The legendary 2nd base
The above building looks amazing doesn’t it? This is or at least was the entrance to 2nd Base Pool Hall a no frills place to bang away a few racks of pool. If memory serves me right they had one full sized snooker table and maybe half a dozen pool tables at twenty pence a go. I could say this was where I learnt how to play pool but I didn’t I was sh*t then and I’m sh*t now but I’m consistent.
For a wee while around about 1988/89 a Saturday morning would be spent hanging around the below arcade jamming ten pence pieces into whatever was the game to play at the time. There was usually a decent crowd around the TMNT machine which may have been a pricey fifty pence a pop. One of the chaps from school was a bit of a star on Ikari Warriors, I preferred to test my skills on the most amazing arcade machine in the place the stunning Kick and Run. A massive cabinet that could accommodate four players not just with a joystick and a few buttons but with a little foot peddle for kicking the ball.
It looked so cool to see player actually jumping in celebration after you’d scored a goal, bearing in mind that graphically I was used to playing Match Day II on the Commodore 64. Kick and Run was like walking out onto the Wembley turf. I don’t think I ever managed it past the second game and after playing it on MAME I still can’t aaaaaghh! At least it’s free now.
On the top floor of this fine gaming establishment was Tehkan World Cup. A top down football game with a ball for controlling the players, it was tough as f**k needing the arm of a riveter to proceed far in this game.
Playing through MAME I managed to reach the final narrowly loosing by two goals to one. It was the kind of legendary performance that had it happened twenty five years ago would have gained me much respect in the hard bitten world of the arcade gamer.
The kind of performance that years after would be remembered by misty eyed men nursing their pints in the local boozer saying “Remember that kid in the arcade that came so close to beating Tehkan World Cup?” his old buddy would cast his mind back and visualise the teenage sensation with a right arm like a riveter(too much Tehkan World Cup) walking away from the game never to stick another twenty pence in it. Like the stranger in Lago he’d painted the town red and left the people in awe!
Not sure how long the arcade has been shut now it was a fair size with a basement, ground, first and second floor it must have been raking in a fair amount of cash back then. An old over 18’s only poster is still on the window but it was anything goes back then, what could be wrong with luring kids in with shinny games machines before getting them hooked on fruit machines.
On one sunny Saturday I won big on a video horse racing game with my last ten pence the plan after that was to nip home grab some dinner and come back to clean the f**ker out! Well myself and a chum did clear the machine out but we didn’t heed the golden rule ‘QUIT WHILE YOU’RE AHEAD’ and promptly fed our pieces of silver back into this rigged device grrrrr!
Even in the late eighties the video arcade was heading towards it’s doom with the home console just over the horizon, something they would never have seen coming when we were paying £1.99 for the latest Code Masters game.