Since I grew up in the late 1970s-1980s, I've long had a love of Coin Op Arcade games.
Mainly I've been into video games, but in the last 10 years or so I've also developed
a love of pinball as well. Now collecting arcade games is an expensive hobby, and
when you're on a budget sometimes you have to make due with what you can get your hands
In the last few years the field of Arcade Emulation has really exploded. With
some time and effort you can run real coin-op arcade games on your home PC, all without
inserting coins into the computer of course. ^_^
I'm interested in emulation and anything arcade specific you can put coins in.
Except for crane machines. I hate those dang things.
Below is a reasonably complete list of my current arcade collection and project games,
not including game PCBs.
This is a converted Killer Instinct cabinet to NFL Blitz.
I bought a working A51 boardset and graphics, and a set of guns off ebay and did the conversion myself.
Blitz is still playable with just a Jamma harness swap. it would be nice to pick up one of
Clay Cowgill's Multi-Jamma kits and make it easily swappable. The sides were painted black and
I hand cut some custom stencils.
This cabinet was a birthday gift for my wife, Sheila.
Added to Collection: 5/2005 Total Investment: Appx. $550.00
2 player dedicated sit down tank game.
I think I'm the only guy in America who played this game. Actually had a world record
on the Playstation version too! Right now it's sitting in the garage... what can I say,
It's HUGE and I have a small house. I actually bought all the parts for a full cabinet from
a guy in Florida, built a single player upright cabinet (ALL custom) and then bought a dedicated
2 player version later. The investment reflects both games worth of parts. Added to Collection: 2001 Total Investment: Appx. $850.00 ($250 for dedicated cabinet)
Dedicated 4 player game (Actually a Gauntlet 1 conversion to a Gauntlet 2)
with G1 and G2 boards. Complete side art on one side, partial art on the other side. Added to Collection: 1996 Total Investment: Appx. $400.00
Multi-Pac conversion. 24 Pac Man variant games running off one PCB.
Cabinet was a converted Rally X (converted to Merit Trivia Wiz... icky...) Still needs
monitor bezel, monitor cap kit and control panel graphics. Plays fine otherwise. Glad I
bought the kit when it was available as they're RARE to find now.
Currently Not working. Worked one day, the next... nothing. Well, it plays, but the
monitor is messed up badly. No idea on this one.
Update 5/5/2006: Picked up a "working" 13" monitor off eBay for $85 shipped. I actually hauled the game into the
shop in January or February and after swapping just about every part one can swap on the monitor, we
got it running, but they were never able to get the right hand curl out of the monitor. And the colors
don't stay correct. They monitor tube tests fine, but it's got to be a chassis issue. The game is cursed
or something. I need to make new monitor mount brackets and position the monitor in the correct position.
In it's current location you can't easily add or remove the metal bracket that keeps the bezel in place.
Bought replacement monitor. (5/2006)
Replaced entire monitor with ebay replacement. (2008)
Added to Collection: 2000 Total Investment: Appx. $530.00
Conversion cabinet I built from an already converted Zaxxon cabinet. 25" monitor, works great and is
a GREAT party game. I think it's a better game than Golden Tee golf, but I may be biased. Great 3D
graphics and 6 selectable characters to choose from.
Hard Drive died in this one. Need to get a replacement.
Added to Collection: 2001 Total Investment: Appx. $550.00
Dedicated. Monitor messed up. Just had it rebuilt
and it only displays a dot in the center of the screen. Supposedly I have a bad transister
someplace. Man I hate working on XY monitors. They look nice, but they're VERY unreliable. I'm
about two steps away from gutting it out and making a MAME cabinet out of it.
Anger + frustration = gutted arcade game. ^_^
Update 5/5/2006: Hauled this into the Shop before the Pac Man cab. One of our techs worked on it for me
and $100 in labor later, he got her working again! Yay!! Swapped out some parts that I thought were bad,
found a few MORE that I never suspected were bad, and added a heat sink fan blowing across the monitor to
keep the high failure parts cool. I'm very happy to have a working XY game again! Thanks Scott!!
Added to Collection: 1999 Monitor repairs: $100 SW/ESB kit: $200 Total Investment: Appx. $670.00
The closest I've been able to get to my #3 score is 5 points less than the listed score. Darn annoying, and it's
not even that good of a score to begin with. I wish the game saved more than just the top 3 scores...
Dedicated game, appx "B" condition. Color WG6100 XY Monitor dead. Low voltage section issues
I believe. Cabinet was kind of crappy condition when I got it. The lower back panel and wheels
were busted loose! I ended up re-screwing everything in place. It's pretty rock solid now.
Used a sheet of plywood to make a cheap back door. Game plays blind but has no display.
I plan on using my ZVG Vector board to make my Tempest into a Multi-Vector game cabinet.
Swapped out a fuse and 2 resistors on the low voltage section.
Cap kit & resistor replacement.
Swapped one chip on main PCB which fixed the high speed rotation of shooter.
Replaced Opto encoder on spinner.
Spent 2-3 hours adjusting the vector adjustments. Turns out theres no less than 8 different
adjustment pots on the main board. 3 adjust placement, 3 adjust screen/image size and the last two
adjust vector position. If these two pots are misadjusted, your onscreen graphics will look like garbage.
Minor tweaks got everything pretty close... or as close as you can adjust a 30 year old video game. ^_^
Added to Collection: 6/2010 Initial Investment: $250 Extra Control panel: $45 Repair fees: $200 Total Investment: Appx. $500.00
Dedicated Tron cab. Bought at auction for too much money.
Boards were bad, Brian swapped out a good video board he had and it came up!
No audio though so there may be a bad op-chip on the sound board.
I put it in test mode with the game running (found out later you're not supposed to do that)
and now it looks like it's stuck in test mode. Grrr...
I think the actual test switch is bad, so I'm going to try swapping that at some point.
Sent both MCR boards to a guy at the Arcade Controls/KLOV site. He fixed both boards and got them both working perfectly!
I stripped the cabinet down completely, sanded the crap out of it, bondoed any flaws in the
cabinet sides, sanded it some more... tried spray painting it but that sucked. Ended up using
a roller on the sides and it worked... okay. Need to sand and repaint it again... and I also need
to Bondo the T-moulding channels and recut the channel... which will suck, but it needs to be done or
the T-moulding won't hug into the cabinet.
Added to Collection: October 2010 Initial Investment: $430 new Blacklight bulb for panel: $20 Partial set of replacement plastics: $30 MCR Power supply adapter board and modern switching supply: $75 New cabinet side art: $100
I've actually started working on the VP cabinet. I've selected an art/theme for it already
And have started converting the original cabinet from a standard size to a Williams Widebody
style pinball. The cabinet will have in it...
46" LCD 1080P 120mhz monitor for the playfield.
32" LCD 720P monitor for the backglass.
17" generic monitor for the dot matrix score display.
The computer will have...
2 video cards, one 1Gig Nvidia card (for the playfield) and one 512MB Nvidia card for the
other two monitors.
Apppropriately sized hard Drive. 512Gig should be large enough.
The OLD Writeup...
Visual Pinball is a pretty darn good piece of software. The problem I have is that the program needs
a HUGE monitor to work well. And I'm not certain that it could even display on an arcade monitor at all.
So, what you'd need is something like a 25" PC monitor to get the most out of the program. I've already
figured out how to add flipper feedback to the cabinet, major hangups with this project are the high cost PC you'll need to run it well (figure at LEAST a
2 gig processor) and a HUGE monitor. Building the actual cabinet would be the cheap part. Figure upwards of $1K
to do this project. Well, at least you'd be able to play like 60 pinball machines... right?
*UPDATE 6/20/2005: Well, this project is TOTALLY do-able. The main hang up will be the large
playfield monitor. I've seen this running on a 25" standard res arcade monitor and it looks okay...
but not great. The best thing to do would be to get a large size LCD monitor, 19" or larger would be best.
Ideally I'd plan on running a dual monitor system. I'd use a smaller 13-15" LCD to display only the
dot matrix aspect of the game, and run the actual pinball table on the main screen. Cabinet graphics
are redily available these days so you could feasibly make a slightly smaller replica of a real
pinball machine. I saw a Pinmame pinball table at an auction recently. They used a dead old
pinball machine as the donor cabinet (I think it was an EM table, but don't quote me on that.
They used a 13-15" tube monitor which was WAY too small, but it did work. Flippers on the sides of the cab,
a 4 or 8 way joystick mounted in place of the ball launcher, and a set of buttons up front to add
coins and switch games. It worked, but was pretty ugly. But it was a good proof of concept. Definately
something to get a good idea about what does and does not work, both functionally and aesthetically.
Update: 9/22/2005 So far I've mocked up the front end of the cabinet and placed all the buttons,
plunger, etc. in place from parts I had on hand. Cost: $ Free.
I bought a metal pinball glass lockdown bar and an Ultimarc I-Pac2 interface board for the controls,
plus some wire connectors. I still need to engineer the lockdown bar to function the 'nudge.' Update: 2/2006 Picked up a gutted Williams pinball cabinet from a guy selling every OTHER part
on eBay. Cab is rough, but pretty useable. This project is on hold currently though. Cabinet cost $185
(Shipping was the killer! Cab only cost me like $30!)
Added to Collection: 9/2005 Total Investment: Appx. $185.00
Pics when I get around to it. :)
Games I'd like to own/own again if money was no object...
Tron, Midway (198X) - Sold/traded mine in decent shape for a non working motorcycle. Fixed up the bike but I've
been regretting the sale of Tron ever since. Man sometimes I miss that game...DONE! Replaced 10/2010!
Tempest/Major Havoc, Atari (1980) - I'd like to get either a working or Not working cabinet and fix it up. DONE! Purchased 6/2010!
Donkey Kong/ DK Jr., Nintendo (198X) - I'd prefer an original DK upright or cabaret cabinet with the DK graphics.
Armor Attack, Cinematronics (1980) - Maybe I should just build the Multi-Vector MAME cabinet I've been thinking about. It would make the space requirement problem easier. :)
The Last Starfighter, Atari (1984-2005) - I WILL build this one myself when the software coding has been finished. Yes, I saw the film in the theatre, how many of you can say the same?
Decent condition original William's Robotron cab.
I have an untested PCB, untested sound board... partial wiring harness... basically, it needs a load of help.
What I'm thinking of doing is converting the cabinet to JAMMA (Hey, don't look at me like that, the damn thing's dead
anyway...) and installing Clay Cowgill's Multi-Williams kit. I MAY just restore it to original
specs as I have all the original controls and graphics, and I wouldn't have to hack up the original
5/5/2006: I've decided to not use the Multi-Williams kit in this cab, and instead just return it to
factory style specs. I have the control panel cleaned, half the side art scrubbed to something approaching
(it will never be 100% unless I repaint it, because cleaners damage the paint while removing the greasy
grime...). I purchased a Joust boardset and picked up a sound board from a friend of mine (Thanks Brian!).
I still need a power supply, either OEM or a replacement switcher with wiring harness conversion, and I need to
re-burn the EPROMs, and it should be good to go.
Added to Collection: 2003 Cabinet @ Auction: $200 Bought Joust PCB set: $100 Bought WMS Power supply: $30 Power supply cap kit: $20 Power supply mounting plate: $30
============================= Total Investment: Appx. $380.00
And this is what some Soft Scrub cleanser and a new $10 electric toothbrush can accomplish...
Fully converted original William's Stargate cab.
This was converted to some Jamma game of some sort, and the boys at work were going to junk it out. I figured
if nothing else, I could MAME it and/or Multi-Williams kit it. The sides are painted black, control panel
converted... still, it's doable. May start by repainting the cabinet red, and having some Stargate
stencils cut for the side graphics. That's the plan anyway. :)
I have both sides mostly stripped down to the original painted artwork. What a pain that is. Yuck!
I need to decide if I'm going to make my own stencils, or have them professionally cut to size.
The diffence between the two is about 10 hours work and $20 versus a couple hours work using
Illustrator and $100. Tough call.
Update 5/5/2006: Picked up a marquee on eBay for $30. I think it's OEM and it looks pretty nice.
I still can't locate a monitor bezel though. The Defender bezel I do have is not tall enough to work.
I'm probably going to go with the stencils on the cabinet. There's a fellow on the Arcade Control Builders board
who makes peel and stick stencils for about $100. I think to get the best possible result I'll go this way.
There's not enough of a wiring harness left to return it to original, so I'm going to MAME it and run a
Multi-Williams style front end in it.
The coin door exterior is in very nice shape... I may steal it for my Robotron cabinet, and transplant the
abused Robotron door here.
Added to Collection: 10/2004 original Stargate marquee: $30 Stargate monitor Bezel: $50
======================== Total Investment: Appx. $80.00
Dragon's Lair/Daphne Laserdisk Emulator, (concept) - Since I FINALLY was able to get the Daphne
emulator working, and since I sold off most (95%) of my laserdisk stuff due to the fact that
it died, I'd like to have a dedicated laserdisk game cabinet. Mainly to play Dragon's Lair and
Space Ace (and Astron Belt). I have a few original parts left (Cinematronics coin door, control panel...)
so the project is do-able. Another case of needing a high power PC to run it though...
MAME Cabinet, (Concept) - See above!
Vector MAME Cabinet, (Concept) - A cabinet running ONLY vector (XY) games
on an actual XY monitor!
I found a place that sells a "vector Mame" video generation board so all you'd need to do is hook up
your PC to it and have actual vector games running on your monitor.
What I'd need to make this a reality...
WG6200 Color XY Monitor - Appx. $200
Vector Mame PCB - Appx. $200
Cabinet - Either original or new cosntruction. Appx. $200
Computer - Appx. $300
Misc. - Graphics/art/buttons/etc. - $200
It's doable. Spendy, but doable. I'd need to settle on a theme though before continuing, and
do I go with an existing cabinet art/style or a generic one? Tough call either way.
The games I'd choose to run would be...
Armor Attack - Cinematronics
Asteroids - Atari
Asteroids Deluxe - Atari
Battlezone - Atari
Bradley Trainer - Atari (If I can figure out the controls...)
Black Widow - Atari
Lunar Lander - Atari
Major Havok - Atari
Omega Race - Midway
Quantum - Atari
Red Baron - Atari
Rip Off - Cinematronics
Reactor (Was that XY or Raster?)
Space Duel - Atari
Space War - Cinematronics
Star Castle - Cinematronics
Star Trek - Sega
Star Wars - Atari
Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back - Atari
Tac Scan - Sega
Tempest - Atari
Tempest Tubes - Atari
...And I'm sure there's a couple more. It'd be cool to run the Vectrex emulator also.
Because there's only 20-30 XY games (I have 23 listed...), doing controls wouldn't be
too hard. I like what a few others have done, in making a rotory control panel assembly.
I think this would work best for the Vector cabinet as most of the controls will cross
over okay from game to game. Below is an image of my idea for a rotory control panel.
Super Jamma Cabinet, (Concept) - I want to take a 25" jamma cab with
and oversized control panel and run a few specific games out of it. NFL Blitz/NBA Showtime, Gauntlet Legends,
and last but not least, Midway Skins Game golf. Blitz and Gauntlet use similar hardware and use the same 49 way
optical joysticks. Skins Game is like Golf Blitz, so it fits. :) I'd use the Multi-Jamma switching system
and switch games at the push of a button. Plus, none of these games are emulated in Mame, and if they were
you'd need like a 3.5 Gig processor to run them.
Dance Dance Revolution, (concept) - Okay, I don't have $5k to spend on a new DDR
cabinet. What I'm thinking of doing is building a replica of the cabinet out of MDF (fiberboard), and running Stepmania in it. Stepmania is a DDR simulator. It's FREE and honestly, it works
damn great! I think it would cost me about $600-800 to do the project correctly.
This project is on indefinate standby because I'm broke, and DDR just isn't my life right now.
Sad, but true.
And sometimes you sell out...
Atari System 1 Jamma Cabinet, (Working) - Converted Marble Madness cabinet (to Street Fighter 2). Added a SFII marquee (again) and boardset and took it to auction... SOLD it at auction for $150!
MAME Cabinet (2001-2002) (Working) - HUGE control panel with an overlay I
had custom printed at a local printshop. The cabinet still needs the right side controls
wired up correctly and it needs a PC with more power than it has, but the old school
games play pretty well (from Pac Man to Raiden). It needs a more powerful PC to run the newer
Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat games perfectly. SOLD it at auction for $200! A lot less than I had into it.
Return of the Jedi, Atari (Working) - This game was the biggest problem
I've had with a 'modern' arcade game.
It died. Frequently. I finally got so P.O.ed after the last time I just up and sold it. It was in decent shape
with a bit of monitor burn, but was otherwise nice. I should have MAMEd it out in revenge. Alas, that was
before making MAME cabs was an easy prospect. SOLD it $150!
Asteroids, Atari (Working) - This was another XY monitor troubled game. It turned out later that the main issue
was a bad/flakey component ($3.00 part) in the monitor. The art was decent, the panel needed an overlay or
repainting and it worked. It was however brutally huge, and HEAVY! I miss this game now and then as well,
especially since XY games aren't emulated perfectly in MAME. SOLD it at auction for $700!
Street Fighter 3/M.A.M.E.
, (199X) (Working - Garage) - Wide panel conversion cabinet of some sort,
possible a converted Killer Instinct. Decent 25" monitor and wide control panel for many controls.
This will be home to the new MAME system. The concept for version 2.0 utilizes everything
I learned from my first MAME cabinet. A few things I'll do differently...
Video: Bought an ArcadceVGA card by Ultimarc. No more messing with using a
small PC monitor. Screw that. ^_^
Controls: Bought Ultimarc JPac and Optipac boards for arcade to PC interface. And I'll be bloody well
using the existing control panel. Okay, in retrospect that panel on my first MAME cab was WAY too big.
My bad. The new panel has plenty of room for a track ball and spinner knobs. Everything that I'll likely be needing. I'm thinking I'll remove the existing panel and buy a piece of MDF and make a whole new panel
to the same physical dimensions.
Computer: I'm considering the AMD XP3200 processor, 1 Gig ram, 7200 RPM 160 Gig HDD.
I may rip the components OUT of the darn case. Then again, maybe not. Most arcade game PCBs
are bolted naked to the inside of the cabinet. It shouldn't hurt a regular PC to not have the case.
Dust might be an issue though...
Front End: MameWah. A friend has his already set up and it looks damn nice, and it actually WORKS!
Misc: Add guns! Well, MAME supports games like Area 51, so what the heck! Gotta pick up a couple
of the USB guns before they're not made any longer. :(
Purchase price: Appx. $450.00 Sold it to a new collector: 3/2010 for appx. $350