Updated: Dec 13, 2019
Just when the workshop was looking fairly empty and manageable I go and snag this cool Battlezone cabaret, I just couldn't resist. A tiny vector game made by Atari... my heart goes pitter patter at just the thought of these little X/Y games. I've had Battlezone on my "mental list" of games for many years that I would love to own, but the full sized version is just so large and... well I've never been a fan of that fake periscope plastic design on the front of the game. Even though later versions had an open face design, I think this smaller cabaret version is a bit more tidy and special.
Cabaret cabinets are pretty special in a number of ways. Firstly, they usually didn't make very many of them compared to the full sized version of the game. So the rarity is interesting... for example the production run of full sized Battlezone uprights was 13,022, cabaret production was 2,000. Second, they often have unique design elements missing from the upright. Atari cabarets are lavished in a "wonderful" 80's woodgrain that makes them right at home in the finest ski resort or steak restaurant. Lastly, the small size is just so cute. My wife is not a tall women (about 5'6) and she towers above this tiny Battlezone.
This particular Battlezone was purchased from a fellow collector, who mostly focuses on pinball machines. It was complete but playing blind. Overall it is C+ condition, with no major cabinet or structural damage. The control sticks need new rubber centering rings which is a common fault on Battlezone games, however they are usable just not ideal.
Thanks to a bit of luck of one of my previous projects (My Asteroids Deluxe Cocktail) I have a rather decent amount of G05/V2000 spare parts for 15 inch monitors. So putting together a working one shouldn't be too much of a problem. I temporary plugged in the monitor from my Asteroids Deluxe just to verify the game was indeed working otherwise, and sure enough... the game came right up and soon I was enjoying tank blasting 1980 style. The wire frame 3-D open world that Battlezone creates is truly amazing given the technical limitations of the time. I was blown away with the game the first time I saw it (I was 7 years old at the time), and even now it is something to behold.
One of the more interesting things about this particular Battlezone is the high serial number, which would make it the 14th to last cabaret Battlezone manufactured by Atari if the serial numbers are indeed sequential. Atari made cabaret machines in both the USA and in the Ireland factory, and even made one prototype cocktail version of the game.
This little buddy should restore very well and could use not only a very deep cleaning, but also some retouching love on that amazing woodgrain side laminate. The control panel, cabinet base, front, and even the interior cardboard artwork frame are all dirty... but in solid condition. When you start to run short on room cabaret games give you hope that you can maybe shove one more game in the game room.... with the uniqueness of these smaller machines it's no wonder so many collectors gravitate towards them. I can't wait to have it looking sharp again and place it next to our Centipede cabaret.