Friday, 20 April 2018

1-UP Arcade, Scunthorpe

Sometimes, big surprises come in small packages- and that was definitely the case with 1-UP Arcade in Scunthorpe. I first caught wind of this place a year before after a post on the JAMMA+ forums, but I wasn't sure of the current situation with it. 

From the sounds of things, they'd got a lot of games, but didn't have a proper venue yet, meaning just some of the arcade games were being housed in the owner's computer repair shop on an industrial estate- the place you'd least expect a arcade in!
It was a little disappointing, but I was hopeful for the future of this place, and considering it wasn't too far from where one of my relatives lived, I knew I had to visit it at some point. After I made a visit, one year on, not much has changed. But what's here shows so much promise, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

When I arrived, the machines were all still switched off. A quick chat with the owner and they were all on and working within minutes, save for After Burner Climax which was having trouble with the motion sensors. The place was a little smaller than I expected it to be from photos, but it is utilised well with quite a few games being packed in. 
With the games being in a computer shop, it was free entry, but all the machines were set to freeplay too- a massive draw that I think this place has. Once a venue is sorted out, it will cost to get in, but for now you don't have to pay a single pound to play any of the games, which is obviously great.
First, I had a go on the House Of The Dead cabinet. Besides a quick play on the machine at Play Expo Manchester 2017 (there was a line behind me!), this was the first time I'd played the original arcade machine. I have the port for my Saturn, and while it had a downgrade in graphics, it plays the same. I did fairly well, and it was only around the 3rd stage I found myself using continues repeatedly. The final boss, Magician, is particularly hard, but I did complete the game and get myself on the scoreboard.
I went for the twin Ferrari F355 Challenge next, to sit down and drive after a long period of shooting zombies. I don't like F355 Challenge as much as Sega's other arcade racers, but it's still another one of Yu Suzuki's greats, and despite being more of a sim racer it works in the arcade pretty well. The true way to experience this game though is through the 3 screen cabinet, which I have seen a couple of times, but both had a screen or two not working :(
I was particularly excited about getting to play Virtua Fighter 2 for the first time. This is one game that has seemingly completely disappeared from UK arcades, alongside Tekken, which is a damn shame. I have both this and AM2's other Model 2 fighting game, Fighting Vipers, and to be honest I prefer the latter, but there's no denying VF 2's importance. The original 3 games represented massive leaps in technology at the time, and all look stunning considering the year they were released in.
Time Crisis 3 was another favourite. This was one of the only games in the series I hadn't played in the arcades yet, most of the ones I remembered being in Skegness were gone when I visited there last year. While still I prefer the 2nd instalment more, the third in the series is the perfect cross-point between the more realistic style of the 4th game, and the bright arcadey colours of the 2nd. The weapon switch system is a little flawed, but the gun recoil is a lot more effective when using the machine gun!

One game I was looking forward to playing, but sadly didn't end up spending a great deal of time on, was After Burner Climax. The motion sensors were sadly playing up, which meant that the seat had to be locked. I had a play, but the motion really does count with this game. Up to this point, I have only came across Climax cabs with moving seats, and it was weird playing it without the extra bit of immersion.

More games:
Throughout my visit, I had a nice talk with the owner, Andrew, about arcades. He's finding it really hard to secure a venue, but he's extending his scope outside of Scunthorpe to Gainborough and other towns in the area now. He used to go to the Namco Wonder Park arcade in Meadowhall during the 90's, which was nice to hear.

As you may have noticed, most of the games are from the later years of arcade gaming, a time where most games released were racing or lightgun games, and the variety of the late 70's and 80's was no longer seen. As such, some veteran arcade gamers have negative opinions on this, and 1-UP Arcade may not appeal to them.

However, for me at least, there's nothing like shooting the crap out of soldiers with a recoiling lightgun in Time Crisis, or racing against the clock for 1st place in Daytona. The games have the very same playability as their older counterparts, and are just starting to age and being considered retro now. It might have to do with me being born into that generation of arcade games, but besides the way they are played I see no difference.

And it's not like the older, stick and button arcade games aren't represented too- there are a few classics in the form of their Space Invaders, Killer Instinct 2 and Multigame cabs. Like I mentioned earlier, Virtua Fighter 2 is also a very rare game to come across in arcades now, and is arguably one of the biggest fighting games of the 90's.

Proper arcade games are an integral part of the nostalgia for them, yes, with Arcade Club's massive choice of games in their Electrocoin cabinets being one of their main draws, but sometimes the later games are given unfair criticism for 'ruining arcades', which just isn't true.

My suggestions for the place? Keep the same great amount of newer cabs, get a few more classic JAMMA cabs, and most importantly, tap into the rhythm games community by getting a old Dancing Stage/DDR or Pump It Up cab (like the one below). By adding this, a whole other community of gamers would be aware of (and would to go to) the arcade, as long as they are well maintained and fully working. 

I am aware it's still early days for this arcade, and it may be hard to locate a good venue, but a new UK retro arcade by people who care about the games will always be greatly welcomed by gamers. This place shows real potential, and if supported well it could become something great. Arcade Club started out in a computer shop, and look at what it is now. I look to the future of 1-UP Arcade with hope, that it can become another great arcade for years to come. Thanks for reading.
Show 1-UP Arcade some support on Twitter and Facebook! I now run both of these and I'm aiming to raise awareness of it massively.


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