My Open Ice game has been up for sale on Craiglist for awhile now. I have had 15 interested emails and phone calls, but no takers. 3 weeks into this and no one will take the plunge and snatch this thing up. Again, I get yet another call. "Is this game still available?". I just wanted to strangle the guy. My ad states the following: "If you are reading this ad then the game is still available". I hold my cool and tell the guy "Yes, it is still available". Much to my shock he further responds "I want to buy this game. Can you deliver?" I tell the guy I can deliver for $25. With a few more exchanges, I am on my way. Now this game is huge. So huge that I have to take off the control panel to put it in the van. Still not that big of a deal, but it will play into the storyline. Just as a future teaser, I sold this game to fund another purchase, but THAT is another post.

Now its raining outside, and not just a little rain, A LOT OF RAIN. This is no problem for me, because I haul arcade games in a van. I tell the guy I can haul it to his garage, and he assures me that isn't a problem. 45 minutes later I show up at the guys house, in the rain. First problem I notice is the guy does not have a car garage, he has a garage converted into a family room garage. This means I am not backing the van up into the garage, oh no, that would be too easy. I have to unload the game in the rain and wheel it 10 feet in the rain into the "garage". During this time, rain is falling directly into the exposed hole left from the removed control panel. I am a little worried at this point, but bring the game in and start to towel dry it off. Now the fun part begins.

I plug in the game and I hear it starting up, but on the monitor appears a thin white line. Dang. Too much water or moisture got in the game. A little embarrassed at this point I ask the guy if he had a hair dryer and explain I think too much water got inside the game. He digs up a blow dryer and I spend about 5 mintutes drying it out. And then the moment of truth, I turn the game on a second time. Voila, the game powers up with a full screen on the monitor. The guy plays a few games and pays me full price plus a delivery fee. Catastrophe averted.

Best part is the buyer asked me where the pause button was. Now THAT is funny!

What are the odds? Two warehouse raids in 1 month? Strange, I just got back from a road trip {more on that on a future post} and 3 days later I am heading to a warehouse raid. Thanks to intel from a friend and collector (Pat), myself and another friend and collector (Todd) loaded up and headed 1 hour south down a country highway lovingly known as blood alley.

Our adventure took us to the Starlight drive-in which had been run down and virtually abandoned for quite some time. This Drive-In was the scene straight out from a horror flick, I'm not kidding you. Thankfully this adventure ended up with a happy ending. I personally hauled away 2 games and about 50 boardsets and Todd took 2 games, 1 pinball and some boardsets. The prices were so good we are contemplating heading back...maybe. I think its about high time I invested in a decent trailer so I can haul away more games. Click here to read more about The Starlite Drive-In warehouse raid.

Leave it to my 10 year old to find something wrong with a machine. Ice Cold Beer has been working just fine ever since I brought it home and got it fixed up. Now enter my 10 year old who decide he will mercilessly conquer this game. The point of the game is to the ball in the numbered hole, 1 through 10 in successive order. Each number is higher to get to and harder to get it in the hole. My son managed to get it all the way up to hole 9, and then discovered the rods would not let him go any higher. What does that mean? It means you can't conquer the game. You can't get to hole number 10.

I take apart the game and discovered the stop switches which control how high it will let the rods go were set about an inch too low. I don't know if it was this way all its life, or if someone had worked on this game in the past. Anyways, I fix the switch settings, give it a test by raising the rods as high as it will go, and now the game is working perfectly. When you own these old games, fixing them is part of ownership. Make sure if you ever get into this hobby that you are prepared to service them, or at least willing to give it the old college try.

Sometimes, they just gotta go. Ever since the construction of my gameroom, I have filled up space real quick. Yes, space is starting to become a premium. Then last week I went on a warehouse raid and snatched up 2 more games. One diamond in the rough, Afterburner, and one rare, highly collectible game, Ice Cold Beer. Nothing to do with alcohol, you just move rods up and down the playfield to get a pinball in the little holes. I prefer to call it Ice Cold "Root" Beer.

So with 2 games in, somethings gotta go. Plus there is an arcade auction in another week, and I am still hunting for that elusive Star Wars game. With space at a premium, I put Radikal Bikers on Craigslist. I enjoy the game, it has beautiful graphics. But lets face it, I am a classic arcade collector and that game was made in 1998. It had stunning 3D graphics just like any Xbox or Playstation. Most certainly I can just play my Xbox if it was all about the 3D graphics. No, its much more than that.

It is about fixing and restoring the gems that came from our childhood, these games which cost $2000 new "back in the day" and were nothing more than a pipe dream to own even 1 of them. All we had was some blocky cheap knock-off on our Atari 2600, which didn't come close to mimicking our favorites from the arcade.

I had to face the reality that Radikal Bikers was made in 1998 it was only 11 years old. She's just a minor, and I like mine to be around 29 years old, the 80's, just like my wife. The game was just too young. So, with no warm and fuzzy memory of the game, it has now been sold.

Thanks to a local collector I was given a heads up of a an operator's 7 warehouse/storage units that were being cleared out. In the collecting world, this is known as a warehouse raid.

raid [reyd]   -verb
  1. enter someone else's territory and take spoils
  2. search for something needed or desired
  3. to entice away from another
  4. to loot

You go in with cash, cherry pick what you want, shake hands, settle on a price, load up and leave for home with your goodies in tow. Luckily we were the first ones to arrive on location. I picked up a couple of items in this little venture, and saw a lot of cool stuff.
Click here to read more about the warehouse raid.

Did I destroy my Q*bert with a shotgun blast and then shoot a few 9mm bullets into the monitor? No. I love that Q*bert way too much. However, I did install a power supply rebuild kit and a new cap kit for the monitor.

The picture on the Q*bert had some dark stripes flowing across the screen and the power supply main voltage was maxed out at 4.75V. I didn't know if the power supply or the monitor was causing the problem, but both were prone to failure and both had original components in them since I owned the game. Q*bert's by nature have a high failure rate, thanks to a poor design in the power supply so I decided to shotgun the power supply and cap the monitor.

So what does it mean when you shotgun a power supply? This is when you replace all components prone to failure with brand new components. The end result is that it should function like right off the assembly line. Well there are 2 main kinds of arcade power supplies. Older power supplies used a linear power supply which were not as reliable, and newer power supplies use a switching power supply. The old linear supplies ran hot, and voltages would drift with time. In many cases you can swap out a linear supply with a switching one, such as I did with Joust to ensure reliability. However, the Q*bert uses a bunch of funky voltages that only the original linear supply had. Therefore, it had to be shotgunned. Also, the ever common cap kit was installed in the monitor for good measure.

The end result? I have the power supply dialed in at a rock steady 5.15V (its good to be slightly over) and the monitor picture looks really good.
I then logged a game of Q*bert and scored 219,000. Not bad at all. Click here to read the entire history of my Q*bert.

So I put the VS Gumshoe game in my Nintendo VS Unisystem and took out the VS Hogans Alley. Mainly I needed to test to make sure my new kit worked properly, but it turns out that this game is ultra fun. I most certainly am going to leave it as it is, a rare gun game that is loads of fun to play, how can you go wrong? Hopefully as time goes on, I will get another VS Unisystem or basic Nintendo cabinet and then I can put the VS Hogans Alley game in that one. That would awesome, to have both gun games side by side. Until then, Gumshoe it is. Below is a run down of the playability of the game.

OBJECT OF THE GAME: Ex-FBI Agent turned detective, Mr. Stevenson, receives a ransom note. His only daughter, Jennifer, has been kidnapped. Armed with only a Zapper and a keen eye, you must help him collect the five Black Panther Diamonds, hidden all around the world, to gain the release of Jennifer. This game proceeds to the right with the main character, Mr. Stevenson, automatically running towards the goal within a limited time. The course is divided into phases: City, Sky, Sea, Jungle. Near the end of each phase, there is a diamond that has to be picked up by Mr. Stevenson. While collecting all the diamonds, Mr. Stevenson must face many obstacles. Whether or not he can make it to the hideout to save his only daughter, Jennifer, depends on your sharp wit and lightning reflexes.

BASIC OPERATION: Use the gun to shoot down all the obstacles that come flying toward Stevenson. Shoot at Stevenson to make him jump to avoid getting hit by the obstacles. By making Stevenson pop the ballons, you can increase your number of bullets. NOTE: When you run out of bullets, you can continue to make Stevenson jump but you will not be able to shoot down the obstacles.

In the not so distant past I received a broken Nintendo Vs Duck Hunt. I fixed the game, and converted it back to a VS Hogans Alley. Over the course of time I have found out that there is a rare and wildly popular Nintendo gun game called Gumshoe. This was available on the NES home entertainment system which everyone knows and loves. However the arcade version was very scarce. You are a detective trying to collect diamonds to pay a ransom for your kidnapped girlfriend. Along the way you have to shoot enemies to clear the path and shoot the detective guy to make him jump over obstacles.

Anyways, I was on the hunt for one of these and found a new old stock kit for sale on ebay. I won the auction, I now I own the kit. Everything is in mint condition. Now for an important decision to make, either switch the Hogans Alley to a Gumshoe or look for another VS Unisystem cabinet to put the game in. Hmmmm.... decisions, decisions.