We arcade collector types always show videos of our game rooms in ideal conditions. Everything on, the music pumping and game sounds whirring. Not today. I'm going to be real and show you the mess in my basement and talk about game conveyances that have been on my mind and are under way.
Starting the new year, decided to get off my bum and make a few changes to my game line up that have been on my mind for a few months. In the Pinball realm, in the last 3-5 months I've said goodbye to Stern's Star Trek and hello to Attack from Mars. More Recently I've said goodbye to Ghostbusters and I'm saying hello to STTNG, for the second time. My Revenge from Mars is tentatively sold and I'm not sure what replaces it (if anything).
For arcades, I decided to let go of my Nintendo Red Tent, which is now packed and ready to make a trip literally to the other side of the country. Getting rid of the Red Tent frees up room for two stand-up arcades or options for opening the room up to be a little less crowded.
(Less games, whaaaat??) :)
The final arcade going to a new home is my Star Wars Trilogy Stand Up. In it's place is coming Atari Star Wars (the color vector version), so I'm trading the 1998 version for the 1983 version. Out with the new, in with the old.
So, why the changes?
I knew after SFGE last year that I wanted an Atari Star Wars. There was one on the floor, it seemed to stay up all weekend and I offered to buy it but someone else apparently beat me to it, the seller never responded to my texts but I did see it getting loaded up with a new owner. I have zero vector arcades in my current line up, so it checks two boxes for me, adds the vector and adds a super collectible Star Wars cab. Larger theme though, just continuing to try to balance between the want for collector-typed games and the utility of finding game-play types that aren't necessarily otherwise represented in my game room
Why Get rid of the Red Tent?
Doing an audit of available gaming devices in our house, there are two arcade cabinets and nearly a half-dozen other things available that are capable of "Nintendo-y" play. Just came down to calculus of unique playability and utility over available space. Nintendo VS is well emulated on two of our multi-games. The wii, the wii-u, the switch, the classic nes, classic snes, a couple of DS consoles - all giving us access to myriad sundry parts of the Nintendo game catalog in console form. Seemed like it was time to free up the space and make room for something else.
Why get rid of the Star Wars?
This one is a little harder since I have a soft spot for this particular game and era of gaming. In the end it comes down to overlap of similar experience as well. I could get a similar gaming experience in console or MAME form. I know I wanted to own the older Atari / Vector game and I really don't like having theme overlap. So, Star Wars trilogy gets the short straw. Though, maybe one day I'll have room for the sit-down projection version!
Why the pin changes?
Why Get rid of Revenge from Mars?
Really just a matter of theme overlap. Since I have AFM and even though it intuitively might sound cool to have "the pair" in a collection, I'm not really curating a collection so much as a fun game room. Both good games but AFM wins for me on nostalgia for pure pinball and so it stays.
Why get rid of Ghostbusters?
Mostly, long term reliability concerns. Partly a re-focusing of my hobby activity.
A couple of days before my summer get-together. My brand new Ghostbusters pin crapped the bed, so to speak. The lower playfield started to flash and the switches stopped working on the lower 1/3 of the playfield. Node board 8 failure appeared on the diagnostic.
Just what you want, a few days before an event - the newest pin goes down.
I call the distributor and they were great about the whole thing. "No worries, we'll get you a new one out, no charge, just drop the old node board in the return box and send back to Stern." Awesome. Well, sort of awesome.
I inquired about paying for overnight delivery and the dist. explained in the most politically correct manner possible that they could put the order in but... dealing with Stern - no guarantees on when the part would leave Stern.
Long story short, on Ghostbusters, I ended up with a $300 lighter wallet for a spare node board. Thanks to steady troubleshooting work from Charlie and Nathan (who helped with overall prep in many other ways too) - the game was working for the event. Until it wasn't. The timelapse video of the event showed the glass coming off of Ghostbusters 1/2 dozen times throughout the twelve hour event. In fact, I'd say that Cody spent more time fixing Ghostbusters that day, than I'd spent playing it to date.
Meanwhile.. all those old Bally-Williams just kept running..
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I'm done with Stern after one bad experience. In fairness, the SMD LED boards on my Star Trek started to fail and they replaced them, for free and were very cool about it.
I am just saying that I wish they'd have engineered in protection to their miniaturized circuit boards to make them more failsafe in SPIKE systems. The SMD miniaturized components do not appear anecdotally to be as resilient as the 30 year old electronics in some of these older games.. What happens if Stern is no longer making pins in a decade. Most of these 30 year old electronics can be serviced with a de/soldering iron and time. These miniaturized components are a whole different ball of wax...
This all resonates with my inner grumpy-getting-older man..
For now at least, my acquisition and play tendencies are leaning back towards older stuff. So much of pinball today is trying to herald back the golden era of Bally/Williams 90's pins, why spend the price of a nice car on a new pin when you could spend 2/3 the price for better pinball? Especially if it's better playing AND better built...
My short (want) list for arcades is currently:
Atari Star Wars - (One on the way!)
Tempest - (Maybe less of a priority with Star Wars coming..)
Burger Time - (Honestly I just think the cabinet is fun)
Joust, Robotron, Defender or a Multi-Williams Cab (Pure arcade fun)
My short (want) list for pinball is currently:
Medieval Madness - (preferably original, good players condition)
Monster Bash - (original, not remake - should never have sold mine... )
Total Nuclear Annihilation - (one of these things is not like the others)
..something different. An EM, Solid State, etc.
So, that's me in early 2018. Subject to change on the ADD whim as always, my collection philosophy for Q1 2018 is: bring on the oldies but goodies. Now, I've got a mess to go clean up so I can get back to having a functional gameroom again! :)