Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Nerd Lunch Sweet 16 of Ice Cream Flavors

Officially I'm still in retired podcaster mode, but when the Nerd Lunch guys ask if I am available, I always say yes. With them winding down their primary show, and promoting 4th Chair Army Invasion to once a month, that leaves the occasional 5th Tuesday spot to fill with something. Recently, they've been filling it with their Sweet 16 format show. In 2017, I was on the episode about the best cartoon dog and in 2018 I was on the one with my old bud Junk Food Guy and we covered the best pizza toppings. This time we talk best ice cream flavors. I knew a lot of the great classic flavors would be brought up so I did my best to make my three choices more recent developments. How did it work out? Well, you'll have to listen to find out.

Now I wasn't literally on the sweet 16 episode that talked about the best arcade games, but CT had asked for suggestions and he mentioned several of mine on the show (Thanks CT!). I've always been  jealous of how the nerd lunch crew and 4th chair army have been able to track down those giant arcades full of old games. Well, a co-worker told me about a place in Providence that had a bunch of old games that are all set to free play, you just have to pay the $5 cover charge. Well, I then told my buddy who said we need to go, so, without further ado, here is my adventure at Freeplay Arcade.

I started with my favorite game of all time, the one that always gets a quarter from me: Galaga. Unfortunately the fire button was worn out and I could only shoot about half as much as I wanted to. I hope this isn't setting a precedent....

The place isn't huge, but it is packed tight with games. We circle through and try to figure out where to start...  well, anywhere I guess. I reach for the closest games like Robotron (pretty good!), some drain game, and another spinner game.

We continue on in a blur of so many blinking lights... we played one shooter game and the screen just kept flashing and flashing, especially when the big boss alien arrived.

We played Mortal Kombat 2 just like we did down at the bowling alley when we were kids... and we couldn't remember a single combo move. It was still fun, and occasionally we would accidentally trip a combo. We moved over to Mortal Kombat 3 for a quick couple of rounds but my side had beer spilled on it so had to deal with more broken buttons.

Time to play another of my three favorite games: Star Wars! It's funny how easy level 1 is but by level 4 I get crushed (I feel like I pretty much always die on level 4). Again, the controls don't feel super responsive, but the most surprising thing was my buddy telling me that he's never played this game!! WHAT?!?!

We played Joust.... ummm, I don't get Joust. I think people love this game but I'm not getting the whole riding a ostrich with a pointy stick thing. Maybe it's buttons are worn out too...

I played some pinball, but I couldn't tell if I kept earning free plays or if it was literally just giving them to me. After the 7th or 8th pinball, I moved on.

I found Mad Planets, one of many games built on moving and spinning. I only played one round, but I really liked this game, just something unique about the way the visuals and controls came together (consider that I played about 8-10 games with similar controls).

We had to get in some air hockey ofcourse. I think I lost... but not by alot. air hockey in free play mode means that when the timer expires, the game just starts over. I think I lost like 5-4 and then 6-5 maybe? (or 7-5)

Time for my last top three game: Roadblasters. The good news is that I made it to level 9 (starting at level 1). I start to question if maybe these games have difficulty settings because I've never done this well on this game ever. Only one of the primary weapon buttons work and neither of the secondary buttons work. No way to beat level 9 without the secondary use of nitro boosters. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

I loved not investing actual quarters in individual games. On one hand it's harder to get mentally invested in what your doing, but on the other hand, it's so great to just walk away, occasionally before the game even finishes (maybe I did this like every 7-8th game?)

They had Tron (with broken aim controls) and Discs of Tron. I had never played Discs of Tron so that got about 2 minutes of my attention. I give it credit for being different.

In honor of Wreck It Ralph, I played Tapper real quick. Again, the controls were worn out, but now I can say I played it.

We played some sega race game and my gas pedal was broken and stuck in the full throttle position... better than the brakes being stuck I guess. I still won that, and also the mario kart we played earlier. But then my buddy finally beat me.... nay crushed me, in a racing game. Apparently I'm no good on a fake motorcycle.

That's only a sampling of what we played. I played pole position briefly, we took a crack at track & field, I kept playing random games I had never played before (and can't even remember the name of). I played Galaga 88 (at least the buttons worked) and tried Pacmania for the first time (pac man can bounce? who knew!). There was a Nintendo section but we just played a few games real quick and moved on.

We didn't hit everything but we certainly played alot. We called it quits after just two hours since we both had work in the morning. I wasn't a huge fan of the smell of spilled beer or of the overall loud music and flashing lights, but it was definitely still fun. I'd like to find a similar place that's more family friendly and maintains their machines better, but it was still a blast playing all those games again.

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