Classic Arcade News Feed: April 2020

I hope everyone is doing OK in the current situation. I’ve been keeping busy with Nintendo Red Tent and Robotron restorations – updates will of course follow here on the blog in the coming weeks.

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these; I’ve been bookmarking a few things over the last few months and thought it high time I share some interesting snippets of classic arcade gaming news from around the globe:

A new documentary Insert Coin is in the works (in fact it might even now be complete I guess). The film documents Midway’s rise to success, especially during the 90s when many other arcade manufacturers had either gone to the wall, or were simply struggling to release games that captured the public’s imagination. It looks pretty interesting, with plenty of interviews and insight.

I’m pretty stoked to see the final release. Sign up here for future updates.

Not exactly arcade news, but worthy of mention. Atari, once the dominant force in arcade gaming, is now a shadow of its former self. The current owners of the brand have been busy with a couple of announcements. The first being the proposed introduction of Atari themed hotels. This seems to follow the business model they are running with, which is licencing its IP to third parties. I don’t hold out much hope here, but if done properly, it could be pretty interesting.

Their other announcement is rather more puzzling. This was a release announcing the launch of Atari Casinos, linked to an Atari branded Cryptocurrency. Atari says:

The casino space presents a massive opportunity to leverage the portfolio of Atari properties through a range of social and real money casino opportunities.

Now I don’t doubt that’s true, but to align the Atari brand alongside out and out gambling seems like an extraordinary move to me. Since when did the carefree fun that Atari once represented sit alongside a business model designed to get players to lose potentially huge amounts of money?

Next up is a great documentary which I don’t think I’ve shared before, called Space Invaders. This film delves into the mindset of arcade collectors and restorers. This is the full film and is worth a watch if you have time on your hands (which I’m sure you do right now!).

Some world record news was reported in Iowa during February this year. Jordan Dorrington of Cedar Rapids broke the Galaga world record in his kitchen!

A cool discussion on the KLOV Forums a few weeks back about arcade game glitches led me to this page about a bug in Atari’s seminal colour vector game Gravitar. It turns out you can guide your ship through the terrain on some levels.

A good friend of mine and fellow podcast (see below!) presenter Paul Drury did a great interview on the BBC over here in the UK about Ralph Baer some time ago. Ralph sadly passed away in 2014 aged 92, but leaves a great legacy as the “Father of Video Games”.  Ralph was an amazing character – I had the honour of meeting him a couple of times a this house in New Hampshire. He will be sadly missed. Paul’s discussion is now on SoundCloud. It’s just five minutes long – do give it a listen here:

And talking of Podcast colleagues, here’s another mate of mine Richie May giving a recent tour of his arcade game collection with Alex from Nintendo Arcade. He’s got some great rarities!

Elsewhere, Cassandra Quirk, who I’ve mentioned before here on, has completed her History of Centuri with another video documenting the games released by this iconic arcade manufacturer. Great production values and tons of information that you may not have seen before.

Cassandra does incredible work, and I’d recommend checking out her YouTube channel here. She’s currently doing regular videos documenting restoration work during the current lockdown – do take a look and subscribe!

Finally, if you haven’t listened in already, my new arcade project, The Ted Dabney Experience Podcast, is now available on YouTube – so you really have no excuse!

Grab a beer, put your feet up and check out Warren Davis’ talk to us with great insights into 80s arcade development. The podcast is also on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts and Spotify. More info here.

Credit: Classic Arcade News Feed: April 2020