1989 to 2014by McFunkypants - Jam Entry
Connected Worlds: 1989 to 2014
ARCADE CABINET RESTORATION PROJECT
Two worlds, connected: the old me at age 16 and the new me at age 41. I grew up in the arcades in the eighties and nineties. Instead of buying lunch, I'd play Gauntlet II or Super Sprint with my friends in the arcade across the street from my junior high.
25 years ago, I promised myself that when I was old and rich, I'd have an arcade machine in my house, much like the previous generation of adults would restore jukeboxes to relive the happy memories of their youth.
I finally got the chance to live this dream on the Friday night of Ludum Dare. Lo and behold I discovered an arcade cabinet by a dumpster with a FREE sign. It was like a ray of light came down from the sky and told me: THIS IS YOUR CHANCE!
The machine was completely stripped: empty apart from some speakers, a questionable power supply, and a light inside the top nameplate.
It was heavy, and it was full of dirt and dust. Somehow I was able to fit about half of it in the trunk of my car and drove home incredibly slowly, fingers crossed the whole way home. I was so scared it would fall out: the thing is GIANT, and seems to stick five feet out of the back of my car.
The first step was to vacuum the inside, then get some soapy water and scrub two and a half decades of dust from the plexiglass, outside vinyl, and quarter slots. The inside was worse, but it was labour of love, working away in my sunny backyard, and never really felt like work.
Once it was clean enough to bring inside, I created a temporary workshop for the project in my basement. Extension cords, work lights, soldering iron, wires aplenty, and all sorts of spare parts that I'd been hoarding over the years were brought together and I dove in to get something working.
I had a stroke of luck in that an old 27" TV fit the cabinet. I had some old old game parts with Ms. Pacman, Gradius, Pole Position and Galaga roms inside. I had a JAMMA joystick and buttons, with no instructions and all the circuit boards had Chinese writing on them. Add some big speakers and the full arcade experience, straight out of 1989 world came to life.
By the end of the weekend, I was able to play those games on a real arcade machine. A dream come true.
I plan to put more time into this project, clean up the outside a bit more, alter the TV bezel to better fit the cabinet, and print my own graphics on vinyl to completely refurbish the machine and turn it into a PC-based emulator (MAME BOX) and indie game playing monster, ready for Steam, Unity, Flash or HTML5 games, too.
What luck! I'm on my way to owning a real arcade machine. The forty-one year old me and the sixteen year old me just reconnected. These two worlds, my past and my present, live together as I play Ms. Pacman on my very own arcade machine. Teen me just high-fived old me. Woot!
What a world of difference 25 years makes. I love my life. =)
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