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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Custom Arcade Stools

I had thought about picking up some stools for quite some time but was never able to find the right ones so I decided to make some! I purchased some cheap stools, painted the tops and poured a two-part epoxy finish over my arcade graphic. I was careful to choose paper for the logo that 'glowed' under the blacks lights. My young daughters were so excited over the stools that I had to make a mini stool for each of them!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

1980 Williams Defender

I brought Defender out of storage and sent it to the Repair Station. Defender is generally regarded as the first video game to feature horizontal scrolling. It is also thought of as one of the most difficult games to play. Despite that criticism, Defender sold over 60,000 units and is considered an all-time classic. The game is completely dead so I will have to go through it thoroughly in order to find the exact problem.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

1971 Midway Wild Kingdom

I have been looking for an electromechanicanal gun game for some time as they are among the first arcade games that I remember playing. Recently, I was lucky enough to acquire a Midway Wild Kingdom gun game. The owner claimed the game had been in his family for almost 40 years and believed his father purchased from a local arcade along with two other games for their home game room. The game needs several minor repairs and a good cleaning so it has been sent to the Repair Station.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Good Move Space Cadet

Finally! After a lengthy repair job, I have fixed Gorf and put it in the arcade. The game was purchased from the daughter of the original owner’s and is in excellent condition. I would like to say thank you to fellow collector Scott Z. for allowing me to use his Gorf boardset in order to help narrow down various problems. Bad RAM and bad chips on the pattern board were among the culprits that kept the game from working. Long Live Gorf!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tranquility Base Arcade Annex

Tranquility Base Arcade here....we have a problem! No, not that kind of problem but a problem of too many games and not enough room. Thus, the Tranquility Base Arcade Annex was born. The Annex will hold games that can be moved in and out of the arcade's main rotation either to replace a malfunctioning game or one that is getting few plays. The current lineup is Breakout, Tank Battalion and Space Invaders Deluxe. The Asteroids does not work but once restored, will replace the one currently in the arcade.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Goin' Berzerk

I finally had a chance to add my Berzerk PCB Repair Log to the site. You can find it here. To my knowledge, it is one of the very few Berzerk Repair Logs on the entire Internet! Hopefully, it will help someone fix or maintain their game. Watch out for Evil Otto!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Breaking Out Breakout

I acquired Breakout last November and finally had a chance to send it to the Repair Station. Early indications are that it has a PCB problem. Once the game is repaired, the Tranquility Base Arcade may have to be rearranged to make room for this arcade classic!

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 20, 1969

"We Came in Peace for All Mankind."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blast Off!

Forty years ago today, July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 left for the moon. Four days later the Lunar Module “Eagle” carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, Jr. landed. It was and continues to be the crowning achievement for all mankind. We are all familiar with the landing but how many of us have ever seen the actual launch? Click below!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wall Art Going Up!

I have an extensive collection of hard to find items from the original 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing. What would be a better place to show them off than Tranquility Base Arcade? The moon landing was front page news on all the newspapers around the world however; one rarely seen newspaper documenting the event is my local county newspaper The Macomb Daily. I scanned the original paper and then printed it out full size. I had the image laminated in 3 mil gloss and mounted it to black foam core board with spray adhesive. The result is a unique piece of local history for the Tranquility Base Arcade!

Another Tranquility Base Arcade Logo

The first sign I made looked so good I decided I needed one in the other room as well. This time I had the logo professionally done. I sent the artwork to Rich at This Old Game who vectored the art, printed it, mounted it on plywood, routed the edge and installed arcade T-molding around the entire perimeter giving it a great finished look! Rich did a fantastic job and the sign was completed very quickly. It looks like it came right from a conference room at NASA...the NASA Arcade Conference room that is! I love it! And yes..."The Eagle has landed!"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

1981 Midway Gorf

I pulled Gorf out of storage and sent it to the Repair Station.
Gorf, which stands for Galactic Orbiting Robot Force, is generally regarded as the first videogame to feature multiple levels. The game is also among the first to feature synthesized speech. The former owner told me the game may have a joystick problem so I
will pay close attention to that area during the restoration process. Long live Gorf!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sound System Added!

You can now listen to some great 70's and 80's tunes or hear the Apollo 11 moon landing without leaving the arcade! I recently updated the arcade by adding a sound system, which consists of two ceiling mounted speakers in each room. A remote volume control allows you to set the exact level of sound for both rooms! Hi-Fi Works sells a great all-inclusive kit which makes the installation very quick and trouble free. Rock on and blast off!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

There Is Another.....

Last fall I acquired a Paddle-Ball game. The game is a simple Pong clone but it represents Williams first venture into the video game market. Since the game was made by Williams, I figured everything from the manual to the schematic to various parts would be in ready supply. I was wrong – I could find only one other example in existence! Recently, another Paddle-Ball came to light. The game was owned by Gary Hecht of Springfield, New Jersey. Gary sold his Paddle-Ball earlier this month but was kind enough
to send me a few pictures of the game before it was picked up by
the new owner. Thanks Gary! If anyone else has a Paddle-Ball or any information about Paddle-Ball, please contact me!

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Last summer I acquired six games from the daughter of the original owners. You can read the story of the games here. Among the games were Pac-Man and Berzerk. After I finished restoring Berzerk, I placed it next to Pac-Man. It was the first time in almost 25 years that both games worked! The original owners numbered the games one through six. Pac-Man is number one while Berzerk is number six. Four games to go before the row is complete!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Official Tranquility Base Arcade Logo

I could think of no better way to represent the Tranquility Base Arcade than to create a logo based on the Apollo 11 emblem. First, Photoshop was used to enlarge and modify a copy of the original emblem. I then removed all the blemishes, flaws and other imperfections from the artwork. This was a painstaking and lengthy process but necessary in order for the logo to look clean and presentable when printed in a large format. Once the artwork was complete I used a Hewlett Packard Designjet 4500 printer to print the image on plain white paper. A commercial laminator was used to seal the artwork with 3 mil gloss laminate. Next, I carefully cut out the artwork and traced it on a piece of black foam core board. I then cut the foam core board freehand with a sharp Exacto knife. Finally, a spray adhesive was used to mount the artwork to the foam core board. The logo was hung on the wall with Velcro strips around the perimeter. I specifically made the logo with white letters so that when the black lights were on, it would still be visible. “Houston…Tranquility Base Here…The Eagle Has Landed!”

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rare Control Panel Found

I recently acquired an original Williams Paddle-Ball control panel.
I was thrilled to get this, as parts for Paddle-Ball are virtually non-existent. Besides my game, I know of only one other. I plan on mounting the control panel on a plaque along with a copy of the flyer as well as a brief history of the game.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

1980 Midway Space Encounters

I pulled Space Encounters out of storage and added it to my row of black and white games. I repaired the game several months ago
but still need to make a few minor adjustments. You can read the Repair Log here. Space Encounters was one of the last black and white games made and by most accounts it's late release date of 1980 made it largely unsuccessful. The game's obvious Star Wars tie-in, strange sound effects and flashing strobe light all make it
a classic appreciated by video game collectors everywhere!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Coins Detected In Pocket

At last! I have been working almost two months to hear those words! Finally, after an extremely difficult and lengthy repair job,
I have fixed Berzerk and put it in the arcade. The game is in excellent condition and has the original “Opto-Bat” joystick. I would like to take this time to give a very special thank you to fellow collector Steve M. Without Steve’s contributions, help, encouragement and assistance, this repair would not have been possible. Thanks to local collector Scott Z. for allowing me to test my Berzerk boards in his rare and working Frenzy. I would also like to thank my Dad for accompanying me on the 500 mile round trip that was necessary to acquire the game. Last but certainly not least, many thanks to my wife and family for allowing me to spend all hours of the day and night working on “some video game.” Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

1976 Williams Grand Prix

I added something completely different to my collection this week - a pinball machine! The game is one of the last electromechanical pinball machines made before they switched over to electronics. The game is in very good condition and plays great!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

1980 Stern Berzerk

I recently pulled Berzerk out of storage and sent it to the Repair Station. The game has seven different boards that are proving very difficult to analyze. As with most Berzerk’s, the main game board was severely damaged by acid that had leaked from the onboard battery. Despite all that, I am confident the game can be repaired – I will not “‘run like a humanoid” on this one!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Party Like It's 1977

I repaired Gun Fight and put it in the arcade. You can read the Repair Log here. I remember playing Gun Fight in the 1970's and had not played it for over 30 years! Gun Fight was made in 1975 so I thought it was fitting that I put it next to my 1976 Lemans. If you want to learn more about Gun Fight as well as see the game in action, please click here.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

1975 Midway Gun Fight

I recently acquired a 1975 Midway Gun Fight. Gun Fight is one of the first video games I remember playing so I was very pleased to obtain one. Gun Fight is historically important, as it is the first video game to use a microprocessor. It is also the first video game to feature two human figures battling against each other. Other games of the time featured lines or squares. The game does not work and has been sent to the Repair Station for diagnosis.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

1973 Williams Paddle-Ball

I fixed Paddle-Ball and put it in the arcade. You can read the Repair Log here. Paddle-Ball is Williams first video game and only a few are known to still exist. My Paddle-Ball is serial number 1964-1. The only other one that I know of is serial number 614 which is owned by a gentleman in Wilmington, Delaware. You can read about that machine here. If you have a Paddle-Ball or any information about Paddle-Ball, please contact me!