austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

As we sing the Pumpkin chorus

Sunday we had to check out, since the hotel closes at noon for the full week between Halloweekends ... er ... weekends. I wondered if we ought to turn the lights and everything else in the room off, or if we should let the next occupants learn this is one of the delightful surprises of the place. We left it on. It's charming the room is odd in that way. I noticed this time the placard of hotel regulations (here, posted in the bathroom) mentions specifically that one is not to set unauthorized fire to state houses; I'm curious why they felt the need to single out that case and why it rated mention at Cedar Point's Breakers hotel. Probably runaway boilerplate.

We used our early-admittance time to get to our traditional early-admittance roller coasters: Maverick and Millennium Force, which are still attracting infinitely long lines even though they're six and thirteen years old, respectively. Maverick we'd skipped on early admittance Friday, in order to better get at GateKeeper, and because bunny_hugger was still upset at it for the beating the over-the-shoulder restraints gave her head when we popped in to Cedar Point on the way to Kennywood in September. This time we rode in back and had a more forgiving ride, possibly because we had just enough time between seeing the track and actually turning for reflex to give us half a chance. They really should adopt the between-the-legs restraints that Kennywood has for the Sky Rocket, as less likely to senselessly bash people's heads. Also, Maverick has a little tunnel that at one point included chaser lights; these haven't been working in years and I'm not perfectly positive that I've seen them working, but since Cedar Fair management is apparently on a kick to make the park more attractive lately, I hope they're going to put the lights in the tunnel back because chaser lights always make rides better.

Cedar Point has a huge arcade with a number of video games --- and, we found, a tiny bowling game that has pins attached to strings for quick and easy pin resetting; we saw a family with a couple kids fussing around at it and were tempted to play ourselves, and to think of tenpin and duckpin bowling and other variants we have only recently learned about --- as well as pinball machines. This time, though, we discovered they've got some vintage arcade games, including a Pac-Man in what appears to be an original Pac-Man cabinet. (Most Pac-Man games were converted to Ms Pac-Man because of the better gameplay.) But this showed the original game in nearly all its glory, including something I didn't know or forgot, that the ghost names of Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde were mere nicknames, for Shadow, Speedy, Bashful, and Pokey. I say the game was almost in its original glory because part of the color elements were burned out. This most affected the maze lines, which were therefore invisible and which probably would have made for a great alternate mode back in the days when everybody was making Pac-Man clones and variants. Also, I stink at Pac-Man.

They also had a Space Invaders in the original-looking cabinet, with the game played in the mirror reflection of a horizontally-mounted screen, and the framing art suggesting that the Space Invaders are maybe those kind of electricity monsters from that mid-70s Scooby-Doo where it's at a ski lodge. Unfortunately the game wasn't functioning; the monitor showed that data dump of random characters instead of anything usable. Still, they also had a Berzerk, which I didn't understand but seems to be a Pac-Man variant of a human trying to escape robots, a Centipede in good order, Galaxian (not turned on), and Gorf, which I put a quarter into and couldn't figure out how to start, and Frogger (I never noticed how in the cabinet's artwork Frogger is wearing a tie and carrying a briefcase, which is surprisingly cute a look), and Donkey Kong again in the original case where all the characters look like the public domain cartoon covers of themselves. Also, I stink at Donkey Kong..

They also had some mechanical games, eg, ``Hey Kids! Play With … Peppy the Musical Clown'', which was unfortunately ``temporarily out of order'' according to its sign. It's a rag doll of the kind you got in the 50s, with strings, and goodness knows what you do with it because it was out of order. And they have a shooting arcade that we think is new (we're just not sure), with some pretty good props. I don't remember our paying so much attention before to the arcade and mechanical games, at least, and I don't know if this reflects Cedar Point's apparent effort to make the whole amusement park experience better-rounded. Either way, somehow, we spent quite some time fascinated by things that had nothing to do with rides.

We went to rides, of course. At the Cedar Downs --- the big turntable merry-go-round with mounts that ride forward and back --- bunny_hugger invited me to look over the animals and pick a favorite. I hadn't thought about it before; the carved horses are all copies of a fairly small set, but they have different colors and patterns of dress in their saddles and the like, so that a favorite could be meaningfully selected, even if it is more arbitrary than usual.

And we got a ride on the Iron Dragon roller coaster, this despite its having a line that looked shockingly long to me. That reflects the ride not having much of a queue area; if there's even a slight line --- and it's a popular ride because it's not too high or too thrilling and therefore great for people who want to ride a roller coaster but are scared by too much roller coaster --- it has to spill out into the midway. But it also has a quick-moving line --- the ride has an over-the-shoulder restraint, but no seat belts, so it's very quick to load and unload people --- so we weren't stuck there waiting forever either. It's a fun roller coaster, and we got views of the behind-the-scene areas of the Blood On The Bayou haunted walkthrough area, and to see behind-the-scene areas for one of the performance stunt shows (more about this later), and were well-positioned for the start of the parade.

Trivia: Namco manufactured over 100,000 Pac-Man video games sold in the United States. Atari manufactured twelve million cartridges for its 2600 adaptation of the game. Source: The Ultimate History of Video Games, Steven L Kent.

Currently Reading: The Great Arc: The Dramatic Tale Of How India Was Mapped And Everest Was Named, John Keay.

Tags: amusement parks, cedar point, halloweekends

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