Category Archives: Reviews

2016 Arcade Expo Announced!!

By: Joette Leshinski

It’s that time of year again! It’s the Arcade Expo in Banning, CA. Being that I had a blast last year… I’ll be sure to attend this year as well. The event will be held from January 15-17, 2016. Check out their website (arcadeexpo.com) as they count down by the second.

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What to expect: Fun, games on free play, booze, food, new friends and the list goes on. With special guests including the legendary Walter Day and gaming champion Billy Mitchell… the fun never ends. I mean… how could it? There are 800 arcades and pinballs on free play from retro to modern.

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Think you’ve got what it takes? Join in on the 3-day pinball tournament they are calling “It Never Drains in California.” The pinball champion will be crowned after multiple series of rounds racking up a high score based on a point system.

But wait … there’s more! Chill out and party at the VIP “Getaway Party” or test your knowledge with “Pinball Pub Quiz.” You can also game under the stars as campsites are available!

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Join in on the fun at the Arcade Expo. I mean, c’mon, they broke the Guinness World Record last year for most people (331 to be exact) playing pinball simultaneously. How cool is that? Join your Arcade Heroes and plenty of others for a night of fun, laughter and gaming and be part of something bigger.

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From Stern Pinball comes “Game of Thrones”

Written by: Cody Warhurst

HBO’s Game of Thrones is gracing the gaming world with a brand new pinball produced by Chicago’s veryown Stern Pinball. Earlier this month they released information and the first images of the three differentsetups and we’re excited to delve into the systems and how they stack up against each other.The idea behind the game is to pledge allegiance to one of Westeros’s seven families at the very beginning using the “action” button and then vie for control of the Iron Throne…or at least slay the otherfamilies in true Game of Thrones fashion. The game includes many noteworthy pinball features and several exceptionally rare functions for pinballs. Players can utilize an in-game economy where they acquire gold during gameplay that can be used to purchase items for later use in the game. This pinball also has an 8-bit “video game mode” throwback to retro gaming where players wield a sword using the top-and-center action button. There are several different kickback features including a dragon kickback, White Walker kickback, and a “battering ram” type kickback that lets you score major points by breaking down a castle wall. With boatloads of drop targets, standups, pins, bumpers, and ramps, this is going to be a great play.The pinball itself comes in three iterations: Pro Edition, Premium Edition, and Limited Edition which all differ by about $1000 from each other. The Pro Edition is the standard version of the game and is missingquite a bit of functionality of the Premium and LE.  Much of the missing features are either art-related, with Premium and LE having special side armor, different art, hand-painted backboxes, etc, or castle miniature-playfield-related.

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The Pro version doesn’t have quite the pizazz of the Premium or LE on the main playfield as it is missing some fantastic LED lighting and has a distinct lack of figurines and show-related hardware. Although the Pro lags behind in flashing lights and moving parts, it does have a few design elements that the Premium and LE don’t have, like a dragon kickback with motorized dragon, three pop bumpers, and a plastic return ramp on the right side.

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The big difference between the Pro and Premium/LE systems is the castle miniature-playfield that comeswith the pricier pinballs, equipped with two flippers, three standup targets, orbit shot, two exit lanes, “moon door”, motorized dragon, and Iron Throne all of its own. These two versions also have a White Walker kickback, missing from the Pro setup, that angrily spits balls back at you.

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The difference between the Premium and Limited Editions really comes down to how much you want to pimp out your game. With different art, additional lighting features, and quality hardware, the Premium and Limited Edition pinballs stand head and shoulders above the Pro in appearance. The LE features laser-cut side armor in glossy black featuring the Targaryan Sigil and the house motto “FIRE & BLOOD,” flipper button protection, and the coup de grace: a hand-painted backbox by Bob Stevlik featuring Daenerys Targaryen.

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Only 700 of the Limited Edition system will be produced and all will come with a CoA and a numbered plaque. The Limited Edition comes in at a hefty $8795, the Premium at $7595, and the Pro lags way behind at $5995.Once again the world’s largest and oldest pinball company, Stern Pinball, who has released amazing pinballs in recent years like The Walking Dead, WrestleMania, and Star Trek, has released another gem, and we at The Arcade Heroes have high hopes for their latest project: Game of Thrones. The system should be shipping sometime later this month and into October worldwide. Stay tuned as more info is released and start saving up those quarters!

Flashback! Bubble Bobble: Never gets old

  • By Joette Leshinski
    In 1986, gamers were introduced to two adorable dinosaurs (Bub and Bob) just trying to make their way through a “cave” by defeating enemies and trapping them in bubbles.
    Released for the NES, this game is fun, challenging and addicting. Players have to complete all 100 levels to make it to the final boss at the end. However, there’s a hidden gem in this game. In level 99, there’s a hidden door! Go through the door before it
    disappears and you will unlock even more levels. This puzzle action game is super addicting. Even after I’ve beaten it, I continue to try beating it without dying. Extra lives are granted after a gamer gets a certain amount of points or by spelling the word “extend” that will appear in bubbles (the word will show up in on the sides of the screen once the letter bubbles are popped).
    Although the game is beat-able, I challenge you to beat it without needing a continue/losing all of your points. I also challenge you to try to get to one million points. It can be done! But be careful because you are sure to die a few times in the dreaded and nearly impossible level 47. That being said, if you’ve never checked out this NES classic, I advise you to pop it in (you might have to blow in the cartridge first) and get playing.
    If you’re wondering if you should follow up with Bubble Bobble 2, the answer is no. While it is a collectible (so get it for that purpose only), rare and valuable… it is no fun. You play by yourself on the screen with not as fun levels and not as fun enemies. And if you were used to playing Bubble Bobble with a friend, you can forget about doing that in part 2. Your friend only gets to play once you die.  Enjoy!

Los Angeles Barcade List and a few reviews too

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If you’re feeling the urge to drink some brews while trying to beat your high score in Ms Pacman or light up the multi-ball on your favorite pinball machine, we have made a list to help get you there.

Want us to add your  city? Or place in LA that we don’t know about? Email or comment your favorite places below and we’ll be sure to add them in!

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First off, let’s start with Blipsy Barcade (369 N. Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004) You may remember this place as Miss T’s up until a few years ago. Blipsy features a good selection of arcade classics and some pins too. But, we must say – almost all of their cabinets and pins need some TLC fast! With the new barcade giant 82 opening up (and not too far from this location), they really need to address some issues! Some issues include the Spy Hunter high/low gear stuck in constant high speed mode, almost all of their pins have something that makes them un-playable – at least one was even set on free play to make up for this! But even free play can’t attract people to the game when the right flipper doesn’t work. In addition, there’s a gunfight game that simply doesn’t work. Just about every joystick in the place needs to be replaced or adjusted in some way. While we aren’t trying to knock this place down (we have complete respect for what you are trying to do!), we are  just asking you to put a little more love back into your machines!

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Next up is Barneys Beanery. There are multiple locations in to Los Angeles and some of the games you can expect to find include: Pac-Man,  Street Fighter, Air Hockey, and  Shuffle Board.

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The West Side has a few options to choose from including: The Craftsman (119 Broadway Santa Monica , CA 90401). This upscale dive bar features a few cocktail table cabinets set up as Multicades as well as a Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Galaga. They are also known to have an impressive food menu with everything being made from scratch – including the ketchup!

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Busbys West (3110 Santa Monica Blvd Santa Monica, CA 90404) is more of a sports bar than an arcade. However, they do have their selection of some classics as well as air hockey, ping pong (we hear they also do beer pong), pool tables, darts, and shuffleboard.

tumblr_lknfroDOPH1qbf1hao1_500To wrap up the West Side, we will end with Sports Harbour (13484 Washington Blvd. Marina Del Rey, CA 90292). Inside this sports bar you’ll find shuffleboard, air hockey, and darts. They also have a Terminator 3 and a Lord of the Rings pinball. They also have a Namco class of 1981 Ms. Pacman and Galaga combo cabinet. Like Blipsy, their machines could use a once over – especially the two pinball games with some burnt out bulbs, some non working bumpers and a non working bonus shooting feature in the Terminator pinball. They could also really use a good scrub down! We hope that with our good intentions and persistence, we will be able to provide them with the help that the machines desperately need and get them back into working order. We may revisit this issue in a later post – stay tuned!

Tower Pizza (Westchester at 8351 Lincoln Blvd) has a Family Guy pinball and a Mario Brothers mini pinball machine as well as a Namco’s Class of 81 combo cabinet which was also featured at Sports Harbour. Read our full view of this place here.

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The greatest barcade that LA has to offer yet is 82 (707 East 4th Place, Los Angeles, CA 90013).

Read our full review of this place here!

10473131_344122695743188_8862791358778841844_nThe One Up is the latest barcade to hit the LA scene.  It’s located at 13625 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks.

For us West Siders, making a trip to the Valley for a night out better be a worthwhile adventure . Unfortunately for The One Up, we would rather stay local or head to downtown’s 82 to get our game on.  The One Up seems to have ‘jumped on the bandwagon’ of the whole arcade/bar scene. But for us lovers of the originals and keeping the true classics alive, this place has slapped us in the face!  All games are on free play… Okay, I admit that that has a nice sound to it. However, what we are not particular fans of is that all of their cabinets are sterile brand new black cabinets with the marquee lighting up the “Arcade Classics” artwork.  A big part for me personally is my love of the arcade and the classic games we all used to love pumping our quarters into back in the day — and flash forward 20 and 30 years later and still being able to play that same game in it’s original cabinet — not just some brand new cookie cutter multicade with every game you can think of at your finger tips. Anyways, I will end my rant. Check it out for yourself! Let us know what you think. Here are a few pictures of the place…

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“Behold the Renaissance of Pinball”

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Medieval Madness… where have  you been all my life?  For a game that was released in 1997, I have only recently played this wonder of a game just a few nights ago while visiting 82 in downtown Los Angeles.

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The game is loaded with action packed features including an animated castle complete with a lowering drawbridge as well as a “collapsing” feature.   What else? Trolls pop up from under the board, light shows, a catapult, a fierce dragon, great audio, and artwork. The ramps in the game introduced a patented feature which prevents a failed ramp shot by not allowing the ball to drain straight down the middle between the flippers.

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As I mentioned before, the game was released in June of 1997.  It was designed by Brian Eddy and programmed by Lyman Sheats. The dialogue was written by Scott Adsit and Kevin Dorff – who at the time were members of the Second City Maistage in Chicago. Tina Fey and Andrea Farrell provided the voices of the various princesses while Greg Freres voiced the jousting announcer and one of the trolls. Vince Pontarelli provided the voices of Francois Du Grimm and the other Troll.

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With a production run of over 4,000 units, it was an immediate success. Demands for the machine, among collectors, out stripped the supply significantly as of 2005. Today, Medieval Madness machines often sell for $8,000 (in 1997 the game cost just around $3,000). Good news though… in October of 2013, Planetary Pinball Supply announced that they would be reproducing the game with a release date in mid 2014 with an MSRP of $7,995. Hopefully they will flood the market so we can buy one for dirt cheap… well, someday.

I highly recommend giving this game a try. It’s sure to make a pinball lover out of anyone. Download the Pinball Locator App on your smartphone and check your area. Who knows… one could be closer to you than you think.