Between The Buttons

Caught a few interesting pieces this past weekend. Loading them out of a hundred degree warehouse wasn’t a treat, but it was worth the effort.

First is what started as a dedicated Nintendo R-Type upright. Serial number is quite low, but it wasn’t exactly a common game either.

At some point it received a conversion to Golden Axe 2 that looks a lot messier than it is. The wiring was all terminated nicely so I can clip a Nintendo harness right back into place on the original connectors that were left intact. The coin door and vault were pretty messed up or absent but I’ve got spares I salvaged from some destroyed cabs at another warehouse years ago that will be a good match.

With some cleaning and the installation of a few parts it’s already looking most of the way there.

 

The second grab is another example of the purpose designed conversion kits that many manufacturers put out for the ubiquitous Pac Man and Ms Pac Man as they got on in years and stopped earning once the fever around those titles broke.

It’s a Nintendo conversion kit for the Vs. multi-game system. Similar in character to the Bally Sente conversion kit for these cabs, it takes a different approach to reconfiguring the monitor orientation and changing out the control panel.

This one clearly earned its keep as Pac Man before the transformation with almost twenty thousand plays on the clock, likely paying for itself twice over in its original incarnation.

The conversion was quite cleanly executed, though the Nintendo switching power supply has at some point been swapped for a generic model which was left hanging against the PCB cage.

Not a lot is retained of the original Midway internals. Portions of the power panel, AC wiring, and the Wells Gardner K4600 monitor are all that came along for the ride. The monitor has the maze burn you’d expect from any Pac Man game but it’s hidden pretty well by the smoked plexiglass panel that goes in front. Interestingly a standard Nintendo isolation transformer was included with the kit, though its 100V output is left unused and the Midway transformer is used to isolate power to the monitor.

A Nintendo video inverter and sound amp board is used to adapt the signal from the Vs. PCB to the output hardware in the cabinet.

Detritus in the cab says this one hung around in the Pacific Northwest, nearby one of the outposts of the Fred Meyer chain. The straw trick (“It has been brought to our attention that a flattened straw or similar object can be passed through the center opening in the upper hinge. If the object makes contact with the coin switch, it can be used to run up multiple credits.”) to getting free credits on Nintendo games must have made the rounds too, though whoever applied it didn’t realize that it only works on original Nintendo coin doors. We can also see the Vs. boardset played host to a few different titles over time, with Ice Climbers and Mach Rider in evidence.

This one will stay converted, though I’ll swap in a Dr. Mario daughterboard for the Super Mario Bros. chipset.

Project updates part 3

Last of these bulk updates, I swear!

Lots going on with the second conversion I’m doing. It’s a Centipede cocktail I got without boards or monitor, getting the 60n1 treatment. Not the best end… Not the worst either. I like to think I’m doing it justice while meeting the needs of the person who commissioned it.

A disturbing amount of lint came out of those trackballs. Like, several square inches of it. As well as a toothpick and wrapper, two bits of gum stuck to a roller, and what I’m pretty sure was a receipt at some point. Classy people, those players in the distant past. I got the trackballs performing nicely, though new bearings are probably in their future.

New control panel overlay (from Arcadeshop, amazing quality and I cannot convey how nice having the holes die cut is) for player 1 installed, along with the LCD. Was happy to be able to mount the LCD without modifying the cabinet beyond a few screw holes. I doubt this thing will ever be deconverted, but if it is it’ll be an easier job than a lot of the bullshit out there.

Got the dents (yeah, seriously) out of the player 2 control panel tonight as well, and sprayed it black again. Will get the new CPO on and reassemble later this week and then it’s back to waiting for more parts to come in.

In other news, the boardset for my Space Invaders came in finally!

I ended up having to use half of my original boardset (the audio board) and half of the donor (motherboard) in order to get a fully functional game in my cocktail cab. The end state working set is pictured above.

The donor boards evidently came from an upright. I’d heard all Space Invaders boardsets were alike and there was merely a cabinet wiring difference between the upright and cocktail versions. Given the fact that the cocktail audio board has an extra set of connections versus the upright board I think the difference is more significant than that.

Might also be a change between revisions though… The audio board I bought has older style gigantic caps on it, among other differences. More research is necessary to get that sorted out though, it seems like the Deluxe version of the game has much more info out there about it and there was not much forthcoming about the original.

Thankfully it was my motherboard that was the issue, not the audio board, so I frankensteined it and got a few rounds in tonight!

Project updates part 2

Also converted my ex-Bosconian cabinet from Krazy Bowl to Capcom Bowling with some parts provided by another local collector. Pretty much the same game play but orders of magnitude less obnoxious.

Took some baby steps towards making it look nicer too…

On the recommendation of one of the local collectors’ mailing lists I tried Motsenbocker’s Instant Latex Based Paint Remover.

It did a decent job… Still took a lot of brute force to get the stuff off, but it loosened the paint and left what was underneath intact. I ended up giving up on doing it by hand by the end and putting some scotch brite on a palm sander.

I think I’ll use this stuff to get the paint up off the side art on another cab, but not for a whole side again. I’ve got a jug of 3M Safest Stripper waiting for the other side of the Bosconian, so we’ll see how it compares soon.

Also finished conversion of the gutted Gun Fight cabinet I picked up a while back and delivered it to its new owner.

It has a handful of imperfections I’m not happy with, but they’re things only I would notice.

The custom monitor surround in progress… It turned out looking incredible.

It was a lot of work though. I pressed my Mario Bros. into service as an impromptu brake for the mat board I used to create it.

Spent a couple days at the office under strenuous quality control testing.