Potential New Pinball Location in Essex

MajesticPinball

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Jan 11, 2018
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#1
This week i reached out to Astro City Amusements, a freeplay arcade in Southend-on-sea and tonight i had a very lengthy discussion with Paul the owner who is very keen to invest in up to 7 pinball machines dependent on community support. Previously they had 5 pinball machines there but we’re unable to keep up with maintenence on them as they only had a general technician not a pinball specialist, and sadly got rid of them. Currently they only have a very sad SF2 machine (which i will be servicing this coming week hopefully) and bringing back up to standard. However, the owner is keen to form a ‘hub’ for the local pinball community.

I discussed many things with him and we came up with 2 possible options:
1) Him taking a big risk and investing in 6 other machines outright which he was concerned about doing as if players dont turn up then hes at a loss.
2) local owners using the arcade as free storage and placing their own games there which i was concerned about as he would be profiting from my own/others games.

I discussed the options of regular tournaments with him and thats also something he is willing to go ahead with. I would be keen to hear some of your thoughts/opinions and even more so if you would be willing to travel to the arcade to give it a go. What machines would you like to see? (theres not a big enough budget for a line up of new Sterns btw)

Personally, bringing the local community together is a huge priority, if i had the funds to open something like Tilt or Cheif Coffee i would love to but thats not really an option for me so this is the next best thing. But the owner just needs a bit more persuading!
 
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Sep 7, 2012
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#4
I was there when Paul opened up Astro City (formerly Lucky777) in Southend. It has changed a lot over the years. It's more of a private rental place now for parties and hence I haven't been for quite a while even though I frequent Southend's other arcades. I would love to go, but every time I'm there there is a kiddy's birthday. I understand that's where the business is for his arcade at the moment in order to bring in the money, maybe he can divide up a portion of his games for general walk-in customers? There's certainly enough room for him to do that, I've seen the storage areas.
 

Neil McRae

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Jun 5, 2016
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#5
I think the key to this is figuring out what the local scene is and who's willing to trek to S-o-S for pinball events like a weekly league. Taken us a year at flip out to get to a decent number of players... Needs a strong local gang to org tourneys fix machines and keep the place in tip top and its easier than it looks.
 
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MajesticPinball

MajesticPinball

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Jan 11, 2018
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#6
I was there when Paul opened up Astro City (formerly Lucky777) in Southend. It has changed a lot over the years. It's more of a private rental place now for parties and hence I haven't been for quite a while even though I frequent Southend's other arcades. I would love to go, but every time I'm there there is a kiddy's birthday. I understand that's where the business is for his arcade at the moment in order to bring in the money, maybe he can divide up a portion of his games for general walk-in customers? There's certainly enough room for him to do that, I've seen the storage areas.
Yeah definitely. He opens it up on free play 'lock in' nights to the public but he said the numbers fluctuate so much at the moment he relies on the parties. Last night there probably wasn't even 20 people there but he said a few weeks before that there was close to 100 people.

I think the key to this is figuring out what the local scene is and who's willing to trek to S-o-S for pinball events like a weekly league. Taken us a year at flip out to get to a decent number of players... Needs a strong local gang to org tourneys fix machines and keep the place in tip top and its easier than it looks.
At the moment I'm just trying to persuade him that the local community is there and would support the idea. I would be happy to host tournaments and deal with the maintenance for him, it's just finding the players.
 
Sep 7, 2012
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#7
When I was at the budapest pinball museum, they were hosting a party there at the time. The party VIP area was taped off with a dozen games or so, and some seating areas for food etc. The main areas of the museum was still open to the public which was shared by everyone. I thought that was a pretty practical solution which astro city could adopt if they had a few more games.
 
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MajesticPinball

MajesticPinball

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#8
When I was at the budapest pinball museum, they were hosting a party there at the time. The party VIP area was taped off with a dozen games or so, and some seating areas for food etc. The main areas of the museum was still open to the public which was shared by everyone. I thought that was a pretty practical solution which astro city could adopt if they had a few more games.
I still haven't been to the museum in Budapest I'm dying to visit it. That's a very fair point I don't know why Paul doesn't do something like that. When I first found out he was closed to the public during the week I was gutted. £3 for a hour of pool always seemed like such a bargain. But yes, there's definitely the space there for something similar to happen. He's pretty set on removing all the fruit machines besides one which will free up a lot of space for a row of pinball machines
 
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MajesticPinball

MajesticPinball

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Jan 11, 2018
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#11
Not a good look with all the out of order signs, nice photos though, I remember playing the gorgar often when it was only gorgar and star trek left.

I'm going down this Thursday to work on their SF2 and talk more with Paul. I think leagues/tournaments would be the way to go. Hopefully with my help the line up would keep "in order"
 
Sep 7, 2012
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#12
Do you remember the period when he struck a deal with the rhythm & dance enthusiasts and the arcade filled up with beat mania machines? It became very niche yet popular. I can't remember the specifics as to why it didn't work out in the end that I'm sure contributed to the change in business format. Maybe you can ask him about it and prevent whatever it was that caused the failure of that partnership repeating itself with any proposed pinball collaborations.
 
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MajesticPinball

MajesticPinball

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Jan 11, 2018
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#13
Do you remember the period when he struck a deal with the rhythm & dance enthusiasts and the arcade filled up with beat mania machines? It became very niche yet popular. I can't remember the specifics as to why it didn't work out in the end that I'm sure contributed to the change in business format. Maybe you can ask him about it and prevent whatever it was that caused the failure of that partnership repeating itself with any proposed pinball collaborations.
Yes i do, we spoke about that briefly. From what i could tell he didnt own any of the rhythem machines, people in the local beatmania community put them in there to save space at home and in return they all had a space to go to and socialise. It sounded as if people just wanted their machines back or wanted to sell them on and thus they all went. This is the main reason im trying to convince him to buy his own pinball machines instead of relying on the community.
 

JAG555

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Jul 23, 2017
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#14
I think it’s a great idea, if he can get it off the ground. The issue I have with Astro City is that he is not open enough or only open at specific times. I found it a bit frustrating always having to check beforehand.

My advice (for what it’s worth) would be to invest in new machines, they are easier to maintain/get parts for and people will come to play the new machine(s)

I have travelled to Southend Pier to specifically play Ghostbusters and Star Wars, so I would try and tap into that if he could. But buying 6-7 new machines is some investment! I would be involved though, if he was to go down that route.

Keep me posted and it sounds interesting.
 

JAG555

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Jul 23, 2017
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#15
Not a good look with all the out of order signs, nice photos though, I remember playing the gorgar often when it was only gorgar and star trek left.

I'm going down this Thursday to work on their SF2 and talk more with Paul. I think leagues/tournaments would be the way to go. Hopefully with my help the line up would keep "in order"
If you want any pointers on the SFII work, drop me a PM. I stripped mine down last summer. I am no expert, but I know my way around that machine a bit.
 
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MajesticPinball

MajesticPinball

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Jan 11, 2018
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#16
I think it’s a great idea, if he can get it off the ground. The issue I have with Astro City is that he is not open enough or only open at specific times. I found it a bit frustrating always having to check beforehand.

My advice (for what it’s worth) would be to invest in new machines, they are easier to maintain/get parts for and people will come to play the new machine(s)

I have travelled to Southend Pier to specifically play Ghostbusters and Star Wars, so I would try and tap into that if he could. But buying 6-7 new machines is some investment! I would be involved though, if he was to go down that route.

Keep me posted and it sounds interesting.
My suggestion was going to be for him to get the latest machine out (Deadpool or maiden) as the big investment and constantly flip that machine for the newest that is released. That way he can sell it on and not really have to spend that much more for the next newest machine which will draw in players. Then fill the rest of the line up with a few classics and and slightly older Sterns. That's just my 10¢ though.

Yeah the problem is the awkward opening times. It's sad that it's not open all day every day but if the private hire parties during the week are what keeps the arcade open for now then it's for the best.
 
Feb 25, 2016
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Essex
#17
Unsurprisingly JReedie, I am VERY interested in this.
Southend is just up the road and I would love to have some great, well maintained machines so close to home.
The idea of rotating the latest machines before they lose too much value is surely a tried and tested one and would (hopefully) make this financially viable.
Hope you can make this happen, pinball really needs be better represented in Essex and JReedie, you are doing a fine job in making that happen........build it and they will come.
Keep me in the loop.