Lately I’ve been putting some of my games up for sale, and I get a lot of people who have never owned pinball machines contacting me. They have a romantic idea of setting up a game room for their kids and remember pinball machines fondly and want to have one at home. Sounds great right? I agree it can be very rewarding… but you have to know what you’re potentially getting yourself into. A pinball machine is not like a regular modern amusement device. Let’s go over the pros, cons and pitfalls of owning pinball machines, and while you think your kids will enjoy it, are you sure? Let’s dive in and talk about it!
Welcome to another episode of Pinball Stories. By the way, if you haven’t already please subscribe to my YouTube channel – every little bit helps!
Everybody probably has pinball machines they like, and some they don’t like, but what happens when you have a game that you alternately love in some respects, but can’t stand in others? This is one of those games for me, Sega/Stern’s Southpark!
Galaga is one of the most popular video arcade games of all time, but unfortunately the way the boardset was produced, it doesn’t seem to stand the test of time and last very long. The production used poor quality sockets and various hard-to-find chips that had a tendency of corroding and becoming brittle. It’s a real challenge to get an original boardset operating reliably without doing a ton of work, and even then, you’re never 100% sure.
As a result, this is probably one of the games that benefits the most from a “resto-mod” approach of adding a modern emulation board. I demonstrate in the video below how to do a non-destructive mod to an original Galaga game to replace the problematic logic boards with a 60-in-1 multi-card. The game can be restored to 100% original if desired because this doesn’t alter any of the core components. You can also add some extra games that use the same control scheme like other versions of Galaxian, Galaga88, space invaders, etc.
If you’ve been doing this for awhile, you’ll eventually run into your first set of “killer stairs” and vow you never want to go through that again. Also, the next time you ask a friend to help you pick up a game, they’ll suddenly have something much more important to do, like get their back waxed.
You turn on your game and… “BLECH!” that’s what you get? That’s not good. Let’s try to figure out what exactly is happening:
Armed with more information, later on I have some time to pull the driver board and diagnose things further:
This just happened yesterday so it’s a timely addition to pinball stories. Got a call from a friend who had a bead on a retired guy who had two games in his garage. We’d each take one of the machines. What does he have? We don’t know – mystery game time!!