Thursday 25 September 2008

A Moment of Silence, Pray…

Recently, we lost a friend. A good friend. A friend of many years. A friend that has had a fond mention within the hallowed sanctum that is BucketMonkey more than once.

That friend was Weston Super Mare Pier.

Now, for those of you who frequent BBC news, or have been anywhere near there recently will have known about this for some time. But for everyone else, Weston Pier was severely ravaged by fire recently.

I am writing about it now because I paid Weston a visit a few days ago to see the horror for myself. As I stood there, I felt like I was standing beside someone flat-lining in a hospital bed. It was heart-breaking.

The Pier was just over 100 years old, and had seen many big development projects over the years. Apparently, it was meant to be a landing port for steamers, but due to choppy tides, it was converted into a full entertainment venue instead. Stretching 2,000 metres out into the sea, it had everything from a big kid’s fun house to a ferris wheel housed within.

But, enough of all that crap. It was also the home to many, many a classic and modern arcade game. I spent a lot of my youth there, sometimes frequenting it’s heavenly eden every weekend… Not a bad feat considering I live over an hour’s drive away and… couldn’t drive. Therefore, due to my complete and utter hatred for public transport, my unbelievably tolerant parents spent a lot of time there too. Weston Pier quite often had the latest games on there – it was the location where I played such games as Final Fight, Daytona USA, Ridge Racer, StreetFighter 2, Tekken and Virtua Fighter for the first time. It was also the place to go where you could find classic old games such as Operation Thunderbolt and Commando tucked away in hitherto forgotten corners with trademark flakey controllers and phosphor-burned screens. One of the few places that had not succumbed to the rob-them-completely-blind concept that is ticket redemption games. Bliss.

But now all that has gone. I have heard that there are already plans to resurrect this portal to the past, present and future – but I doubt that it will ever be as awe-inspiring as it once was.

A two minute’s silence for the loss of an icon for many a generation. Long live WSMP!
- Galford