Earlier this month we made a pilgrimage to Funspot in New Hampshire - also known as the world's largest arcade - with doctorkent and Glyos Matt! As I've been trying to do more recently, I shot some video with which to commemorate the occasion and finally sat down last night to edit it all together. Well, it's no masterpiece - it's not even a bad episode of a Travel Channel show - but at least it should be fun watching for those of us who were on the trip. If you want to see some rare Speed Buggy, Robotron mastery or (badly played by yours truly) Space Zap then check out this slightly-long video!
Since even in a 16 minute video, populated with too many of the 'free music clips' from iMovie and a virtual fruit basket of over-used transition slides (the hallmark of a novice video editor!), I failed to really capture all the cool stuff from the trip, here's a short list:
Three man Gauntlet II was played - I really need to add one of those originals to the Preserve collection
doctorkent and I nearly had our arms fall off playing Lethal Enforcers - we must have been doing something wrong on that 15 minute boss fight!
We each got a gallon of tokens, which turned out to be a little ambitious
Sadly many of the machines were down - I wish I lived closer to volunteer - but I know they are working hard to keep it awesome
Beat TMNT at the 11th hour - literally - with both of us manning 2 turtles each to speed things up
Records were set in Robotron
Speed Buggy and Radical Radial are two fantastic, obscure games
I swear this is a true story. My family took a trip to New Hampshire in either 1988 or 1989. We went to this arcade, although being as little as I was, I didn't appreciate these types of arcade games like I do now. I was more of a "ticket game" kid. And I swear, when we went there, you could trade in tickets for M.A.S.K. toys. Even though we only played for one brief evening, I evidently earned enough tickets to get a brand new Bruce Sato Rescue Mission Adventure Pack. I remember them having a bunch more M.A.S.K. toys that could be won with tickets, with Volcano probably being the big one they had at the time.
There simply are not enough places like this left. I hope it stays in business for many more years to come!
March 25th, 12:20 PM
What an astonishingly awesome story! That makes me even more enamored with Funspot, though I will admit that sadly their ticket redemption counter seems to have fallen on hard times by comparison. I'm always joking about trading in tickets for plastic spider rings, so did just that this time. The most 'fancy' thing they seemed to have were some Mattel Sing-a-ma-Jigs, which was cool and surprising but which were also an astronomical number of tickets. It seems like it wouldn't be hard to have cooler prizes, but I guess that's easy for me to say not having to make their ends meet.
I totally agree with you that their business is a vanishing art, and I admire the work and dedication that it takes every day for them to keep it running. I hope they keep that energy level up for many more years, and maybe I'll move closer soon so I can volunteer and put my time where my mouth is (if they would have me)!
March 25th, 01:21 PM
I will say that I'm very fortunate that I've grown up relatively close to the Jersey shore, because Ocean City is one of the few places that still keeps a lot of arcade machines running. While I think they're too light on the 2D fighters, it's good to go somewhere and still see Konami's The Simpsons, X-Men, TMNT and Turtles in Time all in working order readily accepting quarters.
March 25th, 01:23 PM
I grew up in the Philadelphia area and also have fond memories of going to Ocean City when I was little. I'm glad to hear that some of the arcades are still hanging on, and are not entirely populated with 'redemption' machines and DDR!
March 25th, 03:29 PM
I have no clue why some places offer what they do for redemption, but when I make the next pilgrimage to Funspot or Ocean City, I am going to ask for a manager and try to get the information out of a 19-year-old.
Great story, Ben. My personal ticket grail fiasco was at the Jersey Shore, Ocean City perhaps, or maybe Wildwood...they had 3 packs of Roadblasters. Not the super-common 1st series, I'm talking the ultra-tough second series 3 packs. Must have spent $200 winning cars that would have retailed for maybe $10. The memories...
I don't think the 2D fighters are what they consider classic enough to be in the place...there is a definite time stop on any thing from the 90s on, outside of Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, and a couple of others.
Ocean City is still holding strong, but every year I can see a few more missing machines that they couldn't replace. A shame, but to be expected. The last time I was there, the sole remaining Tron machine was sadly dying.
There are a lot of four player games I wish they had, like Sunset Riders and Bucky O'Hare. But I know in my heart that eventually I will have to have a Robotron machine in my house.