UKVAC Meeting 1.5

Milton Keynes October tnd, 1999

 

 
The Meet 1.5 attendees were (there are some missing from here – email rav@ukvac.com):
Adam Rose

Adrian Purser

Andy Jones

Andy Miles

Andy Welburn

XY-Man

Bruce Smith

Chad Gray

Chris Ahchay

Chris Hardy

Chris Toseland

Cliff Poole

Ian Davies

Darren Bedford

Dave Harvey

Dave Langley

Dom 'Ravage' Escott

Greg Mott

Ian Boffin

Ivan Mackintosh

James Smith

John Keay

Karl Doe

Marshall Aver

Matt Rose

Matthew Garrett

Mike Walden

Peter 'Zkitz' Davis

Peter Budd

Phillip Eaton

Scott Green

Scott Shaw

Trevor Haddrell

Machines:
Asteroids Tabletop

Defender

Joust

Robotron

Sinistar

Star Wars

+vectrex, Pinballs, space guns, JAMMA PC engines... readon....

 

What’s the meeting for?

To quote Andy Jones on his introductory flyer, at the meet:

The purpose of the meeting is to meet the people on the list so we can all put a face to the email. None of us would have the collections we have without the help of other collectors and despite the convenience of the Internet, the Web and Email none of these can replace face to face contact and discussion with like minded people. By meeting other collectors hopefully we will all end up being a bit more helpful, tolerant and generally friendly than before and everyone will benefit from that.

OK, so we all know why everyone was there - What happened?

The meeting was scheduled roughly between 1400 and 1900 hours, so Andy’s Mrs and Family wouldn’t get too annoyed. Steadily the people arrived and at around 1430, the road was looking a little busy. If everyone left at once, you were looking at a traffic jam.

The Arcade

   
Figure 4:  Defender Figure 5: Joust Figure 6: Sinistar

Once into the house people automatically walked towards Andy’s Arcade, as if by intuition, and if not, by curiosity, due to the zapping noises. Oh yes, Andy has a fine collection (see Meet Number #1), and it didn’t take long for you lot to get stuck in. Or did it? When I walked in, the room was crowded, but Defender was not being played. Well you lot might be shy, but I’m not, so I had a couple of goes, seeing that they were all on freeplay.

Figure 7: Karl Doe captivated by Defender Attract Mode

I felt quite happy with my 25,000. (I hear you all scoff, but even though I’m nearly 30, I’ve only ever really played it on MAME, and it’s a lot easier.) I was sure that I wasn’t a Top Scorer, and I was proved right. After milling around in the arcade for a while, I ‘accidentally’ pointed Dave Langley at the game. After losing a few men, “I’m not very good at the start” (or words to that effect), he got into the groove, and I watched the 100,000s clock over, again and again. “It gets harder”, he says, “once upon a time I used to get stuck at 500,000 for ages.” He then mentioned what happens when you get to level 255… And a few hours later, it was de ja vu, all over again, with Chad Gray doing it as well, among others.

Figure 8: Chad Gray watches Greg Mott play Defender

What else was in there? The Asteroids cocktail had a steady stream of visitors – and what a crisp monitor, too. Andy’s children were getting a lot of coaching on that one, probably because they can reach the controls.

Figure 9: Asteroids Table-top

Figure 10: Marshall Aver plays Robotron

Libble Rabble was over in the corner. Hmm, that’s a strange-looking game, kindly provided by XY-Man. Everyone who tried that one looked confused. It’s a weird sort of Qix/Amidar type game, where you have to surround walking mushrooms with a ‘bungee cord’ around some pegs in the ground. Sounds easy, but you’ve two joysticks, one for each end of the bungee, and when they cross over, boy do your hands get confused. 

Figure 11: Libble Rabble

Andy, being a William’s collector, had Joust, Robotron and Sinistar available for use as well. All of’em are in great condition, and were a pleasure to play. Around the corner was Star Wars, and that, just like the William’s trio above, was all played all day long.

Figure 12: A Vectrex looks like this

Believe it or not, but even with video games, you can have too much of a good thing, and so Andy’s 3 pinball machines were also put to good use by everyone looking for a bit of a change.

Figure 13: Star Wars was a bit of a Favourite

 

Now here’s a funny thing – I would say that half of the visitors didn’t play the games in the Arcade. We must all have different reasons for owning this stuff, considering how fragile it can be at times. Matthew Garrett is one case, “I’m a gamer, I wouldn’t buy a game I didn’t enjoy playing.” Myself, other hand, I own a Star Wars, and whilst it is regarded by many as ‘The Game”, I don’t I don’t really play it that much. (I much prefer to play Centipede.) In fact, many of you don’t even look the types (too normal?) who would be interested in arcade games.

Perhaps it’s the technology. With a little effort, we can all work out what a Z80 does, and get our head around all of the other circuitry, if we want to. We can identify with the one man who wrote the code in a couple of months, in 1980. Each of the games exudes character. Perhaps we all love the late ‘70’s. I could go on and on, but I have digressed enough as it is – food for thought perhaps.

The Conservatory

When the sweat and noise in the arcade became too much, the next stop was the conservatory. This was the Chill Out Zone (every good arcade should have one). People mingled here and talked pure gaming.

Figure 14: Super Gun put through paces by everyone

 

But wait! There was a portable telly, and someone had bought a JAMMA rig along. And look! There was Andy Welburn, doing a Try-Before-U-Buy on a load of boards he had for sale. Here were some more of the classics, including Ravage’s Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts, and Paroidus (Far-Eastern version of Gradius). Sure enough, there was more game playing going on here, lots of faces full of concentration, and even more looking on. (Didn’t sell many of your fighting games, did you Andy!)

The Living Room (This is a bit like Jet Set Willy, no?)

This was where people were relaxing in Andy’s comfy chairs. It was relatively quiet in here, and conversations grew from people putting faces to name on the list. This too, was where most people were munching on the crisps and Coke that had been so kindly provided by various members. (You know who you are, but we don’t, so email the Webmaster – webster@ukvac.org.uk, and let’s see credit where credit’s due.)

Figure 15: PC Engine to JAMMA

 

The main attraction of the Living Room was the video player. I remember seeing the Dragons Lair video playing, that brought back some memories from childhood. (I never had time for the game, but the cartoon was good!) Scott Green bought along a video, which was a copy of an MPEG from a William’s game collection. It was a load of interviews and history of William’s, and the people that made it all happen – very interesting. A few other oddities were on show, like the Atari CAT Box, arcade-related badges and the PC Engine to JAMMA rig.

The Driveway and Garage

Figure 16: Is your garage starting to look like this? Oh dear...

It took a while, but eventually we ended up with a jumble sale in the Garage. I guess Andy had strategically placed the tables in the garage there, and they were soon populated. Wanted EPROMS? Mike Walden was your man – he had 100’s. There were boards for sale and other WHY. P3TE turned up with an estate car, and made the jumble sale into a jumble sale/car boot – very organised, he even had a list of stuff for sale..

Figure 17: Andy Welburn sells to 'disinterested' buyers, Matthew Rose & Ivan Mackintosh

As the day progressed towards kicking-out time, we all ended up on the Driveway. There was a prize as an incentive for filling in the Questionnaire that Andy had produced – the use of a hammer, garage floor and a sacrificial World Cup 90 PCB. You can guess what happened next. Ian Davies (Quickcam88) won, lucky man.

Figure 18: Ian Davies grins as he sorts out WC90

 

Those who had had enough (or had a long drive home), said their farewells and cleared off. The rest of us milled around, starving, and waiting for someone to take the lead, and find us all somewhere to eat (that could accommodate the sixteen or so that were left). Fortunately Andy knew the way to the nearest Harvester (or clone), so we all turned the cars around and we had a convoy! Not for long though, because the Harvester wasn’t very far away.

Filling four tables, the party continued, still talking raw arcade, just how we like it. Then, a little later, Matthew Garrett offered to extend the evening, by opening the back of his parents’ house near Bedford, where his personal Arcade lives. A few of us knew about this beforehand, so it was quite easy to get a quick consensus, the game was continued, and we had ourselves another convoy! This time it was a bit more serious, as there was about 20 miles to travel. After a quick petrol and Mars bar stop, the trek was on. Somehow, the ten or so cars stayed in convoy to Matthew’s house without anyone getting lost, and Meet 1.5.1 occurred.

 

So what happened at Meet 1.5.1 then? Read on…