A random visit to the Wunderland arcade.

Happy Holidays, everyone. Hope your Christmas was full of joy in some form, and that you got whatever you wanted for Christmas. For me, that was a new desk chair, an ION Drum Rocker for Rock Band, and a bunch of games varying from Assassin’s Creed II to Dishonored to Homefront. Oh well, not everything’s a winner. A few of these things I got will come useful in the New Year.

After the Spike TV Video Game Awards article, I really didn’t have much planned for the rest of the year. The Atari Hot Wheels article was a spur-of-the-moment thing I found out from a friend, and I was out yesterday hoping to find some gaming stuff. I found some at an antique shop, but it was pretty overpriced — Super Mario Bros. 3 for $12.50, a complete in box model 2 Sega Genesis for $65, etc — and the thrift stores had nothing that appealed to me that much. On a bus ride back, I noticed there was an arcade in Milwaukie, not too far from the main offices of Dark Horse Comics that I mentioned in a previous post about video game comic books. So I thought, hey, let’s have a little fun today.

Arcades in the United States are a sad state of affairs these days. Most of the arcades here are more ticket redemption arcades where you push coins down a slot and hope a bunch of coins fall and get loads of tickets. This one here was no exception, I’d say this arcade was 80% coin prizes, 15% arcade stuff imported from Japan and 5% skee-ball. Honestly, I’m not expecting much, this arcade’s been here a long, long time and I’m amazed it’s still around, really. Plus if I really wanted a pure arcade experience with pinball as a bonus, I could just head to Ground Kontrol in downtown Portland, so you take what you get.

There was a good selection of imported games, though. No Dance Dance Revolution I’m afraid, but they did have stuff like SEGA Golden Gun.

This game was nuts, it’s a campy light gun game involving zombies, ballerina monsters, and zombie ninjas. It’s like a successor to House of the Dead, and it was amazing for the small time I played it. Sega pretty much dominated this arcade, as this place also had House of the Dead (the original!), Ghost Squad and Let’s Go Jungle! I’d heard of Ghost Squad as it was one of the earliest games released for the Wii, and judging by my brief experience with the arcade original, it was a crazy fun experience if not a nickel-sucker. Let’s Go Jungle! was even crazier, fighting enemies with a noisy gatling gun while trying to save the day as Steve-O with a Pinocchio nose. These light gun games made me wish Sega would port these to the PlayStation Move or something, I’m always craving some crazy light gun action.

They also had a few driving games, like Out Run 2. I played it, I chose the Testarossa, and got about two stages in before I ran out of time. It has a pretty awesome remix of Magical Sound Shower, though not as awesome as the Euro Remix for the console versions. Not much else to say about this one, it’s a classic and makes me want to hunt down OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast. A lot of these arcade games were likely imported from Japan as a few of them had Japanese text on it. Maybe that’s why the US arcade business is dead these days…

There wasn’t much else, this was a tiny arcade that pretty much more of a movie theater than anything else. I had an hour of fun, got some silly tickets, and redeemed them for small silly prizes. It reminded me much of my younger days, doing this at another arcade a bit further away, called the Avalon. That place was a bit larger, and was more robust in its game selection. Either that or I missed a whole section at this one I went to. Sometimes you just gotta take a break and goof around in an arcade every once in a while.

This will probably be the last entry for 2012, so Happy New Year and I hope to see you in 2013, bigger and better than before.


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