Sunday May 31st was the official announcement of the relaunching of Twin Galaxies Arcade as a part of the Arcade Expo and the Museum of Pinball in Banning California. The press release states that Twin Galaxies is joining the Pinball Museum and will now be the physical home for them. There were many media guest in attendance including Rick Fox and Twin Galaxies owner Jace Hall. Other guest were Michele Morrow, Sam Witwer, Chloe Dykstra, and Alicia Marie. There were many gaming press and media covering the event with the main sponsors Geek & Sundry and Nerdist Industries. I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Twin Galaxies launch.
I was at the inaugural Arcade Expo back in January and you can see my stories about that event in the links below
Arcade Expo Press Event Part 1
Arcade Expo Press Event Part 2
Countdown To Arcade Expo Part 1
Countdown To Arcade Expo Part 2
Arcade Expo Pinball Tournament
There have been quite a few changes from the January show and while there is still a lot of work for the staff that is because of the large scope and size of the facility. They have hired two full-time technicians to get both the pinball machines and the video games up and working. On the pinball side I would say they are at about 50% to 60% fully working machines. There were a number of machines that were on from the January show some of them still had some kinks to be worked on. On the video game side they were at about 80% to 90% working and the only major issue is getting switches for the outside of some of the games that can not be preloaded with credits or have a limited credit capacity. The older arcade machines in fact rely on single coin play and they are working to add that function to them.
Overall the layout is the same from the January show. There were some newly purchased pinball and arcade games that were lined up along the walls of the video game side and they will be working on getting them up and running for future shows. There were some really rare and real surprises that I am very excited about.
The event was streamed live on the internet during the press event and even had some press wearing video cameras walking the floor and playing games that was quite fun to watch the event on a large projection screen. They also had a PC gaming area and a couch area to play home consoles. I do like the idea of adding home consoles and computer gaming to the mix of the facility but I felt that it should have a dedicated room for them. It really felt out-of-place in the video game arcade area and the PC computers were really heating up the area and making it uncomfortable.
While there is a good amount of parking they will really need to mark the parking lot for spots because as with the event in January the lot was quite the circus because there were no marked spaces and it became the wild wild west out there. Even with the limited attendance at the press event there were many challenged parkers in the lot. One van parked sideways and took up about 4 spots if they were marked.
There was a very nice turnout of people for the event but I would say that there were not many more than 150 people covering the event. This allowed a chance to pretty much play anything you wanted in both the pinball and video game sides.
I was able to bring 3 guest with me to the event so I brought my brother Greg, and a friend from work Jaime Desrosiers and his wife Bich (pronounced Bic as in the pin as she always says). Greg had been to the Arcade Expo in January with me but Jamie and Bich had never been to the facility and it was quite fun to see them overwhelmed by the sheer number of pinball and video games that where there. The other reason that I invited them was so that I could photograph them for team Pop Culture Maven. It allowed for some really great pictures of them playing the games and gave me a great opportunity to continue to test out my new Nikon D3300 DSLR camera.
Todays post I will concentrate on the overall feel of the press event and part two I will cover the games and have many pictures of both new and previous games that are at the facility.
First up was taking Jaime and Bich to see Atari Hercules the “Worlds Largest Pinball Machine” that I feel really sets the tone for new visitors to the pinball side of the facility.
After that we stayed on the pinball side and I was very happy to see that they enjoyed playing the older mechanical pinball machines that are sadly overlooked by a lot of visitor over the newer and shinier machines. They played machine from about every period and was actually not very interested in the newest Stern pinball machines.
Jaime really fell in love with Williams Diner pinball machine that he had never played before. As with most people he didn’t quite know the rules of the game but never the less he loved just playing it. I made sure to have him play Williams Taxi that Diner is sort of sequel to.
This is one of my favorite pictures of Bich because we have all had that look when we are getting our ass kicked by a machine. We have all had this look.
I walked them around the pinball area and talked about the machines and their history. They were surprisingly not drawn to the licensed machines like a lot of people are today. They looked for games that looked interesting to them and not because of the license. We did go to the “Adult” room that had The Sopranos pinball and Sexy Girl that is a modified Bally Playboy machine. After I told Bich that she wanted to see the Playboy machine and she did really enjoy that one. It’s a really solid machine and highly sought after by collectors.
We then hit the “gun-room” up and they were very fascinated by those games. I was very impressed that the museum had acquired the Bally Space Flight game that was in absolutely stunning condition. All of the games in this room are very rare to see today and the ones that they have are in very good condition. I really love these machines.
We then headed over to the video game side and again they were stunned by the size and selection of games. They played some driving games and some of the sit down games that they have. Jamie started to play Frenzy and loved it even though it was kicking his butt. Bich played the Nintendo Popeye and a lot of other games that they remembered or had never played before and looked interesting to them.
While were only there for 4 hours it was great to have people who have played pinball and video games before but had never experienced anything like this in their life. It’s really great to see the Pinball Museum evolve and add Twin Galaxies to the mix. There will continue to be regular Arcade Expo Events and the next one is in January of 2016. As of this writing there will be an inaugural Twin Galaxies event sometime in the Fall of 2015 but the dates and programming is still being coordinated. While it was great that they had an event to get more exposure for the facility, I was surprised that there was not a stronger focus on what the plan for Twin Galaxies is going to be. While were given a press release there was not a lot of hard information on what the overall plan for the facility is going to be beyond the already announced Arcade Expo in January 2016. They had sent out emails to attendees of Arcade Expo back in early May about an unspecified event in September with VIP packages that would be $200 for a 3 day event. They were supposed to go on sale May 15th but that date has come and passed. While I understand that plans are still being worked on I would have liked the event on Sunday to be more specific on what the plans are for Twin Galaxies and what they have planned for the future. As soon as more information becomes available to me I will pass it along.
I want to thank Greg, Jaime and Bich for joining the Pop Culture Maven team to help me cover the event for the website and being great photo models for the day. Stay tuned for the next part of my coverage of the Twin Galaxies Press Event in the next day or so.