Aaron Fechter is the creator of the Rock-afire Explosion, the animatronic band that made greasy memories at Showbiz Pizza throughout the 1980s. He also insists he's the inventor of Whac-A-Mole, based on a similar Japanese game that he saw in 1976, although the company that popularized it call bullshit on that claim. Now, Fechter has a new game in the works, Bashy Bug, and he's banking on its success to save his career, and his legacy. From Popular Mechanics:
Day two of the (International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions Convention) finds Fechter on the floor but with a non-working game. This is the first public debut of Bashy Bug.
As Fechter promised, the game is mechanical. The player operates a giant rubber flip-flop while a mutated cockroach skitters underfoot. If you can step on the bug, you earn a point. If the bug escapes when you bring your foot down, the bug earns a point. I know from experience that the system has been wired with a jerking intelligence to randomly stop the bug's run just short of the target that makes this harder than it sounds, and after the bug has scored a few points against you, you'll find yourself sucked in. But nobody here will have that opportunity.
"I haven't slept," Fechter tells me, standing in front of this monument of a purple machine with an animatronic roach face hovering above the scoreboard and Billy Bob painted on the cabinet. There is a mania in his voice that I would blame on fatigue if I hadn't interviewed him before. "I just couldn't find it. I finally gave up. I can't mess with it anymore. I'm here. I said to myself 'Am I going to let a blob of soldering metal ruin my happiness? Am I going to stay home and cry? Or am I going to come out and make some connections?'"
By noon, Fechter leaves his girlfriend to watch the Bashy Bug while he takes a nap in his car.
"The Man Who Made The Whac-A-Mole Has One More Chance" (Popular Mechanics)
Below, The Rock-afire Explosion," a 2008 documentary: