It all began in the 80’s when I went to the Roadrunner Burger bar in Colombo St and was introduced to the lineup of video games. Gyruss was the one for me, loved it, would have quite happily played it all night, but Dad was waiting as our order was ready, so it was time to leave. At home there was the Atari 2600, which was way cool, but nothing compared to the Arcade machines at the burger bar!
Then one day Dad took me to his work where they had an Electromechanical Pinball machine. Don’t know what machine it was, but that was my first time playing one. I must have been about 8 years old. That was the beginning of my addiction to the silver ball. My first real impression was Gottliebs Black Hole, now that was a Pinball Machine! It was located in the burger bar by the corner of Huxley & Colombo Streets. I decided that I had to own a Pinball machine.
That 1st machine was a Stern Cosmic Princess. Managed to convince the flat members to have it in the lounge. It was a hit at the parties and I was grinning ear to ear. But all good things come to an end, and one day, it broke. Found out that there were not many people repairing them, So I became self taught.
That was back in 1993, things have moved on from there, unfortunately, so has Cosmic Princess, but at least I know who the current owner is. Many more machines have joined the collection, including my favorite from the 80’s – Black Hole. Took years to find it and about a year to learn how to fix it! – She’s a keeper.
As word got around that I could fix Pinball Machines, questions came about if I could take a look at other Arcade Stuff. So the list of equipment that I am prepared to look at has grown to include Jukeboxes, Old Electromechanical amusement Machines, some Poker Machines and Video Games.
I decided to take this part time repair hobby one step further. Pintech was formed in September of 2007 and launched into a full time business in April 2008.
Nothing is more rewarding than taking an old broken down, and sometimes poorly engineered piece of equipment, and knowing that when it goes out the door that it has a new lease of life. Once again providing hours of entertainment for someone.
In the 90's, My favourite hangouts included Wizards, FJ's (Below Baileys 818) Pennys and Simons. Going out to these places, hearing the sounds of both the machines and the buzz generated by the crowds of people created a truly awesome atmosphere. By this stage, I had mainly left the Video Game scene and moved over to Pinball Machines, earning replays here and there, I managed to play for quite some time on my $1 investment.
One by one, these establishments disappeared, leaving the odd Fish n Chip shop with a handful of Video Games and Pinball became even more scarce.
Recent years saw a huge surge in popularity in Retro Video Games, the Classics such as Galaga, Pacman, Gyruss, but also the 90's classics Street Fighter, Tekken etc.
I focused on trying to gather up and site retro games around Chch while also gathering up as many Pinball Machines I could find.
A lot of that progress was interrupted thanks to one or two earthquakes. Machines were lost and huge recovery projects at large financial expenses were put in place. Very interesting recovery missions into the red zone were undertaken. Cafe's and Fish n Chip shops that were abandoned and had no power for six months stunk very highly!
So as Christchurch no longer had any retro gaming venues and the city was slowly rebuilding, the time to start something up had arrived.
Mat and I crossed paths and he shared the same enthusiasm as I did. We had a plan, we had a name! Arcadia!
Everything was set, everything would fall into place and we would open on.................. No wait, it would be.................. oh....
With an amazing amount of patience and perseverance, Mat managed to drag this seemingly impossible task over the start line. All the while I was undertaking the mammoth task of getting these machines up and running and looking as sweet as possible.
My goal, is to recreate that retro gaming glory. Be it a Video game from the 80's or 90's, or a Pinball machine from the same era.
All of the Video Games at Arcadia are running original 15, or 24khz CRT screens. The only LCD screen games here are ones that came out with them. This is the only true way to get that authentic look. Street fighter 2 on a wide screen LCD? Not at Arcadia! It is my goal to keep CRT screens as long as possible, though these are wearing out and one day will not be available.....
Arcadia has Pinball Machines! Actually Arcadia has quite a number of Pinball Machines. I believe it is the largest lineup that Christchurch has seen.
Pinball Tournaments - Something slightly different than a game of Bowling, or a game of Laser Tag. Arcadia can host a pinball tournament. This can be in a Corporate environment where your company can hire the venue and we run a properly controlled tournament for up to 40 players. Or a casual tournament that we plan to hold on a two monthly basis. Depending on the number of players and the format of the tournament, these take between 2 to 4.5 hours.
New arrivals - Or should that be old arrivals? If there is a machine that you remember from back in day, please suggest it and I will see if it is possible to get it. There will be more machines brought in going forward.
Game pricing - A lot of thought was put into how the credit structure would be achieved. For me, dropping a coin into a slot was the only way to go. While swiping a card has benefits, It just doesn't feel .....Retro. Arcadia features a token and coin based system. All machines (except currently the Pool Table) will accept Arcadia tokens. Most of the machines will also accept a combination of $1 and $2 coins for if you have loose change. The token system allows extra bargains at higher dollar values. Each token has a face value of 50c. Games start at $1 to play (2x tokens) however we will be featuring some games at 50c play.
It has been an exciting time planning Arcadia and seeing the venue alive with the sounds of Pinball Machines and Video Games brings me back to some very fond memories. I hope it does for you too. I think it was worth the wait.