I work in the city as a Graphic Designer and have been for nearly nine years. It’s a good job –sure, but the biggest perk for me is that I could go into the city centre on my lunch break. To be a 10-minute walk to shops and bars is awesome, but what used to be my number 1 go-to destination for gaming was Orbit Amusements on Barrack Street. To me, it was a gallery of arcade glory, hosted by a mixed bag of machines spanning 15 years of gaming. There were heaps of Sega Blast City cabinets with fighters such as Street Fighter and the KOF series to shooters such as House of the Dead 2 and Time Crisis 2; plus racers such as Sega Rally and San Francisco Rush. It was the quintessential local arcade that I visited nearly every day in my early career, but, unfortunately, it went bust much like many other local arcade businesses in the early 2000s.
Orbit Amusements was the last Perth arcade business to close its doors, although its globe-shaped logo still stands today as an endless reminder of the good old button-bashing days. With the arcade business on the decline, it meant many old machines were unused and up for sale. I had some money saved up in the bank and thought to myself, ‘I could start an arcade collection!’ I began clearing the space in my garage and brought a storage cupboard to hide every tool and all my useless crap to make space. I then searched everywhere for an arcade machine from online stores, newspapers, arcade forums and businesses around the country until I found the one! I stumbled upon a striking dedicated Time Crisis SD arcade cabinet in Adelaide. Once I saw the superb side-art, fond memories of this classic game came flooding back to me. I pumped so many dollars into Time Crisis, and it’s my favourite light gun shooter of all time. I sent an email enquiring about the cabinet, and once I found out it was in my budget, it was an instant buy!
A few weeks gone by, and I finally got word that my Time Crisis cabinet had arrived and was about 20 minutes away from my house. In turn, I got the help of my brother Mike and hired a trailer to pick up the machine from the courier company. I probably should have got an extra hand or two because that cabinet was heavy once I had to offload at home. I unwrapped the packaging, plugged it in, hit the power on, and like a Christmas tree it lit up the whole room. The speakers were booming proudly while the cinematic opening video got me excited for my first playthrough. The banner lit the logo in all its glory as I grabbed the light-gun ready to blast. I took my first shot to start the game and felt the recoil mechanism shift the top of the gun. I was overjoyed and eager to start, aimed for the story mode, and clicked the trigger to begin Stage 1.
The enemies started coming, and I shot them all one by one. However, by the third sequence I killed all the enemies except for one, who was in the bottom left of the screen. I keep shooting this one guy, and I know I hit him, but the shot wouldn’t register. Then I gasped and realised… I brought a faulty machine. I put my head in my hands in disbelief and thought, ‘Did I just waste my money on a broken machine? Was the arcade mishandled during the freight? Was my driving terrible today that I busted the screen?’ I contacted the seller to discuss the fault in the machine and he said that the arcade was fine when it left his business. With more questions than answers, I contacted a local repairer to assess the machine and long story short it was not good news… It needed a new monitor chassis!
I was so annoyed because now I had to spend even more money on the repair guy and find a new screen replacement. I started to think this was a bad purchase and unfortunately things got worse… My car alternator decided to give up! Now I was turning green and hulking up! I ended up being even more out of pocket and had to make an executive decision; I must sell my dream arcade machine to repair my stupid car! I posted it online and after four potential buyers; I sold it to a guy that was an arcade enthusiast. I explained to him the issue with the machine and left no detail untold. Regrettably, for me, I had to sell it for nearly half the price I bought it for, but I desperately needed my car for work and luckily it covered the full cost of the repairs. I know I made the right decision at the time, but I do miss having that Time Crisis machine sitting in my garage. I guess one day I’ll buy an arcade machine again once I’m more financially stable and would buy one locally instead of interstate.
Thanks for reading my story of misfortune and blunder; though this brings me to a few questions on your personal experiences and thoughts:
- Do you miss the local arcade scene or should it stay in the past?
- Have you failed or had any regrets with your video game collection?
- What’s the one arcade you would want to own?