In my memory there have never been many arcades in Northern Ireland and they are becoming increasingly rarer in favour of machines that pump out tickets to be exchanged for prizes. It's unfortunate but I figured there must be some hope, some arcades still hidden away and worth visiting in Ireland.
My hunt began in Portrush, Northern Ireland. I was severely disappointed again and again. I did manage to find a few cool machines I'd happily have spent the day filling with my £1 coins but unfortunately there seemed to be something wrong with all of them.
First up, The House of the Dead 4, should have been loads of fun with the cute uzis and gross zombies. Nope, the trigger on one of the uzis didn't work leaving me only able to throw grenades and shake off zombies, no fun at all.
Then I found Time Crisis 3, another one I was really looking forward to playing for hours but alas, sticky triggers on both guns ended that fun early too.
Both these machines were in arcades along the main street in Portrush, I doubt I'll ever visit either again. They were both filled with games that are all luck and chance rather than skill, and of course big shop areas where you can buy all sorts of 'prizes' with your randomly acquired tickets. I suppose some people find this fun but it's not my idea of a good arcade.
One of the arcades did have 2 Sega Rally 2 machines, allowing up to 4 people to race together and apart from a loose steering wheel this worked well. I got my ass handed to me in the first race but managed to pull it back for the 2nd, pipping my opponent to the post just in time to induce the fun-to-watch loser rage!
There were a few other arcade machines in Barry's Amusements, these seemed to be in better condition than the main street arcades but unfortunately there wasn't much choice, with Ghost Squad being the only one worth playing. Both guns had very wobbly cursors but this didn't affect gameplay too much and I actually managed to enjoy the game. This is the only machine I'd consider revisiting in Portrush but I'd still rather have a better arcade someone else.
If you know of any good arcades anywhere in Ireland PLEASE let me know. I'm gonna have to spend my weekends hunting down some good machines that actually work and would love some recommendations. I've heard Bundoran is good, have you been there recently? Have they replaced everything with ticket machines or is it still a place worth visiting? Let me know!