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  • Chelsea Mannella

Flash Arcade, a "traveling arcade" made up of local enthusiasts Tim Uomoto and Sean Bray's personal collection of retro video game machines, is now on display at gallery/lounge Vermillion. Among the 18 games, all available for 50 cents or less per play, are five pinball machines, three shooting games complete with fake plastic guns, an old-school Street Fighter II and a new(er)-school Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (!!!), and classic multiplayer side-scrolling beat-em-ups like X-Men and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Not too long ago these bulky things were everywhere: restaurants, laundromats, 7-11s, malls. Now there have been seven "console generations" and you can play Modern Warfare against someone from Russia without leaving your couch. The oversized, stubborn (Time Crisis II and T2: Judgment Day were broken, and Uomoto had to open up the X-Men machine to fix it at one point) machines are the definition of obsolete, making them the ultimate piece of nostalgia for a very specific age group. People who were older when these games were popular saw them as for kids, and anyone born after the introduction of 16- and 32-bit consoles—the same processing speed as most old arcade games—played them on a TV instead.

Arcade Owner Uomoto and Demolition Man
  • Chelsea Mannella
  • Arcade Owner Uomoto and Demolition Man

But for me, and probably anyone else who grew up in the '80s or '90s and spent a fair chunk of their youth feeding quarters into these giant boxes, the fun factor hasn't changed a bit. The difficulty levels of Flash Arcade's games seemed to be on a friendly setting to minimize frustration, and there are placards on top of the machines with interesting facts and anecdotes from video game history. The installation runs until August 4, and cover is free (unless the bar decides to charge $5 on a Friday or Saturday). Vermillion's regular music/DJ nights in the back bar are still going on, too—tonight is "The Jam" with DJs Specs Wizard, Able One, and Absolute Madman. What's not to like here?

If anyone wants it in Marvel vs. Capcom 2, feel free to challenge me and get that ass whupped. Full list of all of Flash Arcade's games below:

X-Men (4-player version)
Badlands
Pac-Man
Ms. Pac-Man
T2: Judgment Day
Time Crisis II
Area 51: Site 4
Street Fighter II: Champion Edition
Marvel vs. Capcom 2
Golden Axe
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
King of the Monsters 2
720
Twilight Zone (Pinball)
Johnny Mnemonic (Pinball)
Demolition Man (Pinball)
Seawitch (Pinball)
Striker Xtreme (Pinball)