The Arcade at Ocean Beach Park in CT is a Treasure Trove

I have fond memories from my childhood of┬áhanging out at Ocean Beach Park in New London, VT with my cousin. Between the ocean, the waterslides and the arcade, family trips there were a blast. But I hadn’t been down there in about twenty years, so i didn’t know what to expect when I took my own kids there this week. Turns out, the palce hasn’t changed a bit. This is especially true of the arcade, which has one of the best collections of ’80s arcade machines I’ve seen in a long time. Not only did they have my favorite game ever–Jungle King–but they had a slew of others, from Pac-Man to Frogger to Space Invaders. Check it out:







I still had some skills when it came to Jungle King:






Co-Op Quick Look: Q*bert Rebooted (PS4)

I am a child of the 1980’s, one who grew up in arcades, and I spent many a quarter on Gottlieb’s 1982 puzzle platformer Q*bert. While the premise of Q*bert is simple–jump on colored blocks of a pyramid to turn them all to a different color–the game was difficult right out of the gate. From purple snakes to red blobs to monsters that jump sideways, there are a number of enemies that make Q*bert’s task difficult. Not to mention, one wring jump can take him right off the side of the level.

I actually put the most time into the Atari 2600 version of Q*bert, which you can see in the video below. For that time, it was quite a good adaptation, and the gameplay translated well to the home cosnole. Q*bert made his way to just about every home console at at the time, including the Commodore 64 and the NES.

And now, Q*bert has made his way back to home consoles with the recently released Q*bert Rebooted. The $10 game includes both the classic arcade version as well as a modern revamp that includes some new enemies and a challenge-based system reminiscent of games like Angry Birds. You can check out my Quick Look below.


My Yearly Pilgrimage to the Boardwalk Arcade in Wells, Maine

It is a yearly tradition that has been going on since I started playing video games. Each year my family travels three hours north to Wells, Maine for a week at the beach, and more importantly–the arcades.

Arcades are few and far between in my general area nowadays, but up in Wells there are two in relatively short distance from one another. One right at the top of Wells Beach, and another less than twenty minutes away in York.

Over the past several years, the York arcade has been the only one of the two to really feature old school arcade games, but many of its machines were breaking down, shoved off into the back of the arcade.

So I was very pleasantly surprised this year when I took my kids to the Boardwalk Arcade in Wells. Not only had most of the machines in the arcade been updated, but there were some classics that were brought in as well.

There were still a good amount of ticket-based games there, but at least things like the basketball shooting game was Pac-Man themed, and Monopoly had replaced Deal or No Deal as the first ticket-based game you see when you walk in. Their driving games had been updated, and my son and I played a really fun Batman game that featured every incarnation of the Batmobile in racing/car combat gameplay.

Of course there was Skee-Ball, air hockey, pinball and other arcade standards, but I was really happy to see an original Mario Bros. Machine, as well as a Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga machine.

All in all, the Boardwalk Arcade in Wells now has a much more wall-rounded library of games, and feel more like a traditional arcade. I;m not sure if I’ll get to the one in York this year, but I can only hope they’ve done some repair and upgrade work as well. For my family, the arcades as a central part of our yearly vacation in Maine, and I hope that stays the case for many years to come.

On a related note, I killed at Skee-Ball, and with over 200 tickets was able to help my son get a ridiculously over-priced foam football. We’ve played catch on the beach every day so far.


SEGA’s ‘Let’s Go Island’ is a Fun Escape

One of the best parts about vacationing in Maine with my family each summer is the fact that there are two arcades within twenty minutes of where we stay. It’s become an annual tradition for me to take my kids to each of them at least one per trip, and this year was no different.

Since many of the arcade cabinets have been replaces by midway-style ticket-producing games, it’s rare to see either of the arcades bring in new video games anymore. So, I was pleasantly surprised to walk into the Boardwalk Arcade in Wells and see SEGA’s Let’s Go Island: Lost on the Island of Tropics.

While Let’s Go Island is a sit-down, turret-based game, anyone who’s played House of the Dead will feel right at home. The story follows Beth and Zach, two stereotypical goofy characters that are stranded together on an island that is crawling with mutated creatures. From leaping sharks to giant leeches to a mighty kraken, there are tons of colorful enemies that are constantly flying at you as you and your partner try to stave them off.

The gameplay is simple and fun, and there are a couple twists to the usual light gun shooter formula. After completing certain levels, you get to choose which area of the island to explore next. There are also quick time events sprinkled throughout the levels that require both players to complete actions at the same time. At the end of each level, you and your partner get a compatibility rating based on how well you worked together.

Interestingly, there seems to be three versions of Let’s Go Island out there. The original 2D version featured a movable boat-shaped seat that allowed players to lean back and forth during quicktime events. A second version of the cabinet was in 3D. The third version (the one that I played), is the lesser of the three, as it has a static seat and a 2D display.

Lesser version or not, this game is a blast to play, just like most of the other SEGA light gun games. The goofy nature of the game actually makes it much more of an all ages title, as there’s no blood and the story is very cartoonish. Both my wife an my son had a good time blasting away with me.

Sadly, this game, as well as it’s predecessor Let’s Go Jungle, were never ported to consoles. That’s too bad, because this would be a great family-friendly game for the WiiU, and I can’t imagine it would be that difficult to bring it over.

Anyway, if you get a chance, it’s definitely worth checking out!