austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Well here's your chance to be a total automaton

One of the core attractions at Marvin's --- and one of the things that had us both looking forward to getting there --- is that they're also an arcade, with what they specify as ``the largest collection of well-kept pinball in the area'', which is a claim that's precisely specific enough to make you realize it's not actually impressive, and was a little less impressive because we got there while the Theater Of Magic machine was out of order. They turn out to have a pinball league, too, one that meets monthly and which seems much more organized and serious than our local one. We might make a trip out to it anyway.

Among the machines they have is an Addams Family with the original dot-matrix display replaced by a multi-colored LED one. I haven't seen this variant before and I'm curious how widespread the aftermarket Addams Family upgrade set is, particularly since this seems to be a modification of the original rather than the Special Collectors Edition of the game. They've also got a Star Trek 2013, from Stern, which looks like it's been trying to pick up from Jersey Jack Pinball neat gimmicks and styles of play from The Wizard Of Oz, particularly in the use of color-changing lighting on the tabletop. That's a really fun game, it turns out, not just because one of the multiball modes proudly proclaims that you've won the ``Klingon Jackpot!'' The board also has little models of both the NewTrek Enterprise and the Vengeance, and it was only while writing this entry that I realized why the starship in Star Trek Into Darkness was named the Vengeance. Silly me.

They also had a Lord of the Rings which was much more forgiving of marginal shots than the one we play near home.

To our surprise they didn't have many vintage arcade games: just an old Donkey Kong cabinet, and then a couple of those machines that repackage dozens of old 80s games into a single console or that offer the chance to play all the non-pinball-based Pac-Man games.

The people working the snack counter noticed bunny_hugger's dragon ear clip, and praised it. Since she'd also gotten noticed for it at lunch she concluded having a dragon wrapped around her ear might just be the chicken purse of earrings.

When we'd had our fill of playing and looking at things we figured to eat somewhere nearby. Since the area's one of those strings of strip malls this ought to have been easy, but what we forgot was, it was like 9 pm on a Sunday. We found an Indian restaurant that was technically open and had the ever-unsettling experience of being the only people there (and this after we passed up another Indian restaurant because it looked like nobody was there), but the food was pretty good and we got to overhear the manager having a phone conversation explaining that while the kitchen was closing at 9:15 they could hold it open a little if they were sure they'd be in by 9:30, but, as the other party was coming from [ disputed; I thought he said Kalamazoo ] they couldn't even be there by 10:15 [ and if they were coming from Kalamazoo, 11:15 would be pretty good time ], so, he was very sorry but would love to serve them when they could. Fine place. We should go there when it's open sometime.

Trivia: Swiss watchmakers Pierre Jaquet-Droz and son Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz created automata, including ``L'Ecrivain'', a writing clockwork boy, around 1772. One of its most common phrases was a parody of Descartes: ``I don't think, therefore I am not''. Source: The Iron Whim: A Fragmented History of Typewriting, Darren Wershler-Henry.

Currently Reading: Elevator Music: A Surreal History Of Muzak, Easy-Listening, and Other Moodsong, Joseph Lanza. The more I learn about Muzak the more basically odd a thing I realize it is.


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