Omega Race cabaret #1441 added to the arcade!
Omega Race is an amazing game, with beautiful front artwork covered in zooming space ships, a smooth metal spinner, and a black light scene that gives the illusion of flying your vector ship through space. Sadly, its a game I never got to play back in the arcades of the 1980’s, I don’t recall ever seeing it. Having gone to many of the classic Chicago arcades, I’m sure I would have remembered such a game. Space ships were the big thing thanks to Star Trek and Star Wars, and the opportunity to blast my way through enemy ships would have attracted a few of my tokens, no doubt about it.
While Omega Race may be a simple black and white vector game, it has style like some of the great Midway electro-mechanical games with just a hint of the video craze that was about to explode on the scene. Midway designers did a great job incorporating beautiful graphics with engaging game play creating a true classic. While I had played Omega Race a few times during my early collecting years, it wasn’t until I spent a lot of time playing one at Greg’s Freecade back in 2010 that I fell in love. I have a passion for the black and white games because manufacturers typically spent time on the whole game package; game play, sounds, background, bezel, and cabinet artwork. They had to make the game attractive and enticing to get you to try it and then exciting enough to keep those tokens flowing. Omega Race is just such a game and I want to own one.
Having space in the game room for about 22 to 25 games I am just about at maximum capacity. Add in a couple of pins and project games wanting to be new additions and I was hurting for space, a common arcade collector dilemma. Adding another full size cab was out of the question, unless I wanted to get rid of something or start rotating my games into the garage. Not a fun scenario for any game collector. So while Omega Race has been on my want list, I’ve let a few uprights go because I just don’t have the room. Then this little cabaret popped up on KLOV and I figured it might just be small enough to squeeze in. Rationalization, love it. Ken, the current owner, was interested in trading more than selling, so we started talking.
Turns out that Ken was looking for a dynamo cab he could convert into a MAME project and as fate would have it, I had a line on a nice dynamo cabinet for a reasonable price. A friend and local collector was selling off a project fisherman’s bait with a NOS universal dynamo panel, so I bought the game and made plans to do a swap. Ken and I agreed to meet roughly half way between Chicago and Des Moines, in Peru IL. I even decided to drag my two boys along and make a pit stop at Starved Rock National Park. It would be a fun and educational trip 🙂
We met at a WalMart parking lot off interstate 80 and did the swap. Loading the Omega Race cabaret into my 4-Runner was a breeze compared to that dynamo monster, which barely fit with the hatch closed. We chatted about arcade stuff a bit and were soon on our way. Ken was a great guy and we were both happy with the trade. While the Omega Race does not work it’s in very nice shape, just needs a good cleaning and a new back door. The pcb has had some repair attempts because of that nasty battery acid damage, but I’m not worried, I’ve got a reproduction board just waiting for a new home. I had also picked up an NOS spinner assembly, but maybe I won’t need it. Looking forward to getting this little gem up and running. While the cabaret isn’t quite as beautiful as the upright, let’s just hope that without all the amazing artwork, the game play is enough to keep it in the arcade for a long time. As always, happy gaming!