Pinball

Review Shenanigans

In the coming weeks I’m posting a series of arcade and pinball reviews of games that are currently being fostered in the basement. Ten minutes (+/- a few minutes) with each game to talk about gameplay, maintenance or whatever comes to mind.

As I post them, I’ll go back and make the game entries below clickable.

Pinballs

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Attack from Mars
Medieval Madness
Indiana Jones The Pinball Adventure
Scared Stiff
Tales of the Arabian Nights

Arcades

Cocktail Table Arcade-SD Multigame
Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 - Review completed on 4/19/19
Ms Pacman (Cabaret)
Centipede (Cabaret)
Donkey Kong (Multi Kong w/ Arcade-SD)
Namco Reunion
Tapper
Tron
Q*Bert (Mylstar FPGA)
Robotron (Multi-Williams FPGA)
Tempest
Mortal Kombat 4 (and MK1, MK2, MK3 w/ RiddledTV Switcher)

Console

Nintendo Entertainment System Online (Nintendo Switch Online Service)

Pinball at Game Over Retro Pub

Charlie getting the games ready for League Play

Charlie getting the games ready for League Play

Good turnout, 11 players showed for this play outing.

Good turnout, 11 players showed for this play outing.

The Yin & Yang of an Arcade bar

The game selection at Game Over in Mobile is comprised of a mixture of 1 part barcade-owned titles and 2 parts on-loan from private collections. It is neat to see the collaboration of the local collecting community & the commercial barcade endeavour co-exist in this way. Kind of a Yin & Yang, Feng shui thing or maybe I’m mixing my Asian philosophical metaphors. I didn’t see Tsing Tao on a tap handle FWIW..

The Arcades..

There are some cool arcade titles… . The highlights of which for me were mostly-working but playable Silent Scope Dark Silhouette, a Ms. Pacman / Galaga Reunion, Soul Calibur, a Neo-Geo, Cruisin USA, TMNT and some boilerplate multicades that seem to get some love.

I believe everything is on .50c per play.

A few games stood out in disrepair, though. The multicade in a Centipede cabinet was sort of a bummer. The NBA Jam was hard to see (LCD monitor with limited viewing angles). House of the Dead 2’s guns were out of alignment making it unplayable. Lots of dark marquees. I suspect the respective game owners are working on these things, though. In fairness, they’ve been on location for about a month so there is still time to get in and get a working baseline on everything.

The Yang: Finishing a game on 1 credit. :)

The Yang: Finishing a game on 1 credit. :)

The Yin: Games in need of repair

The Yin: Games in need of repair

In all fairness, the arcades that are here are still an order of magnitude better than what our local coin op are pawning out to Pizza places & bars. This isn’t a museum, it is a bar with trade stimulators along the outer wall. The measurement for the win-condition should be: Is it Playable? Is it Frustrating to Play? Most games were playable, so that’s a positive step forward, right?

… right?
.. anybody?
(clears throat)

 

The Pinballs..

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The Pinball Machines (on loan from a private collection) include some awesome titles and are in very good condition after a month of play. Much better than any operator-owned games I’ve seen on the Gulf-Coast thus far.

The current titles are:

Star Trek: The Next Generation
No Good Gophers
NBA Fastbreak
Black Pyramid
Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure
Revenge from Mars

It is pretty rare to see some of these Bally-Williams titles on the street, taking quarters. Get out there and feed them while you can. :)

 

Thirsty?

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The only thing I see in this picture is a Guinness handle. It is like those laser-art pictures in the mall from 90’s.

The only thing I see in this picture is a Guinness handle. It is like those laser-art pictures in the mall from 90’s.

 
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Game Over Retro Pub were gracious hosts. The tournament coincided w/ their open-mic night so we enjoyed some home-grown jams while we played.

However, they were..

out of Guinness. (dun, dun, duuuuuuun!)

I think there is a law against having “pub” in your name and not having Guinness? But.. I’ll allow it (this time) considering proximity to St. Patty’s Day & Mardis Gras. The Mobilians were thirsty last week I guess..

(Chants): Guinness of Health!

 

err..umm.. what happened? Sorry, I lost you for a minute in a tasty extra-stout day-dream… . where were we?

Oh, right.. Back to stumping for our friends at Game Over Retro Pub for all of the good things they did… . Plenty of drinks to choose from and a simple menu that will take you back to the hungry snackbar along the bike-route to your neighborhood arcade. Cheez Whiz, ya’ll.

If you are local to the Mobile, Alabama area you should stop into Game Over Retro Pub. Order a drink and a tasty sandwich, cheese fries and get some quarters from the bar. The place has a great vibe, friendly staff and a neat location in Downtown Mobile.

On the-book-of-faces: https://www.facebook.com/gameoverretropub/
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/vGgoZUx45A62

The Tournament

Charlie brought his A-game and schooled us in the A-Tournament with Black Pyramid and Indy acting as the deciding matches.

Pro Tournament Standings: https://matchplay.events/live/v1gr0/standings
Pro Tournament Matches: https://matchplay.events/live/v1gr0/matches


Mike Cast rolled up the Novice matches, undefeated in head-to-head play for the night

Novice Tournament Standings: https://matchplay.events/live/qbxnw/standings
Novice Tournament Matches: https://matchplay.events/live/qbxnw/matches

This is a series… informally.. so the series standings are as follows:
https://matchplay.events/live/series/913

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!

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!

SFGE 2018

The Calm before the Fun-Storm.

The Calm before the Fun-Storm.

Southern Fried Game Room Expo continues to be my favorite show each year. It just feels like family :)

If.. my family was way more awesome and there are 300 games, an indie movie festival, music, wrestling all sorts of awesomeness..

If.. my family was way more awesome and there are 300 games, an indie movie festival, music, wrestling all sorts of awesomeness..

The Load Up

The thing about our local arcade community is: we have super-solid people. There aren’t a lot of us but we help each other out!

 
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Charlie pulled the trailer and handed the rental and brought up Monopoly, Genesis, Lord of the Rings just to name a few. :) Cody brought Creech (and a super cool special presentation) and I took my Data East Star Wars this time and it got 682 plays over the weekend - and was rock solid :)

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Gaming Floor Walk-Through

Family Fun

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Cody’s Creech!

You ever seen an environmental Creech? If you were at SFGE 2018, you did. Cody’s CFTBL is gorgeous and mean to play, which makes me love it even more for some reason.

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ohm-matched surround sound. yeah!

ohm-matched surround sound. yeah!

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Vendors!

SFGE always has a good Vendor game and this year was no exception. Plenty of space and plenty of cool offerings from really friendly and enthusiastic vendors.

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As always, Marco Specialties brought their A-Game with this epic pyramid of new Pinball. Show specials, parts, shirts & Swag - a little bit of everything and a whole lot of NIB Pinball to flip.

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Flip N Out Pinball has been a solid supporter of SFGE every year that I’ve attended. They bring some of the harder to find Premium titles and sometimes you’ll find industry-folks in their show space. They brought the latest from Jersey Jack Pinball, Chicago Gaming / Planetary Pinball & American Pinball. Also, Escalera’s are awesome.

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Hard to Find Titles

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I was able to get 2 balls in on JJP POTC but unfortunately the game kept breaking down every time I tried to play it. I took it as a personal rejection, not a quality issue w/ the pin. Maybe it just didn’t like me - seems like others really enjoyed it!

Speaking of Rum…

Seeing my old POTC on the show floor was a little bit like seeing an ex-girlfriend happy with her new beau. Probably shouldn’t have sold this game but at least it went to a solid dude who appreciates it!

Seeing my old POTC on the show floor was a little bit like seeing an ex-girlfriend happy with her new beau. Probably shouldn’t have sold this game but at least it went to a solid dude who appreciates it!

KingPin

Mark Ritchie’s KingPin was provided on the floor by Circus Maximus for us to flip. They were selling art, toppers & Swag to help fund the project. I’m a huge fan of MR games, this one shot great!

Star Wars LE

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Finally got a chance to play Star Wars LE and they had the sound cranked all of the way up, which was nice. :) I liked it.

Games!

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Did I mention there are alot of games? Like.. over 300 or so… this becomes the largest Arcade in Georgia and probably the largest functional arcade in the Southeast for the weekend.

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Charity!

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Project Pinball is an excellent charity, run by an awesome group of people.

Pinvasion!

Pinvasion V really stands out as a next-level pinball tournament. This year it was moved off into a different portion of the hotel, which seemed to work really well. This is always a super-well-organized and highly attended tournament.

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This year, my daughter really wanted to try her hand at some competitive pinball. She was already IFPA listed from a previous tournament and was feeling the competitive itch.

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Ultimately, in order to (really) compete in the tournament takes a level of dedication and focus that we lacked this year but she still had a great time.

Shenanigans!

We were… on the other hand, dedicated and focused in taking part in some Shenanigans. Jena’s inflatable T-Rex is always a hit. :)

BRRAAAAIIIINNNNSS! (No, really - brains!) Cody is an incredible player and wealth of pinball and arcade knowledge from rules and play to anything repair related.

BRRAAAAIIIINNNNSS! (No, really - brains!) Cody is an incredible player and wealth of pinball and arcade knowledge from rules and play to anything repair related.

If you stand still long enough, Billy might sign you.

If you stand still long enough, Billy might sign you.

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Personalities & Industry Celebs

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This was the year I developed a crush on Cabarets. Tried to buy this one, actually but it was some sort of relay-phone dead-drop communication scenario where you left a message under a park bench with your offer and someone randomly scribbled on a piece of toilet paper in the center bathroom stall if your offer was excepted. Err.. something like that. :) Ah, well - sweet game - look forward to finding one!

That’s a Wrap

It is funny how the truck always ends up coming home a little more full than when we arrived. :) Keep an eye on your games, they will multiply before you know it!

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After an awesome weekend we were loaded up and headed back to the Gulf Coast with only one casualty. RIP Tubby.

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My Full Photo Gallery from 2018 SFGE is here: https://images.eyedyllic.com/Hobbies/SFGE-2018/n-LxrDNw/

Southern Fried Shenanigans

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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

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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.

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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.  

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The Games

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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Houdini

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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. 

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Ice Cold Beer

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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

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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.

Metallica

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

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The Vendors

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

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Personalities

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.

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Sky Skipper!

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

Morning, Noon & Night

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

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

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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

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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. 

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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.