Monday, 15 January 2018

Arfon’s 39th Birthday Bonanza 299th Blog Post Special: Arcade Club

Can you believe it? I am just one post from 300 and can you believe that I am just one year from being forty years of age? OK that one might be easier to comprehend... but anyway, lets celebrate this number in much the same way as we celebrated the 199th back in 2015 and devote it to something incredibly interesting, this time how I celebrated my 39th Birthday! Last Saturday! Mrs Jones took me somewhere that I have wanted to go for some time, the largest free play arcade in Europe, the Arcade Club in Bury!
But what is this ‘Arcade Club’? Well, according to the website it all came about when owner Andy Palmer’s private collection of 30 arcade machines, situated at the back of a local computer shop in which he ran became quite popular with customers popping in for a nostalgia arcade fix and this gave him the idea to open an Arcade Club in a warehouse in Haslingden. Filled with around 100 machines the idea proved so popular that in October 2015 the club moved to Ella Mill in Bury and with twice the space to work with filled it with even more machines. A gaming themed lounge was added for people to try new technologies like VR while enjoying hot food and drinks. Retro game consoles were added to the free-to-play roster including Nintendo 64, PC Engine, PlayStation, Sega Saturn and Xbox. The additional space then allowed the introduction of more modern larger cabinets. Then in March 2017 Floor 2 was opened doubling what the Club had to offer, event and tournament focussed, networked PCs, modern consoles and a broadcast stage with an185" screen inviting “other gaming communities to make Arcade Club their home” and they regularly host tournaments with BandaiNamco and Manchester Battle Arena (MBA) all this along with a dedicated pinball room, a fully stocked bar serving American diner styled meals and a vast array of vintage video arcade games have all the trappings for a very happy Arfon indeed!

However my main focus was FLOOR ONE which is filled with original machines from back in the day. Highlighting 30 years of video gaming history carefully restored and ready to be played by retro/ nostalgia nuts like myself. Over the past 35 or so years I have played countless arcade machines. My pre-teens, teens, late teens and twenties at varying points of the 80’s and 90’s and at different points of the country and each game has its own memories associated with it. Memories of family, friends, lovers, places and attractions that in some cases no longer exist so when I entered the room it was like a birthday reunion, a room full of familiar faces that I had not seen for years all gathered under one roof! It was so good to see Paperboy, Frogger, Donkey Kong, Wonder Boy, Streets of Rage and Pacman again (sadly Rage couldn't make it) it was marvellous! Pay £10 on the door and you have unlimited plays on the machines- time is no object (however they do close at 11:00pm and 12:00am on Fridays!) I wandered around the room, relishing all the bright lights and familiar themes playing over and over-
rediscovering the cabinet decals and relaying to Mrs Jones how I had once played “this one in a caravan park in Wrexham” or “this one in Alton Towers back in 1991” another factor that I enjoyed (aside from being able to play all these games again of course) was seeing friends getting together and playing alongside one another and families out there for the day, mothers shooting zombies alongside their children and fathers showing their sons how to throw a newspaper at a mailbox! This environment even had Mrs Jones who normally doesn't play video games getting in on the action, chasing ghosts and shooting asteroids with the best of them, we even joined forces and completed House of the Dead 2! Even when it was time for a breather and a drink I was delighted to find three of my five favourite pinball machines in the corner The Addams Family, The Twilight Zone and my all time favourite Revenge from Mars (my fourth and firth favourite that I didn't see are Creature from the Black Lagoon and Doctor Who) I had a blast and highly recommend you check it out be you a casual or retro gamer I defy you to not find something there that will not put a nostalgic smile on your face! My sincere congratulations to all concerned, its an amazing place to visit and a BIG thank you to Mrs Jones for making my Birthday so special!

Just some of the stars from that day...

Pac-Man & Super Pac-Man
Pac-Land & Space Invaders
Centipede & Donkey Kong
Tron & Paperboy
Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles & The Simpsons

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

The Legend of the Spindly Man #1 Kickstarter


My good friends at Hellbound Media have a new Kickstarter campaign for your consideration (in which yours truly plays a small part...). The story tells of a case of vanishing children and it seems to point to one culprit The Spindly Man and it’s up to Hellbound’s Mandy the Monster Hunter to sort it out! The Legend of the Spindly Man #1 is a brand new horror-fantasy comic that promises to be, “terrifying for readers of all ages” a stand alone story that those new to the character of Mandy, one of the company’s fan favourites will find as a perfect introduction to her world, “Older readers will appreciate the dark undertones, and themes reminiscent of the works of Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett, whilst younger readers will see a world of terrifying monsters and an awesome female protagonist” No strangers to the pages of this blog, Hellbound Media is an independent British-based comic company founded and run by Mark Adams and Matt Warner and they have had huge success with previous Kickstarter projects, due in part to their backer rewards and this is no exception as the first issue of Spindly Man comes with three original art prints of Mandy the Monster Hunter or The Spindly Man himself, “created by some of the best talent in UK indie comics” Atlantisvampire (The Face in the Curtain, Reverend Cross) Janine Von Moosel (City of Lost Souls) and moi whom had the honour of painting Mandy facing a “Jurassic-sized problem” and all three prints are available in comic size format with this Kickstarter so don’t delay. Go over there now and check out all the rewards and show your support for indie comics, I’ll wait….

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday, 1 January 2018

My 2018 Resolution: Linnea Quigley's Horror Workout


Happy New Year to you all!
So did you make a New Year’s resolution? I did and like many others I intend to loose weight... Not an original resolution I grant you but I currently weigh in at 15.5 stone and according to the NHS I should be around 12 stone so I am making that age old New Year’s resolution this year. You would think it would be easy to find time to exercise and stay fit when you work for yourself from home but this hasn’t actually been the case for me and never allowing myself any time for any real physical exercise has taken its toll and my shape reflects this. Combine this factor with snacks consumed while waiting for paint to dry or waiting for a reply from clients and you have a potential long-term problem and that is why I have decided to do something about it before it gets too late, however I will not be joining Weight Watchers or a gym I shall be enlisting the aid of Linnea Quigley and her Horror Workout Video!
There are hundreds of exercise videos on the market but this is the only one that will do for me! In the late 1980s Scream Queen, Linnea Quigley star of Return of the Living Dead, Silent Night, Deadly Night, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama teamed up with Kenneth J. Hall the man responsible for Puppet Master and created “the scariest exercises video ever made”!
Released on video in 1990 it really needs to be seen to be truly appreciated, after a brief pre-title shower scene Miss. Quigley reminisces about her career in front of a fireplace (showing clips from some of her movies such as Creepozoids and Assault of the Party Nerds) before starting her first workout. Her attire is somewhat different to what I would wear (hers comprise of stockings and a metal-studded bra but as she herself asks, “Would you want to watch me work out in a baggy sweat suit?”) afterwards she goes out jogging past a cemetery and is chased home by a horde of zombies that she later has performing aerobics by a pool! When that is finished with she has some of her girlfriends over for a slumber party and having watched more clips from her movies, the unhealthy popcorn becomes an issue for concern and leads us into another aerobics session before our story ends much the way most slumber parties in the 1980’s ended, a bloody mess! Running at exactly one hour, remove the movie clips and links you have decent little workout video there! There are numerous sites online that offer tips for self-employed people to keep in shape they all stress the importance of prioritising exercise over everything else and keeping to it, even if I didn’t feel like doing it but they say that the best time to exercise is in the morning before checking e-mails as your mind is clear so that will be the first step, making myself do it so there you go, my New Year’s resolution for 2018 get fit and loose weight following the Linnea Quigley's Horror Workout every morning. Wish me luck and Happy New Year to you all!

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

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