Howdy to you dedicated blog reader, sorry for the lack of updates but life (schoolwork mostly) has gotten in the way of my hobby as sometimes it does. The good news for those of you who are invested in the VAG-Verse TM realm of arcade shenanigans there are in fact a lot of things in the works along with a few cool new announcements of things that have happened recently. I finished up my BASW degree this last week which gives me about 5-6 weeks of time to concentrate on hobby related goodness so expect some interesting stuff coming your way.
Cloak & Dagger Blu Ray from Vinegar Syndrome
The first announcement to make is that about 8 months ago I did a YouTube video on the history of Atari’s Cloak & Dagger arcade game and how it tied in with the 1984 film of the same name. In the video we also go through my restoration/conversion Cloak and Dagger arcade game. A few months ago, I was approached by the company Vinegar Syndrome who, if you don’t know who they are, are the manufacture of special edition Blu Ray releases of cult and rare films. They asked me if they could include the You Tube video as an extra feature on the new 4k release of the Cloak & Dagger film, and of course I said yes. The release is out but may not be available on their website until July of 2022 due to some big sale they just had. It’s an amazing release of the film and I am extremely honored to be included in the release!
Liberator Upright Restoration Completed
Speaking of that video for Cloak & Dagger, on that same video we showed off a hard luck case Liberator upright (That was a Cabal at that point in time) that was originally picked up solely for parts. Once we discovered the original side artwork was intact under 4 layers of terrible paint, well, I couldn’t just let the world not have the chance at one more surviving Liberator. I might be the Patron Saint of Atari’s Liberator now after making a custom cabaret version and a documentary on the subject, but I was very excited how the game came out in the end. I must still do a few minor tweaks to the game which I plan on selling soon. As much as I love Liberator, I don’t need two of them and space in the arcade is tight so…
Upcoming Documentary on the Crash of 1983
One of the more popular topics in the realm of early video game history is what is known as the Video Game Crash of 1983. While it is true that a huge downturn in both demand for electronic gaming and personal computers was created both a glut of product on shelves and consumers no longer interested in buying video game systems by late 1983-early 1984, much of the nuance surrounding the exact causes of the crash tend to be lost on many in the gaming fandom. The common narrative about the crash is usually told as something like this… Atari, which was at the time the largest of the gaming companies produced the Atari VCS or 2600 which would eventually dominate the home video game market in the late 70’s through early 80’s. Atari made a rather terrible home version of the popular Pac-Man arcade game for the 2600, then brought out a disliked follow up video game system known as the 5200. The final straw for consumers was a terrible home video game version of the movie E.T. where you pretty much just fell into holes. After that people saw video games as a fad, the consumer demand dried up until a few years later it was reborn with the introduction of Nintendo’s NES console.
Atari does share some of the blame for the early deuteriation of consumer confidence and market conditions during these early video game market years, but I propose that Atari is less to blame for the gaming crash of 1983 than four other companies which often do not get critically viewed for their huge failings in the marketplace. These four companies, three of which were toy companies, attempted to enter the video game marketplace despite having limited interest or experience in electronic entertainment and created the main factors for the quick eroding video game marketplace.
In this series of upcoming videos, we will deep dive into these four companies and why they deserve much of the blame for the video game crash of 1983 thanks to poorly thought-out products, a lack of quality control, and a total inability to read the pulse of what the gaming public wanted. I hope to have the first part out by next month.
There are several projects that need attention in the workshop, and I am sort of working on them all at once, but for those of you who are interested these are the current members of the workshop rehab group.
Q*Bert Cocktail – I have been fixing up the water damage on the bottom of the cabinet which is turning out to be a bit more that I had originally thought. My goal is to shore up the bottom to prevent future splitting or stability issues. Not planning on a full restoration here just want the game to be presentable and not get worse. Once this is done, I might move this game up to the house arcade and bring the Jungle King down into the workshop for storage.
Tempest – Our Tempest has a bit of damage on the back top from an apparent drop at some point in its life. The side art is also in rough shape, so I am thinking of doing a total overhaul on this game as the next project. Mechanically it works very well (and I rebuilt the control panel about 3 years ago and it still looks great), so this might be a fast project to knock out.
Moon Patrol – Needs a total overhaul, the cabinet especially is very rough needing a new paint and stencil job. The bottom of the cabinet is especially dire with a massive amount of checking from the base wood up to the sides. The control panel is screwed up, the wiring harness is wrong, and the monitor is very VERY tired. I am 99% sure this will be the next major project.
Stargate/JROK – Another Williams cabinet that needs a lot of love, but it isn’t as dire as the Moon Patrol. Still will need a total bottom repair job, new stenciled paint, and a good amount of Bondo. There is also a bit of water damage on the top which will need to be addressed. The game works great however and the monitor is nice and bright.
Star Wars – Still debating on if I will do a full restore on this game. The odd holes on the bottom don’t big me too much but the side art is very faded. I recently rebuilt part of the monitor, it would be cool to source an original Amplifone monitor for this game but that would be a pretty big expense.
Braces Off: Strange Mouth Sounds Gone?
In the last bit of news, my adult braces are gone baby gone! I was glad I got my teeth fixed which has been a lifetime dream of mine, and I am also glad the braces are gone now! The teeth look great, and hopefully the odd mouth noises in the videos will be mostly gone since I don’t have a bunch of metal and plastic in my mouth while attempting to speak. That is all for now, thanks for reading and happy hunting!