Between Picadilly Circus and Leicester Square, London W1
Updated April 2008 by Richard Thomas:
Original report from June 2003:
Sega decided to get out of the arcade sector altogether. They sold the Trocadero complex to the management in a buy-out scheme.
Now the place is just one huge family amusement arcade. No divisions, no entry fee and the only diversion is a multi-screen cinema and some shops in the lobby. Apart from that it's games and rides all the way.
On entering, you move up several escalators to the top floor. If you want to leave from here you're in for quite some trek. You have to follow the preset route through the amusements.
So what of the pinball games? Surely in a building this size there must be hundreds of them?
Well, no. The thing about the Troc is its diversity. You wont get loads of the same game so there are only 7 pinball games in the whole place, but they are located right on "the route" so they're quite busy.
They're are priced at 3 games for £1 - not bad for Central London but the games aren't in very good condition. While most features work, they playfields are very grubby and the flippers weak. With the amount of play they get, these games require regular cleaning and maintenance which it seems they aren't getting.
On the SW-E1, the (already weaker) flippers were incapable of making either ramp, while the R2-D2 left loop shot wasn't registering. Neither was the skill shot, so extra balls couldn't be collected.
Several people came along, put their pound coin in, tried to play a game or two and walked away. Not a good advert for pinball.
Things have changed a fair bit at the Trocadero.
The number of pinball games has been reduced from seven to just four.
The line-up is: Sega South Park, Sega Star Wars Trilogy, Sega Jurrasic Park - The Lost World and a Stern Playboy (non-nude).
Prices are all 50p per game or 2 games for £1.
When we tested the Playboy the centre ramp switch wasn't working so you couldn't start multiball, and the tilt was very sensitive but the flippers were sufficiently powerful to make all the shots and the game attracted much interest from passers-by.
Meanwhile, the rest of the location seems to have deteriorated and is headed towards a re-listing as "Building Site". While the areas to the right at the entrance are not too bad, the remainder is positively grim. If you only want to play pinball it's a long hike up several floors and then down again to reach them.
There is also a Gottlieb Super Mario Brothers mini-game elsewhere in the complex but it's hard to think of it as a pinball game, so I won't mention it here. Oh!
© Pinball News 2008