Oct 25, 2021, 11:50 am


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JPM Pool Play - A trip down memory lane

Started by DAD, Dec 18, 2019, 12:15 pm

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JPM Pool Play

Ever since I could physically reach the pull handle of a one arm bandit I've had a fascination for fruit machines but it wasn't until I was 13/14 I started going into the arcades regularly.  In those days they didn't give a monkeys how old you were so long as you were spending.  Back then Carfield ruled the roost and I used to pop down quite often and play these great machines and have a game of pool.  In fact I used to go that regularly to one particular arcade called the Golden Nugget down Spring Bank in Hull that Tony the owner used to take the pay slide out of the table and we'd play sometimes all day.  I pretty much spent all my pocket money in there and thinking about it I suppose I was addicted back then.

Roll on a few years to 1978 and at 16 I got my first job in a Bakery working in a massive factory.  My first pay packet was £22.50 and that got carried straight down the to the Golden Nugget arcade.  Luckily I did well that day and pretty much doubled my pay.  I remember my Dad counting all the 10p's out on the carpet once I'd staggered home.  Unfortunately, that job didn't last long but soon found another working in Hull city centre at 'The Model Shop'.  You know the sort place that sells model kits, train sets, Scalextric & radio controlled planes etc... It was a really cushy job looking back even though I didn't realise it at the time. 

I used to get an hour for lunch which was far too long really and this is where I slipped up big time.  Right round the corner was another amusement arcade called Sunspot (I posted a pic of that place at DIF not long ago) and soon found myself spending all my spare time in there - lunchtimes & evenings, especially on Saturdays which was payday.  I got extremely good at Pinball and Space Invaders but obviously played the fruit machines most of the time.  Even then I played what I would call the simple lo-tech machines such as Super Nudge Gambler and Eachway Nudger but my all-time favourite was JPM's Pool Play.

There were just two in the arcade and were very very popular.  Sometimes you simply couldn't get on them and often some of used to queue up just hoping to get a play.  I recall a bloke called Ray who worked for the Post Office who always seemed to get on one of them and more often than not couldn't stand properly as his pockets were weighed down with 10p's.  He told me once he was a member of a secret club called 'Bandit Bashers' who shared tricks on how to beat the machines.  I never really believed him but 'buggar me' he did very well most of the time.

If you were lucky enough to get on one the first thing EVERYONE did was to stick your right eye up to the glass to the left of the reels and look inside the machine to see how full the tube was.  Fingers crossed it was pretty full!  The idea of the machine was simple - get two 8 Balls on the winline on the first two reels and the 3rd reel would step down for a 10, 20 or 50p win.  Might sound boring but the thing that 'really' made this machine so brilliant was 'timed nudges'.  As soon as the buzzer sounded, the BIG Nudge Now lamp would flash and if you were quick enough you got 6 nudges every time.  It helped massively if you knew the reel order but even if you did you could lose a Jackpot by not being quick enough.  Seeing 3 (old style) JPM symbols in the window still makes me smile too.  In short you had to know the machines intricacies to do well on it, I suppose that's why it was very popular.  Having said that many times I had to walk home a couple of miles having lost my money and not being able to afford the 20p bus fare. 

By this time I was obviously a helpless addict but strangely enough it was a happy period in my life.  I had a good job, lived at home with my parents so not a care in the world, a cracking girlfriend and sometimes money in my pocket.  I think this is the reason why I have fond memories of Pool Play as it reminds me of those carefree times. Not that I'm not happy now because I am but I think we all have certain things that take us back in time and remind us of good times in our lives.

Luckily my addiction was cured pretty much overnight when I was made redundant from the Model Shop and having moved away from Hull as well, I no longer worked or lived anywhere near an arcade.  I still played the odd machine in pubs & clubs but nothing on the scale that I used to do. Getting married and having kids probably helped too ;)

If you've not played Pool Play before, download Danno's fantastic classic for DADsFME and have a play, maybe you'll discover what I did 41 years ago that this machine is really something special.

Welcome to DADsFME, enjoy your stay :)


Thanks for sharing this nice little story, love hearing story's like this. I think who play fruits on the emu can relate to a time in are life's good/bad. I know reading that it sounds very
similar, the long walk home, the spending the wages in the arcade, care free time at home with parents.
Nice to know that i was not the only one in that boat.  On the emulation side of things it great when something special comes along to trigger these memory's, am glad that Danno has being able to make something here special for you dad and make you very happy, such a great feeling!

Thanks. :)           


Great story, very pleased your all time fave has been released... this is what FME is all about.. :)