mechanical amusement complex


i’m not gonna do a whole post full of images because i honestly don’t know that much about this yet, but i just recently i ended up going online and learning that there used to be a thing called “trade stimulators” that were like old timey wild west slot machines that gave you gum and fortunes and stuff.

the gamers have truly been around since the dawn of time, we’re just finally starting to emerge from obscurity recently

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they aren’t coin-ops, but tomy had a line of handheld games called “pocket arcade”, which look like videogames, but are actually clockwork


there’s tons of them


I played this at a Barcade recently. When you play, a hole near the bottom lights up and you have to get the ball in there. As you progress, the lit hole you have to reach gets higher. It’s pretty fun!

I still have my Bocca fortune somewhere from literally ten years ago when I first when to the Museum.

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That English Execution one is exactly the same as the one at Marvin’s. The priest’s arms in the video are a lot more expressive though. I think our gears are missing a couple teeth or something.

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Side note: the guy who makes all of those made a TV show called the secret life of machines which is one of the best educational TV series I’ve ever seen.

Kind of like a halfway point between Mythbusters and How It’s made but on a non existent budget shot almost entirely in a shed on a field in England.


i like the one where you can stare at a giant shoe

also the bocca della verita blows cold air on your hand when you reach in the mouth for a fortune and its so much scarier than blood puking or biting or anything else I LOVE IT

i also used to frequent the musee mechanique with SB people, my favorites were all the peep shows that would use clever wording to trick you into viewing mundane activities

they’re also great to look at and touch


those tomy games look excellent!! and I love doctor nim, there’s something interesting about having these things portrayed as a doctor, or some other kind of authority whose mind workings might be imagined as intimidatingly beyond ordinary human ken. I think of things like ELIZA being represented in a “therapist” format…

I see Gremlin Industries were mentioned itt, I’m still reading through that arcade history blog and they have a good series of articles going through that history: . Here is a choice factoid for all the Gremlinheads out there:

skeevy-proto-booth-babe-stuff aside I was happy to discover that “Gremlin Girl” was both once a paid occupation and also had such a magnificent kill/death ratio.


also, re. more contemporary art machines, I really want to post a video of one of the “useless machines”, or “ultimate machines” - the ones which are just a box with a switch, and once you push it a hand comes out of the box and turns the switch off again. but it’s so hard to find the specific video I was thinking of! obviously the exact mix of like manufactured wilful uselessness and vague user hostility is extremely videogames. but beyond that, there’s the question of - - waiting the exact right amount of time between pushing the switch and having it pushed back. the aesthetics of the box and of the hand - small or incongruously bulky and mysterious? at what speed does it emerge? should it be cute or eerily mechanical looking? within these questions lies the entire aesthetic range of what would later form the videogame art.


another godzilla game

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This one, maybe?



oh, this post makes me think of maywadenki, a kind of art/tech company?

they made such things as the newton gun, which fires an apple directly at the earth’s core (it drops the apple) and other machines that function perfectly, but serve no purpose


There is a local artist that does lots of these, one was in my local pub for a while. I recently, and completely accidentally, came across an exhibition full of his work.


I remember this guy from back in my uni days. I think he used to help out around the glass studio. Seemed like a swell guy. Never actually managed to see one of his exhibitions though


Well, it’s up over at the WINE CUBE if that’st not too far.


Mouth of Truth cameos

Fire Emblem 14

Tomb Raider Chronicles