Halloween 2017

What do you get when you take a 5.1 Outdoor movie experience, add in 98 glow ice cubes, 120 glow sticks, a makeshift haunted house, a table full of tasty treats and enough sugar to induce a diabetic coma?    Halloween 2017 at our house. :)

Here's a clip from our Nest cams from the block party & awkwardly appropriate halloween-era music track that captures the meta-narrative and sea of neighbors & friends that came out to enjoy some Arcade and Pinball fun.

Mid-Year Game Room Progress

My Gameroom is finally back to being mostly-functional again, which is sort of a zen moment for me since I've had glass off of pins and games pulled out in the middle of the room under various repairs for the last couple of months.   

Not that it is completely done, I don't think anything in this hobby is ever actually completely done, right?  Plenty of little tweaks remain on various games but at least, for the moment being (knock, wood) everything is in its place and working. :)

Main Arcade Row

To the left of the room sit the main arcade games, from left to right:

Donkey Kong
   - Arcadeshop.com reproduction, original boards & DK Remix / Deranged Chipset
  - Arcadeshop.com reproduction, Mylstar PCB
A Hyperspin Multicade with NES, SNES, Sega Genesis
  - The cabinet is an unknown (maybe Mario?) nintendo cab  was dumpster bound, came to me        without any internals.
Mario Kart Arcade GP Cabs (linked)
  - Currently running Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 Triforce CPUs

Star Wars Area

Towards the back of the room is the Star Wars Zone.  Currently I have Star Wars Trilogy Stand up and a HUO Data East Star Wars pinball table w/ Pinsound and ColorDMD LED.

The Dome

I originally build the dome to emulate the Star Wars Battle Pod -type game play with eyes set on Star Wars Battlefront (the soon-to-be, old version).  Much to my disappointment after spending the summer on that project, when the game was released - the vehicle flight modes were mostly-land based and locked into online multiplayer playlists.   When Death Star was finally released, it also was online only.    Plans somewhat dashed, the dome is still a great cabinet for Playstation VR shenanigans (Star Wars Battlefront X-Wing VR Mission WIN) and racing titles.   Lately, we've been alternating between Hydro thunder on the X-Box 360 and WipeOut! on the PS4.

Mortal Kombat

In the middle of the room, hulking ominously over the couch sits Mortal Kombat.    Currently running MK4, I'm looking forward to getting MK1, 2, 3 & 4 installed on a switcher finally this summer, with any luck.

The Minecraft & More Area

Last year, I thinned out the Pinball addiction a bit to create a space for the kids (me too) to chill & play console games.   I don't "get" Minecraft, personally but I'm known to play other console titles.  It didn't seem right to have a family gameroom and not have the console-gaming bases covered.   

Recently, with the addition of another pin, Revenge from Mars & the Cocktail table Multicade started to encroach upon this zone again, it is a little tight but I think it seems to be working for all involved, so far.

The Pinball Row

The Pinball row grew back with a +1 this year of Tales of the Arabian Nights. 

In the distance, is Revenge from Mars - still I think one of the best values in pinball.   Killer fun title!

Next is Ghostbusters Premium, I added the leg light ups from MustangPaul on Pinside, powder coated the rails, lockdown and legs to Metallic purple, installed a playfield protector and did some other playfield mods. It pisses people off that play it but I love it.

Star Trek Premium: Mine has mirror blades, interactive under cab lights, acryllic plastic protectors and the green laser mod.  

Tales of the Arabian Nights - Purchased from a stand up GAPAS member who was really very easy to deal with and fair.  It appears to be a re-import (three coin-door), has gold plated rails, legs and lockdown bar and ColorDMD - thanks to a SFGE show sponsor from the folks at ColorDMD.  

Finally, in the line up is my Williams Indy.  It has ColorDMD, Pinsound - and custom powder coating (Golden Vein) from Chris Royalty @ Hot Rod Arcade.   Check them out at www.pinballplating.com.

Southern Fried Shenanigans


Southern Fried Gameroom Expo (SFGE) 2017 was last weekend in Atlanta.   SFGE is a special show, made large by a tremendous group of people who are organizing it.   When I look at SFGE in comparison to other arcade & pinball events that I've been to, I see SFGE as a 'self-made' sort of success.   For instance, Pinball Expo takes place in essentially the cradle of coin op amusements & Free Play Florida happens in conjunction with IAAPA, an industry trade show. 

Not to diminish those shows one bit, they are awesome as well.  However, it is a treat to see an Oasis of gaming culture thriving in the Southeast, in a region without the rich amusement history & vendor presence.

I like that this show represents a variety of gaming: arcade, pinball, console gaming, indie games & more.

I did a quick Facebook live walkthrough of the show floor, looks like it got downsampled for streaming but probably good enough to put you in the Saturday peek action.

The Setup


Thursday night, through Friday morning - volunteer bring games through a service elevator and they get set up in the space.   In a span of hours, a-mostly empty ball-room is converted into an impressive and thriving functional free-play arcade.

I took possession of my new Tales of the Arabian Nights early Saturday morning and got the opportunity to install a ColorDMD and get it set up on the gaming floor for Saturday's festivities.

I took possession of my new Tales of the Arabian Nights early Saturday morning and got the opportunity to install a ColorDMD and get it set up on the gaming floor for Saturday's festivities.

Attendance Impressions

Saturday is definitely the busiest day of the weekend with a steady stream of folks coming in all day long.  


The Games

I was excited to get to play Scott Danesi's Total (Nuclear) Annihilation pin that Spooky Pinball will be producing.  


So, how much fun can it be playing pinball on a prototype whitewood game?   Lots, actually!  The game has clever rules, a bad ass sound track and nicely thematic animations on the ColorDMD.    It features a nice multiplayer dynamic that was conducive to 4-Up playing. Here,  Charlie & I had to find some way to pass the time while Eric mercilessly stole our locked balls.


All weekend, I never saw the glass off of TNA.  It performed like a champ, chewing up and spitting out player after player.   One time, I saw Scott showing the internals and had to snap the picture out of appreciation for a job well done and innovation. 


Dialed In


It was great to get to spend some time on Dialed In.  Despite the luke-warm reception concerning the game's theme - this is a special game, for sure.  Tons of magnets, excellent flow and plenty to shoot at.   With headphones in, I got a chance to hear the games audio and it was impressive indeed!  JJP & Pat Lawlor have a hit on their hands with this game.




American Pinball's Houdini was on the floor and available to play.  It was an impressive shooting game with excellent theming and a very "Williams" feel to it. 


Ice Cold Beer


I was pretty stoked to get to spend some time on Ice Cold Beer, which is a game I wouldn't mind owning eventually, unique & fun!

Quick N Crash


Speaking of unique games, Quick & Crash was a super fun shooting-alley game with practical effects.   The game dynamic is centered around a quick-draw motion and the game uses a Pepper's Ghost illusion to approximate a realistic effect of breaking glass.   Super. Freaking. Cool.


One of the Metallica's in the show won a show-award, though the specific Metallica pictured here, while Nathan stomped my butt - was the nicest Metallica I've ever seen.   Excellent lighting and custom plating from PinballPlating.com


The Vendors


Marco Specialities had a strong showing with many of the latest Stern machines on the floor to play.



This year's show had John from John's Arcade, Ben Heck, Billy Mitchell, Walter Day, Dirty Donny, the guys from Broken Token & many more.


Sky Skipper!


The Sky Skipper world reveal!    Arcade history in the making..

Morning, Noon & Night


My morning ritual developed around expresso, plus a latte and a few games on a Tapper Cocktail table near the show floor entrance.


In case you were wondering, The CheeseCake Factory does indeed make a proper Old Fashioned, including the flamed orange twist.


The show seemed to strike a solid balance between being a family event during the day and early evening but having grown-up time in the later evening as well.  Everyone was well behaved & respectful, though it appears that Pac-man might have gone a little too far one night. 

The Tear Down


Here our pile of games sat as we prepared to stage at the freight elevator.  Cody's Paragon; Charlie's Street Fighter II, Genesis & NBA Fast Break; Nathan's Strikres and Spares & Blackout, my Tales of the Arabian Nights. 


It is incredible (and a little sad) to see the convention area go from a thriving arcade to a mostly-empty room in just over 2 hours but it is a testament to the well-oiled machine that is this show's volunteer team.

While I've been to these shows in the past, I've always held a pretty stand-offish opinion regarding bringing my games to shows.  I guess, mostly it was the lazy devil on my shoulder, convincing the hyper-angel on my other shoulder that the games might get damaged by careless strangers and the trouble of traveling with a game isn't worth the effort.  

The mental calculus of that proposition that I didn't take into account was the family of enthusiasts that put on this show, the overwhelmingly positive experience & support of the show organizers and the desire to contribute to help the show be all that it can be, for the sake of spreading love for this hobby.    After this trip, my mind was changed. I considered SFGE, even though it is 5 miles away, to be my "home" show and I look forward to bringing more blinky-light furniture again next year for visitors to enjoy.

Star Wars Day


Star Wars Day...   May the 4th.   You watch (or play) Star Wars on May the 4th and you drink tequila and margaritas on May the 5th.  So it is written.

Be it a marketing gimmick or a meme-turned into a broader cultural reference, today is Star Wars Day.   I think at one time I liked Star Wars more than Arcade & Pinball stuff but I think as time goes on, these things are more equally spaced in the "things I enjoy / am a  fan of."   So, the confluence of Arcade, Pinball and Star Wars? -- Yes please, sign me up!.

Rumors & speculation were that Stern Pinball might announce or tease their upcoming heavily-rumored, not yet fully confirmed Star Wars pinball machine today.   So far, nothing on their social media and a few indications on Pinside & pinball podcasts that it might not be today, after all.   Rumors are that it will be Steve Ritchie game, based on the Original Trilogy (or something across the whole franchise) and that it would have a ball-accelerator mech of some fashion, perhaps like Getaway.

Not saying that I will not be interested in a new Star Wars pinball from Stern but I can say that I'm quite happy with my personally customized Data East Star Wars table, shown here. 

Over the years it looks like I've had a few shenanigans related to Star Wars arcade and pinball machines...  Here's a look back:

My Star Wars Trilogy Ordeal:

I sold my last Data East Star Wars:

I decided to build a Star Wars Battle Pod Clone:

Bought my current Data East Star Wars:

I think for this Star Wars Day, I'll go downstairs after work, drink some Blue Milk, check the status of that Storm Trooper costume that I ordered from www.anovos.com last year (that I plan on converting into a static statue - prop for the basement) and play some Pinball and Star Wars X-Wing Mission VR.    :)  

I hope you have a great May/4th as well!

Red Tent Goodness


Santa's sleigh is indeed red but has more axles than what is depicted in Rudolph: The Red Nosed Reindeer and other holiday classics.   Early Christmas came in spring this year as STI dropped off a new edition to our game room, the Nintendo Red Tent.


For the uninitiated, the Red Tent is the Nintendo VS Dual System in a cocktail table fashion.  The unique side by side, 'you sunk my battleship'-styled monitor layout and distinctive red metal frame earned this unit the moniker, "Red Tent" amongst arcade folks.

The Nintendo VS Dual system contains a single Nintendo main board with two channels on the board, allowing for different games to be played on each side or for the same game to be played against each other.

I bought this Red Tent from Chris @ Arcade Rescue 911 after having an eBay watch agent configured for such things for the last 9 months.   I found them to be super-easy to work with and very reasonable.   

Arcade Rescue 911 on Youtube


STI / NAVL handled shipping, through Beltmann Logistics as the shipping agent.

Michelle Bianchi - Beltmann Integrated Logistics
Addison IL 60101
Toll Free 877-432-2646     Toll Free 800-959-8880
Cell630-344-3093     Fax 866-651-5919


Everything was very well-packaged, arrived exactly on time and in excellent condition. STI can locally vary but I've found our local drivers are pretty good.   One of them in particular, Harry is quite awesome, though this one was delivered by Charles, who doesn't help you move stuff into the house. 


One thing that was unique about this Red Tent from others I've seen is that it had a gun configuration on one side.  It was running VS Freedom Force, originally.


I installed Roms for Hogan's Alley on the gun side.


..and it came with VS Goonies on the other side..

John's Arcade has his usual excellent wealth of info on this system, listing the available games and the PPU / ROM (and optional daughter board) combinations for each game.


Now I just need to find some time from a busy work-schedule to investigate these supposedly-working boards from a different arcade vendor that arrived with issues..