My nephew Nick graduated high school and enlisted in the United States army. He left a few weeks after this party to go to basic training and serve our nation. I was proud to be host to his event, what is more american than video games! The arcade had the biggest crowd to date with about 80 people at my homestead. Below is a 50 photo spread for your viewing pleasure. Also, a big thank you to all our soldiers out their who protect us and serve our nation. My doors are open anytime for any of you to come by and play some games.


An arcade collector from Iowa was in the area on business and asked to stop on by for a little get together. This was a good occasion to have a few other collectors over to play, share our stories and our knowledge. In attendance was Ken (kjeffery from KLOV and from Iowa), Pat (Mongo from KLOV), Keith (Welove80s from KLOV) and his daughter. Of course my kids joined in on the fun.

Probably the coolest story of the evening is of how Pat and his wife met by playing the arcade game Xevious. Of course he was drawn immediately to my Xevious game and put up the gameroom's high score on the machine. Below is a picture of him playing the game. Certainly I have had the arcade packed before, but I'll guarantee you that the 4 of us appreciated our surroundings that evening more than most. Good times and one for the books!

Well, it had to happen, and with a medium resolution monitor on top of all things. The flyback in my Narc bit the dust and took out a slew of other parts on the monitor chassis along with it. After unsuccessfully trying to repair the monitor, I finally had to send off the monitor board for repair. During that time, the Narc was taken out of service and put into a storage room for a couple of months. I waited, and waited and waited.

Finally the chassis came back from repair and I was ready to put it in. I pulled out the Narc, threw in the repair chassis and fired it up. Success! It took a few minutes to dial in the colors, brightness and contrast to work with my tube, but it certainly looked good. It was time to play some Narc. After playing several rounds of Narc, I noticed there was no gun shot sounds. Nothing. All other sounds were present, but no gunshots. Have you ever tried to play a shooting game with no gunfire? It just wasn't right. I pulled open the cabinet and started to tinker with the sound board. I found the culprit, which was a DAC (digital to analog converter) chip was fried and the top of it had blown off. This DAC chip provided the gunshot sound. Why would that happen?

I threw on the voltmeter and the voltage was reading really high. My guess is months in a dark storage area must have messed with the power supply and blown a sensitive chip. Luckily nothing else was harmed. I re-adjusted the power supply, ordered a new DAC chip and repaired the sound board. This is the longest I ever had a game out of service but months after it had gone down I finally have a working Narc again. It sure feels good to have all my games at 100% once again and the arcade at full capacity.

The Narc has now been in service through several all day parties with no hiccups whatsoever. I'll call this repaired once and for all. Time to bust Mr. Big and all those drug dealers. Narc Rocks!

A few weeks ago my family and I were in the St. Louis area to go swimming in my grandma's inground pool. Afterwards, we were going to have some Chinese buffet for dinner, but we still had an hour to kill until dinnertime. I mentioned to my wife that we should take a stroll through Crestwood mall. There used to be an amazing arcade in the bottom level of that mall which had long since closed, but this mall used to literally be my playground as a kid. I wanted to check it out.

As we started to cruise the mall, one thing became abundantly clear. This mall was now a mostly dead mall with no life in it. All the fun stores had left a long time ago leaving scores of dance and artist studios behind. Then I spied something I never seen before. Could it be? IT WAS!!! There it was, an arcade retail store IN THE MALL. I REPEAT, IN THE MALL. Not some arcade, but scores of classics with prices tags on them. Best part was, you could play them for free if you showed an interest in buying one. I couldn't believe it! They even had an EDOT and a Starblade, which are considered rarities. Now the prices were a mixed bag between retail to above average prices. I don't necessarily know that I would ever buy anything from there, but still this was the find of the century. This was pretty cool. A week later a few collector friends and I stopped in there again to have a good look around. One thing I noticed, is that the price of that Starblade was dropped pretty low, around a typical Craigslist price listing. Hmmmm....maybe....just maybe. Arcade Amusements Plus, I salute you as the best store in the mall!

We had a birthday party for a family member at the homestead in July. Of course, one of the main sources of entertainment was the basement arcade. This was an adult birthday party, but any kids in attendance had a good time also. When walking around with the camera I encountered this young boy riding the Road Burners arcade game while wearing a Star Wars stormtrooper helmet. This was a pretty funny sight and I couldn't resist snapping off a picture.

The only issue of the day was an unsupervised kid who was raiding the candy machines so much that I finally had to turn them off. Later in the evening while cleaning up I found a piece of gum with little teeth marks in it that was stuck to one of my games. I can take a wild guess which kid did that. Oh well, it comes with the territory. This is a gameroom, not a museum. Until next time, enjoy the pics!

Ever since the first Megatouch arcade game graced the arcade, I dreamed of someday owning the final software upgrade - The Crown Edition. For years, this game was out of my price range. However, one auction and one road trip later, I now have a Crown. Best of all, the wife wants to keep both games! It doesn't get any better than that! Click here to read about the Megatouch Maxx - Crown Edition road trip.

Earlier this year I picked up both a Terminator II and a Sinistar in the same road trip. Both were described as having issues. The Sinistar needed several RAM chips replaced, and that fixed it right up. The Terminator II only needed a new battery and calibration issues. It has worked for many months without issues. After multiple game days and get togethers over the last few months, the Terminator II started to spontaneously reboot. Typically that means one of three things are wrong. The power supply is too low or flaky, chips or connectors on the main PCB need to be reseated, or else you need a new main PCB altogether. It's worth noting that sometimes a game with lose IC chips or cable issues can fix itself during transport, and vice-versa that a working game can get issues from things becoming loose during transport. This problem may have very well existed all along with a semi-loose cable or partially seated IC chip.

I went ahead and swapped out the switching power supply just to be sure. Then I pulled the main PCB and reseated all the socketed chips, as well as firmly reconnecting all the cables back again. After putting it all back together I played a marathon game with over 50 continues while running both guns with full recoil. All seems well again and this mighty machine is now back in service.

I recently have been lucky enough to purchase a coveted Star Wars/Empire Strikes back upgrade kit. These kits allow you to run both the original Star Wars game and the ROM upgrade for The Empire Strikes Back, both in the same game cabinet at the same time. Having these 2 games in one cabinet beats having to purchase a second $1000 Star Wars game and then spending a chunk of change finding the ROM upgrade.

From my earlier post on 7/08/11, you can see the 4 boards that make the upgrade kit. Installation was rather easy, requiring you to remove some original game ROMS as the code now resides on the upgrade boards. Part of the installation also requires removing two 6809 CPU's and plugging them into the upgrade boards. The whole process took less than 30 minutes, and was rather painless. After installing the Star Wars board with the upgrade kit back into the game cabinet I fired the game up and crossed my fingers. The game came up immediately, and I was ready for some multi-game action.

The kit allows installation of an external switch to switch games, which require possibly drilling into my pristine Star Wars cabinet. However, there is also an option to switch games by entering a unique trigger combination. This is the part I like, and also why I bought this kit. The trigger combination goes like this. Left thumb for at least 2 second but no greater then 5 seconds, Release left thumb. Right thumb for at least 2 second but no greater then 5 seconds, Release right thumb. Now you might think this might happen accidentally during gameplay, but after much testing the combination and length of time just doesn't occur during the game. This makes the combination easy to remember, yet perfect for switching games.

During the Empire Strikes Back game, the player flys a either a Snowspeeder or the Millenium Falcon through four stages to complete each level. During each stage, the player can earn a letter to spell "JEDI" which for a limited time will destroy all enemy shots the moment they are fired which you receive points for, plus a set of stripes next to your name if you make the high score list. In stage 1, you fly a Snowspeeder over the planet Hoth and shoot Probots who are sending transmission signals. In stage 2, you fly a Snowspeeder over the terrain of Hoth with the goal of destroying Imperial Walkers and Scout Walkers before they reach the main power generator. You can shoot out the red viewports of the enemy, or shoot tow cables at their feet to tie them up and make them fall down. In stage 3, you must fight your way through a wave of Tie Fighters in the Millenium Falcon. In stage 4, you fly the Millenium Falcon through an Asteroid field.

I must say The Empire Strikes Back game is both difficult and highly addictive as a color vector game. There are more enemies to destroy than the original Star Wars, with the additional goal of trying to earn Jedi letters during the game. This kit was well worth every penny, and makes a welcome addition to the arcade. I highly recommend it. I have to go now and destroy some more AT-AT's and Scout Walkers. The game is calling my name. May the Force Be With Me!

From my perspective as a little boy, the Star Wars arcade game was the greatest game of all time. I was not only a Star Wars kid, but now I could blow up the Death Star along with digitized voices straight from the movie while playing the Star Wars arcade game. This game blew away all the competition at the time, and paled in comparison to anything on your home Atari 2600. So after years of searching, I drove through several states to pick up my very own Star Wars arcade game. You can read about that road trip by clicking here.

Now I would have thought it doesn't get any better than owning your very own Lucasfilm licensed, Atari color vector Star Wars arcade game. But oh wait, it does get better. You might ask me how could that ever be possible? Well, let me tell you.

The original Star Wars game came out in 1983. Operators liked to keep their games on location fresh to bring in more revenue so Atari came out with an Empire Strikes Back conversion kit in 1985. The conversion kit was basically a ROM swap to put a new game in the original arcade cabinet. As the name implies, the Empire Strikes back gives you gameplay found on the planet Hoth, with shooting Probots, At-At's and Scout Walkers. Unfortunately these ROM swaps are pretty scarce, and lets face it, not many collectors want to give up that original Star Wars gameplay they fell in love with.

A company called Vector Labs came up with an ingenious solution. Put both games on an upgrade kit that plugs into the original Star Wars boardset. The upgrade boards contain the original game code of both Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back, and allows you to switch between both games by use of a unique trigger combination OR external button. I now have that upgrade kit. Next week I'll post Part II of this upgrade.

Last weekend I had a church youth gameday down in the vault. Altogether we had about 30 people there. The games got a marathon workout for 9 hours running from 1PM to 10PM. No real breakdowns to speak of, which is pretty amazing with 39 games running. It was an all around great day with the standard pizza, chips and endless soda from my soda machine to top things off.