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Flashback - How it all started

Once upon a time, there was a small town, and in that small town was a small boy. One day, that boy had heard through his friends that a 'Pinny Parlour' had opened down the road. "What the hell is that?" I says to my friend. He tells me to hurry and just come see

I jumped on my bike and pedaled down the hill as fast as I could ride.

I knew something was opening as I could see activity down there.

Upon arrival, I slammed my burnt-orange Speedwell BMX bike Mk-I into the bike rack and ran in.

Whoa! What I saw changed my life forever. Games Games Games, and heaps of em!

Lights! Sounds! Sparkly things! Arcade Cabinets! Pinball Machines! This is just sooo cool I thought.

I soon found out that these baby's required money, 20 cents to be exact. Now I wasn't a rich boy but damn it, that wasn't going to stop my fascination with the pinnys.

My first full time job started at 8 years old,(scrounging around for 20 cent pieces) so I could play those games.

(Click on game titles for screenshot)

At that time I can remember:
  • Asteroids
  • Bandido
  • Basketball
  • Carnival
  • Crazy Balloon
  • Defender
  • Dig Dug
  • Donkey Kong
  • Frogger
  • Galaga
  • Galaxian
  • Missile Command
  • Moon Cresta
  • Pac-Man
  • Rally X
  • Scramble
  • Sheriff
  • Space Invaders
  • Sprint II
  • and numerous others that the memory doesn't remember.

I had the most fascination with Carnival, Donkey Kong, Galaga, Moon Cresta, Space Invaders and Scramble.

I just loved that monotonous 3/4 music on Carnival, the creepy sounds of Space Invaders and the challenge of Scramble through the maze at the end . I was just hooked on Donkey Kong and Moon Cresta. To this day Moon Cresta is one of my all-time-favourites.

Then as time went by, one weekend a new Pinball Machine turned up and was unloaded off the truck. What was it? It was HUGE.

It was this: Space Invaders the Pinball.

Space Invaders FlyerSpace Invaders Pinball
Mouse over image to hear this pinny

The sounds and sights on this machine scared the hell out of me for about 3 weekends in a row. I remember the sounds and how that H.R Giger alien copy freaked me right out. Around that time I recall the parents taking me to see Alien at the Drive-in and that scared me.

I got over it after the machine went, as it was always being repaired. Timewarp was another Pinball Machine that was always breaking down. (I think it had something to do was those weird banana shaped flippers).

It must be noted that I am also a keen Pinball fan.

Favourite pinballs include:

(Click on game titles for screenshot)

  • Genie
  • Flash
  • Firepower I
  • Firepower II
  • Fishtales
  • Gorgar
  • High Speed
  • Mata Hari
  • Space Invaders
  • Stellar Wars
  • Time Warp
  • The Simpsons
  • and heaps of others including a stack of modern ones. Basically I like pinball.

Time had past when on one sunny Saturday morning down at the Pinny Parlour I heard a cool new song, Pride - U2. I liked that song after it getting repeatedly punched into the jukebox. Man, I must of heard that song 1 billion times in 2 weeks.

(Click on game titles for screenshot)

New Games continued to pour in over time as well like:

  • Burgertime
  • Double Dragon
  • Empire City: 1931
  • Exerion
  • Gyruss
  • Hyper Olympics
  • King of Boxer
  • Moon Patrol
  • Pole Position
  • Super Punch-Out
  • Tigerheli
  • Tutankham
  • as well as numerous Pinball Machines.

I was getting old enough, (in my opinion), to go on big adventures into the city (Sydney) with friends to explore the big wide world. Yes, we got as far as the cinemas on George Street and all the Arcades around that area.

There I was introduce to some awesome games that we didn't get at the local pinny parlour.

(Click on game titles for screenshot)

Games like:

  • 1942
  • Arkanoid
  • Bombjack
  • Dragons Lair
  • Gauntlet
  • Ghosts'n Goblins
  • Pac-Land
  • Xevious
  • and heaps and heaps of other.

(We did eventually get some of these games at our local Pinny Parlour)

As I got older I remember in 1989 I started to drift from the Arcade. I still loved them but I had left school early and had started working my first REAL job. The last games I remember playing like crazy were:

(Click on game titles for screenshot)

  • 720
  • Altered Beast
  • Arkanoid
  • Cabal
  • Chase HQ
  • Cobra-Command
  • Out Run
  • Shinobi
  • Silkworm
  • Strider
  • Wonderboy
  • Wonderboy in Monsterland

The Wonderboy series had me well and truly hooked. I just had to finish Monsterland and I did manage to do it. Strider was another game that I just instantly liked. The graphics and sounds were excellent for the time (circa 1989). Strider is another of my all-time-favourites.

As time went on I would see games like Street Fighter in video rental outlets and feel an urge to play them.

By about 20 years old I stopped altogether with arcade. I had different life matters to attend to,(girls). For some reason arcade games were not a good aphrodisiac or turn on for the girls.

Years would pass till one day in 2000 at the age of 27, I rocked into a games software shop to see what I could see. Right there on the shelf was Microsoft's 'Return of Arcade'. From then on I had an unstoppable urge to play Space Invaders, Xevious and Moon Cresta. After many unsuccessful searches I found this site: The Ultimate Space Invaders Shrine.

This site greatly stirred deep primal emotions about the good ole days. I just had to find out if I could play the old arcade games. I was sure that someone would have done something that would have enabled me to play them on my PC.

Sure enough after a few more weeks I found gold, MAME, short for Multi Arcade Machine Emulator. I love these people who have made MAME possible. (Thank You MAME Team).

I just couldn't get enough of this little beauty.

Heaven was being enjoyed right here in my house, on my PC.

And from that day on, they all lived happily ever after. :-)

The urge is great enough that I have become a slave (again) to the arcade pimp. I have a desire now to build my own MAME Machine. And build one i did :-)

Below is an arcade I spent alot of time in when I was on holidays in Port Macquarie, NSW. Here I was introduced to heaps of new games, Nintendo Sheriff comes straight to mind. Just down the road from this arcade there was another, I have no idea if it still exists today though.

Click to enlarge


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