Is this the old Wizards Castle logo?

Commercial arcade venues available for playing at
cancze
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Re: Is this the old Wizards Castle logo?

Postby cancze » Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:32 am

cait001 wrote:thanks for the reply!
Now I want to hear from pinhead in regards to the pinball angle.


How long an arcade held onto their pins came down to local demographics. If an arcade had enough pin fans to offset to time expenditure needed to keep the machines going, that arcade would hang onto their pins for longer.

Pins were some of the most time intensive machines in the arcade for even basic upkeep, so they really had to pay their way if they were to be kept.

Giving a 90s era pin a proper, thorough cleaning could take up to 30 minutes or more depending on how much disassembly was required to access the table itself before you could do the washing, waxing and polishing of the table. Add to that the time involved in inspecting the rubber for degradation and testing all the microswitches for the bumpers and what not and you had a recipe for a money loser.

The amount of time needed depended on the game too; "Star Trek Next Generation" was a breeze to clean and relatively popular as long as the show was still on TV. However, "Last Action Hero" was a beast to clean and about as much a flop as an arcade game as it had been as a film in cinemas.

I knew that if I had to call a technician to fix a pin, I probably wouldn't see them for a few days as pins were low priority and fixing one for even the most modest of malfunctions would take the better part of an hour of the tech's time when disassembly and reassembly was factored in.

Through the late 90s, New Way Sales was selling off a lot of their pins and older video games. In that period, when a pin was pulled from an arcade it was a fair bet that it was being pulled from company inventory as well.

It made sense as very few arcades, at least in AB and SK regions that our techs covered, had demographics that supported pins. The Kingsway and HUB Mall locations kept pins on hand well after the last ones had been pulled from Mill Woods Town Centre and Southgate Mall. However, Kingsway and HUB had very different demographics and saw a much lower volume of high school kids and more post-secondary students and other 20 and 30 somethings coming in.

In that period, pins were much better off in the hands of collectors and enthusiasts who had the time, resources and passion to keep them going properly.

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OTTOgd
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Re: Is this the old Wizards Castle logo?

Postby OTTOgd » Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:10 pm

Yeah, great posts on your experience, cancze, thanks! Definitely interesting perspective.

Do you have any photos of the arcades you could share? That would be awesome.

cancze
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Re: Is this the old Wizards Castle logo?

Postby cancze » Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:33 pm

OTTOgd wrote:Yeah, great posts on your experience, cancze, thanks! Definitely interesting perspective.

Do you have any photos of the arcades you could share? That would be awesome.


Thanks, I'm happy to share. A lot of this stuff I haven't thought about in the longest time.

Unfortunately, I never took any pictures of the arcades where I worked. I'll scrub around the internet a bit and see if I can find some photos from the period to link here.

The two arcades at West Edmonton Mall, Circuit Circus and Wizard's Castle, are both still in place but at some point were renamed "Newplay". From what I've read, they are mere shadows of their former selves these days.

The Heritage Mall Wizard's Castle was gone before the 90s were out as was Heritage Mall. Both victims of a huge shift in local demographics as well as the business politics that created the sprawling South Edmonton Common shopping complex.

The Wizard's Castle at Millwoods Town Centre and Video Gym at Southgate Mall both were shut down in the 2001-2002 timeframe. Both had changing demographics working against them. Additionally, Sky Games had mall management against them as Southgate Mall went through a change in ownership and direction in the late 1990s and was reinvented as a fashion mall with no desire for an arcade in the mix. Sky Games was forced to a dead corridor in the mall and died a slow death there.

Neither Kingsway Mall nor HUB Mall seem to have arcades anymore from what I can find on the net, but I don't know when theirs may have been shut down.

I haven't lived in Edmonton for several years, so I'm not sure what the exact "lay of the land" for arcade type places is there at the moment. I suspect it's all wrapped up in cinema game corners and large purpose made entertainment centres such as The Rec Room and the like.
Last edited by cancze on Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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OTTOgd
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Re: Is this the old Wizards Castle logo?

Postby OTTOgd » Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:51 pm

cancze wrote:Unfortunately, I never took any pictures of the arcades where I worked. I'll scrub around the internet a bit and see if I can find some photos from the period to link here.


Fuzz. I never took any photos either. Why would I? Just hanging out, playing games in my youth at the time.

There are great photos here: https://www.flickr.com/groups/arcades/pool/page1


cancze
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Re: Is this the old Wizards Castle logo?

Postby cancze » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:36 am

OTTOgd wrote:Fuzz. I never took any photos either. Why would I? Just hanging out, playing games in my youth at the time.

There are great photos here: https://www.flickr.com/groups/arcades/pool/page1


Wow! Those are some awesome photos.

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Re: Is this the old Wizards Castle logo?

Postby cancze » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:59 pm

OTTOgd wrote:
Fuzz. I never took any photos either. Why would I? Just hanging out, playing games in my youth at the time.



I never thought to take pictures when I was a kid hanging out and certainly not when the arcades were just a place to work.

I've spent a good few hours today putting anything I could imagine into the searchbox to find some old pics of 90s era Edmonton arcades online, but to no avail. :(

I did, however, get a rather bittersweet walk down memory lane in the process.

I remember growing up in the Capilano neighbourhood in the 1980s. There were lots of young families in the area at the time and the old Capilano Mall had a great arcade called Circus Circus. I blew many tokens in the Space Harrier, Galaga and Gimme a Break machines there. Circus Circus eventually gave way to a Wizard's Castle there.

As a teen, I had braces on my teeth and the dentistry faculty at the University of Alberta was doing the work on me. Whenever I had to go to have work done, I always made sure to stop at an awesome games room they had in the basement of the student's union building.

By the late 1980s, we had moved house to the Mill Woods area of Edmonton and the Wizard's Castle in Mill Woods Town Centre became my arcade of choice. It was never a big arcade, but it served the purpose and was friendly.

I'd also go to the Heritage Mall WIzard's Castle when I could. During the time Heritage mall was still in full operation in the early 1990s, the arcade was a good sized one in a prime location right in the middle of the food court and had some awesome games.

In the early 90s, I got my first job with Wizard's Castle in the old Kingsway Garden Mall location. At the time, it was a good sized location near the food court and had good games.

Shortly after starting at Kingsway, I was permanently transfered to the Mill Woods Town Centre location and worked there until college commitments forced me to quit. I returned to work there after college and eventually took the manager job and did that for a year or two until I found a job in my line of training and left.

It was during the time I managed the Mill Woods Town Centre location that I picked up shifts at Kingsway and Heritage and saw how much they had both degraded. Kingsway was away from the food court in a sterile nook a third the size of the location I had started at and the Heritage location was a week away from permanent closure and was one of the last live tennants of a dead mall slated for demolition.

I found myself laid off and back in the arcade business a few months later at the Video Gym arcade in Southgate Mall and ended up as a substitute manager there while the actual manager was on sick leave.

In that period, I picked up a couple of shifts at the HUB Mall location and it wa sa pain to watch over. It was spread across three floors with the arcade office on the top one and just one person a shift to watch over it all. A four hour shift there was worth an intensive hour on a stepper machine.

When I left Southgate in 2001, it was my last arcade job. I made regular visits to the Mill Woods Town Centre location on my way home from the job I'd left arcades for and saw it die a bit each time until it was gone for good.

I remember going past the empty space one day soon after the arcade shut down. The security grate was locked across the entry and the post office/dry cleaners was set to move into it soonish. That day, there was one of the arcade regulars leaning his head against the security grate with the most despondent look on his face I'd ever seen. He had practically lived at that arcade and it was his escape from a crappy home life. :(
Last edited by cancze on Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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OTTOgd
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Re: Is this the old Wizards Castle logo?

Postby OTTOgd » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:36 pm

cancze wrote:...

I did, however, get a rather bittersweet walk down memory lane in the process.

I remember growing up in the Capilano neighbourhood in the 1980s. There were lots of young families in ...

Great post on your gaming history!

Add it to the this thread: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=16360

cancze
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Re: Is this the old Wizards Castle logo?

Postby cancze » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:17 am

OTTOgd wrote:
cancze wrote:...

I did, however, get a rather bittersweet walk down memory lane in the process.

I remember growing up in the Capilano neighbourhood in the 1980s. There were lots of young families in ...

Great post on your gaming history!

Add it to the this thread: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=16360


I would love to, but it seems that thread is locked.

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Azatotht
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Re: Is this the old Wizards Castle logo?

Postby Azatotht » Fri Nov 03, 2017 7:12 pm

cancze wrote:
OTTOgd wrote:Add it to the this thread: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=16360


I would love to, but it seems that thread is locked.


I'm not sure why it was locked now, i'm getting old and forgetting stuff :FP:

Was probably done at the thread original poster's request thou sorry.

This was an awesome read so far :mrgreen:
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