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Come with me, back in time...

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  • Come with me, back in time...

    So I'll give you a hint of backstory here. My father, in his earlier years, often followed my Uncle Gary around from bowling alley to bowling alley, refurbishing, cleaning and fixing various pinball machines made by Gottleib, Williams, Bally and Chicago Coin (before you ask, Stern wasn't around at the time). He personally owned a Bally pinball machine known as Expressway, and it was his personal childhood pride and joy.

    Fast forward to two years ago. My best friend had a 1975 Gottleib Fast Draw laying around in serious disrepair - the flipper solenoids were shot, the playfield was filthy and in desperate need of a wax, and the chime solenoid shafts were fused to their chambers. It was a wreck. My father gave him $20 for the machine plus transportation costs, and in a week, the machine was up and running like new.

    And so the obsession started...

    What you see here is the culmination of buys, sells, trades and repairs over two years. We've gone through over 16 pinball machines, two shooters, and a video arcade or two. I'll go into greater detail.

    Here is Gottleib's 1978 "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". A four-player solid-state, it features a strange upper left bumper configuration, and a "roto-disc" target wheel in the upper right corner. This was one of the first solid-state machines to be manufactured by Gottleib, and a four-player one to boot.

    Behold Gottleib's 1979 "Solar Ride". Solar Ride is a ###### to be sure, sporting the traditional center-wedge bumper configuration, it's the flippers that'll ###### you up. Observe the left hand flippers, the front-center one having no back support. That means, the traditional trick of "Trapping" the ball (holding the flipper up to hold the ball in the niche of the flipper and the flipper trough) doesn't ######ing work. I've lost so many games because I can't trap-*****. Again, another four-player solid-state by Gottleib.

    Ah, our cornerstone to the entire arcade room. Here's Gottleib's 1975 "Fast Draw". A four-player standard configuration machine, this was one of the last remaining electromechanical (as opposed to solid-state) machines around. This machine takes the most finesse over all the other machines in the room, as it sports a slower, gentler slope, with much gentler pop-up bumper and flipper solenoids. This allows you to put a bit more control and spin on the ball, and rack up more bonuses off the left and right drop targets. (Old electromechanical solenoids used AC current instead of the now-standard DC, this led to a gentler kick on the ball).

    Here's our new piece to the collection. This is Williams' 1983 "Firepower II". The third solid-state of the collection, it's another four-player machine and it's the only one that allows a +1 multiball on the field. The bumpers are in a high square configuration, and there's a tough-to-hit ramp that leads from left to right about midfield. The ball hold is located top-right, and the multiball release is located high-center just above and center of the bumpers. It's currently my favorite machine, as it actually has the sound board from Williams' "Defender" video arcade machine. It's also the fastest machine that we have.

    Now, here comes the miscellaneous stuff.

    Here's United's "Laguna", made in the mid-60's. It's an electromechanical puck bowler, featuring six separate game modes.

    Here's my Dad's latest project. Chicago Coin's shooter "Rodeo", manufactured in 1972. It is one of the first that use a flourescent blacklight. We haven't really gotten to playing it yet, as the EM contacts on the firing disc aren't cleaned and aligned properly (You can pretty much shoot anywhere and hit a target, an electromechanical aim hax, I suppose.)

    Here's an odd one. Daichi's "New Vanguard" pachinko machine. Another one from the 60's, I can't even call this one electromechanical, as the only "electronic" device on this machine is a light on the top. More of a conversation piece than anything, with the lack of "gambling" involved in owning such a device, it's fun for about 30 seconds, then you're bored.

    Here's the last stop, which I probably won't have to go into detail to much. Here's Asteroids Deluxe, Atari's sequel to the original Asteroids. Just got it, so I don't have much "We did this to repair that..." info. All we know is that there's a bad vertical jitter on it. I think it may be a bad potentiometer for vertical adjustment.

    I hope you've enjoyed my little tour of the arcade. I'll update more as machines are added/changed. We'll see what happens.

  • #2
    Welcome Steppo!!

    Boy do I miss the old pinball machines. I've never understood raising target scores by 1,000's of points and then raising the replay scores as well. What's the difference between that and the old way? .50 cents a play is outrageous also. Back in college a group of us would play "Firestorm" all during lunch on a quarter each. At the end of lunch we'd end up leaving 6-7 free plays on the machine... Oh the good ole' days.
    If you can't set a good example, be a glaring warning.


    • #3

      Alright, I'm sure you all know THIS one. Welcome to 1986's Arkanoid by Taito. The best Breakout clone in history.

      This one's a tad odd. Minor burn-in on the screen (Not noticable during game play), but it has an after-market control knob with no stoppers on either side. I'm considering replacing it with an original, with stoppers. Not sure though.


      • #4
        Bowling Machine!!! Many a night at the local watering hole was spent that way.

        Welcome aboard Steppo.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Steppo
          (You can pretty much shoot anywhere and hit a target, an electromechanical aim hax, I suppose.)
          Haha I love it!

          Impressive array Steppo!
          “To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular church, or because, like Abraham Lincoln, he has not avowed his allegiance to any church, is an outrage against that liberty of conscience which is one of the foundations of American life.”


          • #6
            Wow, very cool stuff.
            Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated... again...


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