Hey, I know that guy...

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Hey, I know that guy...

Postby Enzo » Thu Aug 23, 2018 1:18 am

So I like to watch certain reality TV, the kind with craftsmen plying their trade. There are the guys who forge knives and swords from raw steel. There are the guys who build motorcycles and cars. And there is American Restoration. In this show Rick restores various things. Some 100 year old pedal car toy or maybe a barber chair, Maybe a gum vending machine or a barber hot towel machine. They take the item, and sand blast it down to bare metal. They recreate all artwork on it, and make all innards work. It comes out looking like new. The business is in Las Vegas.

Recently I watched episodes wherein they restored a boxing punching bag arcade machine, and one about an arm wrestling machine, another arcade game.

I spent many years involved in the coin operated amusements industry. I worked for some local operators, and also as an independent business. One local operator was Pinball Petes. That was the Arnold brothers, they had a large arcade in downtown East Lansing. Tim, Tom, and Ted. They did VERY well, they all bought matching Ferraris. They had other arcade operations around the region. They often used my company to do certain technical work. I have known them from the beginning.

Eventually, Tim sold out to his brothers and moved to Las Vegas, where he founded the Pinball Hall of Fame. he collected every pinball machine model ever made. pretty thorough. Tim is a nerdy sort of guy who knows the ins and outs of arcade games.

On these craftsman shows, there are often local experts called in for advice or help. In the case of American Restoration, Rick occasionally calls in Tim to advise on restoration of an old arcade game. SO today Tim came along to overhaul the punching bag game, and the arm wrestling game.

https://www.thearmwrestlingarchives.com ... vices.html

So I am watching, and the wife walks by, I says, "Hey look honey, it's Tim from Pinball Pete's."

She didn't care...
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Re: Hey, I know that guy...

Postby wring » Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:21 pm

I did so, care. Just not visibly or audibly.

Kinda like the black kitty really cares about you.
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Re: Hey, I know that guy...

Postby Heid the Ba » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:08 pm

Great story Enzo.
Get it up ye.
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Re: Hey, I know that guy...

Postby g-one » Fri Aug 24, 2018 6:39 pm

Now if the game he'd been restoring had been 'wacky ducks' ...
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Re: Hey, I know that guy...

Postby Enzo » Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:35 pm

https://www.arcade-museum.com/game_deta ... e_id=17433

https://www.arcade-museum.com/game_deta ... me_id=9216

I spent 1980 in an amusement park, managing several operations there (large arcade, radio control tugboats, boomball) And I got pretty good at Whack-a-Mole. No reason that couldn't become Whack-a-Duck.

Qwak was fun, a light sensing rifle picked up the pixels on the screen. It was a relatively early game. A duck flew across the screen, and you tried to shoot it. If you hit one, it fell to the ground and a bird dog ran across and collected it. Turns out the images of both the running dog and the flying duck were in the same ROM, and a simple invert gate added to an address line, et voila, we had the dog flying across the screen, and if you shot it, the duck ran across and collected it. The boss was less impressed, he said, "Just put it back the way it is supposed to be, OK?"
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Re: Hey, I know that guy...

Postby g-one » Sat Aug 25, 2018 6:00 pm

That is very clever. If you were hacking ROMs like that you probably came up with other tricks too.

This is the game I was referring to:

Image
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Re: Hey, I know that guy...

Postby Enzo » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:29 am

Swapping ROMs was as sexy as it got I fear. Early games just held shapes, so the system addressed the ROM to fill a image window. SO we had a FLying Fortress game by Elektra. You had a profile view of a B-17 flying slowly across the screen, something to do with your speed, and your joystick controlled altitude. The shape of the aircraft was in one ROM. The ground had trees and some buildings streaming by, and they were in another couple ROMs. SO if you swapped them, the plane became a group of odd shapes, almost a little like three of the old Space Invaders guys in a group. The curves of the plane then became rounded shapes of buildings on the ground, Art Deco meets George Jetson. It was fun in the shop, but customers would just think it was screwed up.

One we did hack was before ROMs. What we called random logic, meaning it was all gates. When ROMs held all the images and only images, we could mess with them, but when they started holding programs in ROM< that was more than we could deal with. Anyway, Atari aka KEE Games had a great old game: Tank. There was a rudimentary maze, and a mine field, and each player drove his simple tank icon around, avoiding the mines and shooting the opponent.

Here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OsBUzYBJgU

Once you shoot a shell from your tank, a register locks in your vector so the path remains true, you can steer the tank away as the shell travels. We could break that link so the tank continued to steer the shell, so it turned into a cruise missile. Further, the shell had a counter for distance, it only went so far then evaporated. We disabled that timer so the shell went on forever until it hit something. SO you could shoot a shell, and steer it through the maze and try to catch the other guy hiding behind a wall. Great fun. We did other less interesting hacks.
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Re: Hey, I know that guy...

Postby g-one » Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:45 pm

That sounds like fun too. I guess it was not possible to mix and match parts from different games?

One of the arcade tank games I liked to play was Battlezone. Seems pretty basic now, but back then it seemed quite high-tech. :D
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ctr54kopo8I
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Re: Hey, I know that guy...

Postby Enzo » Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:48 am

Oh yes, Atari X-Y game. It had siblings: Lunar lander, and of course ASTEROIDS. There was a STar Wars one too.

Actually it was cutting edge at the time. The monitor had X and Y drives, so it made an image like an oscilloscope. Unlike most videos that make a raster picture like any TV set.


Mixing and matching? Well like you can on guitar amps. In those days the boards were full of common logic chips and resistors. I could take an 8K ROM from one Elektra game and shove it in another, but only if it was an image only IC. Well, if I stuck a program IC in the socket, the random 1' and 0' would make SOME sort of image on the screen, but probably not a shape of interest.
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