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.