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The Ghosts of Projects Unfinished

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

As the year starts to wrap up, my day to day schedule has unfortunately left little time for my hobby. Turns out going back to college in your mid 40's takes up a lot of your time. This should lessen for awhile after the holidays and I am hopeful that the several in progress projects will get closer to completion, heck I might even finish most of them. So, come with me as we explore the current state of the arcade and the projects currently in the mix.


Project #1 : The Simpsons, by Konami


NOS Wico joysticks from 1990-ish

If any restoration project in my arcade collection has been unfairly passed over time and time again, it's this Simpsons upright. The usual situation plays out something like this... Simpsons restoration is started, soon after another game is acquired, and the Simpsons gets pushed to the back of the restoration line. Some progress recently has been made however, including getting some amazing new old stock Wico joysticks for Cyprus. I also have a new control panel overlay, and have started repairing the control panel box itself. I would like to set this game up with a four way switcher to play other Konami 4 player classics such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

These Konami 4 player cabinets are highly desirable and originally I was planning on selling this, but I think it will end up staying in my collection. It's just such a crowd pleaser when people come over.

Current condition: Some front cabinet damage, and needs new side art. It also needs a new harness and I plan on rebuilding the power supply. This could be a very cherry example of a Simpsons game once finished.

Amount of dust on game in workshop: A lot

Odds of this being finished by next Spring: 3 to 1


Project #2 : Taito Cocktail / Elevator Action

This is a cool game, and a rare example of a Taito cocktail USA cabinet build. Originally tis was probably a Jungle Hunt and was converted to an Elevator Action via a conversion kit. When it came into my hands, it was in pretty bad shape and unfortunately no longer had the original "swirly" designed Taito Cocktail glass top.

So freaking fancy... also looks like an ashtray

As you can see on the left, the original top glass to Taito cocktail cabinets from around 1982-1983 were very unique compared to other companies. I would love to be able to reproduce this design, but no reproduction company for arcade artwork currently offers this. The Elevator Action artwork above is something I have created in order to mimic the look of the original upright machine, and I think it does a pretty good job. With a little tweaking I think it would be fine, I am just now on the fence about keeping it an Elevator Action or attempting to find a top glass and returning it to a Jungle Hunt or even turning it into a Qix.

Current condition: Artwork needs to be finalized under the glass top and control panels. I need to decide if it will stay an Elevator Action. I have acquired some cocktail control panels for Qix incase I get a wild hair to turn it into a Qix.

Amount of dust on game in workshop: Not much, it's been covered with a big blanket

Odds of this being finished by next Spring: 4 to 1


Project #3 : Space Harrier by Sega

In 1995 at a vending auction in North Carolina, I bought one of my dream games a sit-down Space Harrier by Sega. It cost me a whopping $145 dollars at the time, as there was little interest in the famous 68000 processor games of Sega by 1995. Flash forward to today, and these games are not only revered by collectors but getting more difficult to find. During my divorce in 2005, I was forced to sell my original arcade game collection.

The Space Harrier happened to be my daughter's favorite game, and was saved thanks to her vigilance. Now that my daughter has graduated college and is out doing her own thing, she is regifting me the game back again so it can be out of her hair... but she can still enjoy it when she visits. Plus, it is high time this grand game received a grand restoration. I should have this in my hands by the end of the year, and I am looking forward to having one of my original collection games back into my hands.

At 61 inches in height, the sit-down version of the game is about as tall as most cabaret games. Collectors really go gaga over the "rolling type" or deluxe sit downs that move with the player. At 617 pounds however, bring a friend or four to move one if you are lucky enough to get ahold of this version. Out of the original version 68K Processor 3-D type games (Out Run, Space Harrier, Enduro Racer, and Hang-On) it seems Space Harrier is the least common to find anymore, and Out Run by far the most common. Space Harrier probably had a much lower production number than the other four games due to the unique concept. Sega might have stumbled in the home video game market in the 80's, but they were the kings of the arcade from 1986-1990 in my opinion.

Current condition: I haven't seen this up close in about 12 years, however it is fully working and complete. The fiberglass seat is cracked, but this should be an easy fix. The whole game will go through a tear down and total rebuild.

Amount of dust on game in workshop: Probably has dust, but dust in another state

Odds of this being finished by next Spring: 2 to 1


Project #4 : Bubble Bobble (CNC cabinet) by Taito

This is by far the least along of any of these projects, since it is mostly in the planning phase. The plan is to make a new 80's style Taito cabinet via a CNC cutting facility into sort of a "what if recreation". I love the multi-colored Taito cabinets of the early 1980's (Kram, Space Dungeon, Jungle Hunt...ect.) and it is a shame that Bubble Bobble came out a wee too late to get a dedicated version in this style (Bubble Bobble was released in 1986, and only as a kit in the USA). I will also create marquee, bezel, and control panel artwork in this style. The CPU will use a multi Taito board to play most of the Taito classics, with a switcher that will also allow Bubble Bobble to be played on an original Bubble Bobble CPU. So far I have some Taito donor cabinet parts, but don't see the CNC cabinet being made until the start of next year at some point.

Some donor parts for the upcoming Bubble Bobble

Bubble Bobble has always been one of my favorite games of the 1980's. I am not alone in my adoration for the game, as the game boards for Bubble Bobble have become beloved by many in the arcade hobby, accounting for the rising prices of these boards. I have fond memories of playing Bubble Bobble in the early 1990's in the arcade on my college campus, and I look forward to the time when I have a custom made upright version in my home arcade to play with family and friends one again.

Current condition: At this point it is just parts gathering, but the will is strong to get this one rolling.

Amount of dust on game in workshop: Only pre-production dust so far

Odds of this being finished by next Spring: 8 to 1

Odds of this being finished by next Summer: 2 to 1

Wish me luck....

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