…back in the ’60s when the big problem was the 45rpm jukebox record that ran over 3 minutes in length, eating into the operator’s earning time on a busy Saturday night at the local bar. I wondered which of our operator associations would volunteer to tell John Lennon and Paul McCartney to kindly keep that in mind when they wrote their next songs.
…back in the late ’70s when the long-running battle between the MOA (now AMOA) and the songwriter associations to erase the jukebox industry’s exemption from paying royalties was finally lost, and coin-op started kicking in $8.00 a machine (which was only a pump-primer). Then followed the next fight about disclosing location names to the performance societies like ASCAP so they could poke in to see which records were getting played (we won this one).
…back in the ’80s when operators were up in arms because the video game factories, including American-based subsidiaries of the Japanese designers, refused to sell game boards in addition to dedicated uprights. It would have saved operators big time. One chap who worked for a Japanese manufacturer told me: “I wish the operators would quit counting our money!”
…back in the ’90s when video kits like Mr. Do!! came along and were joined by counterfeits and parallel import boards pitting operators against manufacturers in battles that actually brought in the FBI and the Canadian Mounties to sort things out. Ultimately, everyone pretty much lost interest in most video kits, anyway, with some notable exceptions.
…back in the oughts when operators longed for “the next Pac-Man,” forgetting that a machine called Golden Tee Golf was pretty much making the same collection magic, although over a more extended period of time. It was also a game that got regular kit upgrades and helped usher in the digital age and online competition. Speaking of “digital,” this was the time TouchTunes and AMI spearheaded the conversion into internet music boxes. I don’t remember many complaints, because the fuller cash can spoke louder than anything (always does).
…back not that many years ago when at least one mom started a ruckus in San Diego by calling some ticket games kiddie gambling. Redemption had taken hold by then, and the prize at the end of the ticket strand so often became the goal rather than the challenge of the game itself. The AAMA association took notice and warned its manufacturer members to remember the skill factor when visiting the game design department.
And I remember last night reading the results of the route and game room poll results inside this issue and how operators are trying so hard to cope with government restraints, sanitation and customer optics while ramping up for a recovery that, sadly, will not come to everyone in coin-op. But then I remembered the phrase THIS TOO SHALL PASS, and looking back on yesterday’s forgotten problems, ask everyone to hang tough. There will be an end to this…sooner or later.
– Eddie Adlum