Archive | February, 2014

Top 5 Most Romantic Arcade Games

Love is in the air and while there will be untold billions spent on chocolates and roses this Valentine’s Day, we wanted to highlight a few arcade games that celebrate love. Here are our top 5 picks for the most romantic arcade ever games made.

5.) Toki
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The storyline in the game Toki is a bit unconventional, but will melt all but the coldest hearts. The hero of the game is a normal guy named Toki. His lovely girlfriend is kidnapped by an evil sorcerer named Vookimdlo. As if having to rescue her isn’t hard enough, Vookimedlo has raised the stakes by casting a spell over our hero. If he fails to save his girlfriend, he’ll forever remain a monkey, but if he can save her, their love will unlock the spell and turn him back into a man.

4.) Super Mario Brothers

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There have been a lot of damsel in distress video games, but few capture the genre quite as well as Super Mario Brothers. In the game, Mario and Luigi must crawl through dungeon like sewers fighting off mutant plants and ninja turtles. In the end, the goal is to save the princess from a really ugly dude named Bowser.

3.) Dragon’s Lair

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Considered a cult classic by anyone and everyone who loves animation, Dragon’s lair is part laser disc, part arcade game. In the game, you play the lanky, but lovable Dirk the Daring, who must slash, crash and mad dash his way across a most heinous castle. When he gets to the heart of the lair, he must slay a dragon who holds a key to a prison that that the princess has been enveloped by. It’s core storyline is enough to make one’s heart turn to mush, but the added effect from the supreme animation puts this one over the top.

2.) Ms. Pacman

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A game that was so popular it doesn’t even need an introduction. Part of what made Ms. Pacman so successful were the love scenes that were cut into the game. In the first one you see Mr. and Ms. Pacman meet while being chased by ghosts, in the 2nd scene Pacman is the one doing the chasing as he falls in love with the Misses. In the final scene they have a baby that would ultimately inspire the Jr. Pacman spinoff. It’s a love story as classic as the game itself.

1.) Popeye

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With so many strong candidates, it was tough to score a winner, but Popeye has to be the most romantic game of all time. In the game, Popeye must fight with Bluto for Olive Oil’s love. Sprinkled with hearts throughout the game, the only goal is for affection.

What do you think, did we leave any games off? Would you have put them in a different order. Sound off with your own top 5 in the comments . . .

How To Clean A Sticky Trackball

Missile Command (4 of 1)

I was prepping our Missile Command arcade for a customer who is renting the game for their office, but before it went out I was having some trouble getting the trackball to work right. Guiding my missiles up and down was a breeze, but trying to aim to the right or the left would barely move the target. Since the game isn’t very much fun when you constantly face nuclear annihilation, I thought that I’d open it up and see if I could figure out what was going on.

Like a lot of the trackball games, the ball has a tendency to suck up dirt like no one’s business. Part of this is because you’ve got a couple of moving parts that you need in order to make it work and they have a tendency to get dirt and grim caught in it’s pieces. Another part of it is that people put their hands all over the ball when they play it and can transfer dirt and oils onto the ball and ultimately into the sensors. Since this is a pretty common problem to come across, I thought that I’d do a blog post detailing how we go about cleaning our trackballs, so that you can get your trackball games to play smoothly as well.

tools

The first step that you’ll need to do is gather together your tools. For this job we’ll need; rubbing alcohol, qtips, a clean rag, some warm soapy water, a little bit of oil (we used the same oil that you clean your shredders with), a phillips head screwdirver, a set of security screw bits, a pair of needle nose pliers, a 12mm wrench and a 9/64 allen wrench.

The next step is to remove the entire trackball assembly from the arcade cabinet. On the Missile Command game there are three bolts that hold the ball assembly in place. There are also two molex connectors that plug the trackball into the game. Using the 12mm wrench, we were able to remove all 3 bolts and unfasten both connectors.

Assembled Track Ball

Now that you’ve got the trackball out of your game and onto your workbench, you can start cleaning things up a bit. Using the 9/64 allen wrench, unscrew the metal plate that holds the trackball assembly together. You’ll also need to flip the assembly over and unscrew the plastic that covers it, in order to open things up. Once you have the assembly in pieces, you can tackle each component. Using your warm soapy water, gently clean the trackball, the pieces of the assembly that houses the ball and the ball bearings that rollers plug into. After cleaning each piece, you want to dry it off so that you can prevent any rust from occurring.

Unassembled Track Ball

At the end of each roller, you’re going to find a giant gear with a bunch of scary looking teeth that are attached to a roller and some ball bearings.

teeth

In order to remove this gear, there is a E-Ring that you have to remove with your needle nose pliers and a screw that also holds it in. Once you get the gear off you want to also clean it with soapy water. You also want to clean the ball bearings with warm soapy water as well. Once you dry the bearings, you’ll want to add 2 – 3 drops of oil to each one, so that it spins easily.

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Now that we have the gear off, we can get to the optical reader which is our primary target. The way that the trackballs work is that there is a vertical and a horizontal sensor that shoots a beam of light out of it. When you roll the ball, the teeth on the gears interrupt the flow of light and the system recognizes that as it’s signal to move on the screen. The faster you interrupt the light, the faster your target will move on the screen. In order to make sure that you’re getting a good signal, you want to take a qtip, dip it into rubbing alcohol and clean the sensors that read the light.

Optical Reader

Once the rubbing alcohol has a chance to evaporate, you can go ahead and reassemble all of your parts. We opted not to replace the rollers on our trackball, but this would be a good time to add replacement rollers if yours are really worn down.

rollers

You can see on our rollers where the paint has started to wear off in the middle. If cleaning your trackball doesn’t solve your problem, this may be your most likely culprit. While we had everything open, we went ahead and used some of the rubbing alcohol to clean the rollers as well.

reassembled track ball roller

When you’re reassembling your trackball, you’ll notice that there is a ball bearing roller that the ball guides itself on. You want to make sure to leave a little bit of room when you screw everything down so that the ball moves freely. Too tight and the it won’t roll, too loose and the ball gets wobbly when you play the game.

Once the entire trackball is reassembled, you can bolt it back into your cabinet and you should be ready to roll (sorry couldn’t resist.) Hopefully, this helps to get your game playing a bit smoother or at least removes some of the apprehensiveness that you feel when you see a small child with an ice cream cone playing your game 😉

Do you have a different technique that you’ve had success with? Feel free to leave your own tips or questions in the comments below . . .

Update – So using the shredder oil turned out to be a big mistake. Better stick to the recommended 3 in 1 oil to make sure that it doesn’t get gunked up. You can find some at your local hardware store.

Broken Water Main Floods Pinball Pete

Pinball fans in East Lansing Michigan will temporarily need to find a new place to get their pinball fix after Pinball Pete in Ann Arbor Michigan was flooded from a broken water main. We restore a lot of games, so we know how hard it is to repair water damage on an arcade cabinet. Unlike forces of nature where you can see the threat coming, the flood came out of nowhere after an employee noticed a little bit of innocent looking water that was trickling from under the door. MLive has all the details.

“Evan Williams, who has worked at the basement arcade since summer 2012, noticed water leaking onto the floor and originally thought someone spilled a beverage. When he traced the spreading liquid to a door, he realized the flow was too heavy and too prolonged to be minor. He got the code to the door from a superior and opened it to find water cascading down the stairs behind the door. Unable to stop the water, Williams called 911, turned off the games and left the building. “Nothing looks like it’s completely destroyed yet, but the water is still coming in,” Williams said before firefighters and city employees were able to shut the water off. “It’s at least two inches deep.” Williams said the water was covering the bottom of most of the games in the arcade and he expected there to be quite a bit of loss.”

Hopefully everything will be OK once Pinball Petes has a chance to dry out. It’s a good thing they were able to turn off the games because the electrical current could have made things a lot worse.

Friday Funday Guess The # of Plays Edition

Cosmic Avenger (4 of 1)

Happy Friday arcade fans. We had another busy week at All You Can Arcade HQ and are looking forward to the weekend. For this week’s Friday Funday competition, we’re going to do an audit on our Cosmic Avenger game. While the nuts and bolts of an arcade game’s operation tend to be pretty boring, we’re always fascinated by the number of plays a game registers on it’s odometer.

In order to help an arcade owner keep track of which games were most popular and whether or not quarters were disappearing while on location, most games include a counter that shows the number of total plays over the life of its game. We don’t know how many of those games were free or cost a quarter or even fifty cents, but it does give us an idea of how popular the game was and whether it was on location or hidden away in a home for it’s life.

Our Cosmic Avengers game is a bit unique in that it includes a counter for both the left and right coin slot. We’ll post a photo of the counters at the end of the day, but the closest one to guess the total number of plays that our game has received on both coin slots will be crowned this week’s Friday Funday winner. Feel free to leave your guesses on our Facebook page or in the comments below. We hope you have a safe and enjoyable weekend.

Tickets Go On Sale For 2014 Northwest Pinball Show

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If you’ve never been to a pinball and arcade convention, here is your chance. Tickets went on sale last night for the 2014 Northwest Pinball show. The show is taking place on June 6 – 8th and tickets are only $65 for the entire weekend.

The show’s hours will be Noon – 11:30pm on Friday June 6th, 10am – 11:30pm on Saturday the 7th and 9am – 3pm on June 8th. That’s 32 hours to squeeze in over 400 games. If you spend more than 20 minutes on any one machine, you’ll miss out on the other. I recommend comfortable shows and a lot of coffee.

Last year’s show attracted over 3,000 guest and with even more space to work with, I would expect to see a higher turnout this year. The details on this year’s tournament haven’t been announced just yet, so pinheads will have to hold off on zoning in their zen until they can figure out which games they need to master over the next few months. It should be interesting to see what game they go with.

It looks like a ton of fun. If you’re interested in tickets, you can buy them here. If you want to bring games to the event, you can sign up to participate at the following link.

Arcadecraft To Bring Arcade Simulation Game To PC

Power Up Arcade

Ever wonder what it’s like to actually run an arcade? Indie game developer Firebase Industries, set out to recreate the experience and ended up with a hit game on their hands. According to Joystiq, the company has now sold an impressive 65,000 copies of the game since releasing the game on Xbox live late last year. After this kind of response, it shouldn’t be too surprising to learn that they’ve continued the development of the game and are about to release a version for PC users to play.

You can find the game on Steam or you can pre-order the game on the humble store.

While the game doesn’t include the ability to put your games on location, it does a pretty good job of replicating a physical arcade. You have to figure out what titles produce the best return on your investment and then rotate the games as they get stale. You also have to maintain and repair the games when they break down including clearing the hopper when it fills up with loose change. It’d be great to see them add a monthly delivery feature to the game, but we’re just happy to see a well made simulation game that is designed around arcade games.

Kansas Legislators To Vote On Legalizing Pinball In Liquor Stores

Adams Family Pin

Here’s a bit of good news for pinball fans who live in Kansas. It looks like your state legislators are poised to claw back some of the archaic laws that were passed during the 70s and 80s. When arcades and pins first started to take off, there was a lot of moral panic about their potential to corrupt the youth. In order to help “protect kids” from the influences of booze, dirty magazines and a little thing called pinball, the state of Kansas passed a law forbidding Pinball games, from going on location inside of liquor stores.

It’s hard to tell whose behind the drive to change the law, since arcade operators are exactly organized politically, but the result could mean that there will be more places to play pinball In Kansas, if they can get a majority to vote for the bill.

The only downside to this good news . . . the new law won’t go into place until 2020! This means residents will need to wait 6 more years before they’ll get to enjoy bumpering their way across a freshly waxed playfield at their local minimart. You can read the entire bill at the following link (warning .pdf), but the relevant text is quoted below.

“On or before June 30, 2020, if a retailer’s class C license is issued to a liquor store, then such licensee shall not furnish any entertainment in such premises or permit any pinball machine or game of skill or chance to be located in or on such premises.

(2) On and after July 1, 2020, a holder of a retailer’s class C license may furnish any entertainment in such premises or permit any pinball machine or game of skill or chance to be located in or on such premises.”