Today I attended the first meeting of a new professional development group on my campus dedicated to helping potential game developers learn and discuss many different aspects of the gaming industry.
We listened to a great presentation by Rob Craig who writes for Game Room Magazine, and restores and builds arcade cabinets.
He brought in this machine:
This mini-pin is a machine that runs pinball emulators. Rob took us through the history of arcade machines and the evolution of their boards, hacks, and emulation. Those of us in attendance discussed some of the games that we've played and Rob talked about what went into making them.
The mini-pin was set up at the side of the room and we all got to see it in action. It's pretty impressive. Something that I have not written about on this blog yet is that I'm actually a huge fan of pinball. I play it whenever I can, but I do not play it on the computer. I wouldn't necessarily call myself a purist, but pretty close to it.
That said Rob's machine was a joy to play. You got the benefit of arcade style sound, buttons, and the machine having a tilt feature (which personally won me over) and the fact that you can play such a wide variety of machines on this single device.
Here's a shot of the mini-pin in action. It's a neat marriage of traditional pinball and electronic gaming that proved to be very innovative and fun. Both the top screen and the bottom screen change according to the game that you load up.
There's a lot more cool stuff to come with this group. Rob invited those of us who want to help restore an old arcade machine to join him and I certainly want to do it. If I had more room in my apartment I would have already bought a beat-up, old cabinet and be working on it as one of my many projects.