Friday, September 29, 2017

Retro & Geek Destinations - 1UP Arcade

Arcade gaming in Brisbane


On May 13th this year 1UP Arcade (located in Morningside, Brisbane) opened its doors. 1UP Arcade joins a growing number of businesses catering for retro gamers and gamers alike in Brisbane, with Netherworld, Super Combo and Cafe De SOYT all making their own impact on the South East gaming culture community, and adding a new destination to the "what to do" in Brisbane list.
video games arcade brisbane australia

1UP operates on a single payment system of entry which is currently $15 for unlimited play (between 2pm and 10pm, Wednesday to Sunday). Meaning there is no need to keep your pockets full of change to enjoy your day. We managed to pin down the owner of 1UP Stephen Holmes recently for a quick Q & A.

DoFunky:  Nostalgia plays a big part in 1UP Arcade; is 1UP the arcade you yourself always dreamed of as a kid?

Stephen:  1UP is quite possibly the arcade I more dreamed of as an adult! As a kid, there were arcades. And although there were many as big as 1UP is, most towns had an arcade, and there were plenty more games to be found at corner stores, fish & chip shops, and bowling alleys. I think it's the absence of arcade machines in general now, which makes 1UP Arcade all the more special.


DoFunky:  Maintaining 20-30 year old arcade hardware must be a huge challenge, but have there been any other surprises in your first four months of operation?

Stephen:  I guess the biggest surprise has been how poorly most of these machines have been kept. In addition to fixing issues as the hardware ages - with the CRT monitors being the bulk of the work - a lot of time is spent undoing 20+ years of poor workmanship and half-measured 'repairs'. We frequently open up cabinets to see buttons glued in place, microswitches soldered on, and all kind of wiring mishaps. We now make it standard treatment to install all new buttons, service joysticks, install modern high-efficiency power supplies, and fully re-cap and service monitor chassis before releasing games into the arcade. It's a LOT of work, but essential as the arcade grows to ensure we don't have machines developing faults on a daily basis.


DoFunky:  You've been putting a new arcade machine on the floor every week since opening day; what happens when you run out of space? How long can you keep this up?

Stephen:  We have 77 machines in the arcade now, and I've calculated that we can handle around 200 before things get squishy :-) So our current venue should serve us well for around 3 years, at which point we'll have one spectacular arcade!
1UP Video Game Arcade Brisbane


DoFunky:  Your current collection is mainly focused on mega-hit titles from the 90s. Are there plans to expand into other eras or introduce pinball machines?

Stephen:  I think for anyone who opens an arcade, the games are going to mostly reflect the games they use to play. For me, that's from around 1985 to 1995. I do however want to include more early 80's 'Golden Age' arcade games, like Pac-man, Donkey Kong, Frogger and of course Space Invaders, however it's important to do these games justice. While later arcade releases in Australia went into 'generic' arcade cabinets with new marquees, the earlier games more often featured a dedicated cabinet design for each game or manufacturer. So where possible, we would like to release such games in original cabinets, and not just throw them into the nearest 90's build cabinet which would seem out of place.

We get a lot of requests for Pinball machines, and it is something we would like to add. The challenge is that as Pinballs are mechanical, the more they are played the more they break. And so in a free-play arcade, they receive months worth of play in a single day, causing to insane levels of break-downs. We have some ideas for how we can work in with this, but ultimate the introduction of Pinballs will depend on the community support of 1UP Arcade. Everyone knows that running an arcade today is a tough game. So it's important that if people want classic arcade machines and Pinballs to remain available in a public venue - and not just in the homes of collectors - they need to be actively support these venues to keep these machines alive.


DoFunky:  Your upcoming Halloween event "Game Over" on October 28th includes a Cosplay prize; what sort of get-ups are you hoping to see?

Stephen:  We're hoping for a cross-up of traditional Halloween costumes, and gaming inspired outfits. With a little creative thinking, you'll find a huge source of games which would really suit the Halloween gaming theme. Titles like Castlevania, DarkStalkers, Ghosts 'n Goblins and House of the Dead come to mind, just to name a few.

1UP Arcade is definitely worth a visit.... or 2, but make sure you give yourself a few hours, this place is like Bunnings for the 80's kids!


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