Lately, I’ve been developing a big appreciation for the 80s-era Bally games. As a kid I remember them kicking my ass and having unique and interesting rulesets that set them far apart from the Gottliebs and Sterns of the day, so when the chance to pick up a “Mystic” came up, I jumped at it, and drove about three hours to get this game.
Little did I know how special the game would end up being…
This is a quick post of a short video I shot awhile back that I hadn’t had a chance to upload because I’ve been spending so much time renovating the new pinball place, but I wanted to share with you all soem of the new pick-ups. I’ve been on a moratorium of pinball buying but every once in awhile the price is too good to pass up, and some of these games I believe if I don’t get them, they’ll end up cannibalized and turned into a hipster’s coffee table — we can’t have that if the game has a chance of living again, so into the repair queue it goes!
In this video I give you a “first look” at a new game before I’ve unloaded it and show you the damage caused by a leaky old battery and why that’s so bad.
These days I’m really not trying to acquire more games. I’m stuffed to the rafters and until I get the new space finished, which is all-consuming both in terms of time, money and blood-sweat-and-tears, I don’t have room for new games.
However, I’ve learned that the key to building a good collection at a reasonable cost is to be patient and always be on the lookout for deals. When you are hot for a game, it rarely falls into your lap, so it’s best to have a “wish list” along with some standard dollar-amount target values that are what I call, “no-brainer deals.” If a game shows up in good condition at the right price, I jump at it.
In this case, that’s what happened. Take a look at the restoration video series for a “first look” at my latest acquisition. A Red & Ted’s Road Show pinball game.
These days I’ve been working more on renovating my new pinball space.. that’s going to be an ongoing project now for the next few months, and as a result, I’ve been avoiding going on any pinball hunts, but the other day an innocuous ad appeared in the local paper for a short estate sale with “pinball machines”. It was nearby and I didn’t have any conflicts so I thought I might drive by and check it out.
As it turns out the pinball machines were not at the location of the estate sale. They were at another abandoned house that was wrecked by hurricane Katrina. I managed to talk the owners into letting me take a peek – they were very concerned about people even entering the other house because the roof had collapsed and there was mold, broken glass and debris everywhere. It’s really a shame because I could tell this house used to be very nice, but the occupants just left and never came back and everything inside deteriorated.
When we got to the place, the first game we discovered was a disappointment… it was not an actual coin-op game, but instead a circus-themed home-version pinball game. Of no interest to me. The other game turned out to be a Gottlieb Mars God of War — made in 1981. A System80 game. It didn’t look too bad but it was nothing that got me very excited and once I started looking around I realized there were no keys to the head so it would have to be drilled out to access and remove the head. I was going to walk and not even make an offer, but my friend Matt said, “How about $50?” The sellers were asking $250. All I could think about was how many years would be taken off my life expectancy for every minute standing inside this mold-encrusted room trying to access the game and was it worth any amount of money?
When we explained what was probably needed to get the game working and to move and disassemble it, the sellers agreed on the price of $50. It was hard to tell what condition the game was in or even if any boards were in it because we couldn’t get into the head. I said I’d head back home to get some equipment — the house had no electricity so I needed to bring power and a drill to get into the lock. On the way back I contemplated whether or not it was worth it. I knew it was a decent deal but like I said, I’ve been becoming increasingly picky. I spoke to my friend Wes and he reminded me, we are now working on a new space that can house a lot more games and these funky, uncommon titles are exactly the kinds of things we should have, and he was right. So I confirmed with the sellers we’d be back to get the game.
And here we are..
Right now we just picked up the game and moved it into the new space and threw a tarp over it. I hope to continue the video series exploring the game but it’s probably going to have to wait a few weeks.
There are exciting things happening here.. We’ve formed a local pinball club and everyone is helping refurbish an abandoned church – it’s a time consuming and expensive proposition, but very rewarding. I’ll be sharing progress on that as we go too, and now we have another cool game to restore and add to the collection that those that visit will get a chance to play!
Also, after opening the head, it was discovered that the game is complete, but as expected, the battery on the MPU has heavily damaged the board. This was a good excuse to order one of Pascal Janin’s PI-80 boards. We’ll want to have one around anyway — that’s another thing I’ll do a video report on soon. The downside is, at present, the replacement System 80 board is a whopping $390 shipped! When you look at the average sale price/value of these System 80 games, and think, “Wow, he got that game for $50 what a steal!” and then realize right away it’ll cost $400 just to get it to boot up, and the game may only be worth $400-$600, $50 is about right. These 80s-era Gottliebs are not profitable to restore, but I can justify it when I’m making these videos to share with everybody else. I hope you enjoy them! – Mike
Here’s some good advice on how to paint and touch up your game.
Add a little:
Black & Magenta
Yellow & Brown
White Yellow & Black
Yellow Black & White
Red & Yellow
Green & White
Realize that not all areas of the playfield or cabinet, even if they were painted a single color, will remain the same color over time. Different areas may fade to different shades.
Also note that many paint colors will change slightly as they dry, or appear different if a clear coat is added later, and try to do some test runs to see how the final result will appear before committing.
Mix your paint and put some on a piece of clear plastic and hold it over the area you’re going to touch up to see how well it matches.
You can pick up a pantone color matching set at most hardware and paint stores and use this to help match colors.
Don’t use hot water to clean the paint brush. This can weaken the glue that holds the bristles together and cause bristles to fall out.
There sites online such as this one ( http://pinballpal.com/colors/ ) which has color formulas for some popular pinball games.
And here we go with another acquisition. This was a game I initially turned down, but then the owner dropped his price into the area where it was worth the hassle for me to get. At first I wasn’t that excited about it, but like most Gottliebs, they are more fun and interesting that it appears at first glance. Here’s a “first look” fresh from a some guy’s house. The game was not working properly when I picked it up so it’s going to need some work to get running.
Since this is a “First Look” on this machine, I’m embedding a playlist which will be continually updated with all the work I do on this machine. You can watch the first few, or keep watching to see more work done on the machine (at least as far as I’ve filmed and published so far).
Fresh out of the truck is another acquisition. This came from a guy whose wife wanted it out of the house. The machine had been sitting for many years and would not work. Here’s a first look at a classic 1980s Bally solid-state pinball machine: Mr. & Mrs Pac Man.
Mr. and Mrs Pac-Man was built in 1982, with approximately 10,600 made. The designer of this game is the same guy, George Christian who did one of Bally’s most successful and critically-acclaimed titles, “Eight Ball Deluxe” (as well as the original Eight Ball game). The art is also by another renown artists in the field, Pat McMahon, who also did the artwork for Tales of the Arabian Nights.
In this video I show you what I see as I go through this newly-acquired machine. You never know what you’ll find inside these cabinets, interesting hacks, foreign objects, broken stuff, etc. I just moved the game into my workshop and am doing what I call an “audit” of it. Seeing if I notice anything in or out of place and generally getting an idea of how much work may be needed to get this game back in shape. Join me!