Author Topic: SanTe's 36th Chamber  (Read 5007 times)

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Offline SanTe

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SanTe's 36th Chamber
« on: September 17, 2014, 07:17:50 AM »
It will get only very sporadic use since I'm away from home for work a lot but I figured this would be a good time to start a blog.

So Ross sends me a message a while back saying Jeremy and Katie are going to be in Seattle for a week to attend a wedding, and he (Ross) was going to come up from Portland to meet up with them.  Would I be willing to host an arcade party while they're in town?  Of course I would.   :)

This past Saturday a few of my high score buddies from Portland made the trek north and we played games until four in the morning.  It was great meeting Jeremy and Katie; they're very cool people.

Here are some pics of my home arcade, The 36th Chamber:

http://s161.photobucket.com/user/SanTe_bucket/slideshow/Arcade%20Party%209-13-2014

Sadly my Tutankham crapped itself on Thursday night when I was play testing everything, and that was the game that Ross and Jeremy wanted to play the most.   :(  Did some troubleshooting during the party but whatever the cause it is going to take some deeper digging to figure out.  And Ross, Corky, and Bill are all Centipede players so of course my Centipede's monitor died the same day Tutankham went down.  (Centipede is hiding behind Quantum out in the hallway.)  Everything else in the game room was up and running though.  The good news is that I bought a Toobin' from another SMAC member who brought it down to my place on Saturday for the party.  Getting a new game always takes the sting out of another one failing.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2014, 06:50:18 PM by SanTe »
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Offline Weehawk

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Re: SanTe's 36th Chamber
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2014, 07:59:43 AM »
Nice.

And I see Ross is rocking the GEGOTW t-shirt.


Offline TheSunshineFund

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Re: SanTe's 36th Chamber
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2014, 10:31:35 AM »
Nice pics Chris, looks like a great setup.  I forgot you had a Congo Bongo, looks to be in great shape as well.
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Offline alumbrada

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Re: SanTe's 36th Chamber
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2014, 02:04:56 PM »
Chris, I've been meaning to send you a PM but since you posted this thread I'll just say it here. Thank you very much for your hospitality on Saturday! I discovered some new games I enjoy (and reaffirmed some I dislike). Thanks as well to Ross and the Portland crew for making the drive. I had a great time with great people, great games, and great pizza.

-Katie
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Offline VON

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Re: SanTe's 36th Chamber
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2014, 06:08:05 PM »
Yo Chris.  Twas a blast, as always - thank you, sir.

I forgot you had a Congo Bongo, looks to be in great shape as well.

We played the crap outta that Congo Bongo.  No one knew the game well so we had a lot fun learning it and besting each other's rookie scores.

BBH also learned how to play Tin Star... and then broke the TG record!  Seriously, he had played it previously only a handful of times at a Northwest CAG convention - dude's got skillz.

Offline SanTe

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Re: SanTe's 36th Chamber
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2014, 11:41:44 PM »
Chris, I've been meaning to send you a PM but since you posted this thread I'll just say it here. Thank you very much for your hospitality on Saturday! I discovered some new games I enjoy (and reaffirmed some I dislike). Thanks as well to Ross and the Portland crew for making the drive. I had a great time with great people, great games, and great pizza.

My pleasure.  I'm curious, which games of mine did you like and which did you dislike?  (Anyone who attended last Saturday, please feel free to answer.)  My game room used to include some games that I liked but were really there because I felt they would be popular with guests.  They looked cool and sounded cool but I didn't play them much myself, usually just once before moving on to something else.  Over time these titles have slowly been given the heave ho in favor of titles that have more replay value for me.  Mad Planets, Tron, Star Trek: SOS, and Tempest all met with this fate.

So Gyruss and Kicker are on their way out soon, Gyruss because I just wanted to hear it in my arcade for a while and Kicker because I got bored of it several years ago and I'm tired of it taking up a space that I could fill with something better.  My Kicker cab has had Circus Charlie in it for a while, which has been popular with my high score buddies.  I may need to replace the 60-in-1 in my Qix with a 412-in-1 so Circus Charlie can stay in the game room when Kicker leaves.  Quantum will be gone if the guy who is buying it ever comes up with the rest of the money.  I love Atari arcade games, really like color vectors, and have enjoyed owning a rare game that is actually pretty fun to play, but it's time to pass it on to someone else.  It has proven to be another title on which I play one credit and then move on, which is a sign that I should sell it.

So my game room reflects my tastes more and more and it has changed slowly over time as I've refined my list of games that are keepers.  I do like to change things up every few months to keep things interesting both for me and for my guests.  If you have the same games for 2+ years in a row it's understandable that guests would eventually get bored with the selection, and I like it that people get surprised on subsequent visits.  Anyway, I always find it interesting to hear which games of mine people like the most and which ones they don't care for and why.

Here is what was in the game room on Saturday:

Alpine Ski, Arabian, Bagman, Black Widow, Circus Charlie (in Kicker cab), Congo Bongo, Crystal Castles, Donkey Kong, Elevator Action, Empire Strikes Back, Gyruss, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Joust, Jungle King, Krull, Mario Bros., Millipede, Moon Patrol, Neo Geo MVS (138-in-1), OutRun, Punch-Out!!, Qix (60-in-1), Quantum, Robotron, Super Punch-Out!!, The Tin Star, Toobin', Wild Western, Zoo Keeper

These two titles were on the disabled list:

Centipede, Tutankham

Nice pics Chris, looks like a great setup.  I forgot you had a Congo Bongo, looks to be in great shape as well.

The guy I got it from did a partial restore and it's in pretty nice shape.  Needs side art though.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 12:15:21 AM by SanTe »
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Offline stella_blue

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Re: SanTe's 36th Chamber
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2014, 03:31:05 AM »

I pray that your OutRun upright cabinet will always remain on the "keeper" list.

If I ever visit the Pacific Northwest, I'd love to take a shot (or several) at the arcade WR.

Richard Jackson (52,897,690 on 02/21/87) has gone unchallenged for far too long.

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Offline SanTe

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Re: SanTe's 36th Chamber
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2014, 09:48:57 AM »
I pray that your OutRun upright cabinet will always remain on the "keeper" list.
If I ever visit the Pacific Northwest, I'd love to take a shot (or several) at the arcade WR.
Richard Jackson (52,897,690 on 02/21/87) has gone unchallenged for far too long.

It will, and I agree.  Mine plays better than any other OutRun I've encountered, too.  The springs have good tension, and the 'B' gear was replaced with a steel repro so it'll hold up to heavy use.

Edit: forgot to mention... yes, you're welcome to visit my home arcade if you ever come to Seattle.  Just try to give me a month's notice so I can book the correct dates off work.  Being a truck driver means I am not automatically home nights and weekends; I have to plan ahead for that.  Also, with enough notice I can invite the DKF members who live in the Portland area.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2014, 04:47:34 PM by SanTe »
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Offline alumbrada

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Re: SanTe's 36th Chamber
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2014, 10:33:31 PM »
My pleasure.  I'm curious, which games of mine did you like and which did you dislike?
Please keep in mind that I'm as "poser" as they come. Some of the titles I dislike are probably because I'm no good at them. As a typical female I fit the mold of liking the trackball games, which unfortunately are a nightmare to emulate.

Alpine Ski: liked it. Easily accessible and I got better at it fast.
Arabian: I might like it if I put in more time. I spelled the bonus totally wrong the first time I played it, and when I realized how badly I had screwed it up, it made me laugh.
Bagman: I don't get this one. Wht Da
Black Widow: liked it.
Circus Charlie (in Kicker cab): I'm not good at it but I can see the appeal.
Congo Bongo: I suck at this on MAME so I didn't play it at your place.
Crystal Castles: This was new to me, and I liked it!  <Pigger>
Donkey Kong: I didn't waste my time with this shit game.  <Allen>
Elevator Action: I didn't like this on MAME but it was fun on the cab.
Empire Strikes Back: the controller is sweet so I can see the appeal.
Gyruss: I like it but I'm no good.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: This was fun but I suck.
Joust: I just can't get behind Joust. It's brutal to newbies. Also more slippery than it looks. 
Jungle King: I couldn't get past vine swinging level 1 so I moved on.
Krull: I just don't "get" this one either. Probably because I suck at it.
Mario Bros: I want to like it but I'm no good at it.
Millipede: I really like Millipede.
Moon Patrol: Another one I really enjoy that I would like to get a lot better at.
Neo Geo MVS (138-in-1): not my thing so I didn't try it.
OutRun: Somehow I didn't touch this one. Guess we have to come back?
Punch-Out!!: not my favorite.
Qix (60-in-1): I like Mappy Kappa
Quantum: this one was really cool. Probably my favorite "new" game I hadn't been exposed to before.
Robotron: definitely more fun on a cab than in MAME. Maybe OK with Jeremy's X-Arcade?
Super Punch-Out!!': also not my favorite.
The Tin Star: seemed fun, the controls were cool
Toobin': I like it. I think I set the inaugural shitty score on it.
Wild Western: the controls were cool on this one too, but again I sucked at it.
Zoo Keeper: I like this one and would like to get better. It's way more fun on a cab.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 10:40:27 PM by alumbrada »
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Offline SanTe

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Re: SanTe's 36th Chamber
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2014, 05:01:38 PM »
My pleasure.  I'm curious, which games of mine did you like and which did you dislike?

Bagman: I don't get this one. Wht Da

Few do.  It's one of the harder classic arcade games of all time, IMO.  I'm terrible at it myself, but I played it as a kid and I loved everything about it.

Congo Bongo: I suck at this on MAME so I didn't play it at your place.

Could it have anything to do with the controls you're using on MAME?  The manual says it's an 8-way joystick, and you use the diagonals...

It's pretty challenging when you're new to it, regardless.  This one is on my list to learn one of these days.

OutRun: Somehow I didn't touch this one. Guess we have to come back?

Any time.

Punch-Out!!: not my favorite.
Super Punch-Out!!': also not my favorite.

For some reason these two games are like that.  They have their die hard devotees... and pretty much everyone else avoids them completely.  I'm not great at either one of them but I still think they're super fun.

Qix (60-in-1): I like Mappy Kappa

Mappy is underrated IMO.

Quantum: this one was really cool. Probably my favorite "new" game I hadn't been exposed to before.

Most people who try it find that they do like it.  Weird, because it bombed back in the day and was pulled from production.  Atari ended up buying back most of the ones they had sold.  Most of them went home with Atari coin-op engineers and they eventually trickled out into the collector community from there.

Robotron: definitely more fun on a cab than in MAME. Maybe OK with Jeremy's X-Arcade?

I think it's quite enjoyable on MAME with an X-Arcade.  (I have a Tankstick model.)  It's probably even better with the recent versions of MAME that have the blitter timing fixed so that it doesn't play faster than it's supposed to.

Wild Western: the controls were cool on this one too, but again I sucked at it.

Most do.
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Offline SanTe

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Re: SanTe's 36th Chamber
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2014, 08:30:30 PM »
Did a whirlwind 3-day road trip to Boise, Idaho and back this past weekend for the Arcade Outsiders Tournament at Grinkers Grand Palace retro arcade in Eagle, a suburb of Boise.  It is mostly a gathering of members of the KLOV forums.  Eight hour drive each way with 23 hours of gaming in between, then back to work on Monday.  It was exhausting but I had an absolute blast, and met a ton of great people from KLOV for the first time.

There were three tournaments, an 11-game Main Tournament and two smaller, 3-game side tournaments: the Manufacturer's Challenge (Taito) and the Black and White Challenge.

Main Tournament

Baby Pac-Man
Burgertime
Carnival
Circus Charlie
Dragon's Lair
Earthshaker
(pinball)
Paperboy
Pole Position
(TGTS)
Popeye
Super Sprint
Vs. Excitebike


Manufacturer's Challenge

Alpine Ski
Jungle King
Rastan


Black and White Challenge

Blue Shark
Sea Wolf
Space Encounters


I didn't do the Black and White Challenge.  I learned how to play Dragon's Lair, Circus Charlie, and Paperboy during the tournament, as I had never really played these much before.  Had never played Earthshaker before at all.  Alpine Ski was set on harder settings than TG; the starting time was only 1:30 and timer resets seemed non-existent.

I placed 3rd out of 38 in the Main Tournament (won $50 and a T-shirt of my choice) and 5th out of 25 in the Manufacturer's Challenge.  Pretty happy with that.
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Offline SanTe

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Re: SanTe's 36th Chamber
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2014, 10:46:45 PM »
All of my pics from Grinkfest 2014 are at the link below.  Please forgive the blurriness/graininess/darkness; I kept the flash off so as not to disturb people.

http://s161.photobucket.com/user/SanTe_bucket/slideshow/Grinkfest%202014

Here are some photos that someone else posted:
 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/37886102@N03/sets/72157648301580669/
 
Here's a short interview with the owner of Grinkers, followed by a complete walkthrough of the arcade:
 
Arcade Outsiders: Episode 50 & Grinkfest 2014
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvXRuo8XgeA
 
90-minute recap by John Jacobsen of the Arcade Outsiders podcast:
 
John goes to Idaho! - 2014 Grinkers Arcade Tour and Tournament with Arcade Outsiders Podcast
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MU6OG3R3txU
 
Episodes 49 and 50 of the Arcade Outsiders podcast were done live at Grinkers on Friday and Saturday night, respectively.  Episode 50 ends with the awards "ceremony," as it were.  By the way, the Arcade Outsiders podcast is awesome.  It's fun, informative, hilarious, stupid, and juvenile all at the same time.  (And frequently NSFW both in language and content.)  I've listened to every episode of five different podcasts related to this hobby and Arcade Outsiders is my favorite by far.  It keeps me company during the many hours I spend on the road everyday hauling freight.
 
Grinkers is absolutely worth the trip.  It is the best video arcade I have ever been to, bar none.  And yes, I've been to Funspot and I love it, but if you're looking to step back in time to 1982 Grinkers is essentially perfect.  Not too big, not too small.  The lighting is low but not too dark.  It plays retro music.  It has a bar with two TVs and the best sub sandwiches I've ever had.  (Oh yeah, for this event all beers were $1 and all food was half price.)  All games were a quarter, even pinball.  There is no entry fee at the door, and the tournament was free to enter.  There were 150 games, a good mix of popular titles and more obscure ones, all in original cabinets, and every single one was up and running and in decent to excellent condition.  The biggest issue all weekend is that coin mechs got cranky on a handful of the games, but repairs were handled quickly.
 
Now that the word is out the tournament will see more and more world class players from now on, so the tournament won't be as fun anymore now that the "anyone can win" element is gone, but most people are there for the social gathering and in that context this event hits it out of the park.  If you want to meet awesome people who share your passion for old arcade games and have a great time, Grinkfest will be extremely tough to beat.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2014, 10:51:42 PM by SanTe »
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Offline SanTe

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Re: SanTe's 36th Chamber
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2014, 09:34:06 PM »
After nearly two years of truck driving I just got a dedicated route, a short-run shuttle that I will run twice a day.  If this works out not only will I nearly double my income I will have a more regular work schedule, with a Monday to Friday 5-day work week most weeks (instead of the 6-day work week I've had since I started).  I will still have long work days, 12-13 hours, but should be home on Friday night most weeks and I'll have full weekends off again.  This means I should have the time and energy to start playing and hosting arcade parties again.  The 36th Chamber largely has been sitting unused for the last year since I am usually too tired to play when I'm home and have needed to use home time for other responsibilities.  After a very rough couple of years things are looking up.
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Online xelnia

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Re: SanTe's 36th Chamber
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2014, 02:10:10 AM »
Great news, sir! We had a blast visiting your place. If you start hosting more parties you should stream them! ;D
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Offline SanTe

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Re: SanTe's 36th Chamber
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2015, 01:48:22 AM »
Spent some time in the game room today tackling repairs with a friend of mine.  We got through about half of my "to do" list:

* Centipede is fixed.  It was playing blind.  Suspected a cracked tube on its K7000 monitor, as the chassis was rebuilt not long ago and was working fine, then we were getting no picture and blue-ish neck glow (which indicates that the tube's vacuum had been broken and air had gotten into it) before getting no neck glow at all.  Hooked up a spare G07 I had on the shelf and at first we couldn't get it to sync properly.  Discovered the sync pin on the wiring harness' edge connector had pulled loose.  Re-pinned it and *bam*, the G07 dialed in perfectly.  Hooked up the K7000 again to re-test and it was still dead.  So we yanked it and installed the G07, which looks beautiful.  I have two NOS tubes but they are not compatible with the K7000, so it will be stripped for parts and the dead tube will be disposed of.

* Replaced the 60-in-1 PCB in my Qix with a new 412-in-1.  This will allow me to get rid of my Kicker cabinet, which I had been using for Circus Charlie, a game I didn't want to lose.  (The 412-in-1 includes Circus Charlie.)  Interestingly, the 412-in-1 includes Tac/Scan, a bitchin' Sega G80 vector game, and amazingly it looks and plays great even on a raster monitor!  Tac/Scan is a spinner game, but it works with a joystick on this board and is quite playable.  Of course, it would be better on a real vector monitor with a spinner control but beggars can't be choosers.  Complete working Tac/Scan machines are hard to come by.

* The Sanyo 20EZ in my Donkey Kong has been dying slowly for the last couple of years.  Jail bars and faded colors on a washed out, dimmed screen have become more commonplace.  I did my first cap kit back in 2009 on a spare Sanyo 20EZV that I had and then put it back on the shelf, where it got coated with construction dust over the last few years sitting in my basement storage room while my house has been undergoing remodeling.  Today I pulled out this spare Sanyo, blew all of the dust off of it, and swapped it into my Donkey Kong.  The colors were a bit off at first, like the blue gun was weak, and the colors were saturated and the picture was a bit dark.  Turns out the color inverter board was faulty, so we removed it and re-jumpered the monitor to work without it and the problem was fixed.  A few more adjustments to dial in the picture and it is absolutely gorgeous.  So it's nice to know nearly six years later that my first attempt at doing a monitor rebuild was successful.

* My Tutankham has been down for a while now with graphics glitches and no sound.  Suspected the original Stern 1200 linear power supply had gone bad, which is not at all unusual for the Stern 1200s as they were a crap design much like the linear power supplies in Taito games of the same era.  Ordered a new Suzo Happ switching power supply with Konami/Stern adapter from Arcade Shop and we installed it today, only to see absolutely no change whatsoever.  So the problem is definitely on the board set.  Posted a "Want to Buy" on the KLOV forums and already have a lead on another board set.  Hoping it tests 100% working and I can get it.  Really want to get this game up and running again.

Things I wanted to do but we didn't get to today...

* I wanted to pull the essentially brand new Betson Imperial monitor out of Kicker and swap it into my Qix 412-in-1, and put Qix's original G07 with some Qix burn into Kicker in preparation for selling Kicker, but pulling the monitor out of Kicker proved to be a bigger ordeal than we anticipated (it's in a converted Scramble cabinet), so we tabled that for now.  The Electrohome G07 monitor doesn't do so hot with JAMMA boards, so with it hooked up to a 60-in-1 or 412-in-1 (or any newer board, really) you will see the curl on the left side of the screen that the G07 is infamous for, sometimes even with the curl mod implemented.  The G07 seems to work beautifully with golden era games but anything newer it doesn't really like.  We'll get these monitors swapped next time, and then I can sell Kicker to make room for my new Stern Rescue.

* Alpine Ski has intermittent graphics glitches in the form of distortion of the picture.  It is likely cold solder joints on the K4600 monitor's chassis.  This monitor just needs to be rebuilt.

* We didn't get Tutankham fixed but at least we now know where the problem is.  As soon as I can acquire a working board set this should be up and running.  I will then try to get this board set repaired to keep as a backup.

* Rescue needs its marquee light fixed.  Probably a bad FS-2 starter or bulb, or both.

Very happy with the progress we made today.  Especially stoked that Centipede is back up and that both it and Donkey Kong have beautiful monitors in them now.  And I'm thrilled with the 412-in-1 board already.  Can't wait to spend some time checking out all the new games.  My Qix cab has a 4-way joystick though, and many of the games require an 8-way.  But there are still lots of great new additions to this multi.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2015, 07:17:38 PM by SanTe »
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