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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Rocket Gumball Machine

I must have been extra good this year as Santa brought me a cool rocket gumball machine! The machine makes an excellent addition to the arcade and is something else to plunk quarters into.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kong Off II

This past weekend I attended the Kong Off II and it was an absolute BLAST! The event was held at the 1UP bar on Blake Street in downtown Denver, Colorado. From left to right are me, my good friend Richie Knucklez, Walter Day and Jourdan Adler who is the owner of the 1UP. Walter was the creator of the original Twin Galaxies International High Score Scoreboard and the torch has recently been passed to Richie and Jourdan. I wish them the best to carry on the great tradition of of classic video arcade gaming. I made the trip with some good friends of mine – Scott, Bill and Zach – "The Arcade Rat Pack" which are now also known as the Michigan Mafia Coin-Op Collectors!

As for the event itself Jeff Willms of Canada won the Kong Off II with an amazing score of 1,105,400. Jeff's score is the highest ever recorded for a live event! For his accomplishment he was presented with the first place trophy, a championship belt, a check for $1,500 and the actual Donkey Kong machine he played on!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Kong Off II First Place Trophy

Heading to Denver this weekend for the Kong Off II at Jourdan Adler’s 1UP Bar. In honor of the event, which is being promoted by the creator of the Kong Off Richie Knucklez, I have made a custom arcade stool. The stool is going to be given to the first place winner of the event on Sunday, November 18th and that person will be crowned as the "Best In The World" at playing Donkey Kong. I'm looking forward to hanging out with many of my arcade buddies and finally getting to meet a few of them.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Right Stuff

One of the astronauts outside of the Apollo program I have always admired was John Glenn. Glenn, aboard Friendship 7, became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962. He epitomizes having ‘The Right Stuff’. Astronauts, as a general rule, infrequently interact with the public, sign autographs, etc. Many of the early astronauts have passed away. With that said can you believe the picture below?!?! Of course this will instantly be hung on the wall at Tranquility Base Arcade.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

....One Giant Leap For Mankind

I was saddened today to learn of the passing of Neil Armstrong. As early as I can remember, he was one of my inspirations to become an engineer. In my opinion he was the tip of the sword in the greatest engineering feat ever pulled off in the history of mankind. Without Neil Armstrong and the mission of Apollo 11 there would be no Tranquility Base Arcade. He proved to us that anything is possible. Armstrong's name is known around the world and he is one of America's true national heroes. He is characterized by fortitude, determination, courage and dedication. He put everything on the line for the betterment of mankind. Godspeed, Neil Armstrong.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Curiosity Has Landed!

Earlier this week NASA landed a rover named Curiosity on Mars. The six-wheeled rover is about the size of a small car and weighs approximately one ton. Curiosity’s mission is to determine the landing site's habitability including the role of water as well as the study of the climate and the geology of Mars. This data would be important for a future manned mission. Click  here to see an animated version of Curiosity landing along with footage from Mission Control.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lost Highway Arcade

I was lucky enough this past weekend to receive an invitation from John McCann to come and visit his Lost Highway Arcade in Altura, Minnesota. John shares a true passion for vintage arcade games and we have been corresponding via e-mail the last two or three years.  Seeing only pictures of the Lost Highway Arcade does not do it justice. You have to see this AWESOME arcade in person to get the full effect and witness his attention to detail.  WOW!!! 

John was also the inspiration for me attempting to tie the world record on one of my favorite arcade games from my youth - Sea Wolf.  John worked extensively with Twin Galaxies to verify the highest possible scores based on a specified time duration (this effort was probably just as hard as setting the actual record!).  Without these efforts it would not even be possible to attempt a Sea Wolf record.

Of course I needed to shake John's hand in front of Sea Wolf and pose for this picture, as currently we are “The Two Greatest Sea Wolf Players In The World!”

I guess now all I need to do is get my shovel going and start looking for a Skee Ball machine. 

Thanks John!  We had a wonderful time!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

1980 Atari Battlezone Cabaret

I recently acquired a 1980 Atari Battlezone cabaret. I had always wanted to add a Battlezone to the Tranquility Base Arcade but had pretty much run out of room. The cabaret model nicely solved that problem! Approximately 15,000 Battlezone games were made but only 2,000 of them were the cabaret model so it is fairly uncommon. Since the game was in storage for decades and is not working it has been sent to the Repair Station for diagnosis.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


My oldest daughter Danielle must have been taking notes while I was recently hanging up stuff in the arcade. When I got home from work today she greeted me with a picture that she drew at summer camp - "Here Daddy.....it is my 'Eagle Has Landed' picture to hang in our arcade." Her drawing is now the most cherished piece of artwork that will grace the walls of Tranquility Base Arcade. It doesn't get any better than that!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I finally had a chance to hang up some honors and awards at the Tranquility Base Arcade. Among them are my Twin Galaxies World Record certificate for Sea Wolf along with the 2011 'Game Room of the Year' award from the Gameroom Junkies. Over the next few weeks I hope to hang up a bunch more stuff that will add even more character to the Tranquility Base Arcade!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Special Delivery

I am continually amazed at some of the things that have happened to me since creating the Tranquility Base Arcade. One of the more astonishing events occurred recently when a former NASA employee with a love for vintage arcade games (a great combination!) stumbled across my web site and contacted me. Not only did we swap stories on arcade games, the field of engineering and the Space Shuttle program but he ended up sending me a package of his own personal OFFICIAL NASA ITEMS! Such generosity is simply stunning. I'll be featuring some of the items in the blog and of course hang many them in the arcade. Even more astonishing is one the items is actually a piece of Space Shuttle Atlantis! Tranquility Base Arcade now actually has something that went into space! Many, many thanks to my new found friend! A special delivery compliments of the Tranquility Base Arcade will be "landing" in your mailbox soon!

The cards, patches and stickers detail various shuttle missions. The sticker in the center of the bottom row commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle program while the patch on the left of the bottom row is for Space Shuttle Columbia STS-107, which was lost upon re-entry. The item in the center is a laminated card with a piece of the payload bay liner that flew on Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-125.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Michigan Pinball Expo

I recently attended the Michigan Pinball Expo and had a great time! There were hundreds of machines to play ranging from 1950’s woodrails to the new AC/DC. As an EM guy I was thrilled to play the new Big Juicy Melons along with such classics as Grand Prix, Aztec, Sky Jump, Target Alpha, Strato-Flight and 4 Square.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Apollo 11 Engines Found!

The founder of Amazon.com and long time space enthusiast, Jeff Bezos, has claimed to have found the original five F-1 rocket engines that were used to launch Apollo 11 into space! As reported they are 14,000 feet deep in the ocean and his plans are to bring at least one of them up for public display. The Saturn V rocket, which used a cluster of five F-1 engines, is the largest and most powerful rocket ever built and was capable of approximately 32,000,000 horsepower! I wish Bezos the best of luck in his recovery efforts and can’t wait to see one.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Where In The World Is Andy Nugent?

I first noticed the piece of masking tape on the lower marquee bracket of my Rally-X when I acquired it from the daughter of the original owner a few years ago. I felt that I would eventually pull the tape off when restoring the game however when I finally looked closely at the tape I immediately decided it should never be removed but remain in place as part of the game’s history. Why you ask? If one can look closely at the tape there is faded writing that reads: High Score 79,940 Andy Nugent Beulah, MI. The high score of a gamer from long ago! The game was purchased near Beulah, Michigan after being in service only a few short years. It thad been in storage since the early 1980's which indicates that the piece of tape has been on the game for 30 years or more! So if you are Andy Nugent or know Andy Nugent let him know the Rally-X that he played so long ago not only exists but he still has the high score!

Monday, February 20, 2012

50th Anniversary of Friendship 7

So many great feats of engineering led to the successful landing of Apollo 11 on the moon it is hard to imagine a top 10 list. Arguably the greatest ever was John Glenn's three orbits around the Earth in Friendship 7 50 years ago today. Even though his historic trip was cut short by a heat shield issue it was the greatest accomplishment in space at that time by any human and will never be forgotten. God Speed John Glenn!

The original newsreel detailing John Glenn's historic flight can be viewed on YouTube.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Richie Knucklez Arcade

Just before Christmas my good friend Scott and I made a 10+ hour trek to Flemington, New Jersey to see Richie Knucklez and his LEGENDARY arcade just before he closed the doors for good! After talking with Richie for quite some time it was fantastic to finally meet him in person. We had a blast, played arcade games, climbed on top of arcade games, delivered arcade games, told many stories and built a Star Wars chair. Scott shot video for a movie, took many pictures and to top it off we co-hosted Richie's Arcade Culture show!!! We even met Todd Tuckey, Kill-Screen Ed, Freeko, Andy, arcade ace Steve Wagner and many local arcade patrons. To show my appreciation I made a set of custom arcade stools for Richie and his entire family. They were a huge hit! Richie is a class act hands down. Brain buddies for life!

Monday, January 9, 2012

2011 Game Room of the Year

When Gameroom Magazine ceased operation in October 2010 the arcade collecting hobby lost a major inspiration point for homeowners to push forward and create their own unique game rooms. The honor of being immortalized on the pages of the magazine was every home arcade owners dream. Enter the Gameroom Junkies to save the day! In November 2010 Preston and Patrick picked up the slack and began featuring home game rooms on their Gameroom Junkies website. After an entire year of outstanding game room coverage a decision was made to have the arcade collectors of KLOV and elsewhere vote for the best game room of 2011. It was an honor for Tranquility Base Arcade to even be on the list and to win the GRAND PRIZE was just over the top! Thanks Gameroom Junkies! You guys are an inspiration to home arcade owners everywhere! I can't wait to receive my certificate, as it will be proudly displayed inside Tranquility Base Arcade!