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Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

Been too long!

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

I haven’t posted to my site in awhile, it’s been too long! While I’m still collecting arcade games and hunting for Willis arcade artwork, I just haven’t had time to share. Recently made a big move from the land of taxes (Illinois), to an amazing state known as the last frontier, Alaska! I’ll talk more about that later, for now I’m just trying to dust off my posting and editing skills and wanted to get something up. I have a lot of artwork, documents, and arcade goodness to post.

toy-n-joy vending machine

We took the kids to this trampoline park in Anchorage and while walking through the lobby area saw this lovely vending machine. It made me giggle, so I thought I’d share. I’m not sure if they thought the name through very well. It could easily have a color graphic of “Joy” on the front and sell a different kind of toy. Just saying.

Moppet Tugboat arcade game steams into the garage!

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

I sold a few games to a California collector and in an effort to reduce shipping costs, agreed to accept another game for pickup by NAVL. The game would be dropped off by the seller, so all I had to do was park it in the garage for a couple days. Not knowing what to expect, you can imagine my surprise when the seller dropped off a Moppet Tugboat arcade game, in almost perfect original condition. I knew these games were pretty scarce, but an example this clean must be super rare. Having never seen one of these odd little games in person I figured this was the perfect opportunity to play a few games and see what all the fuss was about.

moppet tugboat arcade game

Moppet Video produced five titles in 1982 which included: Desert Race, Leprechaun, Noah’s Ark, Pirate Treasure, and Tug Boat. Moppet Video arcade games were tiny in comparison to their grown up relatives, and easy for kids to understand and play. All they had to do is walk right up, drop in a quarter and away they went. The games were designed with simple controls and game play, without the need for a step stool or help from an adult, attractive features for our pint sized gamers. You could call it their initiation to the world of arcade games. Hey, back in 1982 kids didn’t all carry Nintendo in their pockets! Insert token to continue…

Stern production numbers and more CCI photos

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Among the Chicago Coin Industry press photos, Stern flyers and parts I found this little gem. (see the original post HERE) A two page, photo copied list of Stern production numbers! Stuff like this doesn’t come up too often so this is a great find. Sheds some light on how many games were in production and how long they were being produced. Insert token to continue…

Grabbed a handful of arcade assets today!

Friday, April 27th, 2012

If you were thinking Stern’s Moon War, you were right! Considered by many arcade enthusiasts to have the best game flyer around, Moon War is all about 80’s sexy. Just look at that game! 🙂 While I didn’t find the actual cabinet, I did get these arcade flyers along with a small lot of goodies from a former Stern employee. While many of the flyers, pictures and schematics had water damage I did come away with some interesting stuff.

Moon War flyer

I was contacted by Terry, a former employee of Stern’s video game division, about some old pictures and a Stern cabinet he had in storage. Could I help him determine the value? Was I interested? Of course! Getting a chance to talk to a former Stern employee and grabbing some arcade history is always of interest to me. Terry told me he saved the stuff from destruction when the division was closing down. Everything was being tossed into dumpsters and he meant everything! Heartbreaking to hear when you’re a die hard arcade collector, and sad to know that all the history and documentation about the company is gone forever. Here’s a glimpse of the small piece he was able to save. Insert token to continue…

Road Trip to Arcade Nirvana 2010 – Part 3

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Here it is, the final installment of our “Road Trip to Arcade Nirvana 2010”, documenting the amazing road trip I made with Jeff Rothe back in the summer of 2010. If you aren’t familiar with our exploits from that summer, refresh your memory by checking out the first two legs of our trip here: Part 1 and Part 2. After all the fun we had at the Freecade, and the awe we felt viewing so many rare laser titles at Morgan’s house, I wasn’t sure we could top it. Jeff had told me very little about our next stop, or perhaps I just didn’t remember the details, but we were on our way to see long time collector James Marous in South Vienna Ohio. I didn’t know much about James or his collection, but Jeff told me that he liked vector games and was also a big fan of Showbiz Pizza…hmm, this should be interesting. Here is a map of the final leg of our trip.


On the drive out to visit James’ place, Jeff filled me in on some of the details. Not only did James like vector games, but he has a bunch of super rare titles in his lineup. Some of them I had never seen or played before. The kind of games that just can’t be played in MAME. Rather than ramble on about his stuff, I’ll just let the game list speak for itself:

Armor Attack, Asteroids, Asteroids Deluxe, Aztarac, Battlezone, Berzerk, Black Widow, Blaster, Bubbles, Computer Space (yellow), Crazy Climber (deluxe), Cyberball, Death Race, Defender, Dig Dug, Donkey Kong, Dragon’s Lair, Food Fight, Frogger, Galaga, Gravitar, Gyruss, I,Robot, Joust, Lunar Lander, Major Havoc, Missile Command, Moon Patrol, Quantum, Reactor, Robotron, Space Duel, Spy Hunter, Star Castle, Star Wars, Tempest, Tron, Wacko, Warrior, and Zookeeper. That is 40 amazing games in one space, including every Atari vector (right? I’m not missing any?). I was truly going to be in Arcade Nirvana. Insert coin to continue…

Astro Attack a bootleg version of Astro Fighter!

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

While on the hunt for NOS Willis and bootleg artwork, I will occasionally find some wacky artwork that has already been applied to a cabinet. It makes sense of course, as that’s what the stuff was meant for. Arcade game artwork isn’t always lying around some old, dusty, operators warehouse, sometimes the stuff was actually used as it was intended! It’s fun to find these odd ball cabinets as part of the mystery is figuring out exactly what it is, or what it was. Such is the case in this recent find by avid collector “jehuie” (his KLOV ID) out in Martinez CA. The game had been posted for sale on his local craigslist, but he never had time to check it out…until it was relisted as FREE and kicked to the curb! Free is good and in this case it’s a great thing, as he saved a game that is not listed in the arcade museum archives. I’m a big fan of preserving arcade history and it would have been a shame if this cab had met its end at the dump.

Astro Attack

The first thing that grabs you is the blatant Star Wars X-Wing imagery plastered all over the control panel, bezel and marquee. Why not? If you’re going to make a bootleg game you might as well slap some artwork on it that people recognize. It would get a few tokens for the art at least, while the gamer attempts to figure out what, if anything, Astro Attack has to do with the iconic franchise we all know and love.

John was able to get the game working pretty fast, “I actually got it going late last night. One of the circuit boards wasn’t seated in the edge connector properly and then the vertical hold needed adjusting but then it popped right in. Not a game I’ve ever seen before. The marquee is interesting. Each letter has a separate bulb and they alternate turning on and off randomly making a kinda cool effect. I’ll try to get some video or something later today if I have time.” He did have some time and shared this video with the collecting community. Pretty interesting how the marquee lights flash on and off, probably with the use of “blinker” bulbs. Might be a little distracting during game play, but still cool. (refresh the page if you don’t see the video)

John determined that the game play is identical to Astro Fighter by Sega/Gremlin/DECO. Interesting to note that the SEGA/Gremlin version of the Astro Fighter flyer has some blatant rip-off going on as well, beam me up Scotty! The game was released by a bunch of sources, perhaps that made it ripe for bootlegging, who knows? The cabinet has a simple design with an odd upright coin box and single slot coin mechanism. Done cheaply to keep costs down I’d imagine. Maybe it’s the Star Wars artwork, but I like the cabinet and would have dropped in a token or two to give it a try.

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The printed circuit board mounts on the side of the cabinet, in a cage that doesn’t look like it was meant to go there. You can see slots in the wood that would fit a larger pcb. So is this pcb a bootleg or an actual Astro Fighter pcb? Tough to tell, as Astro Fighter pcb images from the internet vary. The monitor is nicely mounted with the chassis positioned on the side of the cab for easy maintenance. Everything inside the cab looks original and the overall clean, unhacked look of the cabinet got me thinking. Maybe this generic cab would accept a number of different bootleg games. Just mount a new pcb and connect the harness to the existing cab harness with those molex connectors. No hacking or rewiring necessary, just a new control panel and some new artwork. That would make this a pretty sophisticated bootleg cab, as it was made specifically for that purpose, with multiple games in mind. A multi-bootleg? I suppose the millions of dollars being made in the 1980’s on coin-op would have brought out all the scammers!

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Of course I’m just speculating about this cabinet and its origins. If you know any facts about this cabinet or have seen other games in this style of cabinet, I’d love to know about it or see some pictures. Use the contact joystick and drop me a line.

Midway SAMI parts on the way!

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Scored a couple of needed parts from a parted out Midway Invaders off eBay today, cheap! The parts are identical to the pieces I need to repair on my Midway SAMI EM game. I hoping the spares will make things a little easier. That and a good contact cleaning and I hope to have this classic EM game up and running again soon.

FedEx toyed with my emotions today

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

If you are familiar with my site or my collecting habits, you know that I’m a big fan of Willis artwork. Willis made some weird stuff and I’m always looking to add to the collection. Well I got lucky not too long ago, and met another collector online that had what I consider to be the holy grail of Willis artwork. An almost complete set of the Willis Enviro-Graphics! This amazing set of wall hanging artwork and atmosphere graphics were supposed to enhance the operators business location or arcade. There were high score save signs, out of order signs, and massive black light graphics, all sold as one package deal. Pretty cool stuff, but because of its size and the fact that most of the pieces were mounted on foam core, very little has survived. The collector I met found a batch of the Willis artwork in some operators flat files out on the east coast. He doesn’t have space for all the art and agreed to sell me a few pieces. After some negotiations, proper packing and a shipping company selection, the 48x48x2 package was on the way. I was ecstatic! I got the tracking info and patiently waited to see this…

fedex tracking

I was really looking forward to opening up this package to get a first hand look at the artwork. I ran some errands with my kids, recapped a wg4900 series chassis, and just kept busy. I would check the FedEx website every 30 minutes or so to see if anything had changed. Nope, it was still on the truck for delivery. By about 6pm I started to get a little worried, but the status hadn’t changed so I figured the holiday packages had kept the driver behind schedule. At 8pm I figured I was screwed, but it wasn’t until 8:20pm that I saw this…

fedex tracking

I could think of lots of things to say, but none of them are nice. It looks like I’ll have to wait until tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Road Trip to Arcade Nirvana 2010 – Part 1

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Summer is winding down and the new school season is just around the corner, it was time. Time to hit the road and squeeze in one last weekend of arcade fun before fall arrived and I ran out of free time. I would be traveling with my friend Jeff Rothe of rotheblog and this years annual arcade pilgrimage would find us winding our way through Ohio to meet a few noted collectors and scope out their game rooms. I was really looking forward to the trip as it was a chance to wind down and talk shop! A weekend full of arcade nirvana, and who doesn’t love a good road trip?


While a few arcades still exist in the wild, they are typically filled with redemption machines and kiddie rides. You might get lucky and find a random pinball machine or arcade game, but who knows if it will be working properly. Today’s arcades are nothing like what I remember from back in the day.* These days, the very best classic 80’s arcade collections are in the hands of private enthusiasts. This trip would prove just how true that really was. (more…)

Grab that game, or it will slip away!

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

It’s true when you hear someone say, “You snooze you lose”. I was reminded of that when I returned to a local operators warehouse to check on some inventory I was interested in. Last time I was there I had found an Atari “Touch Me” game. An older, medium sized Atari, similar to the portable electronic game, Simon. An odd find for sure. I tipped off a local collector and he picked up the game for a reasonable price. While talking with the shop technician, we asked if he had any other games. He promptly led us through the back to check out the warehouse. What we found was a small treasure trove of old electro-mechanical games. Unfortunately I only took a couple of pictures.


This one is a pretty cool looking Sega Combat EM game. According to Marvin’s site, you control a tank and blast away at targets with only 12 shots. I really wanted to grab this one as it was in great shape, just didn’t have the extra money or space at the time. My friend was interested in these…


A pair of 1974 Midway Chopper’s according to Marvin’s site. Amazing to find one, but two was unbelievable. Even stacked on top of each other, they still looked to be in great shape. A fun variation of the typical helicopter themed EM game such as Whirly Bird.

dog fight

While trying to climb over stuff to see what was there I saw a few Davy Crockett’s, a Midway Dog Fight, Fun Land (or Play Land?) and a couple western themed EM shooter’s. There was also a Pitch and Bat or two and a handful of older pins. Unfortunately for us we waited too long to follow up. A collector off the RGP forums (Mark the fireman in Hoffman Estates ~ I don’t like you!) swooped in and picked up 8 or 9 of the best games in the warehouse. Lesson learned for me. If you find something good you’d better make the deal and haul it away, don’t wait or hesitate, you’ll be sorry later. Oh well, I won’t make the same mistake again. Mark, if you’re reading this, I’d like an invite to play Combat once you get it working 🙂