Arcade Raid! Playland Park, Flint, Michigan

Playland Park has been a cornerstone of household leisure within the Flint space of Michigan since 1968. Hank Werner created Playland, which housed go-carts, miniature golf, an ice cream parlour, pizza and later, arcade video video games and pinball.

Previous to its latest closure, the enterprise thrived all through the 70s and 80s, and even after Hank retired, his household saved issues operating, staying open and sustaining a constructive fame as a neighborhood centered enterprise within the native space. This was the place to return to have enjoyable for generations of locals and vacationers. In more moderen years, holding the place maintained and worthwhile has been more difficult. Playland diversified the enterprise, by decreasing the dimensions of the arcade, and opening a few “Escape Rooms”.

Playland Park. Virtually fifty years in enterprise is a reasonably good run for any arcade!

In decreasing the footprint of the arcade, the machines themselves had been moved right into a basement space, which is the place we decide up the story.

KLOV person Esqueleto received in contact with me to share the story…

My curiosity was peaked just a few years earlier than Playland lastly closed final 12 months. They’d listed just a few video games on the market on the native Craigslist labeled pages. They saved decreasing the dimensions of the arcade to make method the addition of a pair escape rooms, which have turn out to be fairly well-liked right here lately. After inquiring in regards to the video games that had been listed on the market I made an appointment to cease over and test them out.

Whereas there, Esqueleto requested if the homeowners had every other previous video video games round that had been now not getting any love.

That’s after they confirmed me the video games within the basement….

So what you might have is a reasonably distinctive state of affairs, when video games got here to the tip of their life – both not being performed or breaking down, the cupboards had been saved down within the basement beneath the arcade. What this created was a treasure trove of classics.

However the tragedy is there seems to have been a gradual pipe leak that went unnoticed for a very long time. These footage had been taken in the summertime of 2015. Brace your self:

At first look, every thing seems to be fairly strong, and an excellent vary of titles in view. Tempest, Pac-Man, Area Invaders, Centuri Eagle – even a Sega Area Ways cockpit on the appropriate thereNintendo twin monitor Vs cupboard – a pleasant discover. Dangle on – that ground seems to be a bit damp…Q*Bert seems to be to be in “survivor” situation at leastSo right here’s the place it will get painful. Have a look at the bottom of the Area Invaders, to not point out that watery puddle….Oh man. Sega Outrun, Atari Xevious behind it. Don’t take a look at the Pac-ManOK let’s take a look at the Pac-Man. That is why water and basic arcade machines don’t combine!The Centuri Eagle seems to be completeA actual basic right here. Atari’s Soccer, full with face to face trackball set upHere’s a better take a look at that Xevious. Every thing seems to be OK till you take a look at the decrease 18 inches of the cupboard. Word the warping from the water ingress. This is able to be a typical themeAtari System 1 cupboard, and Atari Millipede within the background…

What’s clear from these pics, is that every thing had taken on some severe water. But when there’s something to be salvaged from this sorry story, it’s the acquisition of components. While the woodwork of a lot of the cupboards was utterly destroyed by water, there have been many components that had been in a position to be saved.

Esqueleto over the following few years, was in a position to revisit the arcade a number of instances and purchase an enormous quantity of components and cupboards on every go to. Right here’s a video of 1 such haul:

So while the cupboards had been destroyed, the majority of these management panels you see behind Esqueleto’s truck had been all saved.

Other than the components taken over time, not a lot had modified within the basement. One or two cupboards had been offered off and eliminated by a handful of native collectors – it’s value noting that not every thing needed to be scrapped or stripped for components. In direction of Playland’s remaining closure final 12 months, there was a severe effort to rescue any remaining components and promote them off.

In case your abdomen can take it, right here’s extra scenes from the basement!

Sega CarnivalLook on the base of the Galaxian. Youch!However once more, there’s components galore right here. Management panels, coin doorways, bezels and displays. All fascinating to maintain different video games aliveLet’s not dwell on this picWeird Robotron conversion there! Word the bottom of every cupboard….Kee Video games Tremendous Bug right here. NiceFrom reminiscence that’s a Gottlieb No Man’s Land. The damp has executed attention-grabbing issues to the paintwork!Williams Joust transformed to a Konami Tremendous Basketball? (I’m guessing right here – somebody will right me I’m positive)These two had been saved and had been dry. Yay!Taito Qix cupboard. Lifeless.That’s what’s left of a Stern Berzerk arcade cupboard. I’ll wager there’s salvageable components in there someplace although.However let’s finish on a constructive. That is the again finish of a Nintendo RadarScope cockpit. One of many rarer arcade components to pay money for, and this was strong – each side had been pulled out of the basement, which is nice information!

Esqueleto tells me that there’s a hearsay about an Aztarac being discovered and bought by one other collector within the space. Given the opposite components pulled from Playland’s damp and humid basement, I’d think about that’s not a completely unrealistic chance.

It was a reasonably unhappy sight down there. However you must look on the constructive aspect of issues. A fantastic haul of components and PCBs had been saved from the wreckage of the basement. I grabbed Jamma boards together with 6-player X-Males, Killer Intuition 2, NFL Blitz, Mortal Kombat three and a ton of CPS2 titles.

So what’s the state of Playland now? Properly the constructing was bought by the native authority and since demolished. The go kart tracks have been ploughed over, so the whole thing is now only a subject awaiting growth at this level. A number of redemption video games, Daytona USA machines and basketball video games received left behind in what remained of the arcade. These we hope had been saved by the demolition crew.

Right here’s a cool video that somebody put collectively of Playland over time:

So there you might have it. A bittersweet raid. The excellent news is the large myriad of components – coin doorways, management panels, bezels, PCBs, wiring looms and displays are on the market within the palms of collectors – hopefully now getting used to maintain different arcade cupboards alive. All was not misplaced!

Playland Park: 1969-2018

Thanks as all the time for studying this week. Large because of KLOV person Esqueleto for the heads up right here, and for permitting me to share the images and story on Arcade Blogger.

When you have an arcade raid story to share – get in contact!

You possibly can learn lots extra arcade raid tales within the archives.

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See you subsequent time.

Tony

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