Tracking down the Namco Galaxian 3 6 Player Theater from Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada and Beyond

SaraAB87 August 8, 2017 5
Tracking down the Namco Galaxian 3 6 Player Theater from Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada and Beyond

Here at Arcade Heroes we like to track down arcade games to find out what happened to them if they are no longer on location, especially if its a game that is rarely seen or a particularly memorable game. After tracking down the Sega R360 from the Skylon Tower, I decided to look into another one of Niagara’s large attractions, the Galaxian 3 theater by Namco.

The Galaxian 3 Theater by Namco is a large theater simulator that was made around 1990 or 1991. This particular instance of a Galaxian 3 that we are taking a look at today was the one located at the Konica Minolta tower located on Fallsview Blvd. in Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada. This location is walk-able from almost anywhere in the Niagara tourist district. Today this building is known as The Tower Hotel (I will refer to it as the Minolta Tower for the rest of this story).

While there were some other versions of Galaxian 3 made including a 16 player version and a 28 player version these versions were only seen in Japan and perhaps some other overseas locations. The more common 6 player stationary theater is what was located at the Minolta Tower and was the only type of Galaxian 3 theater that would be located in North America since it was the only type of Galaxian 3 Theater sold in North America by Namco. The Galaxian 3 Theater can run one of 2 games Galaxian 3: Project Dragoon or Attack of the Zolgear, which is the sequel. If you are playing the original Playstation port on a Playstation home console you will have access to an additional bonus mission, The Rising of Gourb, which was never released in arcades.

Not to be confused with the Skylon Tower, this is The Tower Hotel, formerly known as the Minolta Tower. Yes the locations of both towers are very close to each other, just a few minutes walking distance. From what I understand this actual tower is not open the public anymore, but the building now houses a hotel in the lower levels and is mainly used as a hotel.

The only picture of the area where the Galaxian 3 was that I was able to dig up was this picture of the sign that lists the attractions, the Galaxian 3 included, and the prices of the attractions. This photo was taken in 1995 and is courtesy of the archives at the library in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Unfortunately I was unable to find a photo of the actual game while it was located at the Minolta Tower.

Most of these Galaxian 3 Theaters from what I can tell were purchased directly from Namco and installed by Namco, as was the one at the Minolta Tower. Its also possible to convert a Ridge Racer Full Scale to a Galaxian 3 Theater, so some Galaxian 3 Theaters may have started off as Ridge Racer Full Scale and some may have originally been Ridge Racer Full Scale but converted to Galaxian 3.

There were several other attractions in the Minolta Tower Complex in addition to the Galaxian 3 Theater and the observation deck at the top of the tower. There was an attraction called Search Factory, I do not know what this was. There was also Virtual Reality machines by the company Virtuality with the games Flying Aces in the sit down Virtuality pod and Dactyl Nightmare in the Stand up Virtuality pod.

Then there was the Galaxian 3 Theater. It is also believed the tower had regular arcade machines and pinball as well. All of these large attractions including the Galaxian 3 Theater were installed in 1995 and likely began operation during the summer of 1995. The Galaxian 3 continued to operate at the Minolta Tower until 2001, when the tower was renovated. The renovation included removing all of the arcade type attractions and turning most of the tower into a hotel.  There was an additional renovation to finish this project in 2010. The Galaxian 3 theater was unfortunately having some problems and was removed and scrapped during the 2001 renovation of the building. I was able to reach someone heavily involved with this building in the area, and they told me the whole story and what happened to the game.

There was another Galaxian 3 Theater in Canada located at an arcade called The Fun Factor in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. This one was also not purchased from the Minolta Tower. Unfortunately this Galaxian 3 also suffered a horrible fate, the owner attempted to sell the machine, however when it was being transported to the location where it was sold to, it was badly damaged in transportation. The remains of this unit are with someone who is going attempt to restore it.

This is a picture of the Galaxian 3 at The Fun Factor,  once again this game is no longer located there.

Now you may be wondering, are there any Galaxian 3 theaters in operation today? There are but there are very few left as one would imagine. If anyone knows of an operational theater other than the ones listed feel free to comment. The first location I know of with one is Fun World located in Nashua, New Hampshire in the USA. I don’t visit this location personally since I do not live near it so I do not know what is going on with their machine, however the last time someone checked on it; it was seen it was seen with a cover on it, so I think its safe to say that one is on location but is currently not operating. I was able to reach this location and I asked them if this was the machine from the Minolta Tower but it was not, and theirs was an original install from Namco. It is also believed the location at the moment is trying to have the game fixed. They have a banner up from Ridge Racer Full Scale (pictured below) so I think this Galaxian 3 Theater was converted from Ridge Racer Full Scale. If you live close to the location feel free to check it out however do not be surprised if its not working (Fun World still advertises the Galaxian 3 on their website though).

You can visit their website here : http://www.funworldnh.com/

I did manage to find a video of this Galaxian 3 but the video is from 2013.

There is one Galaxian 3 Theater 6 that I know of operating in Japan. I believe its in the Tokyo area. It is at a museum for vintage arcade games. The website for the museum is listed below. I think they are only open during very specific times so you will want to check with them before you go there. Besides the currently non working one at Fun World, this is the only Galaxian 3 I know of that is operating in the public in the world that is working at the moment. The museum also features a number of other rare, vintage arcade games.

http://island.geocities.jp/ugsf_west/

Since the Galaxian 3 Theater operates on laserdiscs and laser disc players, it can be very difficult to keep these things running today. This theater in Japan has been converted to use regular computers of some sort, thus allowing the Galaxian 3 Theater to stay in working order and allowing it to continue to entertain guests.

A twitter account for the museum can be found here (also in Japanese)  https://twitter.com/gehaku

A list of all Galaxian 3 theaters can be found here including the former locations of the 16 and 28 player versions of the game, the website is in Japanese, it was written by Japanese fans of the game so its not an official list, however it has not been updated since 2005, so it is surely outdated. The website also links to a couple other lists, although again very outdated (the other lists were last updated around 2003 at the latest). If you remember a certain Galaxian 3 theater and want a little more information on it this may be the site to visit:

http://www2b.biglobe.ne.jp/~ikke/g3list.html

One does not mention the Galaxian 3 Theater without mentioning famous arcade game collector, Bruno Biordi otherwise known as DarthNuno. Bruno lives in Belgium and currently has an entire Galaxian 3 Theater in his house.  He bought the theater from an arcade in Belgium where he used to play the game as a kid, so he actually owns the same game that he played as a kid, which is extremely awesome! Bruno’s theater is currently set up and in working condition. Its actually the 10 year anniversary of the famous road trip that was taken to collect the Galaxian 3 theater, as this project was started in 2007. As you can imagine it was a massive amount of work to disassemble the theater, move it out of the arcade and eventually move it into his house where certain parts of it then had to be restored, other parts replaced and fixed. This process took more than 5 years and Bruno is extremely committed to the task of keeping a Galaxian 3 Theater functioning. If you want to read more about Bruno’s adventures with the Galaxian 3 and its a great read you can visit his website: Dragons Lair Fans right here:

http://dragonslairfans.com/

Dragon’s Lair Fans Forums, where you can read the full story of the Galaxian 3 Road Trip and find an entire section dedicated to the Galaxian 3 Theater:

http://www.dragonslairfans.com/smfor/index.php

A big thanks to Bruno for providing many of the photos used in this article.

This is Bruno’s Galaxian 3 theater, the Daytona that is also seen in this photo looks so tiny!

Dave & Busters at one time operated the Galaxian 3 Theater at many of their locations, however these games were all eventually converted to a game called Air Raid which is a game by Tsunami. It is believed that Tsunami produced an upgrade kit for these Galaxian 3 theaters mainly for the ones that were still in Dave & Busters locations. As far as I know this was strictly a Dave & Busters thing, to convert the Galaxian 3’s to Air Raid. The conversions were done on various levels with some leaving more parts of the original theater in tact than others. Since the company Tsunami is no longer in business Dave & Busters is slowly removing these machines, what will become of them is unknown. If you want to see a Galaxian 3 Theater converted to Air Raid you can visit the Dave & Busters in Vaughan, Ontario which is near Toronto as I believe they have an operating Air Raid. There may also be operating Air Raid’s across the USA at a few Dave & Busters locations, if you want to see this game its best to contact your local D&B and see if they have it (ask for Air Raid).

Some pictures of the Galaxian 3 Theater to Air Raid conversions

You can clearly see some elements of the Galaxian 3 Theater are still there, making it obvious what it once was.

Here we have 3 youtube videos of the theaters:

Alternatively if you want to play Galaxian 3 on a home console an easy way to do this is to make a Japanese account on the PSN and download the PSN Classics versions of Galaxian 3 right to your Playstation 3 console. This can be done from North America on a North American PS3. Easiest way to do this is to buy a Japanese Gift card for the PSN with Japanese PSN points or credits. Its not as difficult as it sounds to do this. This is probably the best and most cost effective method for playing Galaxian 3 at home.


5 Comments »

  1. Toby August 8, 2017 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Hey Adam! There was a Galaxian 3 machine here in London, UK at Namco Funscape in County Hall (near the London Eye) until around 2005.

  2. Steffen August 9, 2017 at 9:23 am - Reply

    Around 2004 the Casino Arcade on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk used to have a Galaxian 3, too. Not sure if it has survived until today.

    • Hysteria August 14, 2017 at 4:56 pm - Reply

      I was there a few months ago. I can confirm it is not there anymore. However, still some rare games on the Santa Cruz boardwalk. Panic Museum, DJ Max Technica, initial d stage 4, etc

  3. BDD August 10, 2017 at 1:43 am - Reply

    There was a Galaxian3 setup at The Fun Factory in Grand Rapids MI back in the early 90s. I think it was in operation for a little over 6 months before being pulled. Don’t know what happened to it, but the arcade itself closed in the late 90s.

  4. Hysteria August 14, 2017 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    I was at Fun World in NH about a year and a half ago. They still had it, but it was out of order with a giant blue tarp draped over it.

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