Thursday, October 28, 2010

HAAG Arcade Expo! (Part 2)

As Pungent Onion mentioned in a previous post - we recently spent 2 game-filled days in attendance at the Houston Area Arcade Group's 9th annual Arcade Expo.  There were a ton of games and the usual favorites were there, but there were a couple of unexpected surprise stars:

Quantum:  This 1982 color vector game by Atari is a bit like the game QIX. You use a trackball to control a probe with a trailing tail to encircle atomic particles which destroys them for points. Touch the particles and your probe explodes. Simple concept but great game. Joystix used to have this game, but I never played it until the Expo and I quite liked it!

Varkon:  In 1982 arcade games were all the rage and pinball was on the way out. So Williams designed this 1982 pinball to look like an arcade cabinet! The playfield was hidden at the bottom and reflected onto a vertical mirror like an arcade monitor while the flippers were controlled by dual joysticks a la Robotron. The most unique pinball I've ever seen and quite fun to boot. Unfortunately, someone broke the right flipper on Saturday but luckily we had played it quite a bit on Friday.

There was also a couple of unexpected disappointments:

Slugfest:  This 1991 Williams game is a bat-and-ball type where the ball is pitched to you from the center of the playfield and you bat it into various targets. 2 players can play simultaneously with one person pitching and one batting. There were several new features on the typical bat and ball game such as you could put spin on the pitch with breaking balls, steal bases, throw out runners, pinch hit, etc. We'd played the game before at Joystix (gone now) and loved it so expected some good fun - but the sound was tuned to an ear-piercing frequency and dialed up to 5000 decibals so I could barely play in between wiping away my sonic-induced nosebleeds.

Joust Pinball:  This 1983 pinball by Williams offers 2-player simultaneous play, is based on an all-time great arcade game, looks great, and is very rare. Plus I recently posted about the guy selling one on eBay so it was fresh in my mind and I was really expecting big things. I'm not saying it was terrible - but there are so few targets on the playfield and the hype in my mind was so high that I came away feeling a bit meh. And it's biggest downfall for me was that, unlike most other pinballs, it was pretty much worthless as a 1-player game.

Pungent and I did a walkthrough of the gaming area which he recorded on his trusty iPhone. I spliced the video files together and here is the product if you care to take a look at the various games that were there. The video is pretty long (see aforemention 'ton of games'), but we had to document them in case we ever had to prove it in a gaming court of law!

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Fallguy40 said...

Looks like you had a good time. I saw several games I had forgotten about. One of these days I'm going to make it to the Joystix friday night thing.

MadPlanet said...

Just let me know when you would be able to make it in for it and we can make a night of it. And remember the Expo next year in case you might be able to be in town in the October-November timeframe.