It was quite apparent that this poor fella was the victim of numerous thefts over time. People had ripped out the control panel at one point to steal its precious treasure of silver quarters. Nervous smokers carelessly left their cigaratte butts burn marks on the control panel. Hoodlums carved their names into the bezel. Someone else tried to break in through the speaker assembly. I also found stiff pieces of hard wire inside the cabinet which would only be good for someone trying to trigger the machine to give free credits by sticking them in the coin chute.

Anyways, this Defender is now looking quite nice, and has always been fully playable. This game now has a reproduction control panel and bezel, new old stock buttons and many other updates done to it. Its been a labor of love with this project. Also my Williams Joust needed a brother to stand side by side with. To read more about the restoration done to this machine then click here.

Now, were can I find a Robotron to complete this trifecta of awesome Williams classics?

First thing to do is to throw this machine on freeplay. Little did I know Sega didn't get their freeplay game right. Their version of freeplay consists of the game automatically restarting itself when one game ends, thereby losing the attract screens. It's also a bit annoying hearing the game play itself in the background. Oh well, I'll have to add a freeplay button at some point. Second thing on the to do list, EVERY game, and I mean EVERY game I get has every bulb burnt out on it and either missing keys or no keys. I mean, is this some conspiracy going on here? So I put in new coin door bulbs, a new marquee light, and 3 new sets of keylocks WITH keys. OK check, looking good so far. The gas pedal is sticking in a bad way, so I squirt some WD40 on it and it bounces again like the first day out of the factory. The last item of the day, the game steers but the steering wheel is all wrong. The wheel itself physically centers to the right, even though while centered it still drives straight. You can see in the picture the arrowed notch is centered to the right. So I have to unbolt half of the steering assembly to re-center the gears, which centers the steering wheel. After that is done, there is a broken spring in the steering wheel which causes it to bounce back to center. I remanufacture a new spring out of the broken one and install it. The final problem is that the steering wheel is supposed to shake upon driving off of the road. That is caused by that big motor in the picture to the left. At first I thought the motor or some relay was bad, but I finally track it down to the fact that someone disabled it through the dip switches. Why? I don't know. I bolt everything back together and fire it up. Everything lights up, the steering wheel centers and while playing it shakes like a bucking bronco. Absolutely perfect!

My wife had a garage sale today so it was the perfect opportunity to put the Mr. Do's Castle up for sale. I had it on freeplay for all the adults and kids to have a go at it while doing their garage sale purchases. Personally, I thought some nostalgic arcade geek like myself or some screaming kid's parents would take this one off my hands. Well think again. Some time today a man and his woman pulled up on a super nice Harley Davidson. They were both all decked out in leather, including leather jackets and chaps. The woman had a spiked dog collar around her neck. The first thing they walked up to and bought was the computer desk for sale. OK? They were really nice people and said they would be back with a truck to pick it up. Within an hour they showed up with a truck, and while loading the computer desk the guy made an impulse buy and bought the Mr. Do's Castle. Nice. Bikers and video games, who would have thought?

I've been letting go of any games that are in converted cabs at this point, as part of my transformation into becoming a "purist" arcade collector. I'm just wanting to round out my collection from here on out. I tried to pick up a non-working Super Pacman cabinet at the last auction, but a couple of weirdos bid it up the price so high that it just wasn't worth it. So I put my converted Super Pacman up for sale on Craiglist. One guy said he was coming out and got directions, then never showed up. So the next two people that called I told them that the first one to show up gets it, I'm not holding it for anybody. So someone comes out, says he wants it, gives me a $100 deposit, and tells me he will be back this evening with a truck to come pick it up. Guess what? He doesn't show up. I don't know who he's fooling, because I have $100 of his money and he has nothing.

Evenutally, I am happy to say that Otis, the person's real name, has finally come to get his prize and pay for the rest of it. However, I am not sure how long he will be able to enjoy it. He loaded the game in his truck and stood it upright. He then tied it through his driver and passenger windows with something that had the consistency of yarn. I informed him that I have transported many arcades on their backs and it doesn't hurt them if you don't have proper tie down straps, but Otis was determined this was the way to do it. He finished up, and drove off down the road, tailgate still open, with this top heavy arcade tied to his windows with yarn. Somehow I have the feeling he lost his arcade somewhere on Hwy 70 on his way home. Unfortunately, he can't return it saying it doesn't work when then entire thing is broken in half. Another one for the graveyard.

The year was 1986. According to the historians, the golden age of video games had just ended. This of course was unknown to me at the time, as I was a 14 year old boy. All I knew was I typically didn't like racing games, and Pole Position was the only half-decent game to play. So I walk into some arcade in 1986 and see this little gem, with a rockin' soundtrack and flashy pseudo 3d graphics. I was instantly hooked and fed quarters into this game every time I saw one from here on out.

I've been trying to find one of these for awhile now, and bid on a couple of them two auctions ago. Unfortunately they were bid up way too high. So I see this one on Craiglist at a rock bottom price. It was in working condition with a bright monitor and full sideart. As soon as I make contact with the guy I spontaneously fly out the door to go pick this thing Kansas City....and I am near St. Louis. My wife tells me I have a problem. It took me 7 hours round trip. Click here to read about the Outrun roadtrip.

I purchased this Digdug cocktail table awhile back. When I got it home much to my surprise it was a serial #19 along with matching board numbers. I was able to knock a significant amount off of the price because it was missing the top glass with the artwork. The woodgrain was still in great condition so that was a plus. I purchased the artwork underlay way back when but it was missing the top glass........ until now. I had to have the glass custom cut and tempered to fit the original dimensions. After the glass company lost my order for 2 weeks, they finally got it cut. I brought it home today and of course immediately installed it. Very Nice! Everyone has to have at least one cocktail game in their collection. If you gotta have one, let it be this sweet and fun to play!

As you might be able to guess from the picture on the right, I now own a Nintendo neon. This bad boy is 3 feet long, and proudly showcases the 3 Nintendo arcades that I currently own (Donkey Kong, Mario Bros and Popeye). I won this from an auction on ebay and had this item airshipped from Hawaii. Since Hawaii is in a different time zone, the auction was scheduled to end at 4AM. I assumed that only a die hard arcade fan like myself would be bidding at 4AM in the morning, so I set my alarm and went to sleep with Nintendo dreams. As I deducted, at 4AM I put in a high bid and won the auction.

So I didn't win anything at the auction I went to recently. Between the empty spot in the arcade and the extra money in my pocket I was getting the new game "jitters". Well never fear, a fellow arcade collector had a few games he was try to clear out of his garage. Lucky for me one of those was a Defender. Although it has some nicks in the cabinet, it has it's full color sideart still on it. Lots of these Defenders were converted during the early years and painted black. This Defender apparently had it's cigarette burned control panel nailed down due to a thief problem. At some point some kids ripped the control panel off to steal quarters for drug money so the owner decided to nail it down to prevent it from happening again. After pulling out all the nails, I then replaced the control panel with a new one. I also replaced the monitor bezel at the same time. The monitor is nice and bright and has no burn in. However, the colors were off and not converging properly. I had to adjust the yoke and convergence rings to get a perfect picture but it looks pretty darn awesome now. I have some more restoration to do but this Williams game is going to look great next to my Joust (another Williams game). The most important part, I forgot how much fun this game is. It's just not the same playing it in Mame.

I picked up a cheap jammatized Taito cab off of Craiglist hoping for an easy fix for a flip or conversion back to a Jungle Hunt. Unfortunately the monitor was blown because some meathead decided to not use an isolation transformer. OK, not a problem, I'll throw in a new monitor. My next realization was this astronaut who worked on this cab welded plates over the existing holes in the control panel and looked like he took a sledgehammer to it in the process. This made it dented, terrible looking and unuseable. In order to convert this I would need a new monitor, control panel, board, power supply and marquee. I decided it was not financially worth it. What did come to my mind was this was the first cab that I had no use for, and I was looking for a decent cab to move all my Mame stuff into. My original Mame cabinet was built 10 years ago from scratch. I was proud of it, but alongside my growing collection of 20 games it looked amazingly homemade. So I moved all my computer parts into this cab. Mounting that 19 inch computer monitor at an angle in the cab was a feat in itself. I cut and fitted a new control panel for the cabinet. It has an amazing speaker system in it with a nice bass subwoofer and it also has a wireless network card for easy updating. All in all I think my Taito Mame cabinet turned out pretty good.