Arcade Machine – A love for the eighties.

I read a book the other day called ‘Ready Player One.’ A debut novel from Ernest Kline that I loved. My father put me on to it. He’s knows what he likes and to be fair, being retired, plows through something like three to four novels a week, so he knows when he’s found something I’ll probably enjoy. By all accounts Ernest Kline has a huge collection of Arcade Machines and his very own Delorian, so he’s a geek through and through. My own love affair with arcade games probably started in 1982, with the Tunix Home Arcade system. It was a rip off of the Arcadia 2001 release. It over heated after 3-4 hours of play though I loved it. From there it was down to Spaceworld in Papakura on a Sunday morning, my parents being semi-agnostic. Two dollars in hand, gave me a ticket to an arcade with every game loaded up with 100 credits. A dream come true.

So it was a revelation to be propelled into the future to rediscover the world of yesteryear with a character who loved the eighties. A billionaire who creates a world dubbed the oasis and hides three keys inside it for a player ready to discover and win his fortune. It’s fun, brutal and a great read, blending life with a fantasy we might one day see. IMDB is telling me that the film has already been cast. None other than Spielberg is directing and there’s a slew of names you’ll recognise on the bill. The books been targeted a little young, though you need to look to your inner-child to get the best out of it. The finale is large, grand in scale and I’m sure will look incredible on the big screen, though read it first. Tron Legacy got me thinking for those that loved the original cult classic. Daft Punk ripping it up with a killer soundtrack. I still find myself playing it as I take a long drive to anywhere, though Disney massacred it with something user friendly that really shouldn’t have been. Hopefully that won’t happen here.

So I’ve since upgraded from my Tunix. Admittedly disgruntled with previous Christmas presents, my wife managed to knock one out of the park by buying me a fully fledged arcade machine from This bad boy comes with everything. Two joy sticks, player one or two buttons, the slot for credits, the screen, everything I remember as a kid. It’s wrapped in the Street Fighter 2 livery, though the really good news, is that it has nothing less than 2,100 games built into it. A revelation. Everything is as I remember. The push of a button transports me back to a time of graphics, while no Xbox or PlayStation, it really meant something to a kid looking to escape. I’m playing Gyruss and a bit of Time Pilot at the moment. Not quite attracting the galleries your humble author might have assembled in his youth, though I’d like to think I’m holding my own.

Wasn’t that previous blog about discipline? Yes I’ve reeled it in. Can’t say I’m playing that often, though that pale grey unlit screen still beckons to me to turn it on once in a while. There’s plenty of inspiration in what you’ve known.