PerezStart had the pleasure of taking a field trip this past weekend and visit the Classic Arcade Gaming Tournament hosted by Richie Knuckles (RK’s) in Flemington, NJ. Upon entering the “arcade games” I felt a happiness I haven’t felt in a long time…a long time..
I was greeted by the most knowledgeable lady, Ms. Paige Knucklez, who made us feel at home and was most cordial. We discussed Richie’s history in starting his passion of arcade gaming. Unfortunately, we missed Walter Day so my Guiness Book of Video Games is still unsigned :(. After our salutations, we ventured throughout the room and were amazed by what we saw. Not only were the selection of games outstanding, but most importantly the condition and quality of the cabinets were impeccable. I must of played Qbert 20 times and I could not get over how responsive the controls were. “No joystick lag here”
We met Tim Sczerby who was the Donkey Kong scoring Champion before Billy Mitchell surpassed him (he’s currently ranked 3rd). He was attempting to break the world record again that night, and we witnessed his score of 582,000. Watching the former World Title holder of Donkey Kong, Tim’s mechanics and concentration demonstrated his passion for Arcade Gaming. His secret? A McDonald’s #1 meal and lots of gaming space. He monopolized the entire isle with his imposing posture and his score sheet letting him know if he was on par to break the points record. Honestly, I would have preferred him to perform a “Kill Screen” at RK’s since that would have been that locations first one!
I had the pleasure to watch Mr. Donald Hayes take on Donkey Kong Junior for a spin. I have never seen anyone play DKJ the way he did. He was so precise with every movement. We all know how challenging DKJ can be, he made it look elementary. Oh yeah, and a stool goes a long way…
PerezStart had the opportunity to exclusively interview Mr. Richie Knucklez and we asked him questions that inquiring minds want to know.
1. PerezStart: Do you have any more arcade units or are they all here in the arcade now?
Richie: I have more units at home, I like to rotate them twice a month and keep the selections fresh for my customers.
2. PS: What did Walter Day have to say about your establishment?
Richie: Walter Day, former head referee for Twin Galaxies said this is the first time Richie Knucklez is hosting the event in Flemington and we look forward to holding more competitions with Ritchie in the future. Walter posed for some nice pictures with myself and Paige and signed a referee shirt which now hangs on the wall in the arcade.
3. PS: What do you think about MAME, is it a good thing or bad thing for gaming.
Richie: I think that Mame is great, it gives a game a chance to practice for the real thing and of course variety. However, some games cannot be played on a MAME machine. Specifically 720, Pole Position, Paperboy, these games must be played on the original. If you would ask me a question, Would I rather have one MAME machine or 50 classics in my basement, I would much rather have the 50 classics.
4. PS: Do you do all the repairs on these machines yourself?
Richie: I am the most knowledgeable technician on these machines in the world. I am ok with pinball machines, but arcade units are my specialty! – PS Interview End
I had the opportunity to play games I never played in the arcades before, and boy were they better than their console ports. If you remember, I wrote an article about bad game ports and this experience reminded me of the article.
I played, Asteroids for the first time on an arcade console, circa 1979. I never realized that asteroids was meant to be played without a joystick, the arcade had a rotate button, thrust button for movement, fire button and hyperdrive. This setup changed the total feel and look of the game. I also played Asteroids Deluxe which had a hologram effect and a new shield button.
Defender also had a different control layout, joystick only moves up and down and left and right were controlled by buttons. Tempest and Missile command also had a much different feel than on the console’s we’ve played them on in the past.
Overall, the experience was life altering. It added new perspectives to experiences that were in our heads since childhood. The staff was so accommodating, units were impeccable and the ambiance was very 1983. And that’s a good thing.
If you’re in New Jersey, stop by Richie Knucklez arcade game in Flemington, NJ and tell him that Perezstart sent you. Our crew plans to be there on many Flashback Friday’s, where you pay a $10 fee and play from 5- 10PM. Hey Richie, any chance on extending the hours til midnight? I didn’t want to leave this past weekend!