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Games recommendations, what do your guests enjoy the most?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
My new house has an unexpectedly large basement since the city of Toronto decided they won't let me park down there, so I was thinking about putting in a games room (the home theater is on the main floor). I'm thinking about a small bar, 3 piece washroom, widescreen TV, octagonal games table with reversible top for poker/bridge/other card and board games, a pool table, ping pong table, shuffleboard and MAME-style arcade machine, but I thought I'd check with you guys to get your real world experience with this stuff before I start designing! If you have a sec, let me know:


1. What are your favorite games, and your guests' favorite games? I don't want to blow $5k on a shuffleboard if everyone prefers foosball for example! And does anyone play ping pong anymore?

2. Do you have any recommendations as to games to stay away from, and why? Personally I like playing air hockey but it's so damn loud, it's hard for anyone else in the room to enjoy themselves.

3. What features of your room besides the games do you and your guests really enjoy? I thought a small bar and TV on a flexible swivel would be good for watching sports while playing poker for example. I also saw a guy who made a touchscreen PC jukebox which could be a fun way to listen to music down there.


This whole ruling by the city caught us with our pants down but I'm keen to turn lemons into lemonade, and any advice you guys have as to how to make a really fun games room that people will want to spend time in would be greatly appreciated! Thanks much!
post #2 of 33
At the parties I go to pinball machines are the most played, but once you buy one, you won't be able to stop.

MAME games are very flexible since you can play thousands of classic games on them. I think having a MAME built is a must.

At the parties I've been to, people rarely if ever play anything that isn't plugged in. My foosball and 8 foot billiard table go untouched.

Dave
post #3 of 33
the billiard at least looks cool, right? show pics.
post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmalloc View Post

the billiard at least looks cool, right? show pics.

I think it looks okay?




post #5 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by tidalwdave View Post

At the parties I go to pinball machines are the most played, but once you buy one, you won't be able to stop.

MAME games are very flexible since you can play thousands of classic games on them. I think having a MAME built is a must.

At the parties I've been to, people rarely if ever play anything that isn't plugged in. My foosball and 8 foot billiard table go untouched.

Dave

I just finished my rec room. Here's a link.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=915824


I did not get a pool table due to lack of space. It requires a huge footprint. That said, if the space is there and you don't need to compramize on other things, then it makes for a great centerpeice to the room. But, it likely won't get much use.

I went with 4 things (besides TV and such)

1) Bar
2) Games table

These are things that groups of people can gather around and socialise. A card table is particularly important to keep people buzy but interacting.

3) Pinball Table
This is great. Most adults have fond memories of playing pinball as a kid/teen. It's not something in every recroom and people love it. One to four people can play and it requires a short time commitment.

4) Multicade.
Primative by todays X-Box generation, there is a nostalgia value to playing Donkey Kong or PacMan. Being at an arcade console is the only way to play. `Can handle multiple players and has a short commitment time. Multiple games adds variety.

Both the pinball table and arcade game have small footprints which is ideal for most members.

Foosball tables and such are OK. One of those things that, if you played it all through college with your roommates, then get one. Otherwise, may not get much use...
post #6 of 33
Pinball is great... it is a game you can play by yourself, foot print isn't HUGE like a pool table or shuffle board, but isn't as small as an arcade, to play it would take less space then a fooseball table...

I find fooseball a tough one, you really need 2, preferrably 4 people to play, unless you have 2 competative people 1 on 1 is a bit of a waste of time and then if you don't have even teams for 2 on 2 it isn't a whole lot of fun either, now if everyone is just a casual player it can be a lot of fun, but personally I don't really enjoy playing with casual players and they don't like playing with me either

Pool table is a lot of fun, can play with greater then 2 people pretty easily, but holy smokes does it ever take up a lot of room... you can play byself but you have to pretty serious to do that. Personally I wouldn't put in a table smaller then a 6x12, I just like a 'real' table rather then small one, the challenge is limited on a small table, but again, if everyone is a casual player then smaller tables are fine.

Darts is another option, really small foot print there, cheap.

Ping Pong/Table Tennis is another option, but again, HUGE foot print, I love ping pong, wish I had the room for one
post #7 of 33
I will third the motion that pinball is great. I have 14 of them now (I need to update the pictures). and everybody can play pinball so nobody feels "left-out".

I like the idea of a MAME machine.

I have never gotten into pool at all, so for me a pool table is something that would be a waste of space (But I guess I understand people who like them)

Now the best thing that everybody seems to like is skee-ball. Every can play it, and it is very simple to understand. Everybody from 5 year olds to 65 year olds enjoy skee-ball.

It takes alot of space of course though.

Reedl
post #8 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by reedl View Post

I will third the motion that pinball is great. I have 14 of them now (I need to update the pictures). and everybody can play pinball so nobody feels "left-out".
Reedl


What pins do you have now?
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by tidalwdave View Post

What pins do you have now?

- Star Wars Trilogy
- Mr. Mrs Pacman
- Comet
- Star Trek TNG
- Jungle Queen
- Strike Zone
- Genesis
- Rocky and Bullwinkle
- Space Shuttle
- Space Invaders
- Playboy
- Firepower
- Sinbad
- Countdown


I also have a Whac-A-Mole, and a Skee-Ball, and also 7 video games.

Reedl
post #10 of 33
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the tips guys. In light of your observations I'll definitely pick up some cheap used gear until I'm sure it will get some regular use.

While my friends and I are more or less from the video game generation, I'll see if I can add a pinball to the mix - are there any tables considered "classics" that any pinball junkie would know and want to play, and what sort of price would you be expected to pick one up in good condition?

It also seems like the electronic entertainment is more popular than I expected. I've given some more thought to the MAME arcade and while it would be cool to have all those games available, many of them are really focused on solo play and in a party situation would involve one person playing while multiple people stand around and watch.

I took a look around and found this article, which lists the best 2-player/multiplayer games as polled from Slashdot readers, in other words die-hard video game nerds. As you can see there are some real classics on the list like Gauntlet and Warlords, however many of them are from platforms like Nintendo, Playstation and so on which a MAME machine wouldn't be able to handle.

Enter GameEx. GameEx is a front end to multiple emulators, ranging from MAME/arcade to Atari 2600, Nintendo 64, Playstation and everything in between. So far after playing with it for 10 minutes I've managed to play arcade Gauntlet, Goldeneye on Nintendo 64 and Herzog Zwei from Sega Genesis, tons of fun. Of course the challenge will be finding controllers from those old systems that will work on the PC, but from makers like X-Arcade and JoyBox it looks like I'll be off to a good start.

I'm also considering a Wii, X360 and PS3 to the mix, so that I can have access to the huge library of games available for the GameCube/Wii/PS1/PS2/PS3/XBox/X360 platforms, including all kinds of great multiplayer games like Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution, Super Monkey Ball, Halo, Karaoke Revolution, Mario Kart Double Dash and the upcoming Rock Band. If I focus on only popular multiplayer games and buy used equipment and games, I should be able to get a great setup for maybe $1500, or about the same savings I'll make from getting a used pool table versus a new one!

While I'll have to wait for the house to be ready to get all the console gear in there, I'll be working on the GameEx setup and I'll be sure to post my results once I have everything figured out and working. Wish me luck!
post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by karson View Post

While my friends and I are more or less from the video game generation, I'll see if I can add a pinball to the mix - are there any tables considered "classics" that any pinball junkie would know and want to play, and what sort of price would you be expected to pick one up in good condition?

It also seems like the electronic entertainment is more popular than I expected. I've given some more thought to the MAME arcade and while it would be cool to have all those games available, many of them are really focused on solo play and in a party situation would involve one person playing while multiple people stand around and watch.

I took a look around and found this article, which lists the best 2-player/multiplayer games as polled from Slashdot readers, in other words die-hard video game nerds. As you can see there are some real classics on the list like Gauntlet and Warlords, however many of them are from platforms like Nintendo, Playstation and so on which a MAME machine wouldn't be able to handle.

Enter GameEx. GameEx is a front end to multiple emulators, ranging from MAME/arcade to Atari 2600, Nintendo 64, Playstation and everything in between. So far after playing with it for 10 minutes I've managed to play arcade Gauntlet, Goldeneye on Nintendo 64 and Herzog Zwei from Sega Genesis, tons of fun. Of course the challenge will be finding controllers from those old systems that will work on the PC, but from makers like X-Arcade and JoyBox it looks like I'll be off to a good start.

I'm also considering a Wii, X360 and PS3 to the mix, so that I can have access to the huge library of games available for the GameCube/Wii/PS1/PS2/PS3/XBox/X360 platforms, including all kinds of great multiplayer games like Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution, Super Monkey Ball, Halo, Karaoke Revolution, Mario Kart Double Dash and the upcoming Rock Band. If I focus on only popular multiplayer games and buy used equipment and games, I should be able to get a great setup for maybe $1500, or about the same savings I'll make from getting a used pool table versus a new one!

While I'll have to wait for the house to be ready to get all the console gear in there, I'll be working on the GameEx setup and I'll be sure to post my results once I have everything figured out and working. Wish me luck!

You can get a MAME with 2-4 player set up. You don't have to get a MAME with just one control area. My MAME has a two person set up to play games like Rampage, Joust, Wizard of Wor, Gauntlet, etc.

You say you are of the video game generation. Well, I know a lot of people that have sold off all or most of their video arcade games and bought pinball machines to replace them. Once you get hooked on pinball, video games aren't as fun, you just don't connect with the game play on a video screen as you do with a metal ball and flippers.

As for classic pins, it depends on what era is classic to you. Popular pins in different eras include Eight Ball, Eight Ball Delux, Harlem Globetrotters, Comet, Space Shuttle, Pinbot, The Addams Family, Twilight Zone. All prices will vary based on pin and condition. Anything is the 1990's and newer will cost you 1k-4k and up. The older they are, typically the less expensive. Then you also need to factor in the upkeep for them.

As for the MAME, you should be able to play Atari, colecovision, older Nintendo and Sega games, etc. on it. As long as the controller was not analog you should be able to play it with the same set up you do for classic arcade games. You will need to configure the MAME to play the games, but the controller set up should work still.

I have the older systems on my TVs and have Wii and Xbox 360 also. The Wii is a great party system with the easy to learn controllers for games like bowling, tennis, etc. The Wii gets more play than the Xbox 360.

Seems like you've been doing some great research, good luck with your decisions!

Dave
post #12 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tidalwdave View Post

You say you are of the video game generation. Well, I know a lot of people that have sold off all or most of their video arcade games and bought pinball machines to replace them. Once you get hooked on pinball, video games aren't as fun, you just don't connect with the game play on a video screen as you do with a metal ball and flippers.

I completely agree re the disconnect with video games, in fact my original plan with the games room was for it to be "analog-only" - pool, ping pong, shuffleboard, cards and board games only! However I've seen first-hand how people who have never played a game in their life have gone nuts for multiplayer, party-friendly games like DDR and Guitar Hero, and from the comments in this thread it seems like people enjoy the electronic games so I figure I'll give it a shot for fairly minimal cost compared to a pool table or foosball.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tidalwdave View Post

As for the MAME, you should be able to play Atari, colecovision, older Nintendo and Sega games, etc. on it. As long as the controller was not analog you should be able to play it with the same set up you do for classic arcade games. You will need to configure the MAME to play the games, but the controller set up should work still.

I wasn't aware that MAME could emulate console systems as well as arcade games, but I'll look into it. Either way with GameEx and the various platform emulators available I should be able to play just about anything from an easy-to-use interface, which is the important thing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tidalwdave View Post

I have the older systems on my TVs and have Wii and Xbox 360 also. The Wii is a great party system with the easy to learn controllers for games like bowling, tennis, etc. The Wii gets more play than the Xbox 360.

I'm pretty clueless about all the new consoles, but I know my buddies like to play X360 stuff like Fight Night and Madden, while the girls enjoy DDR and Guitar Hero on the PS2/PS3 and the kids all like the Wii/GameCube games. I figure I might as well get all three since if I don't I know the first time I have people over to enjoy it someone will ask to play something from the one system I didn't get! Incidentally I did a quick eBay pricing on all three consoles with about 2 dozen popular multiplayer games and the total came out to about $1300, which seems like a steal for so much entertainment.

And thanks for the tips on the pinball games, I'm going to send that list around to my crew to see if people have any real faves then see if I can pick one up, guess I'm gonna have to buy some screwdrivers after all.
post #13 of 33
Another thing to remember with a MAME cabinet if you have a two player control and use a decent system you can also play stuff like PGA Tiger Woods golf for the PC. I have a trackball on my cabinet and people love to play the golf game on there.
post #14 of 33
Actually another game that's great to play if you have a trackball on your cabinet is World Class Bowling which is a MAME ROM. I think it has up to 4 or 5 players.
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by str1der View Post

Actually another game that's great to play if you have a trackball on your cabinet is World Class Bowling which is a MAME ROM. I think it has up to 4 or 5 players.

Yeah, I like that one and shuffleboard, also with the trackball.

Dave
post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by str1der View Post

Actually another game that's great to play if you have a trackball on your cabinet is World Class Bowling which is a MAME ROM. I think it has up to 4 or 5 players.

4 players - Shuuz (sp?) horseshoes 4player with trackball gets play- most of the people that play my MAME like the trackball games (centipede, missile command, bowling, shuffleboard, golf - Pool table is nice to have if you have the room- Dartboard is a must- stores out of the way not much money. Poker table is always nice. My foosball and air hockey(noisy) don't really get played that much-I might ditch the air hockey because I reallllllyyyy want a Pin.
post #17 of 33
Wii, is by far the the biggest crowd please at parties I have seen. I built an Irish pub, and have a 42 inch LCD behind the bar. I made sure there was plenty of room in front of the bar. We can push the stools to the sides, and have enough room for pairs tennis. My brother in law actually wanted to come over to my house to play wii for his birthday, instead of going out. And this guy is a social butterfly. Wii Sports does not dissapoint, when it comes to pleasing the masses. It's also a great game to play while drinking. Get a few in your guests and then let them go at the boxing. It's great fun watching their facial expressions, etc.
post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by lawdawg View Post

Wii, is by far the the biggest crowd please at parties I have seen. I built an Irish pub, and have a 42 inch LCD behind the bar. I made sure there was plenty of room in front of the bar. We can push the stools to the sides, and have enough room for pairs tennis. My brother in law actually wanted to come over to my house to play wii for his birthday, instead of going out. And this guy is a social butterfly. Wii Sports does not dissapoint, when it comes to pleasing the masses. It's also a great game to play while drinking. Get a few in your guests and then let them go at the boxing. It's great fun watching their facial expressions, etc.

Went to your site and saw pics of the theater. Awesome. Now where's pics of the pub?
post #19 of 33
Currently I have the following in my basement:
Super Chexx
MegaTouch Vibe Runnng Force 2005.5
MAME Cabinet
Pinballs:

Medieval Madness

Theatre of Magic

Monster Bash

Scared Stiff

Cirqus Voltaire

Revenge From Mars

Slots (Pachi's for now)
Pachinko

The machine that gets the most play is the Megatouch. The MAME cab is pretty popular too.
post #20 of 33
How large is large when talking about your basement?

If I had a huge amount of space for games (my basement is around 1200sq ft finished but the bathroom, bar, HT, sauna area and furnace/storage area take up a good chunk) I'd for sure put in a shuffleboard table, foosball, skee ball, arcade cabinet, at least one pinball and a casino table.

My current games room is around 14' x say 16-17' feet and I was originally going to put in a pool table with ping pong top but then scrapped that because it'd eat up the whole room and I figured I would not use it that much. I then thought about going with an air hockey table but again, eating up the room and dunno how much it'd get used. Then, I thought skeeball, foosball, shuffleboard, etc but it would have been tight to have all those in there and enough space to move around so I ended up with a multi casino games table (roulette, craps, poker, etc) an arcade cab and a 50" plasma with a wii attached. I still have space for a pinball machine which I may add down the line.

I really would love to have a shuffleboard table but there's no space for it because the stupid furnace area is also where my laundry action is so that killed off 5 feet of width to the room.

The next house I get I think I will custom build a bungalow so I have a huge basement and put everything i want down there.
post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by DinoT View Post

Currently I have the following in my basement:
Super Chexx
MegaTouch Vibe Runnng Force 2005.5
MAME Cabinet
Pinballs:

Medieval Madness

Theatre of Magic

Monster Bash

Scared Stiff

Cirqus Voltaire

Revenge From Mars

Slots (Pachi's for now)
Pachinko

The machine that gets the most play is the Megatouch. The MAME cab is pretty popular too.

I'd love to have that Theatre of Magic. How much did you pay for that sucker?
post #22 of 33
The pinball machines as a group are the biggest draw. Of the six, Scared Stiff is the crowd pleaser. The Megatouch is probably the busiest single attraction. The pool table and dartboard always get some attention. In my gameroom, the slot machine (1964 Bally Money Honey) and the cocktail MAME setup see some action, but somewhat less than the other games.
post #23 of 33
Thread Starter 
Well I polled the family last night and it seems that my dad spent a lot of time in the pool hall (to the point where he could discuss rail rubber in detail), my grandparents played hours of shuffleboard out in Calgary every week for years when they were stationed out there, my father in law and his siblings played a ton of ping pong in their basement growing up, and of course all the cousins/nieces/nephews are excited at the prospect of Guitar Hero/DDR/Wii tournaments. So much for doing it on the cheap, but at least I won't be playing this stuff alone!

Thanks for the input folks, now to find some products and draw up a plan!
post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim_F View Post

In my gameroom, the slot machine (1964 Bally Money Honey) and the cocktail MAME setup see some action, but somewhat less than the other games.

I can understand why the slot machine does not see too much action. The real draw of a slot machine is the chance of "hitting it big". In a home environment, I seriously doubt that if there a real quarters in there, that the host will let you take the money with you.

Reedl
post #25 of 33
I dunno, those Japanese pachislo slots are fun with the LCD screen and all those crazy mini-games.
post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by str1der View Post

I'd love to have that Theatre of Magic. How much did you pay for that sucker?

I actually got it in trade for a TZ. Of all the games ToM is still my favorite. I got it straight from a container from Europe. It was pretty dirty. I stripped it down to the wood and cleaned everything. It is a real beauty now. (Except for a chunk missing from the side of the backbox.
post #27 of 33
Yeah, people really like the pins and we have a few from older EMs to relatively recent Digital but the two games that attract the most attention are a 1958 Short-Stop baseball arcade game and a Williams Alley Cats shuffle bowling game.

There is something about hitting the ball and having the little men pop up and go round the bases and friends of our adult children have simply never seen such a game.

The puc shuffle is also something not seen much these days in public venues and people love to compete or even stand around watching and drinking. The shuffle also allows six players per game and it's a lot of fun but at over 8 ft. long it does take up some space.

The two most popular pin games are the Twilight Zone and to our surprise an older solid state Bally called The Fathom from the early 80s.

Anyhow, above is what seem most popular with friends gather in our home game room.
post #28 of 33
We have a mame machine, a foosball table, and air hockey. The air hockey gets pretty good playtime, but it's limited obviously to 2 at a time. The foosball table (I bought a pro model!) hardly ever gets played Mame machine a pretty big hit.

I wish I could have a pinball machine! No room left.

We have ping pong for the kids - family time.

One thing I'll tell you - don't go cheap if you get an air hockey table.

The other thing I would really like to have - DOME hockey! (U-S-A....U-S-A....U-S-A....!)
post #29 of 33
I would love to hav ea ping pong table but man you need a lot of room for that!
I can see MAME being played a lot, I definitely need one of those - PAP (smear) can you PM me on the best price/quality cabinets/setups out there? Did you build your own? Where in Ohio are you, Cleveland here.
post #30 of 33
I bought a slikstik. I was looking for their website and apparently they are out of business. Shame, as the product was very good. I guess I hope nothing breaks now! I'm about 2 hours from you.
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