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Posts Tagged ‘atari’

Georgia or Bust! Part One

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

The annual arcade road trip was in jeopardy! Jeff had scored a fantastic new full time job and I was in school trying to finish up my RN degree. It was already October of 2011 and we hadn’t been on the road yet, time was slipping away and with the holidays quickly approaching, I didn’t think we’d pull off a trip this year. Never fear, the bulk deal would save us! Jeff had been working on securing a bulk deal somewhere near the east coast of Georgia, of all places, and was having some trouble. With a little help from our friend Steve, a collector in Georgia, the deal was secured and Jeff ended up with a nice Food Fight. He just had to pick it up or have it shipped. It was then that I remembered the trade offer I got from that same collector. Steve wanted a Tron and I just happened to have a nice working Tron. I wanted a Black Hole pinball and Steve just happened to have a nice working Black Hole pinball. Shipping wasn’t an option for me, so I’d have to drive there to pick it up. It hadn’t made sense before, but for some reason it did now.

Map

What a drive it would be, at just over 17 hours and about 1000 miles one way. Ouch. But now there were two games to pick up and the annual arcade road trip was starting to take shape. I was on winter break from school and Jeff took some vacation time. The trip to Georgia and back again was on!. The idea was to take our time on the way down and visit a few collectors in route. We’d meet up with Steve to grab the games and check out his collection, and then take a few short detours to see collectors on the way back, just to make it interesting. I was excited to squeeze in the trip before the year was up and this time we’d be bringing back some cool games. With the trailer secured I was ready to go. 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.

map

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…

Willis Centipede CPO

Friday, September 30th, 2011

The Willis replacement control panel overlay for Atari Centipede is arguably one of the best CPO’s made by Willis. I’m not talking about finished product quality, as all Willis products had high production standards, I’m talking about the aesthetics. All too often Willis gets bashed for their “crappy” artwork, well this one does the game justice. Perhaps that’s why it’s so hard to find a Willis Centipede overlay that hasn’t already been applied to a control panel. The partnership breakup between Wico and Willis might also be a reason, check out the Wico Centipede overlay here.

Willis Centipede cpo

The artist that worked on this one made an effort to do some color and design matching for the layout so the cpo wouldn’t look out of place on the game. The artist even worked up a cool looking Centipede to add to the CPO, an element that was missing from the original design. Good color, cool Centipede, mushrooms and horizontal stripes. What else could you possibly need? 🙂 I’ve only been able to find a couple of hacked up versions of this overlay and I’m on the lookout for a nice example. Check out my Willis artwork page for more information about Willis and their history.

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I would like to add one of these overlays to the Willis artwork archive. If you have a nice example of this control panel overlay for sale or trade, drop me a line!

Willis Atari Football cpo

Monday, March 8th, 2010

I’ve added another Willis overlay to the growing archive, this time the 4 player version of Atari Football. A big thanks to Jeff of rotheblog for this one. Now Atari is famous among the collecting community for fabulous cabinet artwork and the Atari Football cocktail cabinets were no exception. I had a chance to see and play a HUO example at a party not so long ago and it was amazing.

atari football cpo

The artwork and color scheme on that game exude 70’s funk and I love it. The cp artwork was originally screened right onto the metal panels, just like on Asteroids and Missile Command. Unfortunately that means when it wears off, its gone forever. So besides being a replacement overlay and not a metal panel, the Willis piece just doesn’t fit well with the Atari cabinet artwork. Sure, the big “football” and a bunch of football players make it obvious what game its for, but so boring. Still has all the earmarks of a quality Willis piece and makes a nice addition.

Bootleg Crystal Castles cpo

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

I purchased this one from a fellow collector along with a handful of other Willis overlays. I’ve seen it in pictures on other sites but have never had a chance to examine it closely. It is supposedly for crystal castles by Atari and I have no reason to doubt that. One thing is certain though, it’s not a Willis product.

crystal castles cpo

Besides lacking all of the usual clues that identify a Willis overlay (can you name them all yet?), it is one flimsy piece of art. Cheaply made and probably one of the thinnest overlays I have in the archive. (more…)

Willis Asteroids CT cpo

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

Willis made a few different overlays for Atari games, the Asteroids cocktail table being one of them. This overlay has very simple styling, partly taken from the very understated original control panel overlay. The artist added some color and shapes to create an overlay that works well with the cocktail table, in my opinion.

asteroids ct cpo

Now I’m not saying that it’s super fantastic or anything, it just works well and looks better than the original in this case. Quality materials, die-cut button holes, part numbers and copyright info all in place. Another piece for the archive.

Pat spotted in the parking lot, Pat 9000 that is…

Monday, January 4th, 2010

If you’re into arcade game repair, or have been in the hobby for awhile, you’re probably familiar with the Programmable Atari Test Station, or PAT-9000. This elusive piece of test equipment was sold by Atari to operators and would assist them in troubleshooting and repairing both raster and vector Atari circuit boards. It wasn’t a cheap item back in the 80’s and if you can find one now it would likely cost a small fortune. Oddly enough, I spotted these two gentleman moving one into the back of a Volvo.

Pat-9000

This unit was purchased by a Chicago local and while it had been badly hacked by the former owner, Bill K was able to repair it and get it 95% of the way to full working operation. Imagine that, repairing the repair equipment. The proud new owner will be making the final adjustments and repairs which includes building a housing for a vector and raster monitor to complete the package. A pretty amazing find and a great piece of history.

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