Cube Collecting

My cube collection is small as you can see but I am always on the hunt for new cubes. So far the V-Cubes are the best. The 2x2x2, 3x3x3, and 4x4x4 all work very well. The 5x5x5 and 6x6x6 and 7x7x7 are a little stiff but a little graphite will help that out. The cubes from Rubik’s are actually not very good.

20160612_180737

 

 

Destiny

About a year ago I bought Destiny, a science fiction first-person shooter that also incorporates a lot of things from massive multiplayer online games and  RPGs (Role Playing Game). There are 4 alien races you are fighting against that are fighting each other with a 5th new race taken from them all and under the power of a guy named Oryx.  It is an ever increasing Universe with a ten year roadmap.

When I first got it I gave it up because it just dropped you in an area and you have no idea what was going on. It had no story really and that is boring to me. Bungie did not do a god job of explaining anything. One of the basic rules of game creation is that you teach the user through early gameplay the rules and mechanics of the game. I know how to play a FPS but what about someone that had never played one. They would be totally lost. It was just boring and so I said whatever and moved on. This was later rectified through expansion packs.

A few months ago I was wanting to play a game with my son that we both liked. He was asking to play Battlefield 4 but he is six and shooting other humans is not what I want him doing at this point. I thought about it and since there is no shooting of humans and no blood in Destiny then he could play a little. Also, I bought it through the Playstation store so I couldn’t trade it in. I was stuck with it so I had nothing to lose by trying again. This quickly lead to he and I spending much more time together because it is something we both have fun doing. He is very competitive and so am I, so it has made for some very interesting conversation.

Later I wanted to join a clan so I could get through the rougher parts of the game but so many of them are basically just elitist assholes that think their shit don’t stink, but if assholes stink and they’re an asshole then that means their shit stinks. I also don’t like using a microphone. It’s just not my thing, maybe because I’m old school. Anyways I found a clan called The Silent Light and it’s for people that are deaf and anyone that doesn’t want to use a mic. I think the industry doesn’t take into account those that can’t hear so this is a great thing for deaf people. It’s a great clan for those with social anxiety also.

It takes much more co-operation to make a plan and execute it without talking. We plan out the raid and use signals during the game to get the job done. This clan has completed everything on hard so it can be done. We use a Skype chatroom to talk in between runs and to bs when we are just playing or doing whatever and it’s a lot of fun. So if you have hearing impairment, anxiety, or just don’t like listening to internet assholes then join us on our crusade to destroy Oryx and his Mama.

The Silent Light Clan

My Bungie Profile

Battery

metallica-masterofpuppets-linernotes-detailI remember the day that I bought the album Master of Puppets. I really had not heard anything from Metallica except for when I was riding around in Glen Havard’s car after school. The song I remember then was Fade to Black but I didn’t quite get it at that time but Master of Puppets was different. The back cover of the album had four guys that looked like me and my friends. There was no leather or glam in that picture. It just said fuck you, we are who we are. The fisheye picture wasn’t of the band so much as it was of the crowd. Looking out from the stage you see a huge crowd. Now mind you I really had no idea what I was buying. I was still in that stage where you are swayed by packaging and what’s cool at the time. I was a kid you know and I had not found that sound that would define my youth but it was coming very soon.

When I returned home I pulled out the record and it went straight on the turntable. I had just started playing guitar about a year before so I really wanted to hear the guitars. I stood there and waited and then the intro to Battery started. It’s a Spanish flavored guitar playing the main theme to come. Then the boom of guitars and drums playing the same them as the intro. Booming very loud and slow. An introduction for what is to come. A signal that what you are about to hear is going to slay you. Then there are the chords E5, B5, G5m and B/D# and then just one guitar. The most incredible riff I had ever heard.  I was completely baffled and dumbfounded. Were they really playing that fast? Was it possible? The soundtrack of my youth had just begun. I read the words and I knew I had found something for me. It was like poetry to me the way the Hetfield’s lyrics were written. I listened to that song over and over that day knowing that I had made a connection to something more than just the average rock song.

Music is so deeply ingrained in my brain that I hear it constantly. I can’t sleep sometimes because of this and I am often awed at being able to hear songs from somewhere inside my mind. There are so many riffs from songs yet to be. My life has been shaped so deeply by music and that one event set me on a course that led me on a wonderful musical journey with friends and has allowed me to connect music to other events and made my life that much richer.

All because of Battery.

From the inside cover. Who would have thought these guys would become the biggest band in the world?

back-cover-photo

 

Ms. Pac-Man

This Ms. Pac-Man works and it will need to be repainted. Needs a little work around the edges but the woodworking is manageable. It has a speedup chip but the sound drops a few minutes after play is started. Other than that it plays fine.

I already have the new bezel, marquee, and CPO from Phoenix Arcade. They look really nice. Good job by Phoenix as always.

Tasks:
Minor Woodworking
Total Repaint
Sound Drops
Marquee Replacement
Bezel Replacement
CPO Replacement

Texas Pinball Festival 2014 Review

The Texas Pinball festival is a yearly event held in Dallas. It feature hundreds of Pinball machines and quite a few arcade games.

This year the event was held in Frisco Texas next to the Embassy Suites hotel and the location was perfect because it’s close to our home. We stayed at the hotel on Saturday just do something different and because I wanted to be able to go relax and so forth when I was tired of standing around. This should be the permanent location and from what I understand it will be there next year. No problem here in any way for me.

Price – You need to putchase the pass ahead of time to save money or bring a game and get in free. There was a mixup on the age for children under 5 and mine is 4 so I paid and later one of the organizers offered to refund my money for my child. It was cool of him because there was no hassle. Everyone knows each other or knows of each other in the community so people are pretty accessible.

Games – Well there were plenty of games for sure and nearly all of them were in working condition. It seemed that on Friday any games that were down were quickly fixed. Most of the games are on loan and you get to play damn near everything. I have no complaints on the amount of games. I got to play Wizard of Oz and that made me happy. The arcade selection was pretty decent. I think that arcades are an afterthought in Dallas but it is a pinball festival. There were some really beautiful games. Mr. Moore’s Stargazer was a beautiful restore. What can I say? The man has mad skillz. I can’t say enough about that machine. The new Star Trek pin was there. Heh bleh? Another Stern machine. I can’t get over the fact that the Enterprise is not the centerpiece. Yes I know it’s following the movie but I don’t care. I still don’t like it. There were several classic arcades missing so maybe next year we can round them up. I didn’t see a Warlords but I might have missed it. If you have one BRING IT!!! I won’t bother with the Tempest, there are always a few. Plus Mr. Danis has like a thousand of them.

Food – Was not very good but that’s from the hotel. Not the organizers fault. There were some food trucks so it wasn’t all bad. This is probably restricted somehow by the convention center. I doubt they are gonna let you set up a barbecue pit in there. Although that would be really bad ass! They need more tables for sure. Would be nice to have some chairs throughout the floor.

Layout – Okay I really put some thought into this and I personally didn’t really get into the way it was laid out. It wasn’t confusing so much as it was confining. There are so many interesting ways to lay out the pins. A circle in the middle with detached rows leading out. All kind of things. The arcades are not really organized that I can tell. They need someone to help with that because it depends on who is doing the layout. If they only know Pinball then they wouldn’t know how to group the arcades. I also do not like the tournament up front. When people walk in they should be amazed at what they see not just chairs and a tournament. You want to blow them away with some really great stuff up front. It will probably stay this way forever but it’s just a thought. I would put the tournament off to the side or in the center at the back. Not because it is less important but because again you want people to come in and flow throughout the building. The tournament is second to the festival. Sorry if I hurt anyone’s feelings but do you really care where it is? Overall it can be improved but it wasn’t terrible or anything at all. Just needs some tweaking.

Entertainment  – They need some music. I guarantee that more people will want music than not. There is the excuse that people want to hear the games. That is so retarded. It is so loud in there you can’t hear one machine that well. I’m a musician. I can pick out all kinds of things and isolate them and I have a hard time in there hearing what is coming out of the game. It’s a festival. Festivals have music.

The Staff – I might be biased but from just watching them I think they really did work hard to make it a good show. They were excited and got things done. A lot of them are volunteers and gave a lot of time so if you know any of them give them a pat on the back and tell them to get ready for next year.

 

 

Robotron 2084

20150414_111853-e1432058107611This machine is in really good condition. A few of the sounds (between stages) are missing and it resets randomly but they aren’t exactly known for stability. I got lucky with this machine in that they are really popular and when one comes up for sale it is usually gone pretty quickly. A guy contacted me through VAPS because I listed it as a machine I wanted to buy. I should have bought a lottery ticket when I posted that day.

Tasks:
Minor Woodworking
Total Repaint
Sound Drops

No Bullshit Guide to Robotron

K’Nex Project

I am not really into Legos and never have been. I’m sure you can make some really neat things with them but my mind doesn’t care for them. I bought my kid some K’Nex and we started building things with them and I really liked them. In fact I liked them so much so that our collection of coasters and ball machines is growing rather rapidly. I am starting this post to document what we are doing which is not much of anything right now. So in light of that here are some links to some really incredible ball machines.

 

Metropolis – This is a beautiful machine.

 Tartarus – A year and a half.

K’nuter – Yeah a computer with no electronic parts.

 

MAME and Raspberry Pi Project

I finally got around to replacing my MAME machine with a Raspberry Pi. It’s almost done so I can finally finish this damn post. I got sidetracked by an injury but I’m feeling much better.

This is a really a cool project because I wanted to get the computer out of my Donkey Kong and I wanted to see just how ridiculous it would be to put the biggest monitor possible in a Nintendo cabinet which happens to be a 32″ lcd. Yes I know it’s crazy but Pac-Man is so bad ass when it’s big like that. As long as the scanline effect is on it looks good and it’s a lot of fun.

I am documenting this of course and here are the steps I took to get this working. There are a lot of guides out there on how to do this but this is NOT a full blown guide and it is not complete!!! You can message me if you get stuck but I just had to dig around the Internet. I probably won’t remember the answer anyways. That’s why I have Evernote.

This assumes you have some knowledge of Mame and Linux.For now we can start with how I setup the Pi. I tried PiPlay because it’s an all in one and I tried NOOBS but didn’t like them.  I also tried Retropie  (yes it should have e on pi because that is how it is named) but it was too complicated and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time doing this project. I finally settled on installing the Raspbian OS by itself and using Mame4all-PI. The menu is not as pretty but it works really well for me and it was the easiest solution if you ask me.

PI SETUP

This is pretty basic stuff so I will just make it quick. Format the SD card with the options Quick Format and Size Adjustment On. After that use Windisk Imager and image the SD card with the Raspbian image. Now put the SD card in your Pi and turn it on. You are now installing Raspian.

During the install you will come to a config page. Choose Expand Filesystem  and Enable Advanced Options / SSH.

FTP SERVER SETUP

This one is really easy. I had issues with FTP and this server was super easy. Log into your Pi’s terminal and start typing

  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get install proftpd
  • Choose Standalone during install

Now that you have it you can type

  •  sudo service proftpd status
  • You should see ProFTPD is started in standalone mode, currently running.
  • ps -aux | grep proftpd (To check and make sure it’s working, like for sure.)
  • chkconfig proftpd on (In Case it doesn’t start)
  • ftp 192.168.0.191 (Ip address of your IP)
  • sudo service proftpd restart (Restart the service)
  • Get you some Filezilla because it’s cool.

Here is the link that goes into further detail.
http://pibeginners.com/ftp-server/

MAME SETUP

Finally Mame! Download Mame4all-pi.

sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/bin/indiecity/InstalledApps/mame4all_pi/Full
FTP the zip file to the directory you just made
sudo mv mame4all_pi.zip /usr/local/bin/indiecity/InstalledApps/mame4all_pi/Full
cd /usr/local/bin/indiecity/InstalledApps/mame4all_pi/Full
sudo unzip mame4all_pi.zip
sudo ./install.sh

ROMS

Mame4all-pi uses MAME 0.37b5 ROMS. Most of mine work and they are a more current set but these will work best. Where do you get them? Well I am not going to post a link but it doens’t take much effort to find places like retroroms. By the way if you are playing games older than the classics like Ms. Pac-Man you may need to overclock your pi. There are instructions on the Mame4all-pi page.

When you get some roms just put them in this folder

/usr/local/bin/indiecity/InstalledApps/mame4all_pi/Full/roms

Now go to the folder

/usr/local/bin/indiecity/InstalledApps/mame4all_pi/Full 

and type:

 ./mame

I will add video and controls soon.

Theatre of Magic

I finally got my first pin and so far I have been very happy with it. Theatre of Magic is a really fun game and I still enjoy playing it. The theme is fun and the average person can get it because it’s just abut a magic show. Originally it was to be a David Copperfield pin but thankfully that fell through. My kid is getting good at making shots and controlling the ball. I was surprised at how fast he is learning things because at first they just hit the flippers like crazy. Then again he always surprises me with something new everyday.

So what will this project entail? Probably wasting a bunch of money that I will never get back if I sell it. But I don’t care about selling or trading anything that I have. I would like to add the motorized saw mod and the hat with rotating playing card mods (changed to the Ace of Spades and the other side the Queen of Hearts.) I think it needs mirrored sides on both sides of the playfield and a Color DMD. After that it’s playfield stuff like cleaning and waxing it and all that fun stuff. I will also change the led colors. There is nothing wrong with them now, I just have an idea of how I want it to be. I don’t like the gold theme and will try black mirrored blades and black siderails and lockdownbar. I want it to have a dark feel like you are in a theatre with the lights down.

Flashers are not working but I was able to figure it out from the schematics. I verified this with Talon2000 (KLOV) so I have a pretty good understanding of what is going on and how it works. It looks like it is a capacitor or a bridge rectifier. I just need to troubleshoot it more. Here is a really detailed guide on Williams pinball machines.

http://techniek.flipperwinkel.nl/wpc/index2.htm

Tasks:
Troubleshoot Flashers

Dig Dug

Everything works on this machine so it’s fully playable. The wear is average for this game but it will need the marquee, bexel, and cpo replaced. I won’t be spraying this one since the sideart is printed. I got this from bagheera369 on KLOV and the monitor was capped by KrisK. I really like Dig Dug. It’s a fun game and has some of the more memorable music from the classic era. I will be happy to have this one restored.

Tasks:
Minor Woodworking
Replace Top Wood Panel
Marquee Replacement
Bezel Replacement
CPO Replacement
Repaint
T-Molding Replacement
Check Audio Hum

Defender

This thing is a real mess. It needs a lot and I mean a lot of work. I have contemplated letting it go but this is a real challenge and I will learn a lot from this machine. I was never a huge Defender fan so if I can get it up and running I will probably sell it off to a Defender arcade newbie. It only costs me $150 so if I sell it I will sell it cheap. This is not a business for me. I do it because I love the games.

Tasks:
Major Woodworking
Replace Base
Total Repaint
Marquee Replacement
Bezel Replacement
CPO Replacement

Troubleshoot PCB
Troubleshoot CRT

Cubism

I am obsessed with Rubik’s cube and this obsession is deeply rooted in my childhood. I think it comes from a specific moment when I was watching my older cousin solve the cube. The solving of the cube mesmerized me. It was like magic.

He was older than me and I had no older siblings so I was in awe of his mastery and seemingly effortless skill in solving the puzzle. After he passed away several years ago I decided to learn how to solve the cube. Thanks Keith!

The cube is a seemingly simple puzzle but what you have to realize is that very few people actually solve the cube. Most people learn the algorithms needed to finish the cube but have not actually figured it out. It still take a lot of time to memorize the algorithm, it took me two weeks. Actually solving the cube took Rubik over a month and he thought it might be impossible to solve at first. To those few that figure it out with no help at all, you have my sincere respect and admiration.

As you are learning these algorithms you start to see how things move on the cube. At first you know that if you twist the right turns you will get the cubes where you want and it’s all like magic but after a while you can start to find different ways to do it and see how things are moving around. I have to warn you that it’s like anything else. Once you know how it works you can never turn back, the mystery is gone. So you have been warned.

If that is okay with you here is the easiest solution I know of. This is a layer by layer method in which you do not need to know any cube notation. The very last step of the puzzle I use a different method because it was more straight forward. Takes me about 2 to 3 minutes to finish it and that’s pretty slow these days.

Cube Solution

Easier Finishing Move

The Pinball Comeback Fantasy

There is a lot of talk about Pinball making a comeback. It seems everywhere people are playing pinball right? Many people wish to see their choice of gaming come back and kick those video games in the ass. Because after all, pinball is more real right? Wrong. There is a surge in interest not a comeback. They are two very different things.

I walked around Texas Pinball Festival looking for games to play and see a lot of young people but not a huge amount. It’s a collectors hobby which is fine by me. I prefer that not every douche in town own one and the price be driven through the roof.  I mean it is a little ridiculous that Medieval Madness is $15,000. Don’t worry though the bubble will burst, it always has and it always will. Pinball may gain some popularity but it’s day is over and will stay as a collector hobby just  as arcade machines. Sure it will surge and wane but that happens with anything.

So why can’t there be a huge comeback? Well pinball machines don’t fit into our society. In 2012 there 190 million next-gen consoles in homes and the new consoles are geared around social media which further entrenches video games into the lives of all the younger generations. More and more games are downloaded and eventually Gamestop will be out of the “fucking you out of money” business. There is no way pinball can compete with 190 million consoles. Sure they are selling more but that does not mean it will explode into popular culture again. 70% of Stern’s machine go to hobbyist and collectors. Not many average users. The games are just too expensive. A new Stern game will run you $5000 dollars. Think about that. One single game is $5000. With the youth of today so used to throw away culture they would be bored in three days.

My question is this. Why do you want a comeback? You’re best kept secret will be out and then every Tom, Dick, and Harry will be a pinball wizard. The pinball community has its own world that is already alive and breathing. Like the arcade world it is full of all kinds of colorful characters. Do you really want your hobby commercialized and have people that have no interest trying to make money off of it? I sure hope not because I don’t.

Sinistar

20140331_081630This Sinistar that has definitely seen better days. The boards, power supply, controls, marquee, bezel and CRT are in good shape. The cabinet however looks like Sinistar himself threw it up. No worries though, this is the kind of shit I like to mess with. Seeing that this has some kind of veener on the sides and the front is MDF which has a little bit of water damage it’s going to be a lot of fun.

This project affords me the opportunity to do my first stencil creation and paint spraying. I was also thinking about how awesome Sinistar would be if it had some red hellish glow so I have some ideas for LEDS so I might try something out. I am taking out the flourescent bulb. I don’t care if it’s original I will use LEDS in the marquee.

Some Sinistar Info

Video Games vs. Pinball

The number one thing I hear about Pinball that drives me nuts is that it’s better because it’s real. Technically they are both real. One uses a ball and the other uses electrons. I think that maybe they mean it is more of a physical game.

How is it any more physical? Well in pinball you can bump the machine to manipulate the ball. It is accepted in the rules that you can nudge the machine but Pinball machines were designed so that you wouldn’t bump the machine. If you were not able to nudge the machine you most likely will lose your ball long before you are too exhausted to play. You do not have a way to defend against a ball from all possible direction. If it comes straight down the middle and you can’t nudge the machine you are screwed. Don’t get me wrong I nudge the machine myself but I still think it’s manipulating the game.

An arcade game almost on the other hand always has a way to defend against the enemy. Either the difficulty increases or you collapse and die from exhaustion. I can’t do anything to change the game from how it is programmed. Unlike Pinball there are very few things that you can’t defend against.

Pinball playfields are all very similar and if you can play one you can play most of the others. They all have their quirks but essentially it’s the same. Video games come in all kinds of different configurations. First person, third person, racing, shooting, puzzles and so on. To be good at a lot of video games takes a lot more work.

Pinball is a combination of luck and skill while arcade games are more skill than luck. I don’t dislike Pinball machines at all. I think they are awesome it’s just that when I hear people say they are better than video games I think they haven’t really thought it through. It’s obvious that video games are superior.

DK PCB From Hell

I am thoroughly convinced that my Donkey Kong PCB is the Devil. When I got it, it worked fine for a few months and then the sprites went missing. Sprites are the moving graphics, you know the barrels coming at you, Jumpman running. I really wanted to get it fixed so I sent it off to onecircuit.com. This is a guy named Adam that I met on the KLOV forums. His work is very professional and I like that he makes videos of the repairs. I got it back and it worked fine but it started having sound issues so Adam is looking at it free of charge. I highly recommend his work. Board came back and it is fixed.

I think I know what caused this problem. While Installing the High Score Save kit from Braze Technologies I pushed too hard on the PCB. It’s a a good kit, the only thing is that the pins are very very tight when you put it in. Mine was incredibly difficult to get installed. Pressing on the PCB probably made it bend and on a thirty year old board everything is ready to break. So when I got it back I re-installed it but this time I slightly bent the pins inward. I mean slightly as in almost imperceptible, and it went right in without a problem.

Dig Dug / Galaga Missing ROM Issue Fix

I had a really hard time geting the Dig Dug and Galaga roms to work in MAME and when I searched the Internet I couldn’t find anything. The response I saw over and over was that the roms must not match the MAME version I was using but I had tried several and still nothing Then I stumbled onto the answer and it’s pretty simple, I was missing some other ROMS. The ones I was missing were the following:

namco50.zip
namco51.zip
namco52.zip
namco53.zip
namco54.zip
namco62.zip
 I just grabbed all the Namco ROMS and wasn’t sure which one was the problem but it works so I can’t complain. I found this problem with clrmamepro when I used it to verify my roms. I then went to retroroms and grabbed the Namco ROMS and the problem was solved. It is well worth it to learn to use clrmamepro even if it is really confusing. So there you go, if you get the error that you are missing ROMS or CHD then you probably need the namco5x.zip roms. Happy Dig Dugging!!!
Update: I was informed in the comments below that you only need Namco51 and Namco53. I haven’t tried just using those but it’s probably correct. If not then throw the rest in there.

Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong was our first restoration. Now before I go on I want to clarify that by restoration I mean getting it back to looking good. I am not trying to make it perfect as if it just rolled off the assembly line. It would take an incredible amount of detail work. You just can’t fix every little nook and cranny and you cannot get an exact paint match because they are not painted. They are covered with a laminate. The most common color is a light blue but the first Donkey Kong cabinets were red so that’s what we went with. It’s a long story but they were originally put into a game called Radarscope. Just Google that and you can get the details.

RESTORATION STEPS
1. Discharged and removed the monitor – I’m sure you have heard that you can get popped really good or even killed when discharging a CRT. This is true so I would do this first. You can do the following and I do not take any responsibility for anything that may happen to you or your machine. This is just what we did. Go to Bob Robert’s page and follow the instructions for making a tool. It is very simple. Get a 12 inch screwdriver with plastic handle, then solder an 18 gauge wire onto it like shown on Bob Robert’s page and then put a clamp on the end of the wire. I used an alligator clip. I recommend you watch a few videos on Youtube to see how it’s done. Once you have discharged the monitor you can take it out. After removing the monitor we removed everything inside and labeled all the connections. I know you think you can remember them all but you probably won’t.
2. Removed Hardware and Components
  • Upper Marquee Bar
  • Marquee
  • Lower Marquee Bar
  • Bezel
  • Control Panel
  • Speaker
  • Coin Door
  • T-Molding
  • PCB
  • Power Supply
  • Wiring Harness
3. Added Casters / Painted the Base – Many cabinets have wheels on the back so you can tip them back like they are on a dolly. They are good for moving around a larger area but in smaller areas you have to walk the cabinet and it jacks up the base and the floor. We wanted to add casters and so we added some 3 inch casters and it is so much easier to move. The cabinet is slightly higher but that works for me. A lot of these cabinets are particle board so you may want to cut a piece of wood that sits inside the base. That particle board is crap and will easily break when you tighten the bolts. I drilled a 5/8 inch hole and put a 5/8 x 2 1/2 bolt through the top with a fender washer (just a big washer with 5/8 inch hole) and on the bottom I used a lock washer and bolt. I painted the underside first because I was already working on that part. We used Rustoleum Black Semi Gloss and a small roller and brush. Two coats worked well.
4. Fixed Wood and Sanded – I left out something when I wrote this so let me correct it. Before I use wood filler I rough up the wood with some 60 grit. Just enough to take the sheen off. Then I use the Bondo and the reason is so that the Bondo will adhere to the surface better. Speaking of that everyone has an opinion on it’s how to repair wood and fill holes. Some people say to use wood filler and others say to use Bondo. We tried the wood filler and it works for small stuff but the truth is that Bondo worked much better. I have one place on my Donkey Kong Junior cabinet on the back where it looks like a beaver had a snack and I was able to create the missing area fairly easy and sand it down into the correct shape. This takes around three minutes because Bondo will harden in around three minutes. I mean seriously it will harden and you won’t be able to change the form. Here is a link to a guy using the wood filler version to recreate a missing piece of board. He is using Bondo wood filler but you can do the same thing with Bondo Autobody filler. I could not find the wood filler version anywhere but Lowes and Home Depot had the Autobody version. Go figure. Dover Products.
For sanding we used 60 grit on some of the surface but 150 grit should suffice to rough it up for primer and you won’t sand down through the laminate. That is a real bitch to fix. We use a Dewalt Palm Sander and Diablo sandpaper. I think that the Diablo brand of sandpaper is really good. It just eats the paint right up.
I have read on several forums where people have gone through a DeWalt palm sander doing one cabinet and that they are no good. That my friend is a load off dook. Just don’t run it for 30 mintues straight and don’t force down really hard. Let the paper do the work and take your time. After you eat some of that blue pixie dust you will want to get out anyways. (Wear a mask and glasses.) Lastly, don’t wet sand with an electric sander. Do I really need to explain why?
5. Tape and Paint – Black or color first? Doesn’t matter. What does matter is your amount of patience. Patience correlates to the amount of shittiness you will get when you are done. In other words you must let it dry and you can wet sand in between every coat with 400 grit. If you are patient and do this it will look fantastic. Like brand new. If you don’t then it will look like crap and it will be thick and pasty. Take your time, trust me. You can use the paint with the primer in it but it’s not like just getting a gallon of primer. Primer is you friend.
We used Valspar from Lowes and the Donkey Kong red we used is “Radiant Red.”
So the steps were:
  • Fill all the holes and fix wood areas with Bondo Wood Filler
  • Sand all the wood filler and any other spots with 60 or 150 grit sand paper
  • Roll on the primer
  • Sand with 220 lightly
  • Roll on the primer
  • Sand with 220 lightly
  • Roll on paint
  • Wet sand with 400 lightly (remove bumps and imperfections)
  • Roll on paint
  • Wet sand with 400 lightly (remove bumps and imperfections)
  • Roll on paint
  • Wet sand with 400 lightly (remove bumps and imperfections)
  • Roll on paint
  • Touch up
Primer: Behr Oil Based Primer
Paint Color: Valspar Premium Semi Gloss / Radiant Red
Black Paint: Rustoleum Semi Gloss Quart
Flat Black / Gloss Black / Rustoleum Metallic Spray Paint
6. Re-Assembly – Pretty much what it says. We put it together. One thing to remember is when you put the monitor back in and plug the annode cap back on the crt you can get zapped so next time I will do the discharge procedure again. There is probably more that I forgot but it’s pretty easy when you get going.
Now it’s on like Donkey Kong.

MAME Project

Setting up MAME can be hell if you are a newbie. You can get the basics going but after that it’s onto multiple sites and multiple forums and so on. So I wrote down what I did to make it a little easier. To start off there are a few questions you have to ask yourself. Are you doing this for fun or are you going for a record and want it verified by Twin Galaxies? Do you want to have high scores saved? How authentic of an experience do you want?

HIGH SCORES

MAME does not record high scores. They say it does for about 2500 games but apparently I don’t have any of those games which are mostly classic games like Tempest, Donkey Kong, etc. So to get high scores you can need a file called highscore.dat and you need to compile it OR you can go get one already compiled for version 143 which plays pretty much all my games.
  1. Go to the MAME site and look under previous releases. Download release 143 and unzip it wherever you like. Currently the highest release is 146 but you won’t notice the difference.Official MAME 143b
  2. Now we need a high score dat file and a version of the MAME executable that has been compiled for this. So go here and in the downloads section you want to download the highscore dat and the version 143 mame executable. Yes I know we already downloaded MAME but hang on I will explain.High Score DAT and High Score MAME Executable
  3. Ok here are the steps
  • Create a folder where ever you like. Mame runs from that. There is no installer.
  • Unzip the official Mame143b into that folder.
  • Bring up the command prompt and go to that folder.
  • Type “mame -cc” without quotations. This will make the MAME config file.
  • If there is no folder call “hi” then create it.
  • Unzip the highscore.dat zip file into your MAME folder
  • Unzip mame.zip into your MAME folder and it will overwrite the one in there.
  • Go get some ROMS and put them in the “roms” folder
  • Go into the command prompt and to the folder you put mame in
  • type “mame -createconfig” so it will make an ini file
  • Once you have ROMS (see below) you go to the mame directory and type “mame”
  • Now you have Mame with highscore. Open up Ms Pacman and when you close and re-open the score is still there.

ROMS

The 64,000 dollar question. Search for the site RetroRoms (I’m not linking to it). You have to register to make a username. Then for some reason you have to log in on the left and click downloads and login again. After that drill down to /downloads/mame/currentroms.  See that was pretty easy eh? This is better than downloading a huge torrent file with thousands of roms when you will probably just play a few. Put these in your ROMS folder and double-click MAME. It has a built in front end. Clunky but works.If you see multiple version of a rom like tempest1 tempest2 and so on just grab them all. Sometimes you need all of them to make a game work. I am not an expert on this but that usually works for me.

Bezels, Marquees, Etc.

Mr Do’s Arcade– Go here to get your files. Put the files in the artwork folder. Each zip file needs a folder. For example. The contents of mspacman.zip go in a folder called mspacman and that goes in the artwork folder. Should work automatically. To turn it off start the game and hit Tab for the video options for that particular game and turn off the bezel option.

Effects For Authenticity?

Overlays Here – If you have an LCD you probably realize something doesn’t look right. Of course some people will say that you must have a real arcade monitor but that is not always feasible. I have heard a lot of bad stuff about LCDs. The game doesn’t look right, the game colors, the game resolution. Blah blah blah. I have even heard that if you use an LCD it’s because you don’t have the money for the real thing. Hahhahah. So retarded. A real arcade monitor is the shit but they are heavy and will need work sooner or later. If you got the skillz then good for you but if you want a pain free experience then go with an LCD. Personally I can just go get a new LCD for much less and it’s not because I am poor. The exception to this line of thinking is that I would not advocate an LCD for a real arcade machine. My Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior both have a Sanyo EZ -20 but for a MAME machine it’s a bit overkill if you ask. MAME has a way to help you get a more authentic look. You can simply overlay the lines and create a very nice look.I have attached a file and I got it from here. You can get different effects and even use different ones on different games. So take the attached file and put it in the artwork directory. Go into your MAME folder and open mame.ini with a notepad editor. If you don’t have a mame.ini file then you skipped the part above that says to go to a command prompt and find your way to the mame directory then type “mame -cc. Now you have been told twice. Find the “effect” line and change it so that it matches the name of the overlay file you want to use. In this case the file named scanrez2.
## CORE SCREEN OPTIONS#brightness 1.0contrast 1.0gamma 1.0pause_brightness 0.65 effect scanrez2
Now you have a cool looking screen but your vector games look like shit. So using Tempest as an example you just make a file called tempest.ini and put “effect none” inside and put it in the main MAME folder. It will override the mame ini settings.

MAME FOR COMPETITION

To compete for world records you need wolfmame106. It is also called wolfmamepro106 but they are the same. Search for it via Google. This is currently the version that Twin Galaxies requires but you should always keep up with their rule changes. Yes, the ones not posted on their site that you have to go into a forum to ask about and get ten different answers. The ones that half the time make no sense. Yeah those rules.

Donkey Kong 3

Outside the arcade world you probably don’t remember Donkey Kong 3. This game really gets no love but there are a few people out there that appreciate just how much fun this game is.

I picked up this board from Komodo over at KLOV one lovely Saturday afternoon. As luck would have it I had just missed out on a full Donkey Kong 3 cabinet he had, I would love to have all three but it was not to be so I bought a board he had for my Donkey Kong cabinet.

There is one little problem with using it in my Donkey Kong. The DK3 PCB only uses an edge connector unlike DK and DKJr that have the plugs on the board. Ah so what to do? Got an adapter from Arcadeshop and it didn’t work. I guess I could have returned it but it’s not worth the time and effort so I will keep it and fix it when I have time. This leaves two options. Find a used harness or one of the Super Harness’ made by Dokert on KLOV.  There is another problem with that. He doesn’t make them all the time because he has other projects and a life I imagine. So I was at an impasse and the Arcade Gods decided to show me some favor and low and behold someone on KLOV was selling an unused Super Harness. Bam! Now that puppy is running in my Donkey Kong.

There wasn’t much to this project even though I try to only list projects I have going on in my life on here but we can just consider this little adventure an easy project. Maybe one day I will go ahead and get a cabinet but for now I am fine with it as it is. Now I just need a high score save kit.

MAME Control Panel

I believe that you should do whatever you want with your arcade cabinets and that people should respect your decisions. They may not agree with them but respect them at least. I understand people becoming upset if you are trashing everything inside of the cabinet, especially if the game is rare or hard to find, but a Donkey Kong? Let’s be real here, there are a hundred thousand of these. You can make your own for a fraction of the price, just be smart about it and use a common cabinet. Keep all the original parts so you can convert it back. A lot of times you don’t even need to change the control panel if you plan it right.

When I bought my Donkey Kong Jr cabinet it was in pretty bad shape. It looked like a beaver had eaten the back corners halfway up the cabinet, I mean it was truly a sad little thing. Actually it wasn’t even a DK Jr. It was a Donkey Kong that someone had put DK Jr hardware in. We painted it blue and the DK Jr art matches much better. It worked for a while and then the PCB went south and the monitor probably needs some work too so we removed the PCB, monitor, and power supply and put them aside for the future use. I am going to learn how to do a cap kit and troubleshoot the PCB when I have time. I am learning steadily and can at least take a stab at getting it running. The only thing I did not save was the control panel overlay because it was in really crappy shape with a crack in it.
Everyone has an opinion on control panels when it comes to MAME and I have been on both sides of the debate. I had lots of buttons and a spinner on the control panel at first. Once I got a Tempest there was no reason for the spinner and I realized that I only really play a few so we decided to fix the control panel up and make it look original. We got a new overlay from Mike at www.mikesarcade.com and I admit that it looks much much better now.
When you create a Mame machine one of the most important decision you will make is the control panel. I have seen some extremely hideous layouts. Huge hulking control panels that look like airplane wings. Ask yourself if you are really going to play a huge assortment of games. Do you really need a four player setup? You can play a large amount of classic games with a Pac-Man control panel.

Tempest

Tempest is the greatest video game ever created and I finally got one. The PCB is in nice shape. The interconnect between the two boards was fixed by a KLOV member named Talon2000 and it has worked flawlessly ever since. The cabinet is very clean with minor side art problems and there is no structural damage and the monitor just needed minor adjustments.The only thing we had to replace was the marquee because it was broke off in the corner but we will be replacing it again with the Phoenix Arcade version and the control panel overlay because although it’s okay, it is cracking and has a white mark I have never been able to remove. The edges we painted by hand and the front we painted black. The coin door was painted and the t-molding replaced. The coin door externally is fine but internally it was missing the coin mech for one side. Pretty much everything. I was able to get the parts from Kimodo (KLOV) and it looks freaking sweet now. I replaced the normally yellow ends on the wire with colored ones. Just to give it some color plus they actually help me to remember what is what.
I also replaced the serial number sticker because the one on mine was smeared. Another KLOVer (etienneodk) made re-productions. They are really awesome and dead on perfect. Someone else made reproduction spinner knobs. Thank God because someone was charging 50 fucking dollars for a NOS version. I got this game at the perfect time when everything was being reproduced. People have been waiting years for some of those parts.

If I could only have one game this would be it. I love this game more than any other game and that includes Mappy and Robotron.

Soon I will have some good photos of the difference in the Arcadeshop and Phoenix Arcade marquees and control panel overlays. I have no idea why they don’t have better photos on their site.

About

Husband • Father • Musician • Writer • Composer • Gamer • Arcadist • Cubist • Freelance Troublemaker

2012-09-17 17.30.09I haven’t posted in a long time because I’m so busy and I have to find something to say. Now that my boy is seven years old and we do more together and can chat and talk about things I think maybe I have some thoughts to pass on. My love of comic books returned when I re-bagged  mine and sharing them with my son has been a good thing. It’s a lot of fun and all of it will be his someday anyways. I have built up collections of so many things in my 45 years and still have fun finding new things. I was thinking that maybe I should share them with the world. So add this to my old About Me below because I am too lazy to rewrite all this at the moment.

My blog is about whatever project or projects I am working on at any one time, and some things I like and want to talk about. I decided if I was going to have a blog it should be something informational. I try to document my projects and I try to give details about the work but keep it at a level that the beginner can understand. We were all beginners at one time. By documenting my restore projects I might help someone else learn something new. I love to see new people and their excitement when they get their first arcade machine. If you have any questions just drop me a line.

stereodevil@outlook.com