2009 Arcade Restoration Agenda.

November 12th, 2008

I, Robot – Ground up restoration. Un-Choplifter this thing and bring it back to its former glory. So far I’ve found non-working pcbs, the pcb cage, and a hall effect stick. Still need a harness, marquee and bezel art, and ideally a new control panel.

Interstellar Laser Fantasy – Cabinet is in fairly nice shape, should only require some touch up work here and there once the control panel is rebuilt. No player or disc, so the current plan is to make it into a dedicated Daphne machine (anyone need Interstellar boards?).

Xevious – Cabinet is in solid shape, and with the spare cp, this one might end up being one I play with and turn into a MAME or multi-game. Also, I’m toying with the idea of mounting the upper artwork (directly below the marquee) to plexi with a soft backlight.

Missile Command – Ground-up restoration. Gonna be a lot of work, but at least the cabinet itself is in solid shape.

Omega Race – Ground-up restoration. Front art is all in great shape, side art needs replacing (awaiting thisoldgame.com repros), back of the cabinet looks like it was dragged down a gravel road, will need a bit of bondo work. Hoping the boards are good, still needs a G05 chassis and a few other bits.

The wife is right, I do not need any more machines right now. I’ve got enough cabinet projects to last me a full year, so unless someone wants to donate an upright Discs of Tron, I doubt I’ll be picking up anything new. It’s still fun to scan craigslist in the morning with coffee, though.

So, with the recent spate of arcade project posts, have I managed to convince any of you out there to take up this life leeching incredibly fulfilling hobby? Got a 2009 restoration (or collection) agenda?

Craft Day for the arcade cabinet owner.

October 24th, 2008

1) Buy a handful of acrylic photo keychains. I went with the Lifestyles Photo Keytags that Walgreens sells, two for three bucks.

2) Download flyers for your cabinet. The Arcade Flyer Archive is a perfect resource, and you’ll want to find two good pages, for both the front and back sides of the keychain.

3) Clean up and resize the artwork. Some of the scans can be pretty rough, so if you’ve got the knowhow, now is the part where you’ll want to do any color correction and blemish removal from the flyer artwork, otherwise don’t worry about it, they’ll turn out fine enough. Once everything looks good, size ’em down. If you’re using the Walgreens keytags, you’ll want the print size to be 2×2.875 inches.

4) Create a printing template. If you have Photoshop, feel free to use the one I made, formatted roughly to size and for 4×6 glossy photo paper.

5) Print your artwork. Let your printouts dry for a bit, then trim as needed. Place the front and back flyer images in the keytag, snap in the acrylic cover, loop in your cabinet keys and you’re good to go!

Arcade flyer keychains

Neo-Geo MVS-2-13 restoration

October 23rd, 2008

The lack of free space in the garage aside, I’m really enjoying the whole arcade restoration thing. This hobby strikes so many of the right nerves for me: the strong nostalgia kick, the tinkering, the collectibility, and the research and skill acquisition required to go from start to completion.

If you were a gamer in the 80s and if you’ve got the room, I recommend taking on your own project — thanks to the current state of our economy, cabinets are selling for cheap, and with a bit of exploration and patience you could easily wind up with your own personal gaming holy grail sitting in your workspace. There are plenty of small shops out there selling parts and reproduction artwork, and many active online communities to help with the hunt for specific pieces and technical questions.

Anyway, on to the latest.

A Neo-Geo MVS-2-13 – more commonly known as a Neo Mini or Cabaret – was one of my personal picks from the warehouse raid a few weeks back, and my first project from the lot.

Neo mini

Full story, after the jump »

Arcade Trailer Raid, Day 2.

September 25th, 2008

It begins.

Here’s where the bulk of the games were located. The facility is one of those places on the edge of town where they rent out shipping containers and trailers; the containers were stacked everywhere, with trailers lined up behind them. Looked like a level out of Rainbow Six or something. Every now and then, F-15s and F-16s from Nellis would scream right over us, close enough to read the numbers.

I wasn’t forward-thinking enough to bring sunscreen, but thankfully the worst of the summer heat had already passed; the temperature was a comparably balmy mid-90 degrees or so.

Okay, pictures!

Thank God for the forklift.

Ray takes a ride while the seller drives. Loose gravel added excitement to the day, as every now and then the forklift would spin out or get stuck, scaring the hell out of whoever was stabilizing the load.

There was a nice selection of laser disc games, all in decent shape. M.A.C.H. 3, an upright and cockpit Interstellar Laser Fantasy, and an Astron Belt cockpit. Additionally, we pulled out an upright and cockpit Firefox, both of which the seller unfortunately kept.

Two Star Trek cockpits. One went to Pete, one back home with Ray. Behind em to the left is the Firefox cockpit.

Here’s the upright Interstellar, and the only cabinet I personally claimed from the day.

Mappys! Adam Isgreen is now the proud owner of the one on the right.

Two Turket Shoots. What a strange collection of games in this trailer.

Ray poses with the loot.

And finally…

That’s not a farmer’s tan, that’s dirt.

Okay you can stop checking out my feet now. Here’s the final tally:

Games I’m keeping
I, Robot (Choplifter converted)
Interstellar Laser Fantasy
Neo Geo MVS-2-13 cabaret & a 6slot mobo

Games I’m cleaning up to sell
Zombie Raid
Super Monaco GP
Nintendo VS Dualsystem upright (Super Mario & Dr. Mario)

Arcade Trailer Raid, Day 1.

September 23rd, 2008

This year I decided to focus most of my game-playing time on classics, great games of previous generations that for one reason or another I’d missed.

Last weekend I took that to its extreme.

There are two things every arcade game nerd should do: attend an auction, and participate in a warehouse raid, the finding of an old stash of arcade cabinets, usually belonging to a former operator, and the retrieval adventure that follows. Visiting an auction is something one can plan, but warehouse raids requires luck, timing, and persistence. Fortunately, I stumbled across someone who had all three, and I got to ride along.

It begins.

The cabinets were split up between two places, which made for a bit of a logistics puzzle. The smaller lot was a group of about a 10-15 cabinets in storage units, so we took care of those during the evening and night of the first day.

Out of this group, Ray (the one who got this whole thing rolling) took home a Star Wars cockpit, Q-bert, Ms Pac-Man, Mappy, Track n Field cocktail, Make Trax, the Pole Position cockpit, and a handful of others. There was also a Road Riot 2-player cockpit that a former coworker came by to pick up the next day.

I took home a Xevious, the Neo MVS-2-13, and a Choplifter-in-an-I, Robot (missing the hall effect stick and boards, unfortunately). A Zombie Raid, Paperboy, Nintendo VS (Super Mario and Dr Mario), and Super Monaco GP are also in my garage waiting to be cleaned up and sold.

After a bit of cleaning and rebuilding the guns, this Zombie Raid turned out to be in beautiful shape. A few cosmetic blemishes, but the guns work great and the monitor is bright and clear:

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it, but I am a very tall person.

Day two tomorrow.