Monday, January 30, 2012


If my parents had a list of things I shouldn't have spent my hard earned paper round money on then arcade games where public enemy number one when I was a child. Even more so than comics and records! I could happily piss away a whole weeks wage ( back then, that was a lot) inside of an hour at any number of amusement arcades dotted around my home town. I have always believed the appeal was the fact that you believed you would never see these games on your home computer, couple that with the amount of violence and the prison-art-therapy artwork adorning most of the machines casings and you had a sure thing when it came to relieving young people of money.
I recently spent a bit of time messing around with a MAME emulator and revisiting some of these games. Suffice to say, it becomes obvious you were not designed to complete most on a single credit. A few have held up pretty well while others still hold a small corner of my memory hostage. Following my research, these are my sure fire, revisit, classic arcade cash devourers.

Cadillacs & Dinosaurs (1992)

Cadillacs & Dinosaurs not only combined all manner of awesome things ( dinosaurs, cool cars, guns, post-apocalyptic story and girls) to appeal to a young man, but it also managed to keep me going back time after time. Despite being Mark Schultz's Xenozoic Tales bolted to the Final Fight game system, Cadillacs & Dinosaurs held my attention for years. You had guns! Final Fight didn't have those. You could kick the shit out of dinosaurs! Final Fight couldn't do that.

That's what you think dick neck.

The story had you fighting off poachers, mutants, bikers and various nasty types from messing with the balance of nature. That didn't really matter to me. The clincher was halfway through the first stage, being able to blast someone out of a window with a shotgun before punching a Rock Hopper (Raptor. None of the dinosaurs go by their real names) in the face outside in an alley! Throw in being able to smash through bikers and barrels in a car and I was sold. My pockets rapidly emptied.

Ignore the System of A Down tune at the beginning, Some people have a nerve.

A.B. Cop (1990)

AB Cop was the easiest of my childhood arcade adventures. Being as I once managed to complete it on a single credit, sadly there was no one to witness my amazing skill on that fateful day in a derelict amusement arcade in Blackpool. AB ( Air bike, air biscuit) Cop took the Hang On template of third person, full immersion racing ( you had a bike to lean left and right on, or if your arcade was cheap they just had the cabinet with handle bars ) and added enemies to battle. The levels all took the same route, ram various nasty biker types before confronting the boss. You then had to use your turbo charge to jump and smash him off the road to complete the level and get a satisfying thumbs up from your rider.

The main appeal of AB Cop was the difficulty scale. It was so easy to have a single credit and get through about 3 levels before you had to dive into your pocket for a follow up go. Once you worked out the main tactic for dealing with every boss ( jump, turbo charge. steer left/right, repeat) you could rampage through the whole game on a single credit. Of course the appeal of showing off to all and sundry in the arcade by reaching the completion screen of any game was impossible to ignore. No matter how easy said game was.


Long before you could take cover with a fancy foot pedal in Time Crisis and such games, rail shooters gave you a big machine gun and threw waves of enemies at you. Beast Busters ( from the ever reliable SNK stable) was always the game I saw in arcades but never managed to actually play as they always seemed to place Operation Wolf or Rambo 3 in my way as a distraction. Luckily, I found a flea pit on a family outing that only had assorted pinball tables, Asteroids and Beast Busters. No contest really, sorry Asteroids.

The wafer thin plot had you as gun nuts trying to escape a zombie infested city. Gun toting zombies at that. Pretty ahead of its time stuff? The gore was a major factor in how cool I thought this game was. Enemies exploded in blood and bone pieces, green slime was everywhere, they had zombie bikers, Jason like hockey masked monsters and then along came the absurd bosses! A driverless Jeep that shoots missiles before coming alive! A typical 80's street punk that transforms into a massive dog! A floating eye made of bodies! Next level shit for any kid. Even the soundtrack was sweet.

It had 3 f**king guns!

Party Bus

Thanks to the wonders of MAME technology you can enjoy all these titles from the comfort of your own home. You don't have to worry about all those dodgy, blatantly criminal looking dudes that used to hang around arcades, you don't have to worry about putting your hand in the never clean ashtray that adorned pretty much every machine and you don't have to worry about any bigger boys coming along and shoving you over while you where playing. The world of arcade gaming is far less dangerous these days.

P.S. If anyone can help to hook me up with any of the soundtracks to these games or other arcade classics then that would be sweet.

Part 2 to follow.


Cory said...


Nothing Left Inside said...

This is just a reminisce post, not a soup kitchen man. Its easy enough getting the ROMS. Check out for all your ROM needs.

Shelby Cobras said...

Can't say I ever played any of these, but it was a sweet read nonetheless. Looking forward to part 2.

23 Wolves said...

I used to love me some Beast Busters. What was that extremely similar game where you are shooting werewolves in the trees in the first level?

Nothing Left Inside said...

23 Wolves - I don't remember that one. Pretty intrigued now. Let me know if you find out

23 Wolves said...

Found it.

Nothing Left Inside said...

I very vaguely remember that one. Can't remember playing it but saw it around. By '95 I had pretty much become obsessed with playing guitar to impress girls. Arcades took a big backseat during those dark times.