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Coral Island Blackpool Review – revisiting a once great retro arcade

Published on 04/01/2013 by in Arcade Tours

Black & White picture of Coral Island from 1980's with video title

Coral Island Blackpool – one of the North West’s seaside resort’s most iconic amusement arcades, it’s been there certainly as long as I can remember.  I have very fond memories of spending a big chunk of my pocket money in there during the 1980’s when it was a video arcade game fans paradise.

November 2011

Fast forward 30 years and I find myself in Blackpool on Friday 4th November 2011 just before Replay 2011, myself, my girlfriend and my brother decide to grab some fish & chips and have a look around the arcade.

Direct link: http://youtu.be/0xApX-d7rpw

While I accept that times have changed, naturally i’m a bit sad.  Coral Island Blackpool used to be a mecca for video game fans – I remember where there used to stand rows of classic arcade games, particularly in Zaccaria cabinets.  Games such as Popeye, Konami’s Ping Pong, Hyper Sports all used to be beautifully lined up and seldom were they unoccupied.  Slowly though towards the end of the 80’s they were replaced with monstrous 8-player racing games like Daytona USA.

Now, throughout the majority of the arcade’s in Blackpool, there’s not a joystick in sight, all the games that I remember are replaced with newer ones, at one pound a play compared to the ten pence from back then (that’s hyper inflation for you).

It’s not all bad news for Blackpool, to be fair, this was late on a Friday night and yet still there were plenty of people wandering about and it was nice to see the games being played.

Zaccaria Upright cabinet in our arcade

Zaccaria Upright Cabinet in RGP Arcade

Coral Island at one point a few years ago had removed most, if not all of their video games.  Replacing them with pushers, redemption machines and of course, life sucking fruit machines surrounded by ropes and guarded with signs saying “18 only”.

Luckily they’ve seen the light and a few of the newer better games are there such as After Burner Climax and OutRun 2 Special Edition – although why it has dual steering i’m not sure.  Some fun games like Guitar Hero and Dancing Games were there as well, however, I only found one real “joystick” game which was Virtua Tennis.

While the place was clean and tidy, the machines could do with some maintenance, a number of dead screens were visible but of course, you don’t know whether they failed that day or 6 weeks ago.

I hope that eventually places like Coral Island, Mr T’s, Funland etc on the Golden Mile in Blackpool grab at least a few multi-game cabinets that will appeal to some of us retro heads.

Even though I have an arcade of my own full of the classics, you can’t beat going on a field trip to the seaside, eating street food and playing some credits on those games.

For more information about Coral Island, visit their website at: http://www.vrblackpool.co.uk/blackpool-virtual-tour/Coral-Island–Blackpool-Golden-Mile.html

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