The Groovy Game Gear TokenTop
Review by Kevin Steele
A very few of you know of my former “spinner knob habit,” my collection of practically every after market arcade spinner knob. With all of the spinner reviews that I've done I suppose it was inevitable that I'd start collecting knobs, but I finally broke that habit this year, giving away my entire collection. That was that, I told myself.
Well, I wasn’t quite as far along in recovery as I thought I was—when Randy over at GroovyGameGear.com announced a brand-new spinner top design with an inlay area for .984” tokens on the top, I was sold immediately.
Unfortunately, it took him a while to get the product to market, but it’s here at last, and since I had custom .984" tokens made for RetroBlast (and GameRoom Magazine), I just had to have one of these cool-looking knobs.
The TokenTop is a 1 3/8"diameter stainless steel knob (1.5” base) that stands approx. 7/8” high. It features a rubber ring around the knob for easy grip, and an inlay area at the top of the knob designed to fit any .984" token (a common size, Pachislo tokens and Chuck E Cheese tokens are both .984”)
It's designed to fit standard 1/4" shafts, so the TokenTop knob will work with any spinner on the market.
Since it’s made of stainless steel, the knob has an impressive amount of “heft” at 4 ounces. It’s a lot heavier than it’s small size would seem to indicate. The Groovy Game Gear site also includes a big heaping helping of marketing hyperbole about the knob:
The Accu-Twist™ system is nothing more than a piece of felt attached to the bottom of the knob.
To adjust the spinner resistance, you can use the included torx wrench to lower the knob so that it rubs against the control panel. It’s a simple and effective idea, especially for Arkanoid fans, but giving it a trademarked “catchphrase” seems a bit overblown. It does increase the spinner resistance, but it doesn't quite give it that "Arkanoid" feel, although it probably comes closer than anything short of a geared spinner.
The rubber grip is nice, but probably an acquired taste—it provides great “stopping power” on fast spins, but it felt a bit too tacky for me (as in grip, it is certainly not unstylish!) I suppose I’ve gotten used to knurled metal grips, although this knob definitely doesn’t feel like it’s sanding away your fingertips as it spins! I'm also fairly certain it will become less "grippy" as time goes on and sweaty-fingered players give it some serious gameplay time.
The inlay area of the knob is unique, and a stylish touch for those who have a favorite token. It certainly looks great with a RetroBlast token! Groovy Game Gear supplies the knobs with either a brass or nickel-plated BYOAC token, or your can get the knob with no token and supply your own.
The knob comes with either a red or black rubber grip, and is available from Groovy Game Gear for $22.95. While it’s a bit expensive for a knob, it does bring some new “spinner knob tech” to the party, and it’s stylish as well.