The best of vintage gaming chicJuly 4, 2011
This guest post is by Oliver Archibald on behalf of Home Leisure Direct – UK suppliers of home gaming equipment, including arcade machines, pool tables and air hockey machines.
A genuine culture change; it is hard to pinpoint when retro and vintage gaming evolved from being a little nerdy to being classed as something chic. Gamers all over the globe are ecstatic about the huge range of vintage gaming hardware, software and peripherals widely available from home stores as well as the expected specialists. Naturally, the internet is the perfect home for enthusiasts and sellers alike to converse and conduct business.
Even the most jaded thirty-something can barely restrain a smile from breaking across their face when they see a classic pinball game, arcade game or home games console from their past being played in front of them. What follows are some of the best examples of vintage gaming chic waiting for you to snap them up and plug them in.
The Classic Pinball Machine
Is there anything cooler than having a full sized classic all bells and whistles pinball machine in your home? Not for the fervid follower of vintage gaming chic. The rich history of pinball machines has touched many aspects of culture and was immortalised in The Who’s famous rock opera Tommy, which told the story of a deaf, dumb and blind kid who could still play a mean pinball. In fact, Data East released a themed pinball machine in 1994, which featured 21 songs from the hit musical, which an enthusiastic collector can pick up online for £2,250.
But what is the most popular pinball machine ever made? What is the Golden Fleece of vintage pinball chic? That title proudly belongs to the kooky, ooky, spooky film tie-in pinball machine for The Addams Family released by Bally in 1992 with full speech by the movie cast. It remains the best selling pinball machine to this day and this iconic piece of games history will cost you around £3,000.
Vintage Arcade Machines
Everyone remembers the classic arcade games they grew up with. Whether in their local cafe or in the seaside amusements, the arcades provided vivid memories. While some specialists sell retro stand alone versions for a princely sum, innovative new products like the Golden Arcade Classics which has the authentic retro cabinet and comes with no less than 80 classic titles are now available on the market for around £4,000. The ultimate in vintage arcade chic, unforgettable games include Asteroids, Space Invaders, Mortal Kombat and Paperboy.
If you want vintage arcade chic, for less than £1,700 you can buy a table-shaped set up called Arcade Mania Sit Down, which allows you to sit and face off against another gamer on any one of 150 built-in games, which include classics like Street Fighter, Excitebike, Spy vs. Spy and Gradius.
While there are emulators available for PCs to play the retro games of yesteryear, all real followers of vintage console chic will settle for nothing less than the original consoles themselves. The king of vintage console chic is the Atari 2600 or Atari VCS, which was released way back in 1977. Classic games like Combat and Pac-Man etched their names as the pioneers of gaming architecture. An Atari Flashback 2 console was released in 2005 with 40 in-built games, but the original console with those paddle controllers is the Holy Grail.
Next to the Atari 2600, the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), released in 1995, is the vintage games console every gamer wants next to their TV. Voted the greatest console of all time by IGN, the combination of classics like Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros and Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out brought the arcade into your home with cool peripherals like the light gun now being incredibly collectible.
From pinball, to arcades and home consoles, vintage gaming chic is here to stay. It appeals to those of us who grew up through the development of games technology, and allows us to relive the “good old days” of gaming yesteryear.
Do you remember your first introduction to gaming? Did you cut your teeth in the arcades, on a console, or a home computer? Share your story in the comments.