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Ask All You Can Arcade – What Game Am I Thinking Of?

reassembled track ball roller

Today’s question comes in from Kevin, who is trying to remember the name of a favorite arcade game, but only remembers the details of the games. Here are your clues . . .

-Clue#1 – its a side scroller

-Clue#2 – it has a jet that can transform into a robot and vice versa

-Clue#3 it has lots of stages and as far i can remember its that the first stage enemy is a one eyed monster

-Clue#4 amazing sound and graphics

Admittedly clue #4 is a bit subjective, so it may not be as useful, but he did mention that he played it in the 90’s, so it rules out anything post millennium.

Off the top of our head, we know that we don’t have any like this in our inventory, but are going to do our homework in the next 24 hours and will update it with our best guess. If you think that you know the name of the game, dive into the comments and we’ll see if we can figure this one out.

After a bit of careful research, we think that the game is Aeroboto. I wasn’t able to confirm footage of the first boss, but it looks an awfully lot like the game described. It was also known as Formation Z. It was released in 1984 by Jaleco. Here is some footage of the game play on Youtube.

June Birthdays In The Arcade World

space invaders

With so many notable games, it’s hard to keep track of when each one was released, but here is a list of games that we’ve been able to track down June release dates for. If you know of additional games, leave a comment below and we’ll update this post.

A big Happy Birthday goes out to Space Invaders who turned 38 on June 5th. Originally it was named Space Monsters, but they changed the name of the game and ended up with a smash hit.

In June of 1981, the first kits of Missile Command became available. With a heavy dose of cold war paranoia, it rocketed to success.

Cocktails Vs. Stand Up Arcade Games?

Happy HourWhen most people think about Happy Hour specials, they’re thinking of getting drinks after work. For us, a happy hour is when we can fit three cocktail arcade games into the back of our truck.

When we first started collecting games, we didn’t focus on the cocktails at all, but after we launched our customers made it clear that they wanted more. Overall, we’ve found the stand up games to be more popular with our members, but there are a few advantages that the cocktail games offer. The biggest is that you can play a game sitting down. This makes them ideal for a cafeteria type setting. This also gives them an advantage in public areas because they are wheelchair accessible.

It seems like most of the cocktail games that we’ve been able to collect have been early classics. I’m not sure why they stopped making cocktail arcade games in the 90’s, but it’s pretty rare to see something other than an early 80’s title in one. Everybody has their own preference and whether you enjoy playing on your feet or like something a bit more relaxed, it’s interesting to see how something as simple as the design of a game can affect the playability.

All You Can Arcade In Just Six Seconds

ms pacman

As we’ve added more and more games to our arcade library, we wanted to take advantage of our collection by documenting each game on Vine. It’s not easy to encapsulate all 8 bits into six seconds, but we’re going to go game by game and cherry pick the best moments from each. If you’re interested in following along at home, please visit our Vine page and check it out.

Shoebox Raid!

When your product is the size of a refrigerator, you get a lot of big opportunities. More than once we’ve had to leave a warehouse feeling unsatisfied because we couldn’t fit anymore games in our truck. Here’s a bulk lot that you won’t have to take out a Public Storage locker for in order to buy.

shoebox raid

Seeing a warehouse full of this many games is impressive, but perhaps it’s even more impressive to see such a large collection of games in one spot that are all miniature replicas. Pinball Arcade has an Etsy store where they sell handcrafted arcade and pool tables that are big enough to sit on your desk. They don’t function like the full sized games, but are a great conversation starter at work. The replicas are built by hand and crafted to look as much like the originals as possible. You can check out more photos and their mini-pins by clicking here

Sony Releases The First Trailer For Pixels

Adam Sandler’s latest big budget flick will be all about arcade games and from the look of the first trailer, it should be heavy on comedy and special effects. After teasing arcade fans with details for the last 9 months, Sony finally shows off the goods. Just like Wreck it Ralph, we’re predicting that this one will be a big hit with audiences.

Superman For Lease

superman for lease

How To Build Replacement Control Panel Plexiglass Overlays

One of the most common repairs that we have to make during the restoration process is rebuilding the control panels for various games. Time can be cruel to arcade games and between the graffiti, cigarette burns and constant wear and tear, it’s not surprising to see the control panels age faster then the rest of the game. Once you’ve rebuilt a control panel and have installed new artwork, it’s worth investing in a little bit of plexiglass, in order to protect the game.

In order to build a protective layer over the top of the control panel, you’re going to need the following materials.

cpoplexi1

-A piece of Lexan or Plexiglass that is large enough to cover the control panel
-An electric drill
-A large and small step drill
-A sharpie
-A measuring tape
-A utility knife
-A Dremel with the lock cutting attachment
-Some clamps
-A piece of scrap wood that you can drill into

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First things, first, you need to measure your control panel, so that you can see how large of a piece of plexiglass that you’ll need to cut. We add about an 1/8th of an inch extra room, so that we can trim the plexi with our Dremmel when we’re done.

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Once you’ve got your measurements you’ll want to plot them out using the sharpie. As long as you keep the plastic protective layer on the plexiglass, you should be able to peel it off when you’re done and it won’t leave any marks.

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Now that you have everything plotted out, you can begin cutting the plexi. We like to place another sheet of plexi on top of the sheet we’re cutting to help guide the utility knife. When scoring the plexiglass the secret is to do it all in one light motion. You don’t want to put too much pressure on the knife or else you’ll crack it. After about 20 – 30 light swipes, you should begin to see it weaken where you’ve cut the plastic.

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After you’ve scored the plexi, you want to move it over the edge of table or firm surface. You then want to give it your best karate chop so that you can snap it evenly along the seam that you’ve made. Somethings using a hammer will help if you get parts that need to be chipped off. If you haven’t scored the plexi deep enough this is the point where it can snap uneven and ruin your plexi so be careful to make sure that it’s ready before giving it a good whack.

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With a little bit of luck, you’ll end up with a piece of plexi that fits. As you can see in our photos, the edges are still a little bit rough, so we’ll use our Dremmel with the lock cutting attachment to trim it smooth. Once we have the edges trimmed up, we place the plexi on top of our control panel and then use our sharpie to mark where the bolt holes and button holes line up. For the button and joystick holes we use the larger step drill. For the smaller bolt holes we use the smaller step drill. When doing the drilling it’s best to do the small holes first and then the button and joystick holes second or else the pressure of the drill can cause things to crack. You also want to clamp the plexi on top of a piece of scrap wood that you can also drill into. This helps prevent the plexi from breaking into pieces once the drill pierces it. When doing the drilling, the name of the game is patience. You don’t want to push hard or else the plexi will break. Use the drill to almost melt the plastic away.

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After the holes are drilled, you can attach the plexi overlay onto your control panel and reassemble all of the buttons and joystick. Now you’re control panel looks brand new and will be protected in case someone decides to carve their name into your game and make you rebuild another plexiglass protector. This is one of those tasks that gets easier over time, so practice will make perfect even if you don’t have a lot of early success.

The Rise Of The Underground Arcade

warp warp

As commercial arcades have slowly gone out of business, there’s been a void left by their absence. For many of us, spending (or perhaps mis-spending) our youths in rooms filled with games is a memory that we’ll cherish our entire lives. While you may be able to emulate 1,000 games on a single machine it doesn’t really compare to the experience of seeing 40 – 50 games lined up ready to play. What’s interesting is to see how the collector community is stepping in to fill this void.

Case in point, Scott Leftwich. After getting bit by the arcade bug, he managed to amass a collection of over 60 working games. Instead of keeping these games tucked away in his basement just for him to play, he’s started to open up his basement on weekends to the general public, so that they can help support the restorations that he takes on. For $10, anyone can get a personal tour of his games and can play on free play for 3 hours. While it’s always possible that city hall could come down on this sort of endeavor, we tend to find that local politicians like to support these sort of private museums. I know that in our own community, there are a ton of kids who like to stop by to oohhh and awe over our games. More than once, we’ve recruited a few as “beta testers” and allow them to play our games before we deliver them to our customers. On a couple occasions, they’ve actually found some flaws that needed adjusting before our games went out.

Michael Wiseman wrote a great article highlighting Leftwich’s efforts to share his collection and posted an interview with him on YouTube. In the article he delves a little deeper into why Leftwich choose to start a private arcade that he’s affectionately dubbed Wieners and Losers,

“the goal of Leftwich’s greatest missionary endeavor at Wieners and Losers. He knows you can play any arcade game you want on a smartphone, computer, or home gaming system, and many times for free. But those are like Frankenstein’s monster – all the nuts and bolts, and none of the heart. So by opening the doors to his private collection, Leftwich hopes to raise money to restore more machines. He’s offering hot dogs and jukebox full of decade-perfect hits.

Most importantly, Leftwich is giving visitors an experience they can’t find anywhere else. A look back at youthful summers, or endless weekends with quarters and friends. He’s bringing back a cultural experience long since forgotten. And he couldn’t happier to spread the good word.”

What I found most interesting about the article was the fact that Leftwich considers Warp Warp to be be one of his crown jewels. We have a Warp Warp in our collection and while it doesn’t get a lot of play, we feel the same way. There’s something really nice about being able to save a game that is uncommon for future generations to be able to play.

Pinball World Championship Hits Pittsburg This Weekend

Adams Family Pin

Calling all Pinball wizards. Think you have what it takes to go pro? If so you can win $10,000 this weekend at the 17th annual Pinball World Championships in Pittsburg PA. With a total prize package of over $45,000 available, you can still win big even if you don’t take first place. If the thought of competing is too much for you, simply stop by and you can play any of the 400 machines that will be there. Registration for the competition runs $5, but watching the event is free.

The doors open at 11am on Thursday August 14th, 2014 and the show runs until the award ceremony on Sunday at 5:30. Should be a fun event for all. Rumor has it that they’re going to be hosting a charity tournament to help bring a Wizard of Oz Pinball to the local Children’s Hospital. You can learn more about the event on the Professional Amateur Pinball Association’s website