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September 2015 Retro Gaming Article

September 2, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

‘77 Carrie Fisher interview at Sega Center piqued my interest in Anti-Aircraft & Time Out Tunnel arcades

I saw a really cool picture on Carrie Fisher interview at The Sega Center Arcade Carrie Fisher was interviewed at The Sega Center Arcade for the Making of Star Wars. They filmed a segment with Carrie Fisher talking about the movie at The Sega Center.
Carrie Fisher interview at The Sega Center Arcade In the background of this Carrie Fisher interview at The Sega Center Arcade you'll see an Atari Anti-Airraft video game behind her - among others.

Atari's Anti Aircraft Arcade Game

Carrie Fisher interview at The Sega Center Arcade Atari's Anti-Aircraft game was released to arcades in 1975. This 2-player game has you on the ground aiming a cannon at incoming bombers. You have three positions to shoot from and the object is to shoot down more planes than your opponent within the allotted time. The screen is very stark looking with little on-screen action, but these games were the precurssor to the insane explotion of color and sound that would belt out of all arcade games just a few years later!

This is an early game running on a 23" monitor housed in a plywood cabinet. There is an undocumented option that switches the bombers into UFO's. This is a hardwired option, but a jumper can be installed to switch between planes and UFO's.

I love the game cabinet array in the Sega World pics above. Few arcades I visited in the mid 80s were doing cool things like this with their floor space. Most operators simply lined up the cabinets and moved them around now and then to keep the layout fresh. I wish there had been more progressive thinking owners in my area. It just goes to show what a little creativity can achieve.

Time Out Tunnel Arcades

Like the location in the Fox Hills Mall (mentioned above), many of these video game arcade locations later became Time Out arcades. Segas locations were on the west coast and Time Out was an east coast company headquartered in Fairfax, VA. I'd never encountered a Sega Center, but did have the opportunity to visit a few Time Out locations.

This was back in the day when arcades had yet to be forced into the redemption model. They were amazing spaces inhabited by dazzling CRT attract modes, beautiful marquees, and sounds that excited me to play video games and pinball.

I believe the Sega Center from the Carrie Fisher pic turned into the Time Out Tunnel Arcade which seemed to garner a bit more attention due to its cylindrical shape  not your standard footprint for a mall location. This physical attribute was just one of the facets that made Time Out stand out from many other locations. Innovation never goes out of style!

Time Out Arcade Time Out Tunnel Arcades actually had a conical shape to them giving these locations a uniquely cavernous gaming area. Created by entrepreneur Tico Bonomo, a candy maker specializing in Turkish Taffy. Oddly his candy was neither actual taffy, nor Turkish.
Time Out Arcade Bonomo sold his candy business and started up Time Out Arcade in Colonie, NY in 1970. More successful than the candy biz, he opened more arcade locations and was in the right place at the right time when Pong came along and everyone was crazy for this new game!

Time Out Arcade By 1978 he had twenty locations and again was well positioned to let Time Out Arcade showcase Space Invaders. Mall construction was booming and Bonomo was setting a precedent for the inclusion of arcades in shopping malls.
Time Out Arcade As arcades peaked, Time Out Arcade was poised to buy out the West coast locations run by Sega and introduced redemption games with prizes. The strategy of merging was one of the few strategies for staying afloat in the arcade business.

In 1992 Time Out Arcades were sold to Edison Brothers. They filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1995.

Time Out Arcade high score card Did you ever fill out a High Score of the Week card at a Time Out Tunnel Arcade?
This site has some great images and info about Time Out Tunnel Arcades. It's a mirror site, so the original site is long gone, but check it out while the info is available - great resource!

As barcades gain ground and game-centric entrepreneurs, like Games Done Legit seek out venues in which to engage the masses with retro and modern video game competitions, my hope for an arcade renaissance remains high. Modern arcades simply don't have the vibe of those in the 80s. It was a magical era full of games that were simple to learn and impossible to win. We dropped quarters without much thought about how lucky we were to play those amazing video games as soon as they were released!

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