This a short clip from the next Rock Dad episode. This is a Virtual Reality game called Classic Arcade Hunter. I realize that the movie Pixels is coming out but to be fair, I've owned a classic arcade for the last 10 years and for the same time frame I've always wanted to create a Virtual Reality game based on the classics. Enjoy the video!

For as long as a I was a kid, I love air hockey. At my old house I had a Walmart special...and it was nothing special. I finally sold it at a garage sale. At the new home I finally got a mid-grade air hockey table. After numerous game days I watched kid after kid jump up on it and saw the legs wobbling like a drunken sailor. I had an arcade full of commercial machines well designed to take abuse, and I needed an air hockey table built the same.

Finally this last Christmas I was able to pick up a commerical air hockey table at a reasonable price. It turned out to be much more than just a normal air hockey table, it had overhead scoring with a blacklight surface. Thats the bonus round in my opinion. I got it set up, had game day after game day and life was good. The last gameday I had there was a bunch of small children who could barely push the puck. I noticed that with the puck moving at micro slow speed, that it finally stopped and got stuck at the middle of the table. I tested various spots on the table and noticed many with very poor airflow. Well, a well used machine always needs maintennance and an air hockey table is no exception. I tried the toothpick and needle trick to open up the holes, but the holes were so tight it was hurting my fingers trying to push it through. The last solution is to drill out each and every hole with a tiny 1/32" drill bits. Sounds easy? Try drilling out 4048 pinholes (I counted the rows) while bent over the table for 5 hours. Ouch. I can tell you though, it needed it. That table is now flying fast and easy again, like it just came out of the factory. While fixing up this machine I always noticed an LED bar burnt out on the display. You could still tell the score but this bothered me to no end so I finally tracked down the exact part, ordered it and replaced the bad LED. The display is good as new, and the table and air flow is good as new. I love this air hockey table. Check out the last photo for the black light / glow in the dark effect. Time for some puck action!

It doesn't get much more patriotic than the 4th of July. Part of my American dream, was to have my own arcade. I dreamt about it as a child and made it a reality through the opportunities available in this country. Sometimes I walk down into my arcade late at night and all I can say is God Bless America. These arcade machines are a piece of art and I like looking at them almost as much as I like playing them. To celebrate this 4th of July, here are some pictures of Nintendo Row all lit up screaming for some play time. Click on the smaller pictures to pop them up larger.

I love my Nintendo row and especially my Donkey Kong triecta: Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr, and Donkey Kong 3. For some time now I noticed every once in awhile my Donkey Kong Jr would come up with a white screen. Resetting the game would usually bring it back up. Unfortunately this last time it white screened and never came back. I took out the board, pulled all the chips and reseated them, and also reconnected all the connectors for a better connection. Still a white screen. Uggghhh. I pull out my volt meter and measure out the voltages. Zero volts....well there's your problem. Instead of rebuilding a flaky linear power supply, I opted to pick up a new switching power supply with adapter. This doesn't alter the game characteristics in any way, it still provides it with the same power. I left in the original power brick in case 100 years from now some purist wanted to rebuild it...only God knows why.

While I was working on the game, Donkey Kong Jr was one of the few left that didn't have a good freeplay option. I had the coin slot wired up to the Player 2 button but most people couldn't figure it out. I went ahead and purchased a Free play / High Score kit for the game. You pull the Z80 CPU, plug in the new board and insert your Z80 into the new mini board. Bingo, same game code, new options. If you click on the pictures you will see the freeplay / high score board and the new black switching power supply behind the old power brick. Donkey Kong Jr lives again, now with enhanced free play and high score saves. Time for Junior to go save daddy kong! Happy Fathers day to me!

This is a mini music video that will accompany the next Rock Dad episode. Even if its not your cup of tea,
you get to see shots of the Vintage Vault Arcade in the background along with Nintendo's Virtual Boy.

What is Pachinko? Pachinko is a form Japanese pinball which is played on a vertical playfield. In Japan its also used as a gambling device. Much like Americans used to have full blown arcades, Japanese would have entire locations devoted to a Pachinko Parlor.

This is the object of the game. Basically you launch a mini metal ball upwards into the playfied. Gravity pulls the ball down hitting metal pins on the way down. If you manage to get a ball in a winning pocket, you get a jackpot payout of 15 balls. Balls are recycled for jackpot payouts and reuse. If you have ever watched The Price Is Right on TV and seen the game Plinko, this is basically the same concept.

Almost all vintage Pachinko machines have been imported from Japan after they were retired from service. I've read about them but I have never seen one in person. I just happened to be at a garage sale recently and sitting there right in middle of the driveway was this Pachinko machine. No price tag. Immediately it made me think that the person wanted to tell me the sticker shock price in person so they can haggle with me. My wife inquired how much was wanted on the game. The owners called some older lady out of the house and she threw out a ridiculously low price I couldn't refuse.

I get the game home and start "the process". That is basically researching the game, figuring out how it worked, and working out all the repairs needed. After 2 weeks of research and repair, I figured out the games mechanics, fixed all the problems and also found out this model was from 1968. Yes, you read it, 1968. This game is 47 years old and I just resurrected it from the dead. The kids took an instant liking to the games mechanics, whizzing this mini metal balls up the playfield and hitting jackpots.

I almost gave up on garage sales as everyone these days are now ebay experts and ask ebay prices. However, I finally hit the jackpot myself with this find. This vintage Pachinko machine is now repaired and has entered into The Vintage Vault Arcade.

A coworker of my wife was having some nieces and nephews in from Nebraska, and asked if they could come over for some arcade time. I open up my arcade for gamedays, events and when individuals request it. This I always do for free. Around 20 people came out besides my family. The grandmother of the group who lived in town was so happy to see all her grandkids having fun, told me that she had some Nintendo games that she had in boxes and wanted to know if I wanted to add it to my collection. Her game system went bad a long time ago and she could never bring herself to throw the stuff out. These games and accessories had been stored for years and she was excited to be able to finally give it to a good home. She drove home and retrieved the items and below is what I received. The grandmother said that she wanted to bless me with it for opening up my home to her family.

It's that time of year again, which means warm weather and gamedays. I just had our yearly church gameday with over 40 people in attendance.

Somehow I managed to have the A Cappella Choir party that Friday and the Church gameday that sunday for a very busy weekend.

You know what? I wouldn't change a thing. This arcade is not a museum. It was meant to be played and enjoyed, for kids, for teens and for adults!

These doors are open, free of charge so let them play and have a good time! Does this picture on the right look they are having a good time? Kids are smiling on top of the machines, mom is on Galaga, and dads are playing the shooting game Revolution X. On to the photos!

I stitched together some video taken from the A Cappella Choir party down in the arcade. They took full advantage of the media jukebox which contains over 2200 music videos. That's right, not MP3's but full on music videos. After all, we were the true MTV generation before reality TV took over. Remember those days, when MTV actually "played" music videos day and night? Enjoy the video!

My son is in his high school's A Cappella choir group named "Pitch The Keys". Think of the TV show *Glee* and there you have it. It's the end of the school year, which meant a last performance and a party down in the arcade.

There was around 25 teens that came and they gave that media jukebox a workout, let me tell you. I have 2 microphones hooked up to the amplifier that the media jukebox uses for karaoke.

Those kids can sing....WOW!. And sing they did, and dance, and play games. Last of them left around midnight. It was a great time down in the arcade. Pics or it didn't happen.

Owning your own home arcade comes at a cost, just like owning a car or home. That means at some point in time maintennance and repairs will have to be done. With 30+ year old arcade games, they are no different. Recently after the last gameday I noticed Q*bert would power up, then reboot, power up again, then reboot. The problem seemed to go away after 5 minutes so I thought it was a fluke. Next time I powered up the games, same issue. Q*bert rebooted numerous times and finally stopped. I evern used this *problem* as part of the next Rock Dad episode which you can view at this link, Rock Dad Ep.6. I put a voltmeter on the power supply and it was reading at 3.8V. Honestly, I don't know how the game stayed running even with it rebooting. 3.8V is amazingly low for old electronic circuits which need a steady 5V.

I went ahead and ordered a power supply rebuild kit. The power supply is in the upper right of the pictures, the one with the big heat sink. Q*bert is one of those games that you want to rebuild the power supply as opposed to putting in a new switcher. Besides the voltages needed for the amplifier, the main reason is the 30V which is needed for the knocker circuit. Without 30V at the knockers, when Q*bert jumps off the pyramid it is an almost silent *thump* as opposed to a loud, sharp *Crack!*. Yes, the knocker needs full voltage for that original Q*bert pyramid jump sound. I rebuilt the power supply, dialed in the voltage using the onboard potentiometer and put everything back in place. I played a few games of Q*bert and jumped of the pyramid a couple of times just to test. As is well again, which is a good thing since I have a birthday party and another gameday just right around the corner. Q*bert lives again!

Rock Dad's daughters get into trouble.
Playing video games, music, family and robots. It's a Rock Dad life.