I posted recently about my trip to the amazing Arcade Club, in Bury just outside Manchester. That post was about the arcade itself, but I’ve now managed to get round to writing about the occasion. Why did we pick that weekend to go up? Well, in a nutshell, it was both the annual UK VAC forum meetup, and also the UK reveal of the Sky Skipper project. Read on to discover more.

You can read all the fascinating details about the Sky Skipper project at their website https://www.skyskipperproject.com/ but in a nutshell it all started when Alex Crowley, who runs the fantastic Nintendo Arcade vlog, stumbled across an old arcade PCB board which was labelled Popeye but Alex recognised that it was actually an extremely rare Sky Skipper board that had been converted into Popeye. Sky Skipper was an arcade game by Nintendo that was never officially released. This sparked Alex to team up with Whitney Roberts from the Broken Token Arcade podcast to produce two cabs, one in the US and one in the UK to bring this unreleased game back to life. Whitney went to Nintendo of America to see the only Sky Skipper that is believed to be in existence, which is locked away in their vaults, and he scanned in all the artwork on the side of the cab. This was then recreated by Olly Cotton of Arcade Art Shop to put on the cabinets. The US cab was revealed earlier this year with Walter Day and Billy Mitchell on stage. Alex chose to do the UK reveal at this meetup at Arcade Club and it was great to be present. We all got a chance to look at the machine and have a go on the game too. Please do look on the Sky Skipper Project website to read more about the story. It’s a fascinating journey.

Here’s a video of the reveal, by RetroDaveNintendo.

The Sky Skipper story is such a fantastic story which highlights all the great aspects of the classic arcade community. Discovering old machines and old boards that are hiding throughout the world, studying the history of old companies and machines, renovating cabinets, reproducing original artwork, and building friendships across a worldwide community. The classic arcade world is such a rich area of retrogaming. I love it.

The event itself was fantastic too as it brought together so many people from the retrogaming community. Many of whom I had met before but several that I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time. Obviously Alex, Whitney and Olly were there, plus John from John’s Arcade came over from the US too for the launch; Vic and Shaun from the Ten Pence Arcade podcast, Dean, Paul, Steve and Chris from the Retro Asylum podcast, Benny, Aaron, Matt and Matt from the RGDS podcast and Paul from the Maximum Power Up podcast; and then there were world record holders Tony Temple (Missile Command), and David ‘CharlieFar’ Lyne (Galaxian); UK VAC forum members Alpha1, Ianski, Phil Nes4Life and so many more (apologies to people I’ve missed). And as mentioned in the last blog post I travelled up with Ally the Retrohunter, Rob Tighe and Zipper. A fantastic weekend with amazing games and amazing people.

Huge congratulations to Alex, Whitney and Olly for all their hard work on the Sky Skipper Project. Well done guys!