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Gameroom Showcase – “Golden Age” Arcade

For most people who create a gameroom in their home, there are factors that dictate the size and layout. Some may want to have a gameroom that can hold 50 games, but if you’re limited to a space of only 300 square feet…it ain’t happening. It seems there’s always something we wish we could change. I know of many collectors who dream of moving to a different home with a larger floor plan or dream of adding on to their home to expand their collection one day. For most of us those are pipe dreams. For Brett Pulliam, those dreams became a reality.

What started with envy of a friend’s Defender in 1996 led to a Donkey Kong machine of his own shortly after. After buying games every few months, Brett’s collection continued to grow and grow. Although he originally started collecting when he was living in a loft, when looking to buy his current home Brett’s arcade collection was definitely a  top priority.

My goal for a new house was to have more space and make it as retro as possible. We bought our house as a fixer with a big empty backyard. I wanted my arcade to be as big as possible but not totally kill the resale value. We framed in windows for future resale and surrounded the arcade with a deck. I really wanted the arcade to flow with the house and not be a separate unit. You can see the arcade from the living room and even on the street if all the shades are open.

 

 

There’s a time period for classic arcades that is considered to be “The Golden Age”, before the huge industry crash. Brett has a self-imposed rule to only house games from this period, 1979-1983, in his collection. To keep in line with the time period of his games, he has completely decked out his arcade with the look and “feel” of that era. Large red, yellow, and orange stripes adorn the brown walls to bring a totally retro feel into this modern home. And to keep this space looking more like a functioning arcade than a museum, it is kept clean with no posters on the walls or toys atop the games.

Looking at his photos, it appears Brett has arranged his games by manufacturers. With their unique cabinet styles, one can clearly see an entire row of Nintendo and Taito games like Donkey Kong, Popeye, and Zookeeper. Bally and Williams games are represented as well by such classics as Galaxian, Gorf, Tron, Joust, Robotron, and Defender. Let’s not forget about small Gottlieb contingent of Qbert, and Mad Planets. The collection is rounded out with Atari titles like Food Fight, Millipede, and Quantum.

Although the majority of his collection is made up of arcade games, Brett has a few other items thrown in to complete the arcade such as his Firepower pinball machine, a jukebox, and a change machine. Another great feature of his gameroom has to be the large scoreboard on the wall to keep track of the latest high scores in the arcade. Along with the signs reminding visitors that no smoking is allowed, that youngsters must be accompanied by parents during school hours, and that all games require tokens, it’s hard to remember that the year is 2011 instead of 1983.

There have been a few lineup changes since the above pictures were taken, but the majority of the collection remains the same. With the exception of a desire to add more stripes near the scoreboard, dome mirrors in the corner, and possibly a lighted arch door entrance, there aren’t too many plans for the future. Although, there’s not really much to improve upon, and I’m sure many would say it’s perfect as it is. Being a collector in San Francisco, Brett’s favorite feature of his gameroom is the stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the downtown skyline from the rear window – a fitting sight for someone who is successfully built a bridge to the past…to a golden age.

 

Preston Burt

The co-host of the Gameroom Junkies Podcast, Preston is a writer and designer living outside Atlanta, GA. He has an affinity for VHS tapes, and an obsession with arcade games and pinball machines. He is a contributing writer for GeekDad, Paste and RETRO Magazines, and a founder of the Southern-Fried Gameroom Expo.

5 Comments

  1. Killer write-up. I *LOVE* the way the room is decorated and laid out. Much of what is here I would like to see in my own game room one day.

    One question – do you happen to know how the colored stripes on the wall were done? Is that vinyl or paint, etc?

    Thanks!

  2. I did those stripes with high gloss paint. I got some great tips from a painter before I started.

    I first painted the walls all brown. I rented a laser leveller with a tripod for the tape. It self levels and shoots a laser beam on all four walls at the same time. It doesn’t even need to be in the center of the room.

    Carbon transfer paper was used for the curve. I drew the bend on the paper with a protractor. I then lined up the paper to the straight lines on the wall and scratched the paper with a coin to transfer the lines.

    I bought a cheap laser level at Home Depot that you stick to the wall for the vertical lines.

    I screwed up and didn’t prime the walls before painting the stripes. Took me a ton of coats with the high gloss.

    Best tip is to paint the seams on the tape with matte finish which you can buy at an art store. This will seal up the tape and no paint will bleed in even with textured walls. When I pulled off the tape it was razor sharp with no touch up.

    Hope this help and thanks for the comments.

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