Santa Cruz is south of San Francisco just off the Pacific Coast Highway, USA

Here we are again in California, USA and this time we're about half way down the state on the coast at Santa Cruz.


Once you get to the coast it is the Boardwalk that dominates the seafront. On the Boardwalk you'll find the Casino Fun Centre. This is a great place to play all those classic `80s video games such as Frogger, PacMan and Asteroids in the special area set aside for them.

But if you're looking for pinball you won't be disappointed.

These 8 games look good, don't they?

But wait, there's more...

Yes, another line-up of 8 games including some real classics. But we're not finished yet...

Believe it or not there's this group of 9 games too.

So let's see what games we have here:
Revenge From Mars, Attack From Mars, Austin Powers, Jurassic Park, South Park, Hurricane, Theatre of Magic, Star Trek - TNG, Funhouse, Super Mario Brothers, Checkpoint, Space Shuttle, Street Fighter 2, Goldeneye, Baywatch, Twister, Simpsons, Whirlwind, Star Wars, Star Wars Special Edition, Superman, Terminator 2, Cyclone Hook, Monopoly and a standalone Star Wars Episode 1. Most are priced at 2 tokens per play (50¢) with one token per extra game beyond that.

26 pins all in one location is the equivalent of a small pinball show. This is truly Heaven for the pinball fan. Only one question remains - why did we only put 2 hours on the parking meter?

Like a kid in a candy store it was hard to decide where to start but let's start with a classic - Whirlwind. It looks in good condition and initial play is promising but oh dear, those flippers are just too weak to make the ramp shots. A real pity as the game is otherwise in fine condition. The centre ramp can just about be made with a following wind and some telepathic assistance. But the left ramp can be forgotten. Even so, it was quite fun to play.

Time for another classic, this time Space Shuttle - the game credited with saving pinball from the deadly menace of video games but in truth a number of strong games such as High Speed helped bring pinball back to the masses.

This one worked well even though it had quite a worn playfield. The area above the rollovers at the top of the game has suffered particularly badly. There is an intermittent trough problem with two balls launched at once but it's only occasional and provided you only launch one ball it plays correctly.

Moving on we try the Attack From Mars. I love this game and this example didn't disappoint on all the important criteria. The only criticisms was a flaky ball lock switch meaning that fast balls failed to light the next lock lamp. The game was fast and very enjoyable.

Finally a jump back in time to play the Atari Superman. This was only one token to play so it happily used up the few remaining coins. It's a slower playing game than the others but that didn't detract from the enjoyment and everything worked properly. It was tempting to buy some more tokens to play it but time was pressing.

Right next door, though, is another arcade:

In the room downstairs you will find the two Pinball 2000 games - Revenge From Mars and Star Wars Episode 1 - while upstairs there is a contrast.

These two - a Bally Harley Davidson and a Stern Striker Xtreme - were both in very good condition and the Harley revealed just what an enjoyable game it is. Replays were quite easy to win so our 4 tokens easily covered the remaining half an hour before the parking meter expired. At the end there were 9 credits left on the game.

On the way out, there's this gem:

.A beautifully clean Addams Family.

The absence of any dot after the credit count is usually a good indicator and the overall condition upholds this opinion.

Sadly though, there simply wasn't time to play the game and find out for sure.

And so it was time to leave Santa Cruz. But what a great place to visit if you're a pinball fan. Over 30 tables to play in 2 arcades with a fine range of games from various years and styles makes this an ideal vacation destination.


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