Insert coin ’09

Well, it’s taken me a few days to get around to posting about the show. All in all, Insert Coin ’09 it was a great success. Alan, Grant and their team did a great job in getting all the machines together. On the day (well, the day before) it seemed everything was against them and the show was almost a non-starter. All of the Egrets were stuck at customs and after being released late on the Friday afternoon, half of them reached their destination at about 9 o’clock at night. The rest of them were due in at 6am Saturday! When we arrived at 11pm on Friday to set up, the electrician was setting up the supply for the hall whilst PCBs were installed in the machines. It was an all-nighter for most of the IC’09 team.


It was generally noticed that there weren’t many classic machines to play on. Well, in fact I can only recall the Space Invaders silver anniversary cabinet. But to actually get your hands on a Frogger, Donkey Kong or PacMan these days will cost you a pretty penny… if you can find one. This I think is where the MAME community are needed. Candy Cabs and Twisted Box had show presence, but it could have done with a few more, playing classic stuff. This could also possibly entice a few people unaware of what’s out there into building their own cabs.


For me the highlights were Outrun 2 with a 3-player link-up, Sega Radio and I was strangely drawn to the japanese dog-walking game on more than one occasion.


The cosplay turnout was great. Most of the crowd were from Hollywood Heroes, as stormtroopers, Agent Smith, Silent Hill Dark Nurses and Call of Duty soldiers. They added a great focus for photos, including the comedy ‘Stormtrooper on a jetski’!


We had our own corner of the hall too, showing off our black gloss table. We also managed to finish the build of a new table, which meant some late nights and early starts in the week running up to the show. The bleary eyes on the Saturday morning were well worth it though. Plenty of people came over for a chat and a play on the system… though sometimes it was because we had the only sofa in the hall! We had a lot of noise to compete with in the hall, but when it was time for a demo, there was no problem in the sound department. Both tables were very well received with a 50/50 split on styling preference. There will be more details of the new systems over the next week or so, and an update to In the mean time, you can take a look at the photos from IC’09, including a look at the new arcade table.

You can see some video footage I took, on youtube. There are also more photos on the surface-tension Flickr page.





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retro space – modern retro

Made in Holland, this is a modern take on Nolan Bushnell’s computer space arcade machine. Also reminiscent of the original Pong machine in my eye. I really like the style of the cabinet! This would go really well with retro 70s-inspired decor.

Retro yellow arcade control panel

The control panel, even though containing the majority of the arsenal you would need in order to tackle most arcade games, looks clean and uncluttered.

Retro Space has been made in a one-time small production run of 33 cabinets. 26 were bought by the Dutch Game Garden to promote the best game productions from the Netherlands in an annual event called Indigo Showcase. At the moment there are no cabinets for sale, but you can rent a yellow or a blue one. They will do a custom run if you’re willing to buy at least 5.

source :: retro thing

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Dragon’s Lair turns 25

This week sees Dragon’s Lair turn 25! The machine that not only made you and all your mates go “WOW”… but your Grandmother too. I remember being a kid at that age where a pound was a lot to put into a machine that looked so difficult, it could have been over in 10 seconds flat. So I would have opted for 10 credits on Pac-man.

Born in 1983, Dragon’s Lair was published by Cinematronics and featured the animation by ex-Disney’s Don Bluth who was famous for his works on The Secret Of NIMH and An American Tail. It featured the brave knight Dirk The Daring out to rescue Princess Daphne.


Needless to say, I was happy to stand and watch the Cartoon cabinet in its attract mode waiting for someone else to insert their hard-earned cash.

Due to the hardware limitations coupled with the huge amounts of animation, the system effectively used video, tapping into the huge storage potential of LaserDisc.


Happy Birthday Dragon’s Lair!

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50 greatest arcade cabinets in video game history…

…according to

Bear in mind that this is cabinet design and not about the games themselves. Quoting i-Mockery, because I couldn’t put it better myself… “Chances are you’ll see some games on here that you’ve never even heard of, and that’s likely because some of them sucked more than E.T. on the 2600”.

A couple of notable favourites…

battlezone cabinet

I remember this one at my local sports center. I was far too short to play it, but I did anyway… dreading the soon-to-happen broken glass effect. Even though I was a little too short (even with the step), on the flip side the taller people had to stoop down to stare through that damn scope.

the fonz arcade cabinet handlebars

The other that stood out for me was The Fonz. Never heard of it before, but you can check out more on KLOV. Check out those handlebars! Choices, choices… Paperboy… Fonz… Paperboy… Fonz… HEYYYYYYYYY!

You can check out the list in full here at

source ::

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Surface Tension50 greatest arcade cabinets in video game history…
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Need arcade manuals?

Jason Scott over at is hosting a bunch of arcade manuals in pdf format. Well, when I say a bunch, I mean over 1,700. Not only the manuals, but there are also some schematics and machine information if you are looking to restore a machine that you’ve managed to lay your hands on.

So anyway, head on over to for the manuals. There are also manuals for all sorts of other weird and wonderful items such as PDAs, CBs and scanners. Plus a whole bunch of other bizarre documents. All in PDF of course!

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Surface TensionNeed arcade manuals?
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