Yesterday, Topless Robot had the honor of being one of a select handful of media outlets invited to the launch of a new facility for Twin Galaxies – yes, the videogame records people you might remember from The King of Kong, if you weren’t already familiar with them otherwise. Unfortunately, it isn’t open to the general public on a regular basis at this time, but the massive facility in Banning, California (not far from the Cabazon dinosaur exhibit seen in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure) will be playing host to major gaming events in the future, and has assembled a massive collection of arcade machines – not just video games, but an even more impressive collection of pinball games and other oddities.
We’ll have video from the event later today (or as soon as I get it edited). In the meantime, however, allow me to present a handful of the strangest – and in some cases, most WRONG – cabinets and cabinet art on display.
1. Sexy Star Trek.
Twin Galaxies has many Star Trek games, related to everything from the original series to the JJ Abrams movie. Most notable, however, is this pinball game from the first movie era, which depicts the crew not only with ‘roided-out physiques, but anatomically unlikely proportions and poses as well. Maybe they all had a transporter accident this time.
2. Jack Bot.
Pin Bot, a character from a 1986 pinball game, recurred in several others, as we will see again in the next entry. Since we know the character’s name is Pin Bot, I think it’s safe to assume that the name “Jack Bot” refers to something else, and the way he’s groping that female android, it’s not too hard to guess what that might be.
3. Marilyn Monroe, Mikhail Gorbachev, Pin Bot, Dracula and Santa Hail a Cab.
It’s like the worst possible League of Extraordinary Gentleman lineup, if Alan Moore had written it as a screenplay in the ’80s, and Cannon Films bought it.
4. Police Force.
“Oh, hey, what’s the name of that new game you’re making?”
“Cool. So it’s about cops and stuff?”
“Anything else you’d like to tell me about it?”
“There’s nothing else about this game’s concept that might not be intrinsic to the title ‘Police Force’?”
“Nothing I can think of.”
“Like maybe that THE COPS ARE ANIMALS?”
“Is that weird? Huh. I didn’t know.”
5. Take My Breath Away.
For those times when you want to cash in on a popular trend, but don’t want to negotiate with a Scientologist for his likeness rights.
6. Moe Quarters, Moe Problems.
An arcade game in which the Three Stooges search for their fiancees sounds like all kinds of wrongness, and I couldn’t wait to play it. Alas, it was out of order, but since it was a 1984 game and couldn’t have had the appropriate sound effects, it’s probably better off left to my imagination anyway.
7. The Animals Are Horny.
On the right side of the screen, an elephant and rhino lust after a big-breasted female explorer in a tight tee. On the left, a snake, a tiger, a pink ape and a monkey drool over a male Tarzan-type with glowing chest. However you play out this scenario, it does not end well.
8. Bimbo the Clown.
My initial thought: it’s too bad this doesn’t work. I’d like to see exactly what the hell this think did when it was working correctly.
My second thought: let me back away slowly, lest this act like a much more evil version of Big‘s Zoltar machine. Bimbo belongs on a blind date with Annabelle, not entertaining suggestible children.
9. “Moppet Video Presents Leprechaun.”
This cabinet was just over three feet tall, as if designed for small children and actual leprechauns. I’ll never know how bad the game itself was, but all evidence points to “very.”
I confess I’m at a loss to think of any public establishment today where the owner would look at that and think, “Nope, nothing there to offend any of my patrons.” A barbarian appears to be offering a sex slave to Satan, and while I didn’t quite feel up to playing the game, it is apparently the first pinball machine to talk, with a vocabulary consisting of the words “Gorgar, Speaks, Beat, You, Me, Hurt, Got,” none of which makes it sound any less demon-rapey.
Oh, 1979, you were naive.
11. Mel Gibson.
If I told you there were a game based on a Mel Gibson movie, would Maverick have been even your fifth guess? I presume this is in stock with hidden cameras at the ready, just waiting for the day the Iron Sheik is a special guest at some event here and he spontaneously decides to smash it to pieces with his giant clubs.
12. Buck Rogers – Pinball Version.
If I tell you that the first thing I noticed about this artwork was that Gil Gerard’s eyes are drawn too close together, do I have to turn in my man card? Or just admit I’m old?
13. Buck Rogers – Sega Version.
Here we see that Buck Rogers is not merely a pilot of the future, but King Kong of the future, gigantic and grabbing at space planes.
In the game itself, you just shoot flying saucers.
14. Johnny Mnemonic.
Let me take a moment to emphasize something:
Warner Bros. did not make Mad Max: Fury Road available for licensed merchandise.
There is a Johnny Mnemonic pinball game.
Sadly, I could not get it to yell the best line in the film:
15. Space Pilot.
You’ll see this in action when I post the video, but basically, this features a motorized vehicle with a propeller on a mechanical arm, that you must manipulate so that it touches the appropriate points of contact on the corner poles to rack up points in the allotted time. This is a bit like the arcade equivalent to practical effects versus CG, in that you could do it so easily with graphics, but the handmade, tangible nature of everything about Space Pilot makes you go “How the hell did they rig this to work so well without computers?”
Luke Y. Thompson has been writing professionally about movies and pop-culture since 1999, and has also been an actor in some extremely cheap culty and horror movies you will probably never hear much about (he is nonetheless mostly proud of them, as he met his wife on one). As editor of The Robot's Voice since 2012, he can take the blame for the majority of the site's content, all of which he creates because he loves you very, very much. (Although he loves nachos more. Sorry.)
Prior to TRV, Luke wrote for publications that include the New Times LA, Los Angeles CityBeat, E! Online, OC Weekly, Geekweek, GeekChicDaily, The L.A. Times, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, and Nerdist