Picking up Monopoly and Cops N Robbers for the coming season, Carousel Amusements operator John Martin believes a winning combination of great products and exciting prizes is key to keeping pushers – “the mainstay of the FEC” – running strong.
Over the last four or five years, Carousel Amusements in Westward Ho! has slowly replaced all but one of the FEC’s older pushers with new models from the industry’s most innovative manufacturers.
The first of the new generation was Rainbow Riches, which was followed by big names such as Deal or No Deal, and later by Monopoly and Cops N Robber, both of which are new for the coming season. Indeed, when it comes to pushers, there’s been quite an overhaul at Carousel Amusements over the last few years, with operator John Martin believing that a strong pusher offering is what keeps coastal FECs ticking along smoothly. “Pushers are the backbone of the arcade, the bread and butter, and here at the coast it’s a cheap option for families to have a day’s worth of entertainment,” explained Martin. “They are really the main- stay of the seaside arcade, and when you buy a great pusher, you know you’ve got a reliable long term investment.”
While the simple yet exciting mechanics of pushers haven’t changed since the machine’s inception, there have been some inventions over the years that have made newer pushers more suited to the modern seaside arcade. These days, players demand quicker play and bigger prizes, and in response the industry’s wealth of innovation has provided several successful solutions.
“The newer pushers have wider beds at the front, which makes them much better for the bigger prizes,” continued Martin, “and another good innovation for pushers has been the fast feed, which has kept the gameplay up to speed. To be honest, I find it amazing how they’ve lasted all these years.”
Of course, a major contributor to the outstanding longevity of all traditional amusement machines has been the ability to keep them stocked with modern prizes. In fact, when they really strike a chord, prizes can be the defining factor in how well a machine per- forms, with fidget spinners the stand-out example of recent years. Last season, squishy toys emerged as the new must-have swag at seaside FECs like Carousel Amusements, with Rezins and the Deal or No Deal boxes also proving popular with players. For the season ahead, it’s hard for Martin to put his finger on exactly which pushers and which prizes will win the most attention from his visitors, but with strong investments in both areas over the winter period he is confident that his machines will continue to perform.
“It’s horses for courses at this point, and it can often depend on what prizes you’ve got on them,” he detailed. “If there’s a good prize on them that really helps, but at this time of the year it’s hard to say which pusher will be the most popular. For the prizes, last year the squishies were very popular, but again that might change this season – it’s too early to call.”
While Martin can’t predict the future, he has set-up his seaside venue with the modern systems that keep FECs ticking over in 2019. At Carousel Amusements, there are tickets on all the pushers, giving players the opportunity to win prizes both off from the pusher bed and the redemption store. Indeed, while pushers remain the backbone of the modern seaside FEC, support from prizes, tickets, and other types of machines are all vital to create an environment that is both contemporary and classic – a combination that all coastal attractions must perfect to stay ahead in Britain’s highly competitive seaside resorts.