Monday, December 19, 2011

Galaga Review: My Flagship Machine

Location: Launderland, 4852  Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA

This is to be the first in a series of Galaga Machine reviews. Since one of my "life rules" is to play a Galaga arcade machine whenever I see one, this should be a pretty fruitful pursuit.

1. Cost: 25 Cents (10/10)
No classic arcade machine anywhere should ever cost over a quarter!

2. Standup Machine

2. Controls: Sticky (4/10)
This is one of the tougher firing buttons that I deal with on a regular basis, only firing off a shot at the aliens maybe 50% of the time. It takes some getting used to. The controls almost always fuck up when you're trying to enter your name in the high score list, so you end up entering the wrong initials, not that it matters because the list resets it's self every night anyway, but still... fuck.

3. How Many Starting Ships: 4 (10/10)
I think four is the highest amount of ships you can start with in a Galaga game. If it turns out there are more on other machines, I will revise the rating system.

4. Setting/Distractions: Busy, very annoying (4/10)
This machine is smack dab in the middle of a very busy and very ghetto laundromat, so it is rife with annoying distractions, most notably the ever present crackheads/schizophrenics who hang out in there, sit by the door and yell at everyone for hours. In addition, you got screaming kids, mad mommas, and occasionally hot babes who are distracting in a totally different way.

The last time I was in there, some dude came in from the street and fucking ATOMIC BOMBED the bathroom with such a rancid pile of steaming shit that I could not tolerate being inside the 'mat, and was forced to sit outside playing Tetris on my phone instead of Galaga! 

5. Permanent High Scores: No (1/10)
Apparently, this machine is turned off every night, so there are no permanent high scores. Yargh!

6. Amenities: Abundant (8/10)
Being right in the middle of a laundromat, you can change your cash into quarters until you run out of money in the CHANGE MACHINES. If you get thirsty, you can go right next door to one of Telegraph Avenue's premier dive bars, The Avenue! Across the street is U & I liquor, actually my favorite liquor store in the area after the one on 40th and Broadway got shut down. Just one block away to the south you can get pizza and a pint at Lanesplitter, and one block to the north, you can get the $3.99 medium take out special from Pizza Nation. Eating pizza (along with wearing hi-tops, having a mustache, and listening to thrash metal) is one of the cornerstones of a serious Galaga player's lifestyle.

Also, this machine is actually a "classic arcade collection" that has a shitload of games on it. It just happens to include Galaga, so to me it is a Galaga machine. Sometimes when I get bored, I play other games, but honestly, I'm not very good at them. 

7. Wildcard: Flagship Machine (10/10)
This is my most frequently played Galaga machine, and even though it's a bastard of one, with gnarly controls and a horrendous people all around to annoy me, I use these things to my advantage. It's my training machine! I figure, if I can get good on this really crappy one, then I'll do really good on other Galaga machines that have better controls, better surroundings, etc. I'm also not playing for the glory of a high score, since they are not recorded here. Only god* is watching me! I'm playing just for myself, to heighten my own skills. This is my dojo, so I'm throwing in a 10/10 extra points wild card category for this machine.

Overall Score: 6.8 

That Magic Sword graphic on the side of the machine is really cool, but Magic Sword is NOT one of the games included in the classic arcade collection!


How The Scoring System Works:
1. Cost: 25 Cent Machines get 10/10, 50 Cent Machines get 5/10, etc.
2. Standup Machine: Tabletop or Standup does not affect the score
2. Controls: Score of 1-10 depending on how well the joytick and firing buttons function
3. How Many Ships: If you start with four, that 10/10 points, start with three, that's 5/10 points

4. Setting/Distractions: Score of 1-10 depending on if there are a lot of annoying people/noises at the location
5. Permanent High Scores: If the high score list is preserved in the machine, it gets a 10/10. If not, it gets a 1/10
6. Amenities: Score of 1-10 rating the availabilty of food, beer, other cool stuff close to the machine
7. Wildcard: This is a a category where I can add extra points to a particular machine for whatever reason I want

*=figure of speech

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