The kids go back to school today, so we took this opportunity to make a custom pinball flyer for the newest addition to the Vintage Vault Arcade, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pinball! This is definitely the new favorite game for the lady of the house.

This pinball game is the end result of my 3 game sale. You can read about that here:

I have since bought a Congo Bongo and a Space Ace/Dragon's Lair laserdisc game, but I was still missing that third game to fill the arcade back to capacity once again. I waited 3 months for just the right game, and I finally found it, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pinball. Besides adding a 3rd pinball to the collection this one contains retro goodness with artwork and sound samples from the original Ninja Turtles cartoon and movie. I LOVE THIS PINBALL.

After purchasing I immediately got to work bringing this one up to my arcade standard of quality. I did a complete swap over to all more colorful LED lighting. I waxed the playfield. It was missing some plastics which I replaced. This pinball also comes equipped with 4 original 1988 Playmates action figures on the playfield and Raphael (the red headband turtles) was missing. I found one on ebay and replaced him back onto the playfield in its original spot to the upper left.

Finally, there was the famous Data East pinball speaker hum which would happen when all the playfield lights would light up. It sounded like someone playing the kazoo during the pinball's demo lighting. I tried removing the ground strap to the speakers and floating the sound board with plastic washers, nothing worked. Finally I tried replacing the backbox speakers with some higher quality speakers. To my surprise, the lighting hum is mostly gone and the sound is now AMAZING, rich and deep. This pinball truly sounds exceptional now with just a speaker upgrade over the 30 year old stock paper cone speakers.

This pinball features 3 ball multi-ball, twin ramp shots, a spinning pizza disc in the middle of the playfield, a sewer ball shot which makes the ball disappear and pop out of a sewer hole, and plenty of digitized speech and theme music to make any teenage mutant ninja turtles fan happy. I seriously can't get enough of this game and it looks really good next to the High Speed pinball game. As the turtles would say.... Cowabunga! I love being a turtle!!!!

Back in January I launched Retro TV: A TV Broadcasting Station in the Arcade on UHF Channel 33. This project uses old analog signals to wirelessly broadcast TV signals to vintage TV's. You can read about this project at the link below with the 1/31/19 entry:

I've been looking for more vintage TV's for this project, so I've come across this cool little oddity. A clear case 13 inch tube TV. It was screaming for some blue LED backlighting, so I installed some. And yes, clear TV's were used in prisons to prevent inmates from hiding contraband.

Now that I have this all cleaned up and ready to go it will find a nice spot in the Vintage Vault Arcade permanently tuned in to UHF 33, Retro TV... Rockin' the 80's all day and all night!

A 20 year journey has finally come to an end. I finally picked up my first Space Ace / Dragons Lair arcade game. I have wanted this game every since I started collecting, and have admired this game ever since I was a little boy. I saw my first Space Ace laserdisc game at Showbiz Pizza, complete with its 50cents per play price tag. I was a sci fi fanatic, and to play a Space Ace as a cartoon just blew me away. I was hooked on laserdisc games.

Fast forward to the present, and I find someone selling a non-working Space Ace arcade game. This game had been in a barn for the last 10 years and was in remarkable shape. It is serial# LDS-0369. That number is a factory built Space Ace, in the Dragons Lair style cab. After a short production run Cinematronics switched to a rather ugly inverted style cabinet, I like this slanted body style much better.

The game was non-working, but showed some signs of life as the scoreboard lit up, the monitor blinked on and off, and you could hear a coin up beep. I took the game home and started to clean everything up and read up on any online documentation I could get my hands on. The game came with the original Pioneer LD-V1000 laserdisc player, and the seller threw in a working laser disc player (a Pioneer LD-V8000) which is not compatible with the arcade game without a conversion board installed. I ordered a Merlin 8000 board which not only allows the new laserdisc player to run in these arcade games, but has Dragons Lair and Dragons Lair II roms also installed. This means you can switch the game you play in the cabinet, as long as you have the original laserdisc. Luckily, I had picked up a Dragons Lair laserdisc years back for just such an occasion. So I'm waiting for this Merlin board to show up in the mail, and in the meantime I pull out the original non-working LD-V1000 laserdisc player. It was filthy, I mean just a thick layer of dust on it. I started to clean up the player, and ran across an article on how to open up the laserdisc player and perform maintennance by thoroughly cleaning all the sealed optics in there. I took off the cover, took apart the sealed optics section and started to painfully clean all the mirrors, prisms and laser diode. I put it all back together, put it back in the game, and turned it on. To my surprise, it started RIGHT UP! I'm playing my first game of Space Ace in more than a decade, and even then it was on an emulator. I was like a little kid again! It was fabulous, playing my very own Space Ace!

Soon enough the Merlin 8000 board came in. I installed and and shelved the original LD-V1000 (now working) and put in the more reliable LD-V8000 which only works on the Merlin board. Now the cut scenes switched much faster, and I was able to put in my original Dragons Lair laserdisc and play that too! I am beyond the moon happy at this point, but a lot more work needed to be done to make this arcade ready. I spent hours dialing in the CRT monitor for perfect color, contrast and brightness. It looks AMAZING now, with no burn or tube wear. The fan sounded like a jet plane (bad bearings after 36 years) and the air filter was missing which explains the dusty, broken original laserdisc player. I sourced a quieter fan and proper size air filter and installed them. Now the game needed one more upgrade, a Dexter board. This board uses the orignal CPU mainboard, but stores the laserdisc images on a flash drive and mimics the commands for the old laserdisc players. This means no moving parts, no laserdisc player breakdowns, the ability to store multiple laserdisc images on the flash drive, and also switch between games instantly. This was out of stock but the creator of the Dexter board built built one board specifically for me to purchase. Nice!

The Dexter board came in, I carefully read the directions and got it installed. The Dexter also has an easy ability to flash new firmware so I went ahead and did that after installing it. Now it was time to move the game down into the arcade. Previously I sold off 3 games so I moved Space Ace into one empty spot and the Tron into the other. It's a beautiful site. Now I thought I was all finished, but I noticed after playing this game over many weeks the monitor would flicker bright, or in and out. I'm concerned I have a monitor issue, or a Dexter issue and spent a lot of time tracking down the problem. I surmised the video cable with a BNC connector was bad with time, so I replaced it. The picture looked amazing with the new video cable, but the flicker continued. I finally tracked down the problem to the input connector on the NTSC decoder board. With all the work I did, unplugging and plugging that connector back in more than a dozen times the connector had come loose from the board and was barely hanging on. I tighted it up, ran all new solder and the video has been rock solid ever since. This Space Ace now is fully functional with multiple upgrades, along with the ability to also play Dragons Lair and Dragons Lair II. I also have 2 working laserdisc players on the shelf either to put back to original, or help get another project game working at some future point in time. If someone were to ask me what are my favorite games, what would I never sell? That would be Star Wars, Q*bert and Space Ace. Two decades of waiting, and now I have 3 laserdisc games in 1. It's time to go play some Space Ace (then maybe some Dragons Lair)!

Have you ever had a conversation with yourself? What would the world be like with 2 Rock Dads? Anything can happen at the Vintage Vault Arcade. Watch this episode to find out!