austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

The day they knocked down the Palais

Also covering stuff from back in June: we took what looks likely to be our last visit to the Arcade in Brighton. The Arcade had been, to about one year ago, very nearly the perfect pinball spot in mid-Michigan. It had five or six dozen machines, from the 1960s to the modern day, in generally quite good shape, with a regular turnover. It had a loft with classic video games. It had monthly free-play days, and of course, the league.

But late last year came the mysterious posting of nearly every game for sale, followed by a host of sales of the machines. The number of games dropped precipitously and the space was filled with never-working video games and promises that new pinball machines would come in, sometime. A couple new machines did come in and we got to play some of them in June. That's how I got to play Popeye Saves The Earth with a more practiced pinball eye than I used to have and conclude it's not actually a bad game.

Our pinball friend MWS --- whom we met at league, there --- tells us the bottom seems to have dropped out. Many of the games, including Popeye, are gone now. The building is stuffed with non-functioning video games. The pinball machines aren't getting repaired. The woman who'd been in charge most days has quit, having finally had enough of the boss's sexism, and even moved out of state. (When you're too sexist for pinball you have a serious problem.) We haven't heard anything about league starting again. Granted that it's early for talk about that, but from the descriptions ... it seems like a league would be challenged, at least, to actually run.

It's a sad thought. The Arcade was a fantastic place. While it always had that faintly inept air you get from a thing managed by someone who isn't trying to run it as a business, it was still a great place to go one or two weekends a month. I'd like to think it'll pull itself together, especially since it finally went to the pay-one-price scheme it should have had all along, but ... who knows? I want it to be better than it's become.

Trivia: In December 1963 Honeywell's H-200 computer was introduced, with a program called ``Liberator'' which allowed it to run IBM Model 1401 computer programs. Source: A History of Modern Computing, Paul E Ceruzzi.

Currently Reading: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L Frank Baum.

PS: Reading the Comics, August 10, 2015: How People Think Edition, a bunch of comic strips that depend much more on human psychology than the average for mathematics jokes.

Tags: pinball
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