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Video Game Connection - Reviews Of the Month
DisneyQuest Arcade at Disney World in Florida by DigitalDaredevil - 02/21/2007

Rating, for what we are reviewing, classic games, it gets a 2. It should be lower due to the games being in the condition that they are, but I can't be too harsh as they are one of a few places that actually still have the classics. Overall the place gets a 4 out 5 for design, atmosphere, games, food service. It has the potential to be one of the best arcades around, but it fails in their care of the classic games.

On 02-12-2007, we paid Walt Disney World’s Disney Quest a visit. We were eager to play all of the classic games that were advertised, and the ones that I had seen there on a previous visit. My first visit a year ago left me a little disappointed, so I waited a while and gave it another shot.

We entered the building and were directed to an elevator that has a two way mirror with video screens behind it which show a layered effect with cartoons featuring a genie and other characters. The genie blasts you off as the elevator takes you to the third floor of the five floor building. This time of year is very slow for Disney, but the weekends are busy at Disney Quest. Even though it was not what would be considered busy by Disney standards, the place had some waits for the virtual rides. The classic games had people playing them, but you did not have to wait more than a few minutes to get your hands on the game you wanted.

The building has two restaurant areas, virtual reality simulator games, interactive games, arcade games, skeeball, air hockey, and plenty of current arcade games. The place had no chairs for gamers, although some smart guy brought a small, folding bar stool so he could sit as he played.

Since we are classic gamers, and did not really play the more recent games, we are limiting the review to the classics.

Disney Quest has two areas of classic games, one on the third floor and one on the fifth.

Here are the results of the third floor listing the classic machines and a little bit about them:

Spy Hunter – worked well, but the left trigger button did not work. The monitor looked like it needed a good degaussing, but it was very playable.

Berzerk – played well, but the screen was scrunched horizontally a bit, making the screen look awkward. Playable, but annoying.

Marble Madness – looked good. The left trackball was not responsive to your moves. It was no fun to be player one. Player two worked perfect.

Ms. Pac Man/Galaga Class of 1981 – Worked well. The game starts with 5 lives. Ms. Pac was set to turbo mode and Galaga was set for fast shooting. We were able to do the trick at the game select screen that allows you to change the Ms. Pac Man game to regular Pac Man. (for those that do not know how to do this, after you insert your coin, the game asks you to select one or two players from Ms. Pac Man buttons on the left and Galaga on the right of the control panel. While at this screen, if you move the joystick in this exact sequence: up, up, up, down, down, down, left, right left, right, left. The ghost for Ms. Pac Man will change from red to pink, and makes a “dinging” noise which is also the free pac man sound. This changes Ms. Pac Man to Pac Man for the duration of the current game.

Galaga – worked ok, but the joystick had very little spring to it. Playable but a new joystick would have made it a lot better.

Super Pac Man – Screen was vertically smashed together by an inch or so on both sides, distorting the screen. Unplayable.

Ms. Pac Man – Set to turbo mode. Played well, but the screen could be brighter.

Pac Man – set to turbo mode. The screen was also dim/faded. Playable.

Frogger – showed credits and asked for one or two player start, however the game would not progress past this screen no matter what you button you pressed. Unplayable.

Tron – joystick was not the original, and it was in a position to seem like it was bent forward. It did not work correctly as you could not move to the right without some wiggling of the stick. The joystick was painted black and did not have the Tron logo on it. The spinner did not have the correct artwork either. The light on the control panel was not a fluorescent bulb as it should have been. Not playable.

Asteroids Deluxe – sounds were wrong. Instead of laser shots and exploding rocks, you heard sounds that resembled musical tunes. The vector graphics were white instead of the blue hue that it should have. The backdrop of the game was not illuminated. The game was revision two where the “flower” ships attack slower. Very playable, but not what you remembered it looking and sounding like.

Moon Patrol – looked and played good.

Joust – screen ok. Played decent.

Star Wars Return of the Jedi – Graphics were messed up. Playable but had issues.

Space Invaders/Qix Silver Anniversary – Very good condition.

Robotron – Played very good, seemed to be set on an easy level. No side art. Very playable.

Ultracade – broken and turned off.

Lunar Lander – thruster would not properly function and go to full throttle. When you played, the ship would always crash as the thrust was not strong enough to overcome the gravity. The screen was blurry and the select button was not the original cone type. It was a simple push button. Unplayable. This was disappointing as these are rare to find in an arcade, and I recall this same machine having the same problem over a year ago.

Galaga – game was stuck in a boot error. Unplayable.

Galaxian – joystick would not move ship. Ship would fire though. Unplayable.

Q*Bert – screen seemed tired and dim. Game played decent. The cabinet knocker when Q*Bert falls was not operating.

Donkey Kong Jr. – left side of screen was cut off, about 1/16th. Joystick has very little spring to it.

Mario Brothers – played well.

Arkanoid – played well, not in original cabinet.

Dig Dug – did not have centering grommet for the joystick but it centered. The joystick would be better if replaced as the springs were dead. One player and two player buttons were recessed into the cones. Kids had a hard time starting it. Playable.

Donkey Kong – Joystick has seen better days. No spring to it. Colors on the screen were way off. Girders were bubble gum pink, not red like they should be. Playable though.

Donkey Kong/Donkey Kong Jr./Mario Bros. Multi machine – played well.

Burgertime – Monitor was dim and tired. Played good though.

Mr. Do – played well, was in a Frogger cabinet. Had the wrong style joystick from the original, but it was very playable.

Missing from this floor were the Star Wars Cockpit and the Dragons Lair Ultracade machine. This machine was a cabaret when it was present about a year ago.

On the fifth floor the classic games are:

Space Invaders/Qix Silver Anniversary cocktail – Played perfect.

Millipede – played well. Screen was a little dim/blurry, but playable.

Centipede – bezel needed adjusted as it covered part of the score. Screen was a little dim.

Asteroids – played well. Screen had a vector bullseye in the center of it.

Missile Command – played well, but the cone buttons that controlled the missile launches were replaced by small push buttons.

Discs of Tron – played well, sounded good, looked good, but the shield button did not work on the stick. Joystick was painted black and did not appear to be the correct stick. It also seemed bent forward like the first Tron machine.

Tron – another Tron machine without the original joystick. It had very little to no spring and would not center correctly. Bottom of the screen was cut off.

Dig Dug – screen was a hair too dim. The spring in the joystick was shot. No centering grommet on stick.

Donkey Kong – marquee was a not a very good reproduction. Bezel had no artwork on it. T-Molding was falling off of the machine halfway down the left side. Colors on monitor were way off/washed out.

Galaxian – screen was a bit dim. Top of screen where “1UP” and “High Score” are did not display correctly through a line in the center of the words. Wrong joystick, seemed more like a small Nintendo stick. The shaft needed to be a little longer. Playable though.

Front Line – played very well. The monitor seemed new. The dial control was very responsive but a bit beat up. I recall it being broken in the past. Played great.

Frogger – played well.

Q*Bert – a little screen burn and dim, but very playable. The knocking solenoid worked when you fell off of the side of the pyramid. It was nice to see this as most machines seemed to not work correctly, even back in the day.

Jungle Hunt – played well.

Pac Man – played well, colors a little off. Gave you 5 Pac Men.

Elevator Action – played good. Monitor looked decent.

Gorf – joystick did not center correctly, springs were tired. The game did play correctly though. Monitor seemed faded. Playable.

Joust – left joystick had a bad contact when moving to the right. You needed to be a little forceful to get it to move correctly.

Phoenix – monitor a little dim but played well.

Pengo – played well.

Zaxxon – screen was frozen. It displayed garbage characters.

Kangaroo – screen position was off. About a ½ “ on the right side was black and the left side has about the same amount of space not viewable on the screen. Playable though.

Karate Champ – screen was off on the bottom. About 3” of black screen was on the bottom and the top was too high, not allowing you to see the top 3” of screen. The left player’s right joystick was broken. It would not center and leaned to the right. When I pulled the stick, the shaft came completely apart from the machine. I could have taken it home as a souvenir if I wanted to. Unplayable on player one. Player two was ok.

Daytona USA - isn’t really a classic in my opinion, it is a fun older game that still has a lot of popularity. There are 8 stations linked together with projection screens and sit down cockpits. Car #4 had no steering control, and #5 had gear shift problems. If you used #5 with the automatic transmission, it was playable. The game is playable and fun except for car #4.

Pinball machines, although not classics were a dissatisfying experience. There are 7 machines and 3 were broken:

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not – working.

Monopoly – working.

Nascar – working.

Simpson’s Pinball Party – working.

Roller Coaster Tycoon – not working.

Harley Davidson 3rd Edition – not working.

Elvis – broken.

Disney Quest has a lot more games than this, but we were just there for the classics and it appears the readership is into the same. I cannot comment on the playability of the other games as we did not try them.

A lot of the monitors were either a bit or much too dim. I think this was an attempt to extend the life of the monitors.

It became obvious that any repairs made to the machines were, pardon the pun, "Mickey Moused. A real video game repairman would have his work cut out for him there. Since Disney is supposed to be closing Disney Quest in the near future, they certainly do not care to get the games right or even operational.

Now I know some people may think that we were being too picky when testing these machines, and initially, I was more worried about the machines working or being playable, but after seeing the majority of the machines either unplayable or too messed up to enjoy if you were around these machines in their heyday, the problems became more glaring and disappointing that we felt it should be noted here. Not to say that older machines do not have their problems, but most machines were in a sad state of playability. My machines are not all collector’s pieces, nor do I expect them to be, but if I owned these machines, I would have some work done to most of them to get the to at least an enjoyable level of playability.

If you are in the Disney World area, and are looking for classic arcade games, you would be better off to avoid Disney Quest and save the $36 ticket cost. My advice would be to play the games in emulation, as you will have the correct colors and sounds for most games, and will function more like the game you remembered.

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