The Arcade’s Robot Ancestors: Electro Mechanical Games

3 09 2012

When I was really young (in the very early 1970s), there was a style of game arcade game that would seem alien to most gamers of today: electro mechanical games. Preceding the [commercial] video game, they were arcade games that utilized motorized mechanical bits and lighting effects to create a gaming experience.

Humongous, noisy cabinets with flashing lights and sirens recreated everything from naval battles to horse and motorcycle races with varying degrees of success and or failure. Companies like SEGA (among many other companies) with their 1968 game, Periscope, bridged the gap between pinball and videogames.

The specific games that I recall playing as a kid were a motor cycle game with model bikes, a lunar landing game with a model of the moon and a replica lunar lander on a cable, and a cool (for the time) car chase game called The Car where a movie clip played of a chase scene (you’re following a orange car) and you have to move the steering wheel back and forth to keep from…uh… hitting the sides of the road and traffic. If you went off track a loud grating noise was heard and an orange light flashed. It was simple but I was young and easily impressed by shiny things. I still am, actually.

There was a lot of ingenuity and hard work put into these machines and few survived the years due to the fact that moving parts break down and become scarce and eventually impossible to replace in time.

Actually, a number of electromechanical games made it to the home in the form od various racing, bowling and other games, including a mechanical representation of Pong called Blip.

If you ever get a chance to play one of these machines, I definitely suggest it. Check out some videos below of some different machines that were out in the wild, back in the past.

 

Missile (1969) Sega
Captain Kid Light Gun Game (1966)
Space Flight (1969) Bally
Hill Climb (1972) Bally
Moto Champ (1973) Sega
American Indy
Silver Gloves (1948) Mutoscope
Panzer Attack (1974) Midway
Sonar (1972) Sega
Advertisements

Actions

Information

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: