When I was significantly younger (I give a false impression here; I still go to this day) I would often frequent various arcades, filled with the promise of a diverse electronic playground with flush with flashing lights and exotic sounds. Of course, some simpler games, sacrificed deep gameplay for the ability dispense tickets for the bright eyed player. Even when I was young I realized that most of these games were a money loosing proposition: it would take me at least 10 tokens to earn enough tickets for a few pieces of candy, an eraser which did no such thing. All of the cool things, such as a lava lamp, radio, or disco ball, cost at least 2000 tickets. However, with age, comes experience, and with experience (somtimes) comes a healthy understanding of game theory.
My church was having a “Men’s night out” in which the men of the congregation had the opportunity to fellowship together without worrying about familial obligations (for those who were married) or impressing the ladies (sometimes a pressing issue for many of the remainder) . Fortunately since there were several gamers among us, such as Chris and Craig, we manged to work in a stop at the local nickel arcade, Wunderland.
Wonderland has a small entry fee (US $3) but after that, whenever a game would take quarters, it only needs nickels instead, making the games 1/5 the normal cost to play. This arcade offered an assortement array of ways to complete the following tasks:
- Shoot stuff (usually aliens, or failing that, zombies, or wildlife)
- Drive stuff (usually cars)
- Attempt to win tickets
The third category was of special interest to me today. The general idea is that you played these games by inserting nickels, beyond that there was no interactivity. This made the game simple, but also gave the player few options, with the only possible decision being when to release the coin on its perilous quest.
Craig wandered around the ticket dispensing machines and was particularly attracted to one set up similarily to aroulette wheel. Unconvinced, I proceded to play a couple rounds of each of the present ticket machine archetypes. Eventually I realized that Craig was onto something and we refiend our techniques on the roulette machines. The trick revolved around acquiring the jackpot, which could only happen when a coin was put in at just the right time to fall in a small hole on the rotating game board. If you spammed the nickels in near the right rotation, you had at least a 50/50 chance of having one fall into the jackpot zone. A successful run could easily yield several hundred tickets. There was a catch though; once a jackpot was won, it would reset back to zero. At that point I would go off to play some different games while others were kind enough to build up the jackpot for myself and Craig. The whole point of this is that by the end of the night, the operator estimated that by weight alone, we had amassed over 2000 tickets, enough to acquire something really interesting.
Splitting our hard earned roughly evenly, we managed to get two “Kinetic Orbitals”. In the style of engadget, gizmodo, and other famous gadget oriented sections of the tubes I now present for the world at large, a full unboxing event for the “Kinetic Orbital”, a mildly sought after arcade prize that in all probability spent the last ten years of its life collecting dust in under the arcade operator’s counter.
The box resembles the work of Andy Warhol’d Beehive, but also reminds me of corporate lunchrooms circa 1990. Let’s see if a side view fares any better.
Again, nothing to outstanding, except a noteworthy dent, evidence that this unit probably did not hail form the top of the stack . A classic 3/4 view would probably the best way to display this box’s artistic style:
So the box is great and all, but how big is it really? I’ll compare the Kinetic Orbital to a Nintendo Game Boy Color (A purple one, if that helps with the sense of scale) :
The box was probably ecologically sensitive, since it was probably made during several earlier evolutions of corregated cardboard. Many modern boxes were made from materiel that was pre-consumer product in this era.
The unit was clearly divided into two distinct parts: a black plastic base which contained the space necessary to install a 9 volt sized battery (sorry, batteries not included). Even if batteries were included they would have likely expired at least four years ago.
With a tough assembly job ahead of me, it did not take long to realize that each piece was specifically designed to fit together through pressure fitting or ball-style joints. The base materiel proved to be both flexible enough to bend to accommodate the necessary movements to fit pieces together as well as providing a firm enough structure to survive many demanding days of spinning in small arcs.
After much blood, sweat, and tears, the Kinetic orbital was fully assembled and ready to perform in its full glory. But wait, there’s more! For those who have trouble comparing the size of a fully
So to finish off the unboxing, we have a video demonstrating this wonderful device in action. At the time of the filming, there were insufficient 9 volt batteries on site, so we had to settle for a bit of a Kinetic boost.