Tuesday, May 19, 2009

*Review* Barcade Brooklyn, NY

My review of " Barcade " in Brooklyn NY.

I went a few months ago, and wanted to share what games they had and what I thought about the atmosphere. Got to Barcade around 11:30pm and it was pretty packed.. It was soo packed that you needed to push people outta the way to walk to a different area. Once around 1am rolled through things began to thin out and the games were alot more accessible. Alot of people were just leaning on some of the games, with girls who had their pocket books and coats on them using them as coat racks..But would be curtius to move their junk if you wanted to play.
Here is a list of the roughly 25! classic games that were availble / working :

When you first walk in to the right you will see:

  • 1943 *horrible screen burn in
  • Zaxxon

Then the first big row of games are on the left :

  • Tapper
  • Dig Dug
  • Frogger
  • Marble Madness
  • Punch Out!
  • Moon Patrol
  • Donkey Kong
  • Asteroids
  • Rampage
  • Ghost N' Goblins
  • Bezerk
  • Lady Bug

    Then a smaller row of games by the 2 tables / bench area:
  • Centipede
  • Arkanoid *spinner felt wobbly ; or broken
  • Q*Bert
keep going around or if your walking in from the front door on the right you will see this row of games:

  • Sinistar
  • Tetris
  • Galaga *Icade PCB installed? :-(
  • Ms. Pac-Man *bad condition metal control panel was cracking / had a hole in it
  • Pengo
  • Outrun
  • Rolling Thunder
  • Crystal Castles
    **Robotron 2084 not working unplugged near the bathroom
Also they had the highscore chalk board floating above a row of games lit up which I thought was cool. I wanted to know what other people thought of this place. Personally I felt they had the most classics in one public location closest to my house (NY), but they just need to better maintain them. I understand that it's a Bar and not a private collection. All and all I would say go and check it out, it's worth poppin' by, unless your own private collection trumps it. Most of what's available is pretty much common classics, which appeals to the masses, Some of which are also already available in "Guscade" or might be in the near future.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Taito's Bubble Bobble - 1986

"Now it is the beginning of a fantastic story! Let's make a journey to the cave of monsters! Good Luck!"

Most people remember the game Bubble Bobble from the port on the Nintendo console, however the arcade version of this classic game has improved graphics and that same annoying theme music that you can't get out of your head. I bought this cabinet off craigslist in MA, long road trip, but well worth it for this gem in my collection. The cabinet was originally a Williams Robotron 2084, and then was at some point converted into a Bubble Bobble. The cabinet was in very rough shape when I snatched it, the wood on the bottom was splintering, and amoung other things was in dire need of a paint job.

Pictures of the cabinet when I picked it up:

The wooden control panel was cracked, and also had microswitches installed instead of leafs. I first took the control panel off, and disconnected all of the wiring. The original 2-way restricted wico leaf joysticks were still intact, but I ended up replacing the shafts.

Top View of the damaged control panel:

The marquee for this game has two different variations, This is the marquee that was distributed in the US by Romstar. This game just like Gun.Smoke, was also a kit-only game and never existed as a dedicated cabinet in the US. The marquee was in nice shape, and only needed to be cleaned.

I used a scrapper to peel off the old Romstar generic art, which revealed more of the Robotron 2084 artwork underneath. I then used paint thinner to melt away the old black paint, and then a Dewalt palm sander to smooth out the surface of the bare wood.

I added wood filler to the bottom of the cabinet. Also to help protect it from any furthur damage I attached 2 1/2'' casters. I did not want to add any unnecessary height to the cabinet, so I made sure that the casters were short.

The majority of the Williams control panels are wood, and alot thicker then metal control panels. At first I cleaned the original Wico shafts tossing them into my chuck of my drill. Although I brought back the shine to the used shafts, they were too short on the wood panel. I ordered brand new baby blue shafts from Bob Roberts which were 4'' in height and matched the marquee rather well. (Below is before and after cleaning shafts)

During the painting process I applied several coats. I needed to also order new T-Molding which was then later applied.

I ended up ordering a used williams control panel from a KLOV member but it was in very rough shape, at least it wasn't cracked. The control panel was a combination of both wood and metal, however the metal sheet was recut locally because it was too hacked. Below you can see the generic overlay being peeled off and revealing the original williams art, and the paint thinner hard at work.

Finally the new T-Molding, and control panel overlay, and this restoration is just about finished. The only thing currently missing from this project is the button stickers. The button stickers are supposidly going to be reproduced by Rich @ This_Old_Game . Bubble Bobble is certainly a favorite in "Guscade" and is a blast to play and of course extremely addicting.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Capcom's Gun Smoke - 1985

The first game that I'm going to talk about restoring / building is Capcom's Gun Smoke. Originally this machine started it's life as a Taito Alpine Ski, which was then at some point later converted to a Mr. Do. My intentions were to create a Gun.Smoke conversion, since capcom never officially released this video game as a dedicated cabinet in the US, rather a "conversion kit".

To me this game is significant because I'm currently the world record holder in MAME for Gun.Smoke, you can find out all video game records which are held by http://www.twingalaxies.com/ .

When I first got the machine it needed alot of work! For starters the control panel had an unnecessary hole in the metal, along with a bad monitor, and a rough paint job. This was my first Non-MAME video game machine so I found out alot along the way during my restoration.

Here is the initial picture before my restoration really got underway:

First I removed the bad monitor, which was not secure (maybe during transporting), but it literally fell down half way, luckily the rail was able to support it just enough before plummiting to it's doom.

I ended up ordering a brand new CRT Provision monitor from http://www.happ.com/ just in the nick of time! This is because unfortunately they are no longer selling them! Only LCD's in the 19'' size. Many companies have stopped the production of CRT's due to the popularity of LCD's. Not only Happ, but many other arcade part companies have stopped production of CRT's.

Moving along with the restoration I took the control panel off & thought about where I wanted to drill the 3 buttons on each side since it's an ambidextrous set up. :

I was thinking about making an arc for the buttons, or perhaps just a straight line, in the end I decided to stay with an arc, because naturally that's how your fingers are. I started to drill using a 1 3/8'' hole saw attached to my drill.
Once the buttons were fully drilled through the control panel, I then started to procede to take off the old and very stubborn control panel overlay. For future tips to anyone removing an old CPO *Control Panel Overlay, I would recommend using a heat gun, or hair dryer & especially paint stripper.

I wanted to get the control panel down to the bare metal, so I then bought a drill attachment to help with the process (again, if you wanted to use paint thinner you could avoid this step, this is very time consuming but no chemicals are used).

I was able to score a nice deal on the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) from a KLOV (Killer List of video games) member. This game actually has a few variations of the board set, mainly 2 in the US. You have US Rom Set 1 (Which is the board I own) in this version on the bottom of the title screen it shows Romstar 1985 along with Capcom 1985, high score is set at 100,000. The US Set 2 is slightly different with the High Score set to 110,000 instead of 100,000 and on the bottom of the title screen it displays Romstar 1986 Capcom 1985. The main difference during game play is that levels 3, & 6 are swapped on the US Set 2. The reason why they did this was due to people complained it was too difficult. The Japanese board set for this game allows the user to enter up to 8 character letters after a highscore is achieved instead of the traditional 3 initials on the US boards.

This particular game is considered to be a "Capcom Classic". I wanted to wire the cabinet using a capcom classic adaptor which I purchased from http://www.jammaboards.com/ . This adaptor allows you to use the correct pinout with a JAMMA (Japan Amusement Machinery Manufacturers Association) harness. This adaptor also works with the following other games:

  • The Legendary Soldiers
  • Commando
  • Exed Eyes
  • Ghost n' Goblins
  • Legendary Wings
  • Section Z
  • Space Invasion
  • Trojan

I got the JAMMA wire loom from an ebay member which had .187 female quick disconnects. This was all color coded, and a chart was provided to show the correct output.

The power Supply

These are the video cables from the JAMMA Loom(Red,Green,Blue,White sync,Yellow sync,Black/ground)

I finally fired up the monitor for the first time, and sadly saw mainly red wavy lines. I then twisted both the yellow, and the white sync wires together and sure enough the picture came on, and was extremely crisp.

I wanted the game (and all of my games) to accept quarters so it would give the player a more acurate feel of an arcade. Hooking up the coin mech's were pretty easy, but the game was missing one so I needed to order a new one.

The original game kit contained a piece of plexi overlay for the control panel to help protect the artwork underneath, so I got a piece of plexi and drilled it accordingly. I also filled in the bad hole on the left side with bondo.

Overall the cabinet was in solid condition with no water damage, but was in need of a paint job. I took the cabinet apart and first started on the front door area where the coin door is.

The wood from the front door was nicked and scratched pretty bad before sanding. During sanding it revealed the original cabinets artwork underneath (Alpine Ski). After the surface was smooth enough I added spray primer. Once the spray primer was dryed I added the black paint. The end result on the front coin door came out pretty solid.

I was lucky enough to track down the original control panel sticker sheet for the game from an ebay user. They were however reproduced recently by Jeff at Rotheblog. The control panel overlay I ordered from Scott at Mame_Marquees . I have NOS (New Old Stock) Generic Romstar overlays, but I did not have one in brown, and that was the color I wanted to go with. I was sent the leaf buttons, and an original 8-way Wico joystick from a member on BYOAC . The member on BYOAC was kind enough to send me those parts for FREE! I have since upgraded them using a new Wico shaft, and new leaf buttons which was ordered from Bob Roberts .

With everything in place it was time to test the game out! Oh no my "fire left" was not working. As it turns out the "capcom classic" adaptor needed to be moddified to suit Gun.Smoke's 3 button configuration. All of the other capcom classic games have 2-button set up. So the adaptor needed to have a little bit of soddering done (black wires).

The cabinet was finished off with the NOS Sideart set one piece I luckily found on ebay, and the other I purchased from Anthony at Quarter Arcade. I'm very happy with the end result.