Friends, while my time at the arcade has been scaled back to one day a week due to the economic impact of the pandemic, I can tell you that even being back that single shift has done much to pick up my spirits. In the nearly nine years that the Arkadia Retrocade has been open for business, my input into the success of the arcade has been tiny, for all intents and purpose it has been to act as doorman or a janitor when the call arises – the joy of working at an arcade in this day and age though is still pretty amazing. Obviously that is one of the reasons I created the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast, in addition to giving me an opportunity to discuss my memories of the arcade and video games of my youth. Which is why my co-worker at the arcade, Gary Burton, the chief technician for Arkadia was quick to send me a recent article by Matt Gardner of Forbes. It was revealed that a rather rare Sega arcade cabinet was discovered out in a field north of Belfast, Ireland by Lee Peters, who as it turns out is a member of a Facebook group who specialize in this particular arcade cabinet. The R360 as is hinted at by the name, allowed a Player to sit inside a circular cockpit, buckled up for safety purposes and spin 360 degrees in any direction. In total it is believed that only up to 200 of these cabinets were ever manufactured by Sega starting in 1990 – in fact it apparently was originally listed as a ride instead of an arcade title.
As I understand it, the R360 was initially released in Japan in ’90 before being given an international push the following year. The game that was most commonly associated with the 2,200 pound cabinet was G-LOC: Air Battle, which allowed a Player to experience it as either a game or as something akin to a thrill ride in demo mode. It should not come as any surprise that it was always intended to be run with an attendant on hand who could manually shut the game down if an issue occurred. In fact thanks to this YouTube video that was uploaded back in 2013 you can see the game in action for yourself – although BE WARNED there is just a bit of salty language as the Player starts up the game itself.
While I am sad to say that it sounds like the remains of the R360 arcade cabinet that was located in that field can’t be salvaged by Peters, it does appear he is still going to attempt to rescue it. You might be interested to know that Sega released a two-player cabinet known as the R360Z in 2015 featuring a game entitled Transformers: Human Alliance, obviously a tie-in with the Michael Bay Transformers films.
In closing out this article I will have to say that as amazing as the R360 and R360Z seem to be, my motion sickness guarantees that I will never be able to play one if I happen across them at an arcade in the future.