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Accidental Kombat!

Like it or lump it, Mortal Kombat is a classic

Out of all the classic arcade games I thought I would own one day, Mortal Kombat was pretty far off the radar. One on one style fighters came into popularity when I was graduating High School and starting college. I was more of an old school gamer even in the 90's, I preferred my Atari 7800 over the side scrolling games on the NES. For more challenging games I would fire up my PC or my much loved (but hard to get software for in the USA) Atari ST. I honestly never got the appeal of this genre of games, but I did appreciate the resurgence of arcade games that came with the fighting game genre.

It is always a treat to find any game in it's mostly original state

Like most of these pick ups, I found a listing on Craigslist. The twist for this one was the owner was giving it away for free. The ad stated the owner was moving, and couldn't find space for the game any longer. Also the game had some issues, and would have to be taken out of a 3rd floor apartment building. The owner was contacted, and I offered him 200 bucks for the game because I felt like I couldn't just take something for nothing. He seemed excited it would go to a collector and not someone who would turn it into some terrible MAME cabinet or 60 in 1 game so it was a win for everyone. After some serious configuration to get it in our van (the control panel had to come off, this cabinet is pretty big even or our van) it made it's way back up north and into the garage.

Wavy monitor = new caps and new flyback normally

The game itself was in pretty good shape, a nice unrestored and mostly original example of an original Mortal Kombat. The monitor looked terrible however, with a major wave and I was unable to adjust it to a decent size. The photo above is as good as it I could get it to look. Obviously we were going to have to rebuild the monitor. Most MK machines came with the classic Wells Gardner 7000 series 25 inch monitor. However at some point due to an unexpected popularity of the game I suppose Wells Gardner couldn't supply enough of the 7000's to Midway/Williams and a similar monitor was installed from a company called Sharp Image. The Sharp Image monitor is pretty much just a 7000 clone. What might be hard to see however in the photo above is that this was originally a Wells Gardner that someone had haphazardly attached a Sharp Image chassis to, not even bothering to screw the thing down to the metal cage. The proper flyback replacement for these Sharp Image chassis are very hard to find in 2018 so I decided to rebuild the whole thing replacing the chassis with a proper Wells Gardner one.

The game was unexpectedly filthy inside for a home use game, it always surprises me to find games that have been in peoples homes that are full of dust and grime. I pulled the old chassis and put in a fresh totally rebuilt (and proper) Wells Gardner K7000 chassis. While chasing out the chassis I cleaned the crap out of the game, and spend sometime properly connecting the power supply wires with some nice heat wrap connections. Folks if you bring one of these games into your home, make sure it's clean inside the game. You have no idea some of the crap I have found in these games.

Ah what a difference! Everything looked amazing now, with bright crisp colors that the K7000 series is known for. Just look at those early 90's digital graphics. Unfortunately the same couldn't be said for the sound. The background music was playing ok, but the digital samples of sound effects and voices were muted and scrambled. I changed the audio cable that connects to the main logic board, fitted the sound board with all new capacitors, and reflowed the solder on all the sound board connectors. I even added a new sound adjustment pot just for giggles. And just like magic, our digital sounds were clear and correct again.

The PCB's side out from the front via a small trick door on the cabinet, a very neat feature

So what is next for the Mortal Kombat? Well as you can see in the photo above the front of the cabinet needs some love, and will receive a repaint when the weather gets warm again. The front art below the control panel will get a new decal, luckily the side art is in amazing shape for a 25+ year old game but will receive some minor touch ups. A few of the buttons are kind of worn out, and the joysticks probably should be replaced as well. I also have some fresh new red T-molding fit the cabinet one the repaint happens.

Otherwise it doesn't really need much now that the major technical issues have all been resolved. And after playing the game for a bit I can see why people do love these games, but they will never really be my cup of tea. I find learning all the special button combos get in the way of actually enjoying the game. Being able to do a fatality the first time was pretty cool though.

My arcade adventures are taking a backseat to my studies right now and shockingly all 11 games are working perfectly. (Despite a Stargate monitor that for some reason hates me) Even with my heavy school work load I can't leave well enough alone as one of my holy grail games is as of this writing making its way to our home. A game I have lusted after since I started collecting 20 or so years ago. So stay tuned and happy hunting.

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Brandon Hann
Brandon Hann
Jul 11, 2023

I love hearing about these games getting preserved...especially one of my favorite fighting games! Good find too...probably never going to see 'free' arcade cabinets these days!

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