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MGC 2015: Pinball’s Future is Emulation

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pinball1Depending on who you ask, perhaps pinball shouldn’t even be on this site.  It’s not a video game at all and in truth the only thing pinball even has in common to video games is that they both tended to occupy one another in arcades, bowling alleys, bars, and various other popular locations of the 70s, 80s, and 90s.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t appreciate both and thanks to some great physics engines and crafty programming games like Zen Pinball/Pinball FX and Pinball Arcade exist and do a nice job of bringing that thrill home.  But it isn’t pinball.  No friends, those of us who love pinball and played the games growing up would not consider T2 on Pinball Arcade to be the same as sitting in front of the cold steel original pinball machine with the gun handle for a launcher.  At the same time a T2 pinball machine runs you around $2,000-$3,000 and that doesn’t even factor in getting to and into your place of residence, so the relatively cheap $10 price for the table on console is a better option for most of us.  If you buy the actual pinball machine you’ll probably enjoy the game for less than six months before it needs service of some kind – assuming it was in perfect working order when you purchased it, which is almost never the case.  Even if you have a pristine new Stern pinball machine that gets professionally set up, routine maintenance and cleaning is part of the role that any pinball owner has, whether it’s handled by the owner personally or they have a professional come out for routine service.  That’s why pinball is a much larger investment than arcade machines: you have to know how to care for an afford to maintain it.  Not only that, but the machines are specific so you can’t just drop a T2′s guts into a Funhouse machine without a lot of time, effort, and basically rebuilding it.  All of these factors are why pinball emulation may be the best option for the average pinball enthusiast that’s ready to pony up that initial investment, but doesn’t want all the hassle of actually owning a pinball machine.

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Written by Fred Rojas

April 15, 2015 at 5:30 pm

Midwest Gaming Classic 2015 Panel: 80s and 90s Magazines

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At this year’s Midwest Gaming Classic, we were honored to be invited to do a panel, but we definitely wanted to be noticed.  Noticed we were (by the Milwaukee Record even) thanks to special guests “Trickman Terry” Minnich and Ken “Sushi-X” Willimas, who joined me to discuss video game magazines of the 80s and 90s.  Below is the audio recording of that panel and I must apologize for the background noise and the audio quality as it was a unidirectional recorder and the mic Terry and Ken were using was a bit quieter than mine.  If I amplify the sound I get clipping so I’m just putting it up in raw form.  Enjoy.

The supplement I reference in the talk can be found here.

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Written by Fred Rojas

April 14, 2015 at 11:00 am

Midwest Gaming Classic 2015 Recap

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MGC-BannerLogoLgThis weekend, thousands gathered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to celebrate the Midwest Gaming Classic (MGC), the Midwest’s largest retro gaming show and I was lucky enough to attend.  While the convention proper didn’t officially start until Saturday, Friday night was chock full of great activities and great people already eager to get a sneak peek at what MGC 2015 had to offer.  I hadn’t been to MGC within the last few years due to my daughter being born and me moving out of the local area, and in that short time it has grown from a Convention that took over chunks of the Sheraton to completely taking over the hotel itself.  There are perks to that, of which this article will discuss, and if you wanted to spend 48-72 surrounding yourself with games, gamers, and optional sleep, that was completely possible.  It was a blast, complete with Gaming History 101 having its own panel, and whether we are invited back or not, GH101 will be at MGC 2016.  Here’s an overview of just what the show had to offer and what you can expect where you to attend next year.

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Written by Fred Rojas

April 13, 2015 at 12:53 pm