Grand Lizard Pinball

Grand Lizard Pinball

Last week I got to remove another machine from my Pinball Bucket List, Grand Lizard Pinball. This was a game had some vague memories of playing as a kid, but could not nail down what I liked about it. It became very apparent when I started playing it. Grand Lizard Pinball, while a simpler machine, has some evocative sound and lighting design that I just find irresistible.

The theme of Grand Lizard Pinball is Heavy Metal-esque. Muscled warriors fighting mace wielding mandrills and rescuing scantily clad damsels. The whole time a boss battle with the titular Grand Lizard looms large.

Gameplay is easy to control. It has two levels of play, Magna-Save and a variable sized multi-ball. I like this style of multi-ball because you can “control” the number of balls locked away through skill.

But as I mentioned, the real star of the show is the sound and lighting. Grand Lizard is a crazy combo of driving drum beat and constant chatter that when turned up to full volume can rule an arcade. That combined with some dramatic lighting schemes, including some complete darkness on the playfield, makes an oddly compelling combination. One that just had me pumping quarter after quarter into this machine.

According to programmer Ed Suchocki, “Bill Parod was the sound designer on this game. The background drum music was the first time that Williams games used digitized audio samples for music. After Bill worked on Grand Lizard, he improved his technique of digitized music samples on the High Speed pinball game.”

After spending about 10 dollars on the game, I took some photos. They don’t really capture the majesty of the game, but hopefully the video I post after the photos will shine some light on this wonderful machine.

Enjoy some photos of Grand Lizard Pinball


Watch Grand Lizard Pinball in action

Are you in Seattle?


The Seattle area has a lot of great retro arcades and the city itself is home to a couple that focus solely on pinball. So knocking out my bucket list has really been a simple “wait and see” game. Grand Lizard Pinball appeared at Flip, Flip, Ding, Ding. Which is a two-story arcade in the Georgetown neighborhood catering to the 21+ crowd. While they focus mostly on pinball machines, they do have a couple of retro arcade machines available. So if you are in the area why not check them out and make sure to try Grand Lizard while you are there. Line starts behind me.

Living Computers Museum

Living Computer Museum embraces the future and becomes Living Computers Museum + Labs

Since moving to Seattle, I have been a fan of the amazing Living Computer Museum. It is a regular stop for me when I have free time. Over the short years I have been here it has continued to grow its historical collection. But this week, the museum is taking a leap into the future. The Living Computer Museum is now Living Computers Museum + Labs.

What does this mean? It means a heck of a lot more fun for anyone who has even the slightest attraction to technology. They have added a new level to the facility, this one dedicated to where technology is going. So instead of mainframes, you get to play with virtual reality. Instead of the earliest personal computers, you get robots and telepresence units. All of it done in the same interactive spirit that has made their vintage collection so compelling. According to Museum Executive Director, Lath Carlson, these additions to the museum will continue to revolve and rotate. So multiple trips to the new area of the museum will be just as compelling as the existing collection.

The New Space at the Living Computers Museum

What I especially enjoyed about my time at the new Living Computers Museum + Labs is how they still bring history into the mix. You don’t just get to play with the most cutting edge VR technology, you also get to see how VR evolved over the years.

The museum has also added new lab and classroom space. Things that will pull people into the space to not just interact with technology, but also to learn how it works. That has always seemed to be the mission of the museum. It is interactive because it’s not a boring history lesson that gets you interested in technology. It is touching a LIVING Computer that does that. When I walked out of there yesterday, I wasn’t just thinking about the computers of my youth like I usually do. No, I was focusing on how technology and art will come together in the future. Oh, did I forget to mention they feature digital art now as well!

classroom space at the Living Computers Museum

Fans of the vintage section of the museum, don’t think this newness is leaving you out in the cold. In addition to the spreading of vintage tech throughout the new floor, the museum continues to maintain and restore the most impressive collection of machines you will ever behold. Plus their new Atari-style retro living room corner is mighty enough to bring a tear to my eye. It was hard for me to leave.

atari corner at the Living Computers Museum

Seattle is a pretty dynamic city. Lots of venues are vying for your attention. So it makes me so happy to see the new Living Computers Museum + Labs moving forward and doing so with an eye towards the future while maintaining respect for the past. For more information about the Living Computers: Museum + Labs, drop by their website and make sure you follow them on Twitter @livingcomputers.

Now here are the rest of the photos that I took during my visit yesterday.


Oregon Trail

Starting the New Year at Seattle’s Living Computer Museum

The first Thursday of every month means free entry for many museums in the city of Seattle. Since first Thursday fell on January 1st this year, I thought that most of the museums wouldn’t be open. Happily that was not the case and I decided to kick off the new year with a visit to one of my favorite places in Seattle, The Living Computer Museum.

If you are a regular to the site, you might have heard me mention them before and if you know me personally, you are probably asking, “why do you go so often?” The Living Computer Museum is always changing (much more rapidly than other museums I visit) and while some exhibits are permanent seeming, they are constantly putting out new stuff and evolving the experience.

On this trip, here are just a few new things I got to try. I handled two computers I had never touched before, played some classic VIC-20 games from my youth, thumbed through some classic computer books, got lost staring at the complicated wires in a computer as big as a washing machine, played some Xbox, made some music and played some chess on the MS PixelSense, took another very informative tour, and much more.

Here are some photos from my “night at the museum”.

The Museum is located on 2245 1st Ave S, which is not to far from the stadium and ballpark in the SoDo area of Seattle. Parking there is both ample and free. The LCM is open from 10am – 5pm on Thursdays – Sundays. For more information visit their website. There you can find directions, information about their mission and much more.

What should you get for Christmas at Frederick & Nelson in 1978

Frederick & Nelson was a department store that had a lot to offer, but for Christmas in 1978 it was all about the Haggar Clothing for men. As everyone know, one thing Santa likes more than a child who has been good all year, is a well dressed man, and Frederick & Nelson and Haggar know how to make Santa very happy jolly ol’ elf.

I never got to shop at Frederick & Nelson. They went out of business in 1992, well before I got out of New Jersey. Their flagship location, which is now a Nordstrom in downtown Seattle, has drawn my attention since I learned about this storied department store that got its start here in 1891. I will walk around the place trying to find hints of the old store based on photos that I find at places like The Department Store Museum. If you live in the Seattle area or are planning a visit, why not check it out?

ALF watching the sun rise in Seattle

Since arriving in Seattle, ALF and I have been having a great time. We played video games, went to a museum and stayed up late last night watching old monster movies. This morning when I woke up I noticed ALF was in a more contemplative mood and I gave him some time alone as he watched the sun rise over the Space Needle. What brought on this sudden change in mood after a weekend of lighthearted hijinks? Did seeing the Space Needle make him nostalgic for his home planet? Does he miss his life with the Tanner family?

alf-in-seattle

After the sun had fully risen he turned towards me, slowly, and asked if I knew of a breakfast place that might have cat on the menu.