When we were kids my family would go on holiday to Jersey in the Channel Islands every summer. Obviously I’ve got loads of memories of those times (pretty sure they’re all from between the ages of 6 and 10, well, apart from one of them), standing on the sea wall with my Uncles as a storm raged and waves were crashing right at our feet (not sure why they thought me being there was a good idea), seeing a copy of The Beast of Jersey and its cover terrifying me to the point that I wouldn’t go to bed until my Aunt went up (her room was next door to the one my Dad shared with my sister and I, there was a listening service available so my Dad could check in on us), some strong winds the made my sister and I look like we’d jumped out of an aeroplane in our shellsuits (this was the early nineties). There’s loads of others, but the one that’s relevant to this blog is the little side room in the hotel.
The reason we would go on this particular holiday was because my Aunt and Uncle were friends with the woman who owned the hotel, we called her Auntie Joyce but she wasn’t a real Aunt. Anyway, this friendship (plus my Aunt helping my Dad out with our plane tickets) meant we could go on holiday every year despite my Dad being a single parent (we went when my parents were together still but I only have on memory of that time, which I alluded to above, and that was when I fell on a climbing frame and cracked my head open, resulting in me visiting the hospital). So, this side room was, predominantly, a storage room for extra chairs. But it did have a cocktail cabinet of the NAMCO game Rally-X.
For those that don’t know, a cocktail cabinet is an arcade cab thats set into a table rather than you standing at it. You and another person sit on either side of the table and the controls are built into the side with the screen facing up. Rally-X was a kind of maze based racing game. In single player you had to avoid the AI cars that would pursue you as you raced around the maze to collect flags. In two player mode you would have to race your opponent to get the most flags. As we arrived at the hotel Auntie Joyce would give my sister and a big bag of 10p’s each. My sister would spend the week frittering hers away in the sweet shop across the road. I would basically pump them all back into the Rally-X machine, sometimes even paying for my sister to accompany me (aren’t I generous!?) with one of us either side of the cabinet and our Panda Pop’s sat on top.