The Last Arcade on the Planet is a private collection of arcade games owned by Juan Sanchez that he opens for public parties once a month or so with his girlfriend, Satu. I’ve written about it previously, and it’s really awesome. Saturday night was the last party; Juan’s going to turn his warehouse into a workspace to fix up the machines and sell many of them.
I wore my Space Invaders t-shirt from Threadless because it seemed appropriate. And don’t worry, I played a lot of Space Invaders.
Edward came with me, and you can see him in this photo playing High Speed. Sadly, the next two pinball machines over were both out of service – Pin·Bot and The Machine Bride of Pin·Bot. The Machine Bride of Pin·Bot is my favorite machine, so it was bummer that it was out of service. gem and I played it extensively on previous trips.
Luckily, Jack·Bot was working. It’s such a gorgeous machine, although I still prefer the rotating box of The Machine Bride of Pin·Bot representing your quest to improve her.
Juan collects machines from 1986 or earlier and charges a $10 cover charge for the parties with everything on free-play. He knows what he’s doing with them too. Throughout the night, he could be found working on them and keeping the machines running smoothly.
Here’s gem playing Asteroids in her Asteroids t-shirt back in September!
This was the first night I had a chance to talk to Juan and thank him for the good times. I’m glad I got to talk with him, because he’s a really interesting person. He works as an animator at Turtle Rock Studios. His latest work can be seen in February’s Evolve. I haven’t had the chance to play it yet, but I posted about it back in February 2014 when I first saw the trailer because it looked so awesome. Juan plans on keeping some of the machines and wants to continue doing some kind of events. He talked about the ideas of Arduino workshops or game jams as well as some personal projects. I’d love to attend some of these events, so I’m looking forward to learning what happens.
I’m sad to see The Last Arcade on the Planet go, but I’m glad Juan’s moving on to his next projects. Good luck, Juan!
Saturday night I went to the Last Arcade on the Planet, a private arcade in Santa Ana. From the outside, you’d think it was just another typical warehouse. On the night of a party, people lounge outside near food vendors while the inside is packed with people and games.
Juan Sanchez owns a great selection of arcade games and pinball machines from 1986 or earlier. In other words, no games younger than me! He periodically throws parties, charging a $10 cover with all the games on free-play. I’d been meaning to attend for a while, but when I learned that the parties are coming to a close by the end of the year, I made sure to visit. Juan’s going to be getting them into top shape so he can sell the games.
I’ll apologize for the bad photos right now. The lighting conditions obviously weren’t fantastic, and taking photos wasn’t my priority. gem was smart enough to wear this cool t-shirt of a t-rex playing Asteroids, so she posed in front of the Asteroids cabinet. This time it was for me, but she was actually asked for a photo on her way inside the party when paying the cover. Pretty cool!
Woo, high score! We set a few high scores that night, but of course, many games reset their scores when power is lost.
I love the screen on Space Invaders. There’s no actual color of course. The display is reflected from below. A lot of machines used this, and it’s pretty smart. I’ve always loved Space Invaders, probably as an icon for gaming as much as I do for the game itself. In fact, the Space Invaders Extreme games were fantastic modern takes on the series. I also can’t help but think of the episode of Futurama, Anthology of Interest II, in which Fry asks the What-If Machine what life would be like if it was more like a video game.
Zoo Keeper was a pretty fun game with which I wasn’t familiar. Animals bounce around a box representing their cage, slowly breaking out of it. As you run around it, you rebuild the walls. You can also jump over animals and collect food for more points. It’s simple but pretty fun. I was the fifth and ninth best keeper that day, and gem was the tenth!
We also played some other games I didn’t photograph – Mario Bros., Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Tron, and Discs of Tron to name a few. I played Donkey Kong 3 for a bit. I don’t think I’d played it previously, so that was interesting. It felt like Galaga basically, but maybe that was also because I had just played Galaga. Star Wars was another interesting game, a first-person space combat simulator using a yoke rather than joystick. It was pretty cool.
All that game playing made us hungry, so we headed outside. I had nachos with cheese sauce and jalapeño, lumpia, and a quesadilla. It was tasty, and everyone was pretty nice!
Our bellies full, we continued to pinball! We started with some Jack•Bot, a beautiful machine. With the combination of fun, illustration, story, energetic sound effects, physical clanks, responsive lights and colors, and tactile feedback, it’s hard not to love pinball. Aesthetically, Jack•Bot was my favorite pinball machine.
gem sent me this Snapchat of myself playing. I’m no pinball wizard, but I appreciate the reference!
We ended the night by taking turns on The Machine Bride of Pin•Bot, the second of three Pin•Bot pinball machines ending with Jack•Bot. Despite not being as pleasing to the eye as Jack•Bot, I enjoyed the mechanics of The Machine Bride of Pin•Bot more as we attempted to complete the Bride and then make her human. (It’s amazing how much story Pinball makers can cram into a pinball machine.) We didn’t succeed, but I feel like I could make another post in the future just about this machine.
The Last Arcade on the Planet is truly an awesome collection. It’s great of the owners to open it to parties (and offset the costs a bit I suppose). I’m glad I had the chance to check it out while the option still exists!
San Diego Comic-Con was this past weekend, and there were plenty of gaming-related things there to discuss. I played some games, took pics with some game cosplayers, saw some interesting booths, and of course took some great photos. I saw things related to Battleblock Theater, Castle Crashers, Alien Hominid, Plants vs. Zombies 2, Pikmin 3, Super Luigi U, The Wonderful 101, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Dual Destinies, Super Mario 3D World, Just Dance 2014, Ico, Adventure Time, and probably more that I’m forgetting.
One of the first things we hit up was the Behemoth booth. I’m a big fan of all of their games, and I actually just attended a Behemoth event last week. (I’ll post about that too; I promise.)
They had arcade cabinets of their three games like usual, and they were very cool. Having played all of their games extensively, I didn’t stop to play any.
They were using Toshiba TVs, too! Yay!
I did, however, stop to take a photo with this cat guard statue. He was guarding the booth obviously.
I also took this photo with Hatty. He put his hands out, and I’m not sure what he intended. I just held hands with him.
Next to the Behemoth booth was a booth for Plants vs. Zombies 2. I’m still optimistic about the game, but honestly, Plants vs. Zombies Adventures on Facebook has downgraded my enthusiasm to “cautiously optimistic.” The Facebook game totally butchered such a great experience. However, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare looks great too. The booth didn’t make any announcements or have any games to play, but it did have the vinyl toys pictured above.
Also, this zombie tried to eat my brains! Ahh!
At the Pikmin 3 booth gem and I took this photo. There was also a video playing of Miyamoto discussing Pikmin 3. I’ve never played a Pikmin game, but it did make me mildly interested. I’m probably not going to buy it (because I’m trying to cut back), but I wouldn’t mind trying it. I had seen photos on Instagram of people at other photo-ops, but I couldn’t find them. I asked someone at the Pikmin 3 booth and found out that Nintendo had a large game lounge at a hotel next to the convention center. I headed for it!
The Nintendo Game Lounge was really awesome. They had a huge variety of fun games, and lots of great decorations and personality. They even made it a bit more like an arcade; after playing each game, the attendant would give you a ticket. You could redeem three tickets for a Pikmin 3 t-shirt. In addition, there were other goodies. After playing Super Mario 3D World, you could get either a Mario or Luigi hat. Sure, they were just foam, but it was fun. After playing the Wonderful 101 you earned a mask, and there were other things as well that I didn’t try to obtain.
There was a even a large, blank book celebrating the Year of Luigi.
Fans were encouraged to write notes to Luigi in it!
Right outside the lounge was a Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD photo-op. Of course, I stopped for a photo. Wind Waker HD will surely look great in HD, and I’m looking forward to it.
There was a cool Super Mario 3D World photo-op too, and this was the one to which I was most looking forward. It was a lot of fun to take some photos there! I also got to play the game itself quite a bit. We played some four player co-op. I really emjoyed what I played it. We only played some fairly easy levels, and it plays more like the New Super Mario Bros. series than Super Mario 3D Land (unfortunately). It was great for four-player fun; Nintendo really nailed allowing players of differing skill to play together.
While I didn’t get any pictures of The Wonderful 101, I did get to play it. I pre-ordered this title a long time ago, and now I’m glad I did. You control a crowd of superheroes while beating up bad guys and solving puzzles. The woman running the game station was very nice and informative as well. I like it when they’re willing to talk a bit like normal, and she was happy to chat with us. She seemed to have a pretty good idea of how the game worked too, which is pretty cool. (They’re from an agency and not Nintendo employees.) On the other hand, she was stuck watching the first five minutes of the game over and over for days while standing in uncomfortable boots. She did mention that only one other person got as far as I did, so that was pretty cool.
Despite having never played Bayonetta, I stopped for a photo of Bayonetta 2.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze had a pretty great photo-op too.
The most fun game I played at SDCC was actually Just Dance 2014. I might look silly while playing, but I’m having a great time, so who cares, right? In this video we’re dancing to the Ghostbusters song! I’m not sure why you can’t hear it, but I’m guessing Antonio was covering the microphone. One dancer was the ghost, Slimer (and that was me), and the other three are Ghostbusters. It was really fun. The dance involved Ghostbusters chasing the ghost, the ghost chasing them, and Slimer even sliming them. I’m definitely going to need to purchase this.
In the Capcom booth, I got to pretend to be Phoenix Wright himself. Take that!
Adult Swim had a neat arcade featuring new games, old games, and some in-between. The arcade held a Pac-Man Battle Royale cabinet, which is one of my favorite games of all time. I played some four-player with gem and two strangers. I’m used to playing at a cocktail cabinet, but this one was a standing cabinet.
I also played the new Adventure Time game called Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! It was pretty fun. It was a four-player dungeon crawler with RPG elements. While it seemed fun, it also seemed boring. Some mindlessness is fun sometimes, and mixed with the Adventure Time humor, I’d expect to like the game more. It suffered from two problems. One, because it wasn’t split screen and didn’t feature any warp mechanics, the party would get split and then the screen couldn’t scroll. Two, the whole game just felt too slow. Maybe the kinks will get worked out before it’s released.
Of course, I can’t forget about this awesome Ico cosplay! I was pretty excited to see him.
gem took his hand so he could lead her like he leads Yorda. It was a great idea.
I bet I’m forgetting something, but I think that covers all the major games I played or thought about at SDCC 2013. It was a blast! You can see more photos in my Flickr album if you’re interested. I’ll also be writing another blog post on my personal blog about the non-gaming aspects of the trip. I’ll put a link here after it gets posted.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. Pac-Man is a great game, and Pac-Man Battle Royale is one of my favorite games. It’s amazingly fun and probably the best reason to visit your local arcade (if your local arcade has one). With the inclusion of it in a console, it’s experience may get watered down. Yes, now I can look forward to playing it at home, but that takes out the incentive to go the arcade and experience the arcade cabinet.
As you play Pokemon X or Y, your friends list will appear on the bottom screen along with a list of people playing near you. This includes people from your 3DS friends list added before the game was even released. As you battle strangers, they’ll move to your acquaintances list and eventually friends. The bad news? They don’t have a plan for importing Pokemon from the DS versions yet.