I just got back from a mini-vacation that I took in Chicago.

Every awesome vacation needs a souvenir.

My souvenir just happens to weigh 350 pounds. Not only is the cartoon fun to watch, but this Simpsons is one sweet arcade game to play. Plus, 4 player gameplay. Awesome! Stay tuned for details on the Simpsons road trip.

I took a few updated pictures of the current state of the arcade. And to think I wanted to be that little kid from Silver Spoons (80's TV show). His mini arcade doesn't even compare. (Trivia: He had an Asteroids, Tempest, Pac-man, Gorf and Dragon's Lair)

As a collector, about 90% of the machines I get are missing locks and keys. Why? After 25 years they either got lost or some stingy arcade establishment took them out to save themselves $5 before they sold the game to the public. Either way, this has become quite the inconvenience to re-outfit all my machines. Most arcade games have 2 to 3 locks a piece, so it adds up quick. This isn't really the glamorous side of restoring a machine, but with the coin doors flopping open in your arcade you would be surprised how quickly small kids start to poke their hands inside the cabinet.

Enter ebay. I win an auction for 10 matching lock sets for $15. Quite the steal. So I get right to it by installing keylocks for any machine that still needs it.

On ebay some little entrepreneur has been selling keychains with pictures of arcade flyers for $5 a piece. I like how they look, but with 20 machines that adds up quick. So I find the plastic keychains at Walgreens for $1.50 each and print up my own arcade keychains. Have a look at the picture. I think they turned out pretty good. I made them on the cheap for each arcade game. Nice!

The other night I joined the 200K club for Q*bert scores. I finally lost my game after level 9. My game lasted approximately 45 minutes if I remember correctly. Back when I was a kid, if I could last 45 minutes on 1 quarter in the arcade I would have been a celebrity.

On another note, my daughter bought me a t-shirt that has a pac-man chasing a ghost on it and it says "Back In The Day" on the front.

One of the goodies that I have in my basement arcade is a Commodore 64. These home computers came out in 1982 during the Golden Age of Video Arcade Games. They blew away the competition in terms of performance and price. They sported a massive 64 kilobytes of memory and a 1MHz processer. The graphics and sound on these computers were as close to arcade quality as you could get. For a mere $600 you could own one of these gems. I honed my programming skills on this and now use those skills to earn a living.

So I get a line on a cheap Donkey Kong cocktail on ebay with a monitor problem, thanks to a fellow KLOV member. I could clearly tell from the auction pictures that it was a hard to get to horizontal hold tweak on the monitor that would fix the problem. That was one good looking cocktail table.

Lucky me, the auction was only 1 hour old and it was still available. Good news was that it had a buy it now option so I didn't have to bid against anyone. Bad news was that it was deep inside Kansas. That means it was time for a road trip. Read more about the road trip here.

Maybe I really didn't think this through. Now I own 2 Donkey Kongs. What am I supposed to do with 2 Donkey Kongs?!?!

They only made 1,219 Dig Dug cocktails, and I bet less than a third of those have survived the last 26 years. All in all, it is hard to get parts for these. I was lucky enough to buy a reproduction underlay for the top of the table, and also had a new piece of glass custom cut for it. However, the one piece that eluded me was the control panel overlays (x2). Some kid with hyperactivity disorder while playing this at Pizza Joe's in the year 1986 just had to pick and peel several pieces of the overlay off of the machine. I'm sure the parents did nothing to compensate the owner of this horrible vandalism. They probably gave Jimmy an extra piece of pizza for his good deed. Flash forward to June 2008. I jump at the chance to pick up a set of overlays that someone just reproduced. These were color and size matched, and had the same feel as the original. I am very happy with how they turned out.
To see more of my Dig Dug click here

Anyone: Do you have a Ms. Pacman?  {Smiles with expectation}
Me:& No.  {Ackward silence}

Not anymore. That's right, the ultimate chick game has now entered the basement arcade. You can read more about it here