Sunday, November 1, 2009

Arcade Tour - Hershey Park

So I've been quite busy, and am also quite exhausted at the moment. Despite 20 oz of a Wawa coffee and god knows how much sugar running through me, sitting for three hours in a car after hiking around a damp amusement park for roughly eight hours is a confusing feeling, to say the least. While there are plenty of great things to talk about, like Ys 7 (fantastic), Dracula Densetsu Rebirth (not quite fantastic) and Sin and Punishment 2 (haven't played yet), I'll quickly delve into one of the few remaining decent classic arcades that I know Hersheypark, in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Indeed, arcades themselves are practically nonexistent, outside of finding random machines in equally random places. Here in NJ, I found a Sunset Riders and a Die Hard Arcade in the back of a Jimmy Buffs (East Hanover on Route 10) and a 1944 and an X-Men in a roller rink (Florham Park on the Columbia Turnpike). But beyond trashheaps like Dave and Busters, and occasionally kiddy fun parks, there's not much else, unless you want to travel up to New Hampshire for Funspot, heralded in King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters.

There are actually a few arcades in Hersheypark. I'm not sure if they have specific names, but myself and my friends dub the smaller ones Failcades, since there's nothing but redemption games and similar garbage. The big one, though, contains a number of classic cabinets.

I've been going every year for the past few years, and while the inventory has never really changed, some have broken, while others have been fixed. This year, all three monitors of The Ninja Warriors was finally open, allowing me to make it to stage 2 before giving up.

There are plenty of golden era games like Dig Dug, Millipede and Berzerk (which seems to have been permanently set on freeplay), along with numerous other titles from the late 80s to early 90s, including Crime Fighters, TMNT The Arcade Game, Ghostbusters, Double Dragon, Golden Axe, Shinobi, Rolling Thunder, Blasteroids, Marble Madness, Toobin, Dragon's Lair (although the poor disc is a victim of the dreaded disc rot), Outrun, two variations of Super Hang On (one with the actual motorcycle!) and several older Sega and Namco racing games. This year was the first time I saw their Capcom vs SNK 2 working too, the only vaguely recent fighting games in the place, not counting the Street Fighter II cabinets or Karate Champ. They also have that weird Q*Bert sequel which I can't figure out for the life of me.

I also love this corner, which has tons of old sit down cabinets. None of them worked this year, except for Choplifter. In previous years they actually had a broken down After Burner, which I desperately wished had worked. Monaco GP had worked in previous years, which was cool to play, especially since it hasn't been emulated, and is apparently impossible to emulate, since it uses logic gates than than chips, or something to that extent.

There are also a number of pinball games, although apparently they're all in bad shape. The one being played is Hercules, which uses a ball approximately the size of a baseball. It's huge. It also doesn't work very well.

Anyway, it's a cool trip out there. Of course you need to pay admission to get into the whole park, but there's some good roller coasters, and it's a less skeezy place than, say, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. Being a three hour drive from NYC, it's not too bad of a location either.

Next up in this series (maybe) - Eight on the Break in Dunellan, NJ!


  1. You can post my Funspot tour from the HG101 forums here as part of this series if you'd like. I also cleaned it up for a post on my own blog:

  2. Man, I loved playing that Hercules machine (I'm the one playing it) for the novelty of it but the damn thing had so little to do on it. It's a shame that the makers of the table really didn't want to do anything else with it other than have an increased size. I was bored after the initial wow factor. I guess it also didn't help that none of the bumpers worked :(

  3. Man I would love to visit an arcade of that quality. Theres been nothing lke that in the UK for at least 10 years :(

  4. It would be great to see someone make a page dedicated to arcade locations (besides Dave and Busters). We have a pretty descent 2-D fighting game selection at Concord Mills in NC. It is the only place I have ever seen a Guilty Gear X cab.

  5. Wow, three hours by car seems a bit epic. Still, a nice write up. There used to a retro arcade in Southampton in the UK, opened especially, but no one seemed interested despite the cheap prices so it closed.

    The death of arcades in the west is a great shame.

  6. Heh. It's not like the Arcades committed suicide or that someone else killed it.

    WE killed the Arcades by not going to them anymore.

  7. I expect it was us and emulation - if there wasn't emulation things I expect would be insanely different

  8. I was at Funspot this summer and it blew my mind. WHAT A PLACE!!!

  9. They killed the arcades by charging £1 a go.That and home console technology caught up.Shame the arcade in southampton closed, that was my plan for when i won the lottery!