After several posts of talking about matters athletic, I’m far beyond due for letting my nerd show. I have a ridiculous fascination with coin-operated amusements. In the past, I have worked on restoring arcade machines, most notable being Mr. Do! and Asteroids, but I don’t have any good space in my home or life for things that size right now. Maybe one day I’ll build a MAME machine and be done with it. Like, when I have a garage.
This also extends to pachinko games. I’ve actually had pachinko around me most of my life. When I was little, back in the days when you could buy a personal computer that had a cassette deck, parents would shut their children up by getting them to play little hand-held games that used motors and little ball-bearings. You’d play something that vaguely resembled “pocket baseball” or “pocket football.” I had a miniature pachinko machine long before I knew what pachinko was.
Fast-forward to yesterday. Driving between a very lovely brunch and a planned walk at the Rosicrucian campus, I happened to cruise through a section of Bascom Ave in San Jose which I call “junk row.” I don’t know how this has happened, but there is basically a strip mall there of junk shops, ranging from the “piles of crap” variety to the shops where they’ve found great bits of cultural history and restored them for sale. Sitting out on the sidewalk, in what appears to be nearly perfect condition, was a bright pink pachinko machine. I just knew it had to be mine. After a little play-testing, it came home with me.
Can you blame me? I mean, who can say no to something this completely ridiculous? It’s bright pink and covered with ridiculous anime characters. I think it’s supposed to have a caveman theme, but I can’t be perfectly sure about that. It looks fairly modern, though video screens are not all that modern for pachinko and the resolution is a touch low. One of the inspection stickers appears to have a date of August 2011. Everything on the playing field looks very clean and new, so maybe it is fairly new.
Here’s a shot of the video screen. P-KAN KINGDOM! The styling on the graphics and the resolution have a very early 1990s feel to them, as if I’m looking at an old Neo Geo game. This makes me want to suspect the machine is older than it seems to be (based on labeling, cleanliness, and lack of wear). It’s amazing what an art style or screen resolution will do to cue your thinking to a certain time or place.
Art from the upper left corner of the playing field. There’s a decided caveman theme to the whole thing. Lots of Tarzan clothes, mammoths and other animals, and roasted meat on the bone. If you ever played the Bonk’s Adventure series of games, you’d recognize it on the spot.
Art from the bottom of the playing field. Again…cutesy pink anime cavemen. You can see the roasted meat on the bone in the lower left of this picture. In the lower right…hell if I know. It looks like someone cut a cactuar in half.
And now…the art in the upper-right. It’s an alien in a UFO. Yep. An alien in a UFO. Looking kinda surprised by all the anime caveman pachinko action. So…maybe the theme here is “Chariot of the Gods”? Who knows? It’s ridiculous and weird and I love it.
And frankly, with my wife, Amy, being a tikiphile, I’m starting to wonder if the things we nerd-squee over aren’t cross-breeding. For some reason, this seems like exactly the sort of thing that goes with a tiki mug and a fez hat. Or, possibly, I’m insane.