SHOW 2003

26 April, 2003

A warm and sunny Saturday morning and it's time for the 2003 Jukebox and Memorabilia Show, held in its customary location at the Copthorne Hotel, Effingham Park, Copthorne, near Gatwick in South East England.

The show has been held under a number of different names over the years but it used to be the (little) sister to the Jukebox Madness show which is held every Autumn on the western outskirts of London. But now the organiser of this show has set up the Ascot Jukebox Festival and Collector's Fair as a rival for (and a few weeks earlier than) Jukebox Madness and it is promoted with the phrase "Utter Madness" and held it at the other show's previous location just to add to the confusion.

But what's in a name? This show is still 95% jukeboxes, but there is a good number of pinball games there too, and it's those we'll be looking at in this report. So having parted with £6 to get in, what did we find?

The major supplier of pinball games was a company called Games Room Direct - and again you have to keep track of all the name changes because Games Room Direct is a.k.a. Pinball Paradise, a.k.a. Sega Hire, a.k.a. Rockin' Robbies, a.k.a. Bob Thompson, a.k.a the organiser of these shows.

Still keeping up? Good.

They set up 14 pinball games at the show - all set on free play, although the Johnny Mnemonic's start button had failed so that was unplayable on Saturday.

Here's the full list of games:

Terminator 2, F-14 Tomcat, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Johnny Mnemonic, World Cup Soccer, Diner, WWF Royal Rumble, Independence Day, Star Wars (DE), HS2 - The Getaway, Jackbot, Expressway, High Hand and Eight Ball.

There were also two games brought by some other exhibitors - a Safecracker and an Indianapolis 500.

All the games were in constant demand and it was difficult to get straight on any game, but a short wait usually yielded the desired result. The Diner played well and turned out to be much more entertaining that I'd previously given it credit for. The World Cup Soccer next door was also fully working even if the TV scoop was amazingly difficult to shoot.

All the games were available to buy and some had prices posted on the backglasses. They were:

Star Wars - £1595, Expressway, High Hand and Eight Ball - £995,
Safecracker - £1195 and Indy500 - £700.
(Currently £1=$1.57)

Besides the games listed above, there were also a number of games without their backboxes attached, and some without backboxes at all. They were:

Amigo (Bally), Playboy (Bally), Surf Champ (Gottlieb) and Six Sticks (Bally). The Six Sticks was a German game with German writing on the playfield and, unusually, a six player EM game.

There were also the cabinets of an unidentified Bally game and one from a company called Chicago Dynamic Industries which is a new name to me (but Pete Bausys tells me it was another name for Chicago Coin, later to become Stern). None of these games had price tags attached.

Also on the stand with the Safecracker was this 1933 Worlds Fair Jigsaw game. Yours for a mere £895.

While this and its sister show will always be aimed primarily at Jukebox enthusiasts, pinball fans can still have a good time playing the games and perhaps even buying some. While Games Room Direct's prices didn't appeal to me, the Safecracker and Indy500 were quite attractive and it's nice to see a broad range of games from classic EMs right through to modern electronic machines available to play.

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