I miss arcades. Back when I was a kid, we had an arcade in every mall. I especially remember two, the one in Midway Mall- Aladdins Castle, and the one at Center Ridge Lanes. Over the years I’ve built a MAME cabinet and put all the games I remember on it…but I still miss the arcade.
I first saw the template over here : http://www.wayoftherodent.com/gd101/bs_paperarcade.htm and thought that was such a cool idea. It also occurred to me that I could make these machines even smaller and maybe adapt them for use in Heroclix. Around the same time I noticed my friend Jim making an Arcade machine or two and that cemented my resolve.
I started out making machines themselves. The first hurdle was to figue out how much I needed to shrink the template down. After testeing a few times and comparing the sizes to my minitures I figured out every machine I wanted. Some o those machines didn’t exist, and had to be created. A few web searches and I was able to find artwork to things like Mortal Kombat, or the X-Men four player and then alter existing templates. X-Men went on the Gauntlet template. Mortal Kombat went on the Pac-Man one. Mario went on the Donkey Kong template (a standard for all Nintendo stand up machines actually). As I got more machines together I created a floorplan, deciding how big the map was going to be. I wanted brick walls and shiny wood floors. I also wanted pool tables, just like at Center Ridge lanes, where you couldn’t play pool if you were under 18.
Vending machines would come next. I wanted pop machines, preferably old ones. Old Pepsi and 7Up machines and cigarette machines (on the pool table side) and Token vendors. I also figured such a place would paner to kids with less money and would have some generic pop there too, so I threw in a Faygo machine.
Next I had to cut them out and put them together. These are incredibly hard, especially at this size. I wasn’t using glue…to small and it would be to messy. instead I was using a Gluestick, which worked perfectly. All in all, I created thirty arcade machines and a score of vending machines. Not only did I want vending machines in the arcade, but I wanted them in the alleyway as well where we set up a kind of Vending machine farm. These are really common in Japan, though not so much in the US. Still if felt liek it fit. You can see machines for food, snacks, drinks, coffee and all sorts of things out there. Inside I added one more machine; a crane game.
Of course, for there to be an outside, we need to finish up those walls and add some Aladdins Castle logos. It was always going to be an Aladdins Castle, somehow I knew that, but it’s an idealized one; one that probably never really existed.
It’s a fun map for Alter Egos, a great place for Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson to hang out. It’s also great for super strength figures. Consider all the machines objects that you can pick up and attack with. Most of all though, it takes me back to a time when Co-Op meant going to the arcade, not just sitting on Broadband.