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bryans fan
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Re: Official Historian?

Postby bryans fan » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:38 pm

I think it would be a brave man who claimed to be the leading authority on the history of the coin op game!
I would not be without my book Automatic Pleasures by Nic Costa, and often refer to it. It is however now 28 years old, and I'm sure a lot more info about early machines has come to light. It was the first book on coin ops and so deserves its place in history and on my book shelf, along with many others.
My feeling is that no one person can know everything! (Although it often seems that Gameswat comes very close!) My belief is that this website is in fact the most extensive reference available anywhere. It is also constantly growing and improving. Everyone who visits this site and reads and contributes are an expert in some aspect of coin ops. We all have a little nugget of information to share. Collectively this wealth of information contained in these forums and discussions surely forms the most extensive History of these games anywhere.

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john t peterson
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Re: Official Historian?

Postby john t peterson » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:56 pm

The obvious choice for author of a comprehensive, up-dated tome would be the esteemed Mr. Pennymachines. Always erudite, all knowing, he would be my first choice for such a monumental task. I know he is a busy fellow just keeping this web site running and the patrons civil but if you want something done, ask a busy person.

So Mr. Pennymachines, how about it?? :cool:

J Peterson
First American fan of PM

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gameswat
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Re: Official Historian?

Postby gameswat » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:28 pm

bryans fan wrote: My feeling is that no one person can know everything!( Although it often seems that Gameswat comes very close!)
Ha, fooled you all, what the hell do I know, I live in Bumf*#k Idaho!

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operator bell
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Re: Official Historian?

Postby operator bell » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:21 pm

LOL, obviously there are no "official" anythings in this field, but a gent like Mr Bailey, who has been involved mostly at the showman end for 60 years, may very well be the most knowledgeable person still living. The measure of a researcher, though, is in his publications, and Mr Bailey is a bit light in that department. Dick Bueschel, Nic Costa, Marhall Fey and David (son of Daniel) Mead all produced histories that grace my bookshelf, but I have nothing from Freddy. I have seen some of his work - the late Mickey Wichinsky passed on to me a CD Freddy sent him that had on it a few short magazine articles and an extremely comprehensive catalog of German wall machines, though it's not clear to me whether he actually wrote this or just added a title page to a German publication. I've never seen anything from him printed on paper.

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arrgee
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Re: Official Historian?

Postby arrgee » Thu Sep 01, 2016 1:10 pm

bryans fan wrote: My belief is that this website is in fact the most extensive reference available anywhere.
Some interesting comments that lead into another, yet still related, topic - that of preserving information for future generations. Whilst this website is still live there is indeed an enormous amount of valuable and interesting information available, however, what happens to all that information when the site closes, as indeed it will one day - although hopefully not for many years.

I heard of a worrying instance regarding website loss today. My cousin has spent 20 years researching a family tree and has had a website for 11 years until yesterday, when it crashed and disappeared, he is in contact with the US site providers to attempt to find out what the problem is but this serves to underline the frail razor edge life of IT that we live in and rely on these days.

I too have the Nic Costa book which fortunately is ISBN numbered, I say fortunately because for every book that has an ISBN number, a copy is held in the British Library in London and the Bodleian Library in Oxford for the purpose of future access and research (there are six legal deposit libraries in the UK and Ireland) - anyone can access these ISBN books. Unfortunately Paul Braithwaite's Arcades and Slot Machines book is not ISBN so it probably does not exist in any of the legal deposit library's. I wonder how many other slot books have an ISBN.

Whilst I am no IT Luddite and use, rely on and embrace computing heavily for work and pleasure, in the very long term I believe that current technology cannot be relied upon to allow indefinite access when compared with the printed word, which has and will continue to last for hundreds of years. This was brought home to me a while ago when I tried to open a 20 year old CAD drawing in my current programme only to be informed that 'this format is no longer supported'. Sadly, much of what is retained and held by the largest and most comprehensive computer, our brains, is of course lost when we go to the great arcade in the sky. Our hobby is of such a limited nature/appeal that any permanent information relating to any aspect of it will always be limited as well. There are very knowledgeable slot collectors out there but sadly most of their knowledge will be lost when they pass on.

jonesthegarage
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Re: Official Historian?

Postby jonesthegarage » Thu Sep 01, 2016 4:02 pm

........... in the very long term I believe that current technology cannot be relied upon to allow indefinite access when compared with the printed word, which has and will continue to last for hundreds of years. This was brought home to me a while ago when I tried to open a 20 year old CAD drawing in my current programme only to be informed that 'this format is no longer supported'.
I think the scholars of the day thought much the same when standing in the ashes of the Royal Library of Alexandria, although I doubt they used the expression, "these scrolls are no longer supported."

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gameswat
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Re: Official Historian?

Postby gameswat » Thu Sep 01, 2016 4:27 pm

Both Dick Bueschel and Nic Costa played a huge part in drawing me further into the vintage coin-op world. Both had a way of writing that made the history seem so interesting. I was given the 2014 book by Freddie Bailey titled "The Golden Age of Coin Machines" which I was happy to add to my library as it does include many photos and adverts I'd never seen before - it does state on the cover "A Pictorial History of Early Amusement Games". There are captions for most images, but includes quite a lot of mistakes and inaccuracies that at this point in time should never have made it to print.

13rebel
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Re: Official Historian?

Postby 13rebel » Thu Sep 01, 2016 9:10 pm

Well put, Arrgee.

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pennymachines
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Re: Official Historian?

Postby pennymachines » Fri Sep 02, 2016 6:32 pm

At coin-opcommunity.co.uk, Freddy is called the 'Official Coin-op Historian' (capital letters). I think he's just demonstrating showman-smarts by adopting the title. After all, nobody else was using it.

As one of the longest-lived industry insiders there's no doubt he has a wealth of knowledge on the subject and some unique paperwork. He has kindly put the first chapter of All My Life…A Showman The Fairground Years online.

No document of this kind can be error free, but it would certainly benefit from grammar proof reading and some of the more obvious errors ironing out. He has gone down the self publishing route so perhaps, if he's printing to order, corrections can be made in response to feedback. This is all beside the point really, because the book is clearly more reminiscence than history and that's its strength. It is the first (and will probably remain the only) account of the early slot machine industry from an insider's perspective.

I've yet to find any means of purchasing it though. Gameswat is the only collector I know who has a copy. I tried contacting Freddy recently through the coin op collector forum because I noticed he posts there, but didn't get a reply. In my view (and I'm sure most keen collectors would agree) a new book on our favourite topic, particularly from a British perspective, is a 'must have'. I held off buying Tom Gustwiller's self-published Reel Amusement, put off by price and cost of shipping, but came to regret it a year later when it was no longer available. I got lucky and found a cheap copy on ebay.

I'm very flattered by JP's nominating me to write the definitive British encyclopaedia of slot, but even if I thought I was up to the job, I'd regard it as a poisoned chalice... or act of folly. The work involved is immense and the audience minute - rather like this website. Only the website's content comes from the collaborative effort of many knowledgeable contributors. Certainly, by pooling knowledge and correcting it when new information comes to light, a website is a great tool for researching social history.

Alexander Smith is using his blog, They Create World's to pre-publish a history of the video game industry so that it can be critiqued and fact-checked by all who read it prior to printing. The first of the proposed three volumes (planned for completion by the end of the year) will be of most interest to us, as it will cover the pre-history of the industry to 1982. Which reminds me - I must tell him that, as far as we know, credit for 'the first coin-operated driving game' goes to Britain, not America, and certainly not to International Mutoscope's Drive Mobile of 1941.

I wonder if pre-publishing like this reduces or increases the number of hard copy purchases. Regardless, demand for such books is limited. The first print run of Paul Braithwaite's Arcades and Slot Machines has yet to sell out.

I'm mindful of Arrgee's points about the fragility of online media. Websites with any level of complexity are like castles on sand, the foundations constantly crumbling as the supporting code and hardware evolves. The possibility of catastrophe, accidental or malicious, is ever present. This site consists of server-side software libraries, various software programs such as the one used to run this forum, the files containing the pictures etc. and four databases. Currently it weighs in at almost 6GB. I upgraded the hosting package recently because there was insufficient space for the backups. As there are 97 backups (one created every hour) plus copies of the databases (on several machines), that's quite a bit of disk space. If, for whatever reason, the host disappeared, none of this would help though. With that in mind, I have three full site and 100+ database backups automatically saved elsewhere. Once in a while, when things look shaky, I download everything to my computer - not often though, because it's time consuming. And if that makes it sound armour plated against disaster, believe me, it's not. :-(

Again as Arrgee points out, the long term future of the site is even less certain. I'm hopeful that the bit that we care about - the posts and pictures may at sometime be transferred to whatever documentation format lies ahead, but I don't have a plan...

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john t peterson
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Re: Official Historian?

Postby john t peterson » Fri Sep 02, 2016 8:32 pm

Mr. Pennymachines,

Have you considered using the server hosting services from Hillary Clinton? I hear she has newly available server space, totally secure. :lol:

J Peterson
Crying in my beer in America :cry:


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