our only option is to win it. I mean we can’t possibly work hard and earn it, live to a budget and maybe make some savings… no that would be ludicrous. We have been raised on buy now pay later, interest free credit and all those shiny plastic cards that fill up our wallets. We like free cash, we like cash that doesn’t seem to affect our bank balances for at least a month, oh yeah and we like games!

So they have raised the level of prizes that can be won from slot machines. They being the government and we being people who play slot machines. So not me then. However I was roped in to reading about this news from the statement that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport feels this move will ease the difficult trading conditions currently affecting seaside amusement arcades.

Ummmmm… looks like fun…

Seaside amusement arcades? I thought they had all shut down. I don’t mean recently either, I thought they had all shut down years ago. Obviously I didn’t think places like the Trocadero, upholding the bright lights and happy faces of a proper arcade, had gone. But seaside arcades?! Sadly the mere words instantly sum up images of slum and squalor in my mind.

So is this move to raise prize possibilities really going to make them buzz again? I think not. What the arcade industry desperately needs is new carpets and better lighting. They need to fix their broken shop fronts, remove the sickly drug dealing teeenagers and ask the dying old lady in the back to leave. It may seem harsh and I would like to think that arcades are about to get their second life, that we will all be queueing along the seafront to shoot zombies with plastic guns. But I have to say that for me it’s going to take a whole lot more then the smell of distant prizes.







16 responses to “I am not amused”

  1. arc14716 avatar

    We don’t have any seaside amusement parks out here in Hawaii. The closest one I can even think of would be Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park, and if I read the directions correctly, is actually located nowhere near the ocean.

    A couple of other things about Hawaii–no gambling and no lottery. Which means no slot machines, no lottery, and the only we can get money–is to earn it.

    Why did I choose to post this comment here again?

  2. lordstar avatar

    i live in southport one of the biggest seaside resorts and just up the road from blackpool. There are more JAMMA cabinets in my house and my mates house than the whole of southport. Its sad how its dead. The kids only want to play on the fruit machines but I think we could get a huge revival even if it is in private little collections known only to a few. But hey I load them up and take them to insert coin expo happening this year so its all good. Seeing people play on machines which i have spent a lot of time and effort on cleaning and replacing parts and hunting down PCBs is an awesome feeling. 🙂

  3. John avatar

    So let me get this straight, the next new initiative from our great and mighty leadership is to encourage gambling?
    Seriously, increasing the payout on fruit machines is pretty much on a par with asking bookies to lengthen their odds.
    “Get more people with not enough money to gamble on the possiblility that they might (I sam MIGHT) win it back plus a little bit.”
    But hang on, don’t we already have this in place across our great nation? Ahh yes the National Lottery – gambling for everyone and also (on my cynical days) a tax on the poor with the faint hope of a life changing win.

    I have a better idea.. get everyone to give ME 10 pounds. I’ll have a good hard think and some of them will get 15 pounds back. Good for me and good for them, no?!

    But let’s not also forget that at the back-end of these transactions there is the tax which is paid to the government. Helping struggle businesses? I don’t think so – taking more money out of the pockets of the public to prop up bail-out’s for quasi-corrupt bankers and traders. PAH!

  4. lordstar avatar

    I dont gamble full stop. its a disgusting habbit and your right about the lottery i have more chance of being bitten by a shark or getting hit by lightning *emagines an electric shark for a second* anyway point is your not going to win that.
    I do want a simpsons fruit machine for my front room though 🙁

    I know, I am bad person.

  5. Ben avatar

    I live within driving distance of Skegness which is just flooded with these places, all of which boast “Brand new games” proudly at the door, only to find out they are talking about the original Outrun.

    It is great fun though to take a couple of friends and find some over the top arcade game – Gunblade was my favourite, that gun was massive and could vibrate a skyscraper down.

    Only gambling machines I use / play are the ones that except 2p coins!

  6. lordstar avatar

    ahhh 2p games. You mean pushers, there a mugs game they all are.

    original outrun is awesome as is gunblade. Which is a lot like lets go jungle 🙂

  7. Ben avatar

    Yeah the pushers…mugs game they may be but armed with nothing more than a £1 in 2p coins they last me ages.

    Has to be the horizontal pushers though, none of this vertical rubbish they have now.

  8. GamerGeekGirl avatar

    I agree, most “arcades” suck… =(

    The University I was at had Time Crisis-something and DDR (and some other crap stuff I never played) in the big room full of pool tables though =)

    But now I’m at a different Uni, without the awesome =P

  9. Lorna avatar

    I had the dubious pleasure of living in Thanet for many years where the ‘delights’ of Margate were a short bus journey away. Arcades stretching along the seafront, manned by poor souls who seemed to have become stuck in perspex boxes, dispensing change to idiots like me who poured it into dodgy grabber machines.

    I remember coming away with a damn fine haul of Pokemon plushes one afternoon though…how the hell I got a huge Togepi plush out of a machine I have no idea…those arms are as spindly as a granny’s finger.

  10. Michael avatar

    “Whole intro paragraph”

    My God, such sarcasm! And excuse you me, I have never had a credit card or bought something and paid for it later! Anyway… yes, very good point about arcades and how to, hmm, re-invigorate them. Oh, and I’m not really sure how they fall under the remit of Culture, Media or Sport anyway!

    Thanet? That sounds like a brilliant name for a place! What? It does! And do you mean Topegi? Haha, you Pokemon fan! Oh wait, that means I know species of Pokemon… 🙁

  11. Nick avatar

    Could be worse.

    Could be Bray.

  12. Tony avatar

    “you’re right about the lottery i have more chance of being bitten by a shark or getting hit by lightning”

    Indeed it’s true. But – I still play £1 a week because if something unbelievably unlikely is going to happen to me, I’d rather it be winning £10,000,000 than being killed by an electric shark.

  13. Andy Turner avatar
    Andy Turner

    I used to walk past a Shipley’s amusements on the way to work every morning back in sunny Tamworth…pension day was always the worst, old folks literally braving all weathers to stand outside the place a good 45 minutes before opening time to cast their winter fuel allowance into the gaping maw of slot machines in the hope of coming away £5 better off or with one of those nice porcelain ornaments from the window…luckily Shipley’s is next door to game station so the weekly deals soon washed away thoughts of their plight.

    We used to ave a good arcade were I lived and when I was 12 years old free play Mondays were the stuff of legend…£5 in and all the games were free from 6 till 11…of course accursed older teens were constantly on killer instinct but I got plenty of X-men vs Street fighter Virtual On and Daytona under my belt in that golden age.

    Nowadays I’m currently in Korea where so far the arcades I’ve seen are second only to those I saw in Japan. Even the small local arcade has Tekken 6 face off machines where I watch pro players clock up their 3000th win, an F-zero AX machine that I never did get to play back home, people so good at DDR that it puts me off trying in case they mock me, and every variation on time crisis and house of the dead imaginable.

    Perhaps in a slight nod to the seasides and themeparks of back in home though there are crane games outside every corner store here with prizes ranging from toys and sweets to cigarettes, cell phones and most fun of all live lobsters (I can provide photographic proof of such claims I swear).

  14. shaunmcilroy avatar

    you totally should read Arcade Mania: The Turbo Charged World of Japans Game Centers by Kotaku editor Brian Ashcraft. He briefly laments the death of the arcade in the states before showing how it still has life in Japan.

    Nice article and some valid points too it will take more than UFO catchers and prizes on seafront arcades.

    I yearn for the days when Double Dragon and SF2 were in Arcades, Pac Land too 🙁

  15. Uzi avatar

    “The dying old lady”? That was harsh. hehehe

  16. Garry avatar

    I think some of these comments arise from people not liking amusement arcades, and this helps colour their view that they are all seedy dens of drugs and ‘dodginess’. This is plainly not true, but to discover this you need to visit them, and if you don’t like arcades why would you do that? Undoubtedly some could do with smartening up, but many are a harmless way of killing an hour or so, especially if the weather is not good. As for the gambling thing, this is where we have to separate the town centre ‘gambling’ arcades with big stakes and wins, and the seaside arcades with games that are primarily for fun, and charge only 2p or 5p. I’ve visited the latter many times as a child and later an adult, when visiting the seaside, and it hasn’t turned me into a gambler (I don’t even play the lottery!). As I say, they are not all good, but there is still a thriving industry out there, and the ones that do work hard and keep their premises in good order deserve credit, and encouragement, even from the government.

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