This week is Earth Science Week so I thought in celebration of this for this weeks Find it Friday object I would do a geological item, essentially, a piece of the earth! However, as a geology graduate I seem to have been gravitating towards the geology collection for a lot for the FF objects. So, instead I did a basic search on Modes for any objects tagged with the word ‘Earth’. This brought up 244 collection items (minus the geology collection) here at the curatorial services and this is the one I chose:
This is a large 1950s games machine. It’s a wooden case with a space-age slot game behind a glass window. The game is titled ‘Earth Satellite – Where Will It Land’ and features astronauts, rockets, UFO’s, planets and satellites.
It is a game produced by Ruffler and Walker of London. R&W made various games in this style with different themes; they were known as ‘Allwins’. These amusement games and ones like them are mostly, if not all, of British origin. The USA manufactured games, as an example, mostly relied on chance to win which resulted in the title of ‘gambling’ rather than ‘amusement’. At the time of Earth Satellites production it was against the law in the UK to have American like games as there had to be some skill, talent or judgement to warrant and allow them to pay out a cash prize. However, this could be a topic of hot discussion when looking at the Allwins as it appears that skill doesn’t seem to come in to it at all. The ball falls onto the spring-loaded hammer at the bottom right., the player then operates the trigger to shoot the ball up and around the fixed spiral tracks. If the ball lands in one of the winning cups, the player turns the knob at the bottom of the case and the machine pays out a prize depending on which of the various cups the ball landed.
If you take a closer look at the Earth Satellite, its holes are coloured coded and there is a small plaque in the center that reads: “Gold cup pays 6, Blue 4, Red 2, Black cup loses.” You will notice that the gold cup is in the middle giving the impression that this game is an easy one, however that is untrue. The sign of a good Allwin was to make it look a lot easier than it actually is.
However, there is no denying that what makes this object a beautiful collections item is the images and decoration on the back board of the game that shows a star filled sky, with various recognisable space related images and a planet being explored by orange suited astronauts at the bottom. The scene is really set with the bold, bright green and blue colours, of set by the silvers and reds. Its easy to see how this could entertain for hours. I can tell you now, its proving hard for me to refrain from having a quick go of it today, that’s for sure!