Sunday, February 24, 2013

Odd Coin-ops From 1987 - Plus Odds and Ends

I recently looked through Replay's 1987 Machine Catalog - 66 pages of all manner of devices for sale to the coin-op amusement industry.
The variety of games was surprising - or maybe not so surprising since operators were looking for anything that might make money in the wake of the crash (cranes, for instance, took up 8 pages).

A few of the odder items:

Pizza Time Theate wasn't the only place offering animated mannequins.

Here are a couple of others:

The next one might seem boring (OK, it IS boring) but it does illustrate a litte-known fact.
The breakup of AT&T went into effect on January 1, 1984. One of the results of the breakup was that other companies began making private pay phones. After the video game crash, many operators actually turned to pay phones as an alternatative.
Here is just one of a number of them offered in the 1987 Machine Catalog:

Along similar lines, but probably a bit more interesting were condom dispensers. Oddly, the trade mags seemed to have no compuctions about advertising them (in earlier years, for example, they refused to mention gambling machines).
This oddball combines a condom vender with a love tester.

I assure you that it's only coincindence that I put tis one right after the Sex Tester. Did UBI have a warped sense of humor or were they just unaware of the meaning of the term "bimbo"?

Arm wrestling machines were nothing new in the coin-op biz, but they uusually involved one player against either a video opponent (as in Nintendo's Arm Wrestling) or a mechanical one.
Here's one that pitted two human opponents against one another:

This one gets my vote for weirdest of the bunch. I'm not sure exactly how it works but I don't think it used video or laserdisc footage.
Has anyone out there ever seeen (or played) one in the wild.

A few un-TAFA'd games (Face to Face is on TAFA but they don't have a photo of an actual machine):

Face to Face from SMS Manufacturing

Finally a few photos that I found interesting.

This may have been one of the largest arcades of the 1980s- 270' x 180' with over 1,000 games.
It as located at Cedar Point, the amusement park near Sandusky, OH

As a preview of my upcoming series on tournaments, here is a photo from the the New York Regionals of Atari's 1980 Space Invaders Championship. This wasn't a coin-op tournament. It was on the Atar 2600 version of the game. Over 10,000 competed in the five regionals with one winner from each region competing in the finals in New York. The winner was Bill Heieman (who later had gender reassignment surgery, became Rebecca Heineman and co-founded Interplay).

And for those who missed it, I added some photos of designers to my Cinematronics series.

Here are Kevin Lydy, Phil Sorger, Bob Skinner, and John Rowe (at least I think so, Replay and Play Meter often mislabeled photos of designers):

And here's Medo Moreno:

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