Dragon's Lair is also one of only three video games (along with Pong and Pac-Man) in storage at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
Essentially Dragon's Lair is a cartoon that is played on a laser disc which you control Dirk's quest. The laser disc player jumps from scene to scene depending on selecting the correct move. You control Dirk with a wico joystick maneuvering up, down, left or right, as well as a sword button. The controls seem easy yet the game is certainly frustrating if your unfamiliar with the game play. You start out with 5 Dirks which seems like a decent amount until you realize how quickly and easily if your timing isn't perfect you can perish before you can blink. This game to my knowledge at the time was one of the first games that cost .50 cents, In 1983 that was a big deal. Dragon's Lair's are getting tougher to find especially running original hardware such as a laser disc / laser disc player. I found one that wasn't restored but I needed to ship the game. I was scared and reluctant to do so because at first the seller wasn't providing me with all of the pictures I needed to know if they game was complete. The game was claimed to be complete but also stated arcade technician needed, game doesn't work. I didn't mind at this point I'm confident with time I can fix just about any machine so I took the chance and shipped it almost blind.
When I got the machine I turned it on and the fan vibrated the entire machine and was really loud, I then simply disconnected. The good thing was that the machine looked essentially "complete"as far as the hardware. The score board lit up, monitor had a vertical collapse issue. At this point I decided to replace the existing LV1000 laser disc player with an upgraded Pioneer LV4400. Before you can upgrade the laser disc player you need to make sure you have Shaun Wood's "Merlin" board installed.
|Upgraded replacement Pioneer LV4400|
|Testing LV4400 on my LCD TV|
|Dragon's Lair Power Supply|
|Shaun Wood's Merlin Board|
Above you can see the original card on the left with the ribbon disconnected, on the right it's replaced with Shaun Woods Merlin. To obtain a Merlin board I highly recommend you talking to Shaun first to see exactly what your needs are http://wood1st.com/LaserCon/Merlin/index.htm . I can't say enough good things about Shaun Wood without him my Dragon's Lair along with many others wouldn't be using original hardware so I tip my hat. Shaun also guided me along with any questions about Dragon's Lair in general. A wealth of knowledge exists on his site the DLP Forums also known as the http://www.dragons-lair-project.com/ .
Cosmetically the game was completely missing side art but the original vinyl was in decent shape, I used armor all to clean the side of the cabinet. One thing I can recommend is that make sure it's completely dry before trying to apply side art or you will have a problem with the adhesion of the side art to the cabinet. The game was cleaning up nicely.
|Side Art Installed|
I originally ordered parts from Anthony at quarterarcade.com for the side art (as shown above with the premask, after installed shots), marquee, as well as the control panel overlay.
|quarterarcades reproduction registration error blurry|
I got a message from the person who bought the NOS overlay on KLOV & said they were just using it as a back up and I was eligible to purchase it if I wanted it! At this point I was able to get Dirk's legs back and have an original overlay from 1983 that looked sharp. I started to take apart the control panel. To reiterate on prior posts once again I used a wall paper steaming machine to get off the chunks missing control panel overlay. I then began to proceed to sand down the control panel making sure no vintage glue remained. I probably should of waited until the NOS overlay actually got to my house but I wanted to start the process. Luckily It was in better shape than I expected it to be.
|Control Panel sanded down getting ready for NOS CPO!|
|NOS CPO installed|
|NOS CPO and hardware reinstalled|
Also many Dragon's Lair's from the factory had really what I consider low side art. I'm aware of placement was generally much lower however I hate the side art sitting that low so what did I do, not only did I place it higher which looks much better, but I got confirmation from Shaun Wood who used to work on the assembly line installing the side art in 1983 when he was 18. He basically said the side art height actually varied from cabinet to cabinet and that most of them were installed by him and his other 18 year old friends at the time. While I didn't need that confirmation it felt good to hear that come from someone who originally help produce these in 1983.
|Raised Cinematronics coin door logo|
|Dragon's Lair coin door parts|
|Resprayed Dragon's Lair coin door|
|Dragon's Lair Scoreboard|
|Behind Speakers & Scoreboard|
|Testing TV monitor outside of cabinet|
|Wells Gardner CRT K4900 NTSC Card|
|Volume Control Background Music & Narration|