So a few weeks back I saw a Star Wars Trilogy Arcade game on eBay. Now this is one of my favorite arcades, and one of my favorite Star Wars games. I’m a huge Star Wars geek, and this was just so much fun to play when I was younger, and even now. Last time I played it locally was at an arcade down by the shore, and after that I managed to find it in an arcade in Las Vegas. However since the game is from 1998 it’s harder to find these days, especially as arcades are being down-sized etc.
A New Hope
So I ended up bidding, and I actually won! The damage was around $370, however shipping wasn’t an option and I had to pick this beast up. Long story short and over 200 miles later I pickup the arcade with my girlfriend’s parents van and drive it home. I finally get it home and I find that it’s 1 inch too large to fit in the doorway for the room I wanted to place it in. Thankfully I was able to take off the joystick area and it fit through the door with the help of my friend pushing.
Now it’s beat up, I didn’t mention that before. But this thing’s in rough shape. The wood is damaged, the monitor is showing funky colors, etc, this thing literally fell off a truck, and it survived! I didn’t get a chance to test it that night, but the next day I did. Plugging in all the odd connectors and wires to each other. I carefully re-connected everything from the very few photos I took of the insides… (Tip: ALWAYS take a million photos of the inside of an electronics component before you start disconnecting wires, you’ll think you will remember. But after a while it all looks the same!). I plugged the power cord into a power strip, so I can have easy access to the on/off switch in case the machine decided to catch on fire. So I flip the switch, and I hear an increasingly loud whirling noise. I panic and shut the system off. Well it turns out there was a cable in front of the fan, so as the fan got faster it made a horrible noise. Whoops! I fix that, and turn it on again – Ta-Dah! It works!
The screen has some burn-in and some colors are washed out/displayed oddly, but the arcade works. She actually works! I was very excited at this point. I played around a bit and was very happy to get it working.
The Arcade Strikes Back
Over the next few days I’d tinker with it more. I installed it’s subwoofer and as of last night I’ve soldered new ‘Test’ and ‘Service’ buttons to the cabinet. The issue was that these buttons were broken. So now they worked again. Now here comes what I regret, in the Endor level I could never aim toward the far right of the screen. I assumed the joystick just needed to be calibrated. I saw an option in the service menu, so I went ahead and set it up the best I could. Well, for whatever reason this screwed everything up!
The joystick will now only move vertically, and not horizontally, it’s also all the way to the left. No matter how many times I re-try, or re-read the instructions I have the same result. One odd thing is, under ‘Game assignments’ if I set the cabinet from U/R (Upright) to Dx (Deluxe, Bench) the controls work, but a bit differently, obviously needing of some calibration. So I have a feeling there is something that’s being shorted out, or just not working. The service menu shows the joystick moving correctly, but the game does not. Also I can no longer access the ‘Input’ menu on the Service screen, it will flash for a second and exit. Something is wrong and I have to figure it out…
Update! So the issue was the joystick. I took apart the joystick area and examined the ‘volume knob’ (the knob that sits on the joystick and moves when the joystick is moved left to right, etc) This knob wasn’t sitting right. It turned too far so the movement of the joystick wasn’t making a good connection. So I removed the knob via the four screws… there was an odd bolt in the way so it was hard to remove the knob’s faceplate. Once removed I re-set the position of the knob and screwed everything into place. I used a lot of duct-tape fearing that glue may not be a good idea. Weeks later and it’s still playing fine. I do notice now that the volume knob must have shifted every so slightly. As the cross-hair on the screen no longer will go to the far left side. Thankfully no enemies are on the far left side, they are often on the far right side. Either way I may have to open it up again when I have time. But it’s working at least.
Things to fix:
Joystick – this is my top priority! (Edit: I got this working! I needed to adjust the ‘volume’ knob on the joystick to sit properly!)
Monitor – colors are all weird, degaussing didn’t help much.
Wood cabinet – some cracked wood, need to bolt / screw brackets in to help support it.
Marque:- I have some of the pieces, but this needs replacing, I put the light for it somewhere… now where was it?