Ocean City Part II: The Archaic Arcade
After seeing the best of what Ocean City has to offer in terms of pizza, which certainly isn’t Mack and Manco’s, it was time to explore another integral part of any shore town in New Jersey. I’m talking about the boardwalk arcade. While Ocean City has a couple, the one I had my sights set on was the Hollywood Arcade, which is full of old, classic table games.
I first discovered the Hollywood Arcade on my first and, until recently, only trip to Ocean City. The whole time I was there, I kept wishing I had brought my camera. There were all those old arcade games that I had never seen before, including a Tommy-themed pinball machine!
Fast-forward two years later, where my obsession for all things Jersey has resulted in me spending every single minute of free time that I have working on a stupid blog about the state. So, this time, I was well prepared. With my camera and a pocket full of quarters, I entered the arcade.
I immediately noticed that something looked different. On my last visit, there was a big grabby game where you got to play until you win. (I normally suck at those games, so I was extremely happy to have won a little rubber alligator). Anyway, this machine was no longer there, so I was worried that some of the other ones from last time wouldn’t be there.
My worries went away as soon as I saw this beauty:
Yes, El Toro. This old school carnival game involves grabbing the bull by the horns and pushing them together as hard as you can. Based on how much you push them, the dial in the middle will land on such things as “Sissy” or “Girl” on one end and “Quarterback” and “Boxer” on the other. The highest level you can achieve is “Champion.” As you can see in the picture below, I got about two-thirds up the dial, putting me right on the border of “Sportsman” and “Athlete.” I don’t consider myself to be much of either one, but, if an old timey arcade game says I am, it must be true.
The next relic from the arcades of yesteryear is the Love Tester. Despite showing signs of age, this machine was still standing tall. I guess it still sees a lot of action. Especially with having that hot CGI chick standing right next to it.
Unfortunately, I didn’t fare as well with this machine as I did with El Toro. That machine must have taken all of the testosterone out of me, since my love rating qualified me as a “Poor Fish.” I’m guessing that there’s some guy in the back who controls the results, purposely giving guys a low score when their girlfriends are standing right there. Either that, or this game cheats.
After seeing that Love Tester, I couldn’t help but think about that classic Simpsons episode where they showed potential spinoffs of the show. One of them had Grandpa dying and coming back to life as the Love Tester at Moe’s bar. It’s hilarious.
Speaking of the Simpsons (perfect segue!), they were represented at Hollywood Arcade with this classic game.
It must have been like 15 years since I’d played this game at the arcade at the bowling alley. One day, my friend and I spent a couple hours and a couple hundred dollars in quarters trying to beat this game. We eventually did beat it. I still have yet to accomplish anything in my life that has made me as proud as I was that day.
They also had another relic of my childhood: Turtles in Time!
Back in elementary school, I was a Ninja Turtles freak. Of course, now I realize that the premise is completely stupid. I guess it is possible that nuclear slime could turn four turtles into human-turtle hybrids with crazy karate skills and an affinity for pizza. The part that I never understood is their aversion to anchovies. Real turtles eat fish and wouldn’t turn it down. But back to the arcade game. This was another one I played in my youth. Though I never beat it, I think I came pretty close. I kicked ass as Donatello.
Despite the many unique machines at this arcade, there is something else that sets it apart:
This is perhaps the only arcade in the world, or at least the Armpit of America, to have both a Pac-Man and a Ms. Pac-Man machine. Come to think of it, if Pac-Man is the guy, wouldn’t his wife be Pac-Woman instead of Ms. Pac-Man? Whatever. Well, here they are, side by side, as the lord intended them to be (and so Pac-Man can keep an eye on the missus).
Continuing my way around the arcade, I came across one of those old fortune telling machines. Or at least I thought it was old. The frame and everything might be vintage, but the fortune teller itself sure wasn’t. Rather than having an old lady with warts and a moustache or an old guy like Zoltar from the movie Big, this fortune teller looked like an Eastern European hooker.
So those were the points of interest at the Hollywood Arcade in Ocean City. Sadly, the Tommy pinball machine was no longer there. That was such a letdown, because it really was the coolest pinball game I ever played and definitely the most appropriately themed one ever. It even had this trap where Uncle Ernie’s hand would capture the balls and fiddle about with them!
Even though it no longer has the Tommy machine, this arcade is still worth checking out. And it’s definitely worth spending a couple dollars on these vintage games you can’t find anywhere else.
Stay tuned for Part III of my Ocean City adventures. It will involve dessert and some creepy finds at the little shops on the boardwalk.