You're Not Actually Going Into an Asteroid Field? (UPDATED)
Updated: Mar 6, 2019
A month into living in Seattle and I couldn't resist this sweet Craigslist pick up. A non-working but complete Asteroids cocktail for $250. No water damage, and listed as "working recently". It was dirty in the ad for sure but looked like it might be worth a gamble for a cheap vector monitor thrill.
Dirty is an understatement. Obviously either unplayed for a long time, or just abused. The first thing I noticed was the plexiglass top instead of a glass top. Cleaning it was kind of pointless since it was so heavily damaged. So it got thrown out, and a proper piece of glass ordered.
Other things just didn't look right compared to what an Asteroids cocktail should look like. A quick look around discovered something quite interesting.
Soon after getting knee deep in cleaning the thing out we discover a broken power switch. After a quick set of jump wires (I didn't have a replacement switch handy) the game powered up slowly but surely. Hey this is an Asteroids Deluxe, with decent reproduction regular Asteroids control panel overlays. The bigger surprise was the amazing condition of it under all that dirt and dust.
The monitor suffered from heavy burn in, and was in need of some new caps at the very least. A loose input wire was causing the monitor to turn on and off at times.
Again despite the grime everything was looking good. No broken bits or burnt items in the cabinet. The counter is under 20,000 plays which might be correct.
I change most of the caps (I need to order the big ones) and clean the crap out of the inputs. That seems to help the reliability and the monitor performance quite a bit.
WOW! What a difference that made. Super strong lines and very little shimmy or shake to the image now. Most of the parts on the board seem to be unaltered from the factory, which is amazing considering the reputation for unreliability that vector games are know for. Especially ones that are now 38 years old like this one.
Now it's looking really great! What seemed like a lark at $250 is now turning into a good candidate for a proper restoration. Now I need to find a decent reproduction of the Asteroids Deluxe underlay and control panel decals. It looks a little weird right now without a top glass. It has been awhile since I have scored such a nice game under 300 bucks. And although I am not a huge cocktail cabinet fan I do have a soft spot for Atari's excessive use of woodgrain on its products from the late 70's and early 80's. Plus despite the difficulty of Asteroids Deluxe it is a very fun game to have around. I'll update this entry as I continue the restoration of this game.
Game has been fully restored and now enjoys a life of leisure up in the office of our house. You can check out a short video of the restoration as well, with some bitching music to boot.