Arcade Expo is back with its third outing that will be taking place in Banning California in just a week and a half on March 17th, 18th, & 19th. A few weeks ago I and a friend volunteered for tech days at the show to help get the machines ready for the big event. We spent eight hours working and cleaning games so that they could be in shape for everyone to play. We spent the day on the pinball side of the facility so that is where the pictures are from.
I did get a chance to sneak over to the video game side and I can safely say that they have really expanded that area and there are a ton of new video games on that side. I don’t want to give too much away because they were still getting things together and some of the machines still needed work and may not be up and running. They have nearly doubled the amount of video games.
On the pinball side things were coming along nicely. There were about 20+ volunteers that were there to get the machines up to playable status. I concentrated on cleaning the machines that had been repaired because with the focus on the repairs they had to move on to the next to get as many going as possible.
The good news is that nearly 90% of the pinball machines are up and running for the show and they have been working on them over the last few weekends so hopefully they can only have a small percentage of machines that might not be able to get going for the show. There were many from the last two shows that had not been working such as Rocky and The Six Million Dollar Man and they were up and running now. One of the rarer Gottlieb pinball Spirit had been struggling the last show but one of the technicians who specialized in Gottlieb repairs was able to get it going again.
There were also a couple of new Stern machines for this show. Ghostbusters based on the classic 1984 film is going to be at the show. I got to play it and while there were some good ideas here unfortunately as with most Stern pinball there is way too much crap on the playfield and a number of the shots are pretty difficult. It also had a sameness that has plagued most of the Stern machines.
On the flip side the new Batman (’66) pinball developed by KaPow Pinball and distributed by Stern was designed by Joe Kaminkow and has a nice open playfield that is not super cluttered with toys and ramps as with most Stern machines. The key to the machine is of course the nostalgia of the classic Adam West Burt Ward Batman television series. Kaminkow also designed the Batman ’66 slot machine. While I’m not he biggest fan of monitor displays in the backglass, here it’s use wisely to show clips from the show and for special features. The main villains from the show are featured in both the video and the playfield. If you get a chance at the show make sure that you give the machine a try. I really enjoyed it.
All of the machines are set to free play and while it may seem that the tickets are a little on the high side, I can assure you that will more than get your moneys worth by going to the event. Saturday is the busiest of the three days and Friday is the lightest. If your only able to make it for one day make sure that you get there early and spend as much time as you can there. There will be food and beverages available at the show and there are many food options in Banning itself.
One of the more rare items that will hopefully be available to play is Williams 4-IN-1 Willy At The Bat. There were reportedly only 100 0f the machines made with very few seen today. The game had four overlays so operators could change the game to entice customers to play it again. Fingers crossed it works and can be played.
Parking can be a real challenge and hopefully some of the problems with that will be addressed a bit better this time.
Make sure that you bring the whole family because there are many step stools available for the kids to use to play the games and they will have a blast for sure.
Here are my original stories from the previous shows that will give you an idea of what was at the last shows and give you a better feel of what to expect.
Arcade Expo 2014 Part 1 & Part 2
Arcade Expo Press Event Part 1 & Part 2
Pinball & Video Game Artwork Part 1 & Part 2
Here is a link to the Arcade Expo website and here is the direct link to buy tickets for the event. You can also buy ticket at the door. If you’re a fan of Pinball and Video Games then make sure that you attend the Arcade event of the year at Arcade Expo in Banning California March 17th-19th 2017.
Here are some more photos from Tech Day that shows the challenge of getting the massive amounts of games up and running.