Done, and.... done.

Midway 12 in 1

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I picked up a Midway 12 in 1 on Facebook Marketplace, recently.

What in the hell was I thinking?

Apparently, not “Impulse control.”


Well… in my defense, awhile back I picked up one of those retail Konami Vertical multis awhile back. These cabinets have super-bad reputations for being flimsy and.. bad. The thing is, the Vertical Konami variant has a pretty bitchin’ little cabaret-sized VGA monitor that supports a surprising range of resolutions and frequencies. Mine, pictured here in my upstairs closet, has an Pi-MAME config and is great for discovering and re-discovering classic vertical games.

So, I thought “Wouldn’t it be cool to have the horizontal cousin to this thing?”


(Maybe I was drinking?)

You know how like Picasso had a Blue Period?
Spoiler alert, maybe January 2019 was my Arson Period.

 

Well, KLOV is pretty clear on the Horizontal version of the cabinet but I didn’t listen. I figured - haters gonna hate, right?

https://forums.arcade-museum.com/showthread.php?t=409055

Well, the haters.. were right in this case. In my opinion..

The Problem:

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The machine wasn’t really maintainable and of course it is cheaply made compared to commercial arcade cabinets. The colors were washed out on the monitor (cough: TV) and there are OSD menus you can use to tweak the appearance. The issue is adjustments and the IR Receiver are on the front of the monitor behind the plastic surround. As I started trying to get the monitor out of the cabinet to make adjustments, I was greeted with the fact that the numb-nuts that built the game, glued support blocks over top of screws. Screws… that need to turn… to get the monitor out..

So, I sat back and thought to myself…

”Self? “
”Yo!”

”Are you going to keep this cabinet?”
”Nope.”

”Self, you have $200 in it. If you sell it on Facebook for $150, you are already loosing money. “
”Right…”

”To feel good about selling it.. you really are going to obsess over fixing the display issue, right?”
”Yeah, that’s kinda how I roll.”

”And… how many evenings are you going to sink into that?”
”A couple, at least, from all appearances.”

”And… when you do sell it, what are the chances the buyer is high maintenance about the sell?”
”Chances are pretty good they are going to come out and talk me down to $100 and hassle me for support.”

”Would you .. PAY, $100 to get your weekend back?”
”Hell yes, I would!”

Decision Made.

The Solution:

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Firepit. Meet P.O.S. P.O.S, meet Firepit.

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Aftermath

Typically, not a wasteful person. I did pull the doors, parts of the side art, the game board, overlay and controls, anything I deemed as “potential wall-hanger” and plastics and metals. If you read this and need parts for your cabinet, reach out to me via Private Message and they are yours.

I noticed the cabinet sides reminded me alot of an over-sized bartop kit. I could see a far-away project of using them to create a MAME system or something. The monitor (ahem: TV) I pulled and may end up using with my Atari 2600 or as a tube-swap candidate for a cabaret down the road.

Ultimately, though - this was a gigantic waste of time and $200 down the toilet. That’s really, my takeaway. The next time I feel the impulse to pop on something cheap on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, I'm going to think about this cabinet and my experience versus the value of my time and think long and hard on the question:

Just because it is cheap and convenient, should you really still buy it?

Probably not.

now.. off to go make S’mores…

Munsters @ CES

Yesterday, Stern showed us Munsters Pro, Premium and LE at CES in Las Vegas.

Dead Flip streamed gameplay footage with Jack Danger dressed as Herman Munster, Gary Stern as Grandpa and Zach as Eddie Munster. Too funny. :)

My Hot Take

Now run, you fools and go buy these up so that you have to sell your golden-era Pinball titles to me.

Now run, you fools and go buy these up so that you have to sell your golden-era Pinball titles to me.

I’m not a NIB Stern buyer, right now and every new pinball showed tends to get more “Best Pinball Ever” buzz than is generally warranted. That said, I think the game looks really cool. The sub / lower playfield is packed like nothing I’ve seen. (There’s even a multiball down there!) All three cabinets look pretty awesome but I was drawn to the Premium because I like the selective color with B&W, especially given the theme. The premium appears to have a greyscale treatment on both the playfield and the cabinet, which was a pretty bold choice, I think.

It was ballsy (but probably brilliant) for Stern to go head-to-head with Monster Bash Remake w/ this specific title. I predict the LE will sell out, partly in thanks to the sub-playfield and partly because of the polarizing choice to make the Premium playfield B&W. Pinball people are largely playfield fanatics and I expect once the pitchforks and fire leave the town square we will be left with the general opinion that: Greyscale Side art is thematic and artsy but I doubt the greyscale playfield will be considered a feature but more of a bug in the Premium options load-out.

I think Monster Bash Remake will do fine against this title (though will feel some loss from it) but I believe this was a critical hit towards Spooky Pinball and Nightmare Castle. Hopefully Spooky weathers the storm, they are good people and an interesting force in the pinball landscape.

I love to see new Pinball, though. Can’t wait to play it.



Release coverage & buying options:

More info from Stern on the table options: https://sternpinball.com/game/the-munsters/

IGN has the High Res Photos in an easier-to-view format that Sternpinball.com:
https://www.ign.com/articles/2019/01/08/munsters-pinball-from-stern-first-hi-res-images-and-details

Better coverage always available at This Week in Pinball: https://www.thisweekinpinball.com/6757-2/

Interested in buying one? Check with Jarrett over at Gulf Coast Pinball: https://gulfcoastpinball.net/

Chris / Kaneda praised the release specifics and I mostly agree with his initial thoughts on the game:
https://soundcloud.com/kanedapinball/late-night-special-munsters-thoughts

Read people on Pinside, bitching about it or praising it: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/munsters-is-coming/page/80

"We have too much stuff!"

The hobbyist / collector’s quandary. Doesn’t really matter what your hobby or collection, whether RC Planes, Collectible Toys, Alabama Football Memorabilia or full-sized arcade and pinball machines, there is never enough space. It also doesn’t matter what part of the storage spectrum you are on. Your collection can be limited to a curio case in the corner of your living room. Like me you could feel fortunate to have a full room-sized converted storage area to work with or even have full warehouses at their disposal. Space always fills up and seems to be the limiting factor for most people I’ve met in this hobby and others.

Last year, I set my arcade & pinball hobby sights on the theme of out with the old, in with the new.
This year, I’m starting the year looking at the concept of Quality over Quantity. I’d like to spend more of the time playing rather than repairing games that I don’t end up keeping for more than 6 months.

After taking down Christmas decorations, I felt the need to work off some of the night’s alcohol. I spent a portion of New Years Day moving things around in our game room and taking a mental inventory of what will stay and what will go.

RIP, The Dome 2015-2019

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The Dome is out.

I built the Dome in 2015. Since that time the primary game I had in mind for it (a single player star wars arcade-style space battle game) was never released. A few games that were epic experiences in the Dome have been removed by their respective software publishers. Still, we found some titles that played well on the curved surface over the years.

It has made people go “Whoa!!”

It gave some folks motion-sickness

It gave some kids (and grown ups) hours of play in a sitting

I even flew a drone from inside it once.. Illegally, I suppose. (shhh…)

One thing was static. It took up a ton of space and it was only played 4 times in 2018. 2 of them by me.

I never was fully satisfied with the “finish” of the cabinet surround that I came up with. Maybe I’ll endeavor a v2 at some point.. VR being cheap and awesome probably challenges the likelihood but you never know..

The home-made cabinet enclosure (that I was never fully satisfied with) cut into pieces and committed to fire..

The home-made cabinet enclosure (that I was never fully satisfied with) cut into pieces and committed to fire..

The formed acryllic dome remains available for free pick up for anyone that might have the need for such a thing.

The formed acryllic dome remains available for free pick up for anyone that might have the need for such a thing.

RIP Dome Cabinet. You gave us 560 hours of playtime while occupying roughly six Donkey Kong’s of real estate. We commit your remains to R'hllor

On a brighter note - Results!

Now this is what I’m left with. The back corner housed four full-sized cabinets in the same space occupied by the Dome and a Pinball. Still have some cleaning to do and a few more games will be leaving (or trading out).

This is what I ended up with after the Dome came out.

This is what I ended up with after the Dome came out.

Drawing Lots

Looking at the first part of 2018, I already know a few games that won’t make the cut this year.

The Midway Horizontal (Home Use Cabinet)

I know that this game will be listed for sale very soon. I need to adjust the monitor a little and may bullet-proof the cabinet a little but all in all the cabinet is in good condition. I bought it with intention of harvesting the monitor for a cabaret project but I’ve decided to do something else. It’s all there and works.

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Roadblasters

Atari RoadBlasters

Atari RoadBlasters

I’ve only had for a few months but I had bought it considering an Indiana Jones Temple of Doom conversion. After playing IJ on MAME for a bit I don’t think that will be worth the many-dead-bothans necessary to pull off. I’ll play my fill of Roadblasters and it will be for sale within a month for less than what I paid for it.

Hyperspin, Super Mario Donkey Kong Frankenstein

Hyperspin Multi-Console living in a Nintendo Cabinet

Hyperspin Multi-Console living in a Nintendo Cabinet

When I first picked up this cabinet everything had already been removed and it was headed for a trash heap. The cabinet is in pretty good condition but has a few nicks and gashes in the laminate - especially around the speaker grill slits.

With this Windows 7 / Hyperspin setup, I’ve been running NES, SNES and Sega Genesis emulators. At the time that I put this together RetroPi and Emulation Station weren’t really a thing.

I really like Nintendo Cabinets and this looks to be of a DK Variety. I’m leaning towards putting this back to some sort of JAMMA-based Donkey Kong. More-than-likely running an ArcadeSD PCB and one of my non-Nintendo spare 19” CRT’s. I would also consider selling or trading it for other classic-era arcades.

Any Arcade Purchases on the Horizon?

Moving The Dome out of the room does free up some space but I’m not in a big hurry to fill it up. I’d still like to find a MsPac Cabaret and I’m always a sucker for a nice condition Nintendo-anything. (DK, Popeye, etc)

Any Pinballs on the Chopping Block?

I’m still very happy with Medieval Madness, Attack from Mars and of course, Indiana Jones. I’ve toyed with the idea of trading or selling STTNG or TOTAN but not definitely. I don’t play either of them as much as I’d like but when I do - I still enjoy both pins. I’ve historically not wanted to own any more than 6 pins at a given time. Still, I have a wandering eye so anything is possible, I suppose.

My short list of “interesting” pinballs is:

Lord of the Rings
Simpsons Pinball Party
Tron
Star Trek (LE Stern)
Metallica
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Monster Bash (Original)
Cactus Canyon

I’m not feeling compelled to action towards any of these, at the moment but we’ll see how the year goes, more to come!

Bandersnatch

Netflix with short notice dropped Black Mirror: Bandersnatch as a late Christmas or early New Years gift to their subscribers. 

But.. why am I talking about it on an arcade blog? 

It is a movie (which are videos, right?) it is also an on-rails video game of sorts.

Set in 1984 (because, of course: 1984), Bandersnatch is a choose your own adventure-styled interactive film that follows the  journey of a programmer creating a Zork (but with graphics) styled computer game based on a choose-your-own-adventure novel by the same name.

The film is said to have five main endings with many variants on each of the five endings.   The story is recursive and meta at times with plenty of exposition on the nature of free will, the possibility that the characters (and viewer) live in a simulation and Government conspiracy. Also, some pretty cheesy but dark Pac-man references.

Charlie Booker apparently spent extra time pouring over Plato’s The Allegory of The Cave playing text adventure games in a cloud of bong smoke.

I say that more out of jealousy in comparison to how I spent my time in 2018. :)

The movie is so meta at times that it becomes meta about its own meta-ness. One ending includes a cassette tape being played that contains Differential Manchester Encoding audio tones (kinda like Modem noises) that when loaded in a ZX Spectrum emulator take you to a QR code that takes you to a link to download a ZX Spectrum game from the movie.

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Unfortunately, Bandersnatch doesn’t run everywhere that Netflix runs. I was surprised to find the Apple TV 4k was unable to play the film. The latest generation Apple TV plays Angry Birds, Crossy Road and Minion Rush but not.. this. Go figure? It doesn’t play on ChromeCast either so this can’t be blamed solely as an Apple conspiracy. (“It’s a tech conspiracy, man! 1984, free your mind man…”) It does work on many other devices though; including PS4 and XBOne as well as many Smart TV’s. (Which, frankly surprised me because Smart TV’s apps are usually crap.)

Because this is Black Mirror, don’t expect a heart-warming Hallmark tale of family and virtue. I found the main character to be relate-able and as I steered his choices towards those options that I thought may bring him more happiness (or less pain) I was reminded that Black Mirror isn’t likely to reward such behavior.

Black Mirror clearly favors the darker decisions and this makes it more Grand Theft Auto than Zork.

If you are a film nerd like me, The Wikipedia article contains some interesting production notes that are worth a glimpse.  Things like orphaned story branches and challenges in script composition that led the creators to use things like Twine instead of typical Script Treatment packages.

All in all, I don’t think Booker’s Bandersnatch will be to Interactive Storytelling what Cameron’s Avatar was to Real3D. But, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of this viewing experience. More will follow, I’m sure..

Seven Days in Sin City

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For the last couple of years, I’ve made the trip out to Las Vegas after Thanksgiving to take part in Amazon AWS re:Invent. Last year’s trip chronicle can be found here: http://arcadeshenanigans.com/blog/2017/12/2/vegas-arcade-y-goodness-at-amazon-aws-reinvent?rq=vegas

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AWS is Amazon’s technology and web-services division. Before Microsoft pushed the branding of “Cloud” into the collective conscience with Microsoft Azure, AWS was already there and already disrupting the industry in creative ways. The over-simplified Genesis story of AWS was that Amazon built highly scalable and resilient web-services platforms to serve Amazon’s growing needs. Someone on Andy Jassy’s team emoted: “Hey, I’ll bet we could see this stuff.” and presto-change-o, Amazon Web Services was formed.

In 2018, Amazon Web Services had around $26 billion in revenue and have a profit margin 5x larger than Amazon Retail in North America. AWS averaged 28% operating profit margin while AWS North American Retail averaged 5.1%.

All this to say, AWS is kind of a big deal and this annual conference is pretty massive. It takes up the majority of the Las Vegas strip.

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This means lots of walking :)

This means lots of walking :)

But what does this have to do with Arcades and Gaming? Re-Invent, knowing their nerd audience tends to work gamer references into the curriculum.
Last year, the certification materials were based on the theme of an 8-bit adventure. This year, a Pac-Man reference during a keynote discussion about Machine Learning advances.

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re:Play Party

The end of the work-week feature the re:Play party. Three football-field sized venues, this year erected on the Festival Grounds.

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Building One is the Club Tent, featuring DJ acts, a respectable collection of classic arcades. Skrillex was the headline act.

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New York, New York

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Exploring Vegas after the conference, I always try to drop in the Arcade at New York, New York. Here you find most of the recent Stern releases. The machines are well maintained and there is never a line to play.

Pinball Hall of Fame

The Pinball Hall of Fame is a $12 Uber trip from hotels on the strip. Rumor has it that it is moving closer to the strip in 2019.

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Each time I’ve been to Pinball Hall of Fame on a weeknight it is almost always empty of patrons. There were a few folks running around servicing games, this time.

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The parking lot of Pinball Hall of Fame. It was a ghost-town.

The parking lot of Pinball Hall of Fame. It was a ghost-town.

A Gamer’s Paradise

Next door to Pinball Hall of Fame (in an adjoining parking lot) is a non-chain classic gaming store.

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The store has arcades and pinballs in the back (for sale at typical retail markup) and a vast collection of classic console gaming items at a fair price. I picked up an Atari 2600 and had it shipped home.

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Home Sweet Home

I’m not much of gambler and 7 days is really too long, especially around The Holidays. I was very-glad for the flight home and the quiet sanity of Alabama. :)

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Fall 2018 Game List

Sometimes, in this hobby you get to a point where you think: "Okay, now I'm done."  But, you seldom really are :)

That said, I think my gameroom titles are more-than-likely locked in for the remainder of 2018, with one potential exception.

Youtube rejected my first recording of this b/c of background music so I reshot it pretty quickly without voiceover and turned down the gameroom music.

The Arcades

Tron

My Tron has some of the usual lower particle board damage but isn't bad. The Artwork and Marquee are pretty good but not perfect. Let's call it authentic battle-damage. :) Picked it up from a Pawn shop in Saraland thinks to a heads up from fellow collector-friend, Mike.

My Tron has some of the usual lower particle board damage but isn't bad. The Artwork and Marquee are pretty good but not perfect. Let's call it authentic battle-damage. :) Picked it up from a Pawn shop in Saraland thinks to a heads up from fellow collector-friend, Mike.

Tapper

Owning a 3400 in 1 Games Family Multi-Cade I noticed my wife always played Tapper on it. Took awhile to find this one and a little work to get it to this point. Reproduction CPO, powder coated cup holders. Monitor issues galore... I eventually found an overpriced 19" Vision Pro CRT that works well in it with original mounting and wiring. It has the high score save kit & switching power supply on a factory harness.

Owning a 3400 in 1 Games Family Multi-Cade I noticed my wife always played Tapper on it. Took awhile to find this one and a little work to get it to this point. Reproduction CPO, powder coated cup holders. Monitor issues galore... I eventually found an overpriced 19" Vision Pro CRT that works well in it with original mounting and wiring. It has the high score save kit & switching power supply on a factory harness.

Nintendo Hyperspin

A couple years ago I came by this empty cabinet while it was on its way to the dump. No monitor, power supply or anything. I put Super Mario Artwork on it and a PC running Hyperspin. Recently I realized by the serial number on the cabinet that this was, at some point a Donkey Kong. I’m planning on do a conversion back to DK on this cabinet soon.

A couple years ago I came by this empty cabinet while it was on its way to the dump. No monitor, power supply or anything. I put Super Mario Artwork on it and a PC running Hyperspin. Recently I realized by the serial number on the cabinet that this was, at some point a Donkey Kong. I’m planning on do a conversion back to DK on this cabinet soon.

Star Wars

Many Bothan's died to bring this arcade to my game room. Procured from Michael @ Automated Services / pinballs.com. I parted with a Star Wars Trilogy stand up to make room for it, first part of 2018. I fixed the marquee light and worked out some cabinet swell. It has some typical wood-hardener-repairs on the cabinet bottom. It has a Wells 6100, Empire Strikes Back kit as well. I replaced a damaged AVG chip with a modern remade AVG chip, recapped the power supply and fixed some sound-issues to get it to this point.

Many Bothan's died to bring this arcade to my game room. Procured from Michael @ Automated Services / pinballs.com. I parted with a Star Wars Trilogy stand up to make room for it, first part of 2018. I fixed the marquee light and worked out some cabinet swell. It has some typical wood-hardener-repairs on the cabinet bottom. It has a Wells 6100, Empire Strikes Back kit as well. I replaced a damaged AVG chip with a modern remade AVG chip, recapped the power supply and fixed some sound-issues to get it to this point.

Q*Bert

This is the Arcadeshop remake Q*Bert Cabinet running the Mylstar FPGA boardset. Modern switching power supply and this machine and recently mounted a NIB 19" CRT w/ a custom-built chassis. The knocker works too! Fun game.

This is the Arcadeshop remake Q*Bert Cabinet running the Mylstar FPGA boardset. Modern switching power supply and this machine and recently mounted a NIB 19" CRT w/ a custom-built chassis. The knocker works too! Fun game.

Robotron

Original Robotron cabinet with a late series Wells 19" CRT. I believe it was an ArcadeShop machine back when they had CRT's available. A number of board issues, so it is currently running the FPGA multi-Williams board and direct booting to Robotron. The multi-Williams control panel is pictured here but it also has a Robotron Control panel that appears to have been adapted from a Bubbles. Original Wico sticks on the Robotron Panel, Groovy Game Gear leaf switch sticks on this control panel. The original boards are stashed away safely for "one-day-maybe" troubleshooting and repair.

Original Robotron cabinet with a late series Wells 19" CRT. I believe it was an ArcadeShop machine back when they had CRT's available. A number of board issues, so it is currently running the FPGA multi-Williams board and direct booting to Robotron. The multi-Williams control panel is pictured here but it also has a Robotron Control panel that appears to have been adapted from a Bubbles. Original Wico sticks on the Robotron Panel, Groovy Game Gear leaf switch sticks on this control panel. The original boards are stashed away safely for "one-day-maybe" troubleshooting and repair.

The Mutt

After a few failed attempts at acquiring some cabarets, this happened. It started as a joke, re: "Hey here's this thing, it's a piece of junk anyway and you won't owe it anything, just have fun with it." Typically found for $100 or less, the Konami 12 in 1 is my RPi3 MAME cabinet for discovery and play of vertically oriented arcades. The 15" VGA monitor and small cabinet footprint paired with the RaspberryJAMMA / ArPiCade setup are going to make it a pretty versatile little game that isn't taking up a ton of space. The Attract-Mode, Raspberry Pi-based Multi-MAME boot image is ridiculously customizable if you are comfortable with linux command-line and bash scripts. Converting it to JAMMA and using VGA to CGA adaptor, the front hatch access will make it a convenient test bench for JAMMA games. Currently working on building a different control panel with less-crappy stick and switches. I'd kinda like to find the Midway 12 in 1, equivalent horizontal cabinet now...

After a few failed attempts at acquiring some cabarets, this happened. It started as a joke, re: "Hey here's this thing, it's a piece of junk anyway and you won't owe it anything, just have fun with it." Typically found for $100 or less, the Konami 12 in 1 is my RPi3 MAME cabinet for discovery and play of vertically oriented arcades. The 15" VGA monitor and small cabinet footprint paired with the RaspberryJAMMA / ArPiCade setup are going to make it a pretty versatile little game that isn't taking up a ton of space. The Attract-Mode, Raspberry Pi-based Multi-MAME boot image is ridiculously customizable if you are comfortable with linux command-line and bash scripts. Converting it to JAMMA and using VGA to CGA adaptor, the front hatch access will make it a convenient test bench for JAMMA games. Currently working on building a different control panel with less-crappy stick and switches. I'd kinda like to find the Midway 12 in 1, equivalent horizontal cabinet now...

The Cocktail

The first arcade I ever bought.. Picked it up from a central-Florida area arcade repurposing business. I overpaid and it arrived smell like Geritol and discount Wal-mart paint. Featuring a 60 in 1 , wrong controls and a sketchy slot machine monitor barely hanging onto a rebuilt top. Sketchy power supply, dead bugs and rusted-through leg levelers rounded out this $1050 Craigslist find. I didn't know any better. Custom cut glass, new control panels, new controls, new wiring harness, new power supply and running ArcadeSD, this arcade gets more play than any other in the room.

The first arcade I ever bought.. Picked it up from a central-Florida area arcade repurposing business. I overpaid and it arrived smell like Geritol and discount Wal-mart paint. Featuring a 60 in 1 , wrong controls and a sketchy slot machine monitor barely hanging onto a rebuilt top. Sketchy power supply, dead bugs and rusted-through leg levelers rounded out this $1050 Craigslist find. I didn't know any better. Custom cut glass, new control panels, new controls, new wiring harness, new power supply and running ArcadeSD, this arcade gets more play than any other in the room.

Multi Mortal Kombat

No side art on the cabinet so I'm not sure what it was originally but the inside stickers and serial numbers all match a MK4. Added IL sticks and fresh buttons. Still needs some T-molding and a little cabinet love. I added Mortal Kombat 1, Mortal Kombat 2, Mortal Kombat 3 Ultimate to Mortal Kombat 4 via a JAMMA switcher and a vertical rack. It also has a Pandora's box on a spare JAMMA Channel for exploration of horizontal arcades. This winter, I'm planning to add two auxillary LCD panels to the marquee and a deep-learning enabled camera to provide glanceable real time moves-and-fatalities to each player based on their current game and character choice.

No side art on the cabinet so I'm not sure what it was originally but the inside stickers and serial numbers all match a MK4. Added IL sticks and fresh buttons. Still needs some T-molding and a little cabinet love. I added Mortal Kombat 1, Mortal Kombat 2, Mortal Kombat 3 Ultimate to Mortal Kombat 4 via a JAMMA switcher and a vertical rack. It also has a Pandora's box on a spare JAMMA Channel for exploration of horizontal arcades. This winter, I'm planning to add two auxillary LCD panels to the marquee and a deep-learning enabled camera to provide glanceable real time moves-and-fatalities to each player based on their current game and character choice.

Mario Kart Arcade GP 2

Hands down my most expensive and time consuming arcade-effort has been in the acquisition, repair and maintenance of these two Mario Kart Arcade GP machines. Both machines are running HAPP LCDs in order to get compatibility with the new version running in the game, Mario Kart Arcade GP 2. 4 Triforce Main PC's, 4 cameras and two force feedback controllers later, they run and stand out as my kids' favorite. The problem areas are the wheel control loom being pinched by a cam in the steering column (item button not lit), camera failures in POE power transmission and force feedback controller failures (usually relays) related to walk-aways during a game and the carts vibrating themselves down the track at default speed.

Hands down my most expensive and time consuming arcade-effort has been in the acquisition, repair and maintenance of these two Mario Kart Arcade GP machines. Both machines are running HAPP LCDs in order to get compatibility with the new version running in the game, Mario Kart Arcade GP 2. 4 Triforce Main PC's, 4 cameras and two force feedback controllers later, they run and stand out as my kids' favorite. The problem areas are the wheel control loom being pinched by a cam in the steering column (item button not lit), camera failures in POE power transmission and force feedback controller failures (usually relays) related to walk-aways during a game and the carts vibrating themselves down the track at default speed.

The Dome

The Dome is my custom-built Star Wars Battle Pod wanna-be. Its strengths are racing games, flight sims, space games. Its weaknesses are First/Third Person shooters and sheer size. Currently running w/ a PS3, xBox 360 and Wii U which all exhibited a good selection of titles for this format. I've also used it as a mixed experience sit-down VR booth with a PS4. Future enhancements to this would be to acquire a professional quality planetarium optic for direct projection or upgraded first-surface lab-grade mirror for improved reflected projection. However, this is currently the only Arcade game that I consider "for sale" and even then only because of its size. If I sell the dome, it opens up some rearrange opportunities in the game room.

The Dome is my custom-built Star Wars Battle Pod wanna-be. Its strengths are racing games, flight sims, space games. Its weaknesses are First/Third Person shooters and sheer size. Currently running w/ a PS3, xBox 360 and Wii U which all exhibited a good selection of titles for this format. I've also used it as a mixed experience sit-down VR booth with a PS4. Future enhancements to this would be to acquire a professional quality planetarium optic for direct projection or upgraded first-surface lab-grade mirror for improved reflected projection. However, this is currently the only Arcade game that I consider "for sale" and even then only because of its size. If I sell the dome, it opens up some rearrange opportunities in the game room.

The Pinballs

Indiana Jones

The longest lasting Pinball in my collection, Indy is still my favorite pinball. An upgraded player's quality game, it has custom golden-vein, relic-inspired powder-coated metals. It is running a customized Pinsound orchestration to bring John Williams iconic sound to the gameplay experience but still nods to the original mix quite well. The playfield is pretty good and the plastics look great. It has OCD LED on the controlled lamps and I recently went back to incandescents in the GI, trying to add the warm-fire-glow back to the game. The side art has alot of fade and a few gashes. Instead of cabinet decal, I'd like to find a mural artist to brighten the colors back but keep the original elements in-tact.

The longest lasting Pinball in my collection, Indy is still my favorite pinball. An upgraded player's quality game, it has custom golden-vein, relic-inspired powder-coated metals. It is running a customized Pinsound orchestration to bring John Williams iconic sound to the gameplay experience but still nods to the original mix quite well. The playfield is pretty good and the plastics look great. It has OCD LED on the controlled lamps and I recently went back to incandescents in the GI, trying to add the warm-fire-glow back to the game. The side art has alot of fade and a few gashes. Instead of cabinet decal, I'd like to find a mural artist to brighten the colors back but keep the original elements in-tact.

Tales of the Arabian Nights

Low production numbers and not being part of the current projected CG Remake roadmap seems to make this a hard pin to find. Having a designer who was nearly run out of pinball and being the free table offered in Pinball Arcade probably didn't hurt, either. Scarcity and such. Acquired from Big Bob in Atlanta, by far this game came to me in the nicest condition of any game I've ever bought. The Mike Chestnut-gold plating on the rails has a few wear marks but not enough to make me want to undo the legend's work. I added OCD LED and GI LED. It isn't as purple and blue as it appears in the photo. Color Changing LEDs in the BAZAAR inserts are one of my favorite additions to this game.

Low production numbers and not being part of the current projected CG Remake roadmap seems to make this a hard pin to find. Having a designer who was nearly run out of pinball and being the free table offered in Pinball Arcade probably didn't hurt, either. Scarcity and such. Acquired from Big Bob in Atlanta, by far this game came to me in the nicest condition of any game I've ever bought. The Mike Chestnut-gold plating on the rails has a few wear marks but not enough to make me want to undo the legend's work. I added OCD LED and GI LED. It isn't as purple and blue as it appears in the photo. Color Changing LEDs in the BAZAAR inserts are one of my favorite additions to this game.

Attack from Mars

One of the byproducts of the CG Remakes is that games that were once astronomically priced can now be in the cloud-city price range, instead. This is a player's quality game with alot of additions and repairs. It came missing the strobe electronics and with various issues in the saucer area. New ramps, upgraded strobe board, reworked the power driver board, fixed a few careless grounds and it was back in business. Added chrome-plated metals from  Pinball Plating , OCD LED board on the controlled lamps and  Convolux  protectors for extra pop. A few wear spots with sloppy mylar work left to address on the playfield but nothing major.

One of the byproducts of the CG Remakes is that games that were once astronomically priced can now be in the cloud-city price range, instead. This is a player's quality game with alot of additions and repairs. It came missing the strobe electronics and with various issues in the saucer area. New ramps, upgraded strobe board, reworked the power driver board, fixed a few careless grounds and it was back in business. Added chrome-plated metals from Pinball Plating, OCD LED board on the controlled lamps and Convolux protectors for extra pop. A few wear spots with sloppy mylar work left to address on the playfield but nothing major.

Star Trek: The Next Outlane

Second time around with this title.. Bought one and a sold it to get Stern's Star Trek. Eventually I came back to STTNG through a convoluted trade of my Ghostbusters. The cabinet is really nice with nearly no fade and the playfield cleaned up very well, shows minimum wear. It came with a RD MPU board and I'm still looking for an original WPC-95 MPU to swap back in because of some (very) subtle differences.

Second time around with this title.. Bought one and a sold it to get Stern's Star Trek. Eventually I came back to STTNG through a convoluted trade of my Ghostbusters. The cabinet is really nice with nearly no fade and the playfield cleaned up very well, shows minimum wear. It came with a RD MPU board and I'm still looking for an original WPC-95 MPU to swap back in because of some (very) subtle differences.

Scared Stiff

Another title that I've previously owned and came back around to. Limited production numbers and the hard life of living in a bar, increasingly make this title hard to find for a decent price. An abundance of new pinball, rumors of a future Elvira themed game and a somewhat shallow gameplay dynamic helped to bring this game into my price range. A pretty nice player's quality game, it was at a pinball clubhouse & weed dispensary in the Rhode Island area. The power driver board has some interesting hacks and the left portion of the cabinet has a substantial fade in the Red accents. I'm a little young to have been a consumer of Elvira's TV shenanigans but I really appreciate that this is an all-around fun game and in my opinion the all-around winner for best Halloween theme. Just the right amount of dime-store knock-off Boris Karloff and playfully suggestive callouts mashed with classic 90's feeling generic halloween music make for an excellent sound design. The shots have excellent flow and a nice balance of control versus random bounce. My favorite edition to the pin is the MindOrbits color changing shooter knob and the custom bony-beast lighting.

Another title that I've previously owned and came back around to. Limited production numbers and the hard life of living in a bar, increasingly make this title hard to find for a decent price. An abundance of new pinball, rumors of a future Elvira themed game and a somewhat shallow gameplay dynamic helped to bring this game into my price range. A pretty nice player's quality game, it was at a pinball clubhouse & weed dispensary in the Rhode Island area. The power driver board has some interesting hacks and the left portion of the cabinet has a substantial fade in the Red accents. I'm a little young to have been a consumer of Elvira's TV shenanigans but I really appreciate that this is an all-around fun game and in my opinion the all-around winner for best Halloween theme. Just the right amount of dime-store knock-off Boris Karloff and playfully suggestive callouts mashed with classic 90's feeling generic halloween music make for an excellent sound design. The shots have excellent flow and a nice balance of control versus random bounce. My favorite edition to the pin is the MindOrbits color changing shooter knob and the custom bony-beast lighting.

Medieval Madness

For a couple of years I've let myself get talked out of buying this pin. The excuses ranged from the high average cost to the shot-map similarity with AFM and MB. This summer CG ran another batch of remakes for this title and they started showing up in distributor inventory. Typically, whenever distributor inventory stacks up on a re-make you can temporarily find an original for less-than MSRP of the Remake. Medieval Madness is my newest pin and last new-to-me pinball for 2018. Really enjoying it so far!

For a couple of years I've let myself get talked out of buying this pin. The excuses ranged from the high average cost to the shot-map similarity with AFM and MB. This summer CG ran another batch of remakes for this title and they started showing up in distributor inventory. Typically, whenever distributor inventory stacks up on a re-make you can temporarily find an original for less-than MSRP of the Remake. Medieval Madness is my newest pin and last new-to-me pinball for 2018. Really enjoying it so far!

Labor Day Pinball Maintenance

Didn't have the inclination to fight boat-ramp traffic on the last summer beach holiday of the year, so ended up spending Labor Day weekend fixing things (and cooking things) instead of enjoying the beaches and water.

Instead, decided to tackle a few projects in the gameroom that I've been putting off.

LED OCD & GI OCD

For a game that I know I'll be keeping for awhile - LED OCD is something I'm inclined to add to games but the install process isn't my favorite task.
LED OCD and GI OCD essentially try to make LEDs, less .. umm.. LED-y.     I'm sure they explain it better over at: ledocd.com

Ultimately, they give you finer control over the LEDs in the game by wedging a micro-controller between the original controlled lamps and the lamp matrix harnesses.    The LED OCD micro-controllers endeavor to smooth insert animations to more closely resemble the inter-fade in incandescent bulb animations.  The GI OCD board performs similarly for games where GI animations might be used. (TOTAN, Scared Stiff for instance)

They also tend to just make the LEDs less bright but in a good way. 

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One challenge to the install is actually fitting the board in the backbox so that: it doesn't ground against anything, it doesn't get in the way of the speaker panel but can still be reasonably close for the factory harness to be diverted to the new board.

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GI LCD adds a few more parts, including a breakout board.    

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GI OCD also complicates the mounting dilemma a little, the breakout board doesn't really have enough lead cable to mount anywhere.    They accounted for that by removing the mounting posts and including a large tie wrap, I suppose the intention is to tie-wrap it to a cable bundle.   Oh, OCD-named product, this disturbs my wire management OCD. :)

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GI OCD really only seems to come in handy if you have a game with overly bright GI that needs to be brought into check or if the game has fade effects in the GI as part of the light show.  I'm not really sensing a tremendous difference in the GI board on Scared Stiff, as I did in Tales of the Arabian Nights.     Still, the extra control to dim them is kinda nice.

The video shows the smoothing on the insert animations and the GI adjustments.  Admittedly this quick clip looks darker than it really is in person but I also intended for this game to be a bit darker than normal for theme purposes.

Monster Bash Ramps

I also took the time over labor day to replace the ramps in Medieval Madness.   A task that took me, entirely too long :)
Medieval Madness's ramps were originally flame-polished to a bubbling crisp by a well-meaning previous owner. 

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The end result is nice though, no more burned ramps.  Although the new left ramp has a screw instead of a rivet in the plastic diverter.  I didn't have an appropriately sized rivet on hand but I do plan to address that.

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Speaking of that plastic diverter on the ramps - ever notice them on Medieval?  I never noticed them playing on Pinball Arcade on Steam or at the Pinball Hall of Fame in Vegas.   I guess the purpose is to prevent ramp-rejects from STDM?   Cool idea, I wonder if this came out of initial testing from the prototype batch in March 1997 or was part of the original design?  If anyone knows the story, I'd like to know!