The evolution of the amusement arcade
The fruit machine, or ‘one-armed bandit’ as it was disapprovingly named, has been an iconic symbol of amusement arcades over the last century.
But this single machine has hidden other aspects of the amusement arcades’ history. There has always been a range of machines from gambling, games of skill, to machines that are designed to give an adrenaline rush and offer extreme entertainment.
In the early 20th century ‘What the butler saw’ machines were many people’s first experience of seeing ‘moving pictures’. These machines became all the rage and they are what are thought to have launched the popularity of the very first arcades.
From the 1930s we saw the introduction of pinball machines with lights and electro mechanics. These bright and colourful machines were incredibly advanced for their time.
In the late 1970s arcades were revolutionised with the first computer games – like Pong, Space Invaders and then in 1980 Mr Iwatani invented the Pac-man… these arcade games became all the range.
The old fashioned slotties, one-armed bandits and pinball machines perhaps started to lose their appeal with the younger generation in the amusement arcades, now there were more interactive and challenging games machines to play.
As the new games grew in popularity so did the ‘personal’ versions to play at home… plugged into the TV such simple graphics and sound effects were keeping the kids and parents mesmerised….. and so from there, home entertainment gaming began, and it has come a long, long way in over thirty years.
But today the arcade machines are still incredibly popular, new machines are invented and re-invented. Following the new gaming laws which stopped ‘big stake’ gambling in arcades, redemption machines and skill machines grew in popularity.
Instance Automatics are worldwide specialists in coin operated amusement, vending and skill based prize machines and has been headed by Ian Eason for over 20 years. The business has grown from strength to strength designing and manufacturing products for operators that are both high quality and ultra reliable, as well as exciting to look at and entertaining to play. The company produce a range of grabber type machines including Prize Every Time vending cranes, direct vend Skill machines, flat pack Sticker and Tattoo vending machines and well as the very popular MAXX Grab Cranes.
“We constantly move with the pace and with the trends, in fact we sometimes create the trend! What is really important to us though, and of course our customers, is that we not only sell machines but we make sure we can give the back- up service, which is why we now have a dedicated online spares website with LAI, UNIS and Presas machines – as it is a new site it will be expanding quickly throughout the coming months covering even more machine manufacturers”.
But not only do Instance Automatics supply the machines and the spares, but also a massive range of consumables from capsule vends to redemption prizes, a huge range of temporary tattoos and stickers for vending – when visitors look on the website, it makes them feel like little kids in a great big sweetie shop…. how can you resist!?