That Rapid Fire gun game I purchased last fall just wasn't cutting it. It just a little too big, and each mini game lasted 15 to 30 seconds. Then... nothing... statistics... waiting. It was, well, it was boring. It had to go. I found a buy rather quickly, someone who was looking for his first game to stuff in a gameroom. Now with the empty space and extra cash I had my eye on something else to take its place.

That my friend was a Firepower pinball game made by Williams. Oh yeah, the same williams that cranked out some of the best action classics on the market. Firepower was the first multi-ball game, and featured built in speech synthesis for some cool retro sounding robot voices. Multi-ball of course is the ability to have up to 3 ball on the playfield at once which leads to action and mayhem. This was my kind of game.

So Craigslist has a Firepower pinball for sale. I call the guy, ask questions and he tells me it is in good shape and fully working. So I drive over to his house and walk up to the front door. First thing I notice was some type of large inspection sticker or eviction notice that someone tried to peel off the door, but there was still remnants left. I knock and a short young guy answers the door. I walk in and first thing I notice is that there was a sad looking large pitbull sitting in a tiny cage. I follow the guy directly into the kitchen. The pinball was indeed in very nice condition, as evidence by the photo below. Well, looks are deceiving, but that eviction notice or health inspection was not. I turn on the game and in the first 20 seconds it freezes up on me. The flippers die and the sounds were garbled. The guy tells me that has never happened before. He turns it off and on again. I go to play the game and once again with 20 seconds the game locks up on me. At this point the guy is starting to make excuses, pretending he is getting on the phone with a repair guy and every other excuse in the book. Lets face it, the guy was trying to pass off a broken pinball as fully working. Maybe because he was getting evicted, maybe because he was trying to bring his house up to code, but I wasn't biting. I had to leave empty handed this time. But soon enough I will get myself a pinball game to bring into the arcade. Yes, it will happen.

The Vintage Vault Arcade and Gameroom was meant to have some fun, not just a trip down memory lane. This last month we had 3 occasions to celebrate. That translates to 2 birthdays and 1 friendly get together down in the arcade. Good times are always had by all, and there is always a little karaoke to go along with the video jukebox. My favorite time is late at night which I like to call Video Vault After Dark. That is when I cut all the lights and just let the neons and glow of the arcade monitors light up the room. Enjoy the pictures, I certainly enjoyed the memories.


Williams games and bad RAM go together like bread and butter. Typically there are 3 rows of RAM for a total of 24 RAM chips in a Williams game. The RAM of choice? A 4116 RAM chip. For whatever the reason, this kind of RAM doesn't stand the test of time very well when it comes to 30 years later after being manufactured. When I got my Sinistar, I did replace a single RAM chip to fix it and I thought I was done with it. Well over the next few weeks it popped up with some new RAM errors from another affected chip. In total, I have had to replace 3 RAM chips. That's really not that bad, and most people will simply swap out all 24 RAM chips with new ones and be done with it. I like a challenge. When it comes up with a bad RAM error as the screen shows below it then gives the bank number first and then the chip number. Below the picture shows bank 2 and chip number 8 is bad. After swapping out the bad chips the game fires right up. Simple fix, gotta love it. Now, let's get back to that Williams row and play some Sinistar. Run coward! ROOOAAAAARRRRR!

For those interested, click here to read about the Sinistar road trip.

Read a few posts below and you will see that I was on the hunt for a Harley Davidson motorcycle arcade game. That non-eventful road trip left me disappointed and gameless. Yes, a week later I found a Narc but I was still on the lookout for that other elusive game. I happened to be monitoring an ebay auction for a Harley Davidson arcade game in Kansas City. This was from the same place I got my Emergency Call Ambulance game. You can read about that other road trip here.

That ebay auction ended with someone else completely overbidding a Harley arcade game much more than they should have. I guess they wanted it real bad and had an awful lot of Ben Franklins to burn. I really just will not pay retail prices on games, period.

Fortunately for me I happened upon another auction from the same place for a different motorcycle game called Road Burners. This game was created a full year after the Harley game and had a bike that tilted left and right which the Harley game did not. It was created in 1999 and was made by Atari. Only awesome games come out of Atari. My Rush the Rock and Vapor TRX racing games were made by Atari. Plus, I still did not have any kind of motorcycle game in my gameroom.

I watched that Road Burners auction down to the last minute and to my surprise the bids weren't very high. I put in a low bid fully expecting to lose the auction. Before I could blink I won the game... for a price no one can refuse. I really wasn't expecting that. On top of everything there was rain and snow in the forcast for the entire next week.

So ladies and gentlemen, you know what that means? Road trip time! Click here to read about the Road Burners road trip.

Nintendo may be on top of the world when it comes to video games. Super Mario may have grossed that company billions of dollars in revenue over the last 30 years. However, when it comes to freeplay, Nintendo got it all wrong. Absolutely wrong. No demo mode, no attract screen in freeplay, and definitely no Hi Score saving. I love my Nintendo games, but they get a big "F" when it comes to making a video game "gameroom friendly".

Yeah, I know, these things were meant to make money. Not put in gamerooms on freeplay, and definitely meant to erase hi scores after every night to give the next quarter something to shoot for. Well never fear, some smart programmers are here. I have purchased and installed an EPROM upgrade which gives VS Super Mario the ability to have freeplay with attract mode, plus hi score saving. As you can see below, replace either EPROM in position 1D or 6D and you now have the the ultimate Super Mario upgrade. Your home arcade unit now becomes a gameroom master. So turn off that NES system, and play some Super Mario the way it was meant to be played, arcade style!

Tempest. One of the all time vector classics. The gameplay was unique, original, *tempting*, and compulsive. I love this game. The other day I turned on my Tempest and noticed all the vector lines jumping all over the place. This was not the Tempest that I play with all the wonderful geometric shapes. This was a jumbled mess of lines. Tempest games can be very expensive to repair. From the costly vector monitor to a hard to find working boardset, this is not water you want to tread. As I repair guy I was going to give this the old college try before I start throwing money at it. I pulled out the Tempest boardset and set it on a table. I then pulled out every socketed IC chip and pushed them back into the board. Sometimes with time and temperature change, the IC's can become loose or have problematic connections. After doing that I put the boardset back in the game, crossed my fingers and turned it back on.

Success! The game came back on perfectly, and those geometric shapes which I know and love were once again flying across the screen. This close call to a costly repair got me to thinking. Vector monitors in general were designed to fail. Yes I said it, they were a great concept but poorly engineered. Vector monitors have a low voltage circuit that will eventually fail from use, temperature and stress. When that circuit fails, it will burn out several of the more costly components on a vector monitor. The end result is a costly mess and a lot of repair work. I decided to take the bull by the horns and do a preemptive strike. In recent years people have reengineered the low voltage circuits in vector monitors to be more reliable and fail proof. One of those designs was in a little circuit board called an LV2000. I purchased one of these which is shown below. Basically, you unsolder and remove all components in the low voltage section and replace it with this little beauty. The picture on the bottom right shows the final setup and installation. With the main boardset fixed and the now upgraded vector monitor I am guaranteed many years of Tempest play to come.

For those interested, click here to read about the original Tempest road trip and trade to acquire this arcade game.

Harley Davidson and the LA Riders: A cool sitdown game similar to Crazy Taxi. Designed by the same company, this game came out a year before Crazy Taxi and plays pretty similar. You get to sit on a replica Harley Davidson and drive around a city with a thumping music track. I like Harley Davidson motorcycles, and I wanted this game. I found someone selling a Harley Davidson arcade game and went on a road trip based on the out of focus picture you see below. What I found was a foul, beat up, smoke infested game which took 3 flips of the power switch and a full 10 minutes to turn on. Whatever smoke filled biker bar this game was beat up in, they should have left the body at the seen of the crime. This thing was junk. Sadly, I left this monstrosity with my cash still clutched in my hands.

My sorrows were turned to joy when a full 7 days later I happend upon this Narc on Craiglist.
Thank God for happy endings. You can read about the Narc road trip here.

I was contacted a while back about submitting a few photos of 2 of my arcade games. This was going to be for a new book on the top 50 arcade games. I sent in some photos and hoped for the best. Well, this 80 page book has now been published and I just recently received my copy. Below is the cover of the book and the pages that myself and both my games are on. I guess my Rampage and Crazy Taxi games are now famous. I'll have to keep both of them forever, and not sell them off like my Outrun and Afterburner games.

I was asked to do a short quote with each photo, so I will repost those since it might be hard to read from the pictures.

"Playing monsters, smashing buildings, how much more fun can you ask for in a game? Forget two-player action, this game sports three-player mayhem!"

Crazy Taxi:
"Tired of driving that race car around the same old track? Not with this game, as you get to cruise an entire city with some of the most rockin' arcade game music tracks around!"

This is just too cool. First I was published in Gameroom magazine, and now this book. For those interested, you can buy the book here .

I came home from work this week to a very large box waiting for me in the living room. Fellow collector Keith told me he was going to send me a few things, but this was more than I expected. This box was worthy of wrapping up and opening on Christmas morning, as I would have been just as excited as to its contents. There was all manner of gameroom goodness in there. There were two 40"x27" Tron Legacy posters (given to him by a movie theater), two Atari 2600 carts and manuals (Grand Prix and Donkey Kong), a working light up Exit sign, and very nice Zaxxon marquee.