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Author Topic: Q*bert. A man and his grail... FINISHED !!!  (Read 153624 times)
Level42
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« on: September 09, 2011, 09:23:26 AM »


[EDIT]

Made a "steps" list for the restoration here to keep track of progress Smiley:
V- remove hacked in switcher PSU and Jamma cabling
V- restore power harness
V- restore main harness
V- restore interboard harness -> PCB connector replaced with new
V- restore/check/adapt Power Brick
V- clean cab
V- restore wood
V- paint cab
V- install side-art
V- installl front-art
V- install black vinyl
V- get monitor mounts
V- install monitor
V- check PCB set-up
V- check sound board
V- mount knocker
V- reinstall harnesses
V- mount PCBs
V- buy fluorescent tube
V- install fluorescent tube
V- install marquee and bezel
V- install battery back up instead of Super Cap
V- restore coin door
V- prime, paint and install marquee retainer
V- install repro serial tags etc.

[End of Edit]

Rewind. It's the early 80's. Near my school in Rotterdam there is this funny little "shop". I don't understand it's concept, but they sell soft drinks and they have 1 pinball machine, 1 foosball table and 1 arcade videogame.

I never understood how they earned enough money. But I was "green" then. My recent thoughts were that it must have been a Coffeeshop before they were officially condoned here...and looky looky, it still IS a Coffeeshop today (for those who don't know, in The Netherlands Coffeeshops is where you don't go if want a cup of coffee Wink)

Here's a Google Streetview screenshot:



Anyway, I never noticed any weird smells then, but we were simply 100% focussed on that single arcade game: Ms.Pac Man !!!
I played that game the most of all arcade games in my youth (and still suck at it Tongue)
It was always there when we had an unexpected hour free because of an ill teacher or in the regular breaks.

Then, one day, we step in and.....our beloved Ms.Pac is GONE !!! VANISHED !!! HOLY CRAP !!! I immediatly go to the owner to ask if he had gone mad....but he says, hey it started to earn less....and there's a great new game there now. So I replied, there is no better game than Ms.Pac ....but what could we do. We had a look at the new machine and OK, it looked kinda neat. So reluctantly throw in a guilder and push the joystick. Eeeeeeeeewwww...mmmm, looks like you must not move up friends, but that sure sounded funny ! (My memory tells me there was no "tock" from a knocker. I am also not sure if it was an original cab). The next steps are already a bit better and I manage to keep on this weird pyramid a bit longer...
Anyway, you figured it out, it was Q*bert and my love for the game was born right there.

Later I played it first by renting the 2600 cart (looked pretty wacky, but the gameplay wasn't bad) and then of course on my Atari 600XL.

So, fast forward into the 2000's.....I start collecting these big ass wooden boxes with classic games. Naturally, Q*bert immediately comes to my mind to own, but reality sets in very quickly. Impossible to find in Europe.
At one point I find a very nice one on e-bay in the US, just by accident. The price was very low, and I briefly considered having it transported to here. However, apart from the money, it seemed almost impossible to me at that time. So I tipped it off on KLOV and a forum member there bought it and restored it and he owes me big time until this day Wink Wink

Then FFW again to november 2010. I am at a arcade gathering somewhere in Germany. While chatting around outside I notice a van and in a blink of the eye something seems to pop in my mind.......Q*BERT !!! There's a Q*BERT in there ! So I walk up to the van and peer through the window. To my utter surprise it turns out to be not one, but TWO Q*bert next to each other !!! What the @!#?@!



Naturally I anxiously (yet trying to look cool) start to ask around who's machines these are ? I quickly find out and I happen to know these guys Wink (Already bought my Joust from them...)

Sooooo....we get into a chat and it turns out they want to make one good working Q*bert out of these two machines....so I immediately smell my chance and ask what you're going to do with the "leftover" ?? Not sure yet is the reply, so I "ask" if I can buy the left overs, I don't care what state it is in !

The next months I drop a mail every once in a while to ask about progress and if they're still letting my buy whatever is left...trying to act not to annoying yet still keeping them "awake" about my interest Wink Wink

And the rest of the story you guys know: Last weekend, the Q*bert was presented me by those too great guys at Eurocade !!




List of required parts:

[EDIT]

- vertical monitor frame
- monitor shroud (plastic bezel)

- Control Panel [GOT IT]  (thanks to Bruno !)
- joystick and harness + button holders [GOT IT] (Thanks to Peter on KLOV)
- buttons [GOT IT]
- CPO set [INSTALLED !]
- side art [GOT IT]
- Bezel [GOT IT]
- Marquee [GOT IT] [The "Swearing" version from Phoenixarcade)
- monitor [GOT IT] (Brand new WG waiting in box !]
- harness [GOT IT, fixed hacks and tested 100% !]
- PCB [GOT IT, fixed by Robin !]
- sound PCB [GOT IT, works 100% !]
- knocker [GOT IT]
- PSU board [GOT IT]
- (optional) Gottlieb insert for coin door (but not going to pay 40 bucks for it)
- yellow paint [DONE !]
- PSU [GOT IT, to be fixed]
- new TL tube (missing) [GOT IT]
- new starter (missing) [GOT IT]
- new black leathered T-molding [GOT IT]


* Schermafbeelding 2015-01-01 om 11.31.19.png (644.18 KB, 800x384 - viewed 385 times.)
« Last Edit: July 29, 2015, 06:48:31 PM by Level42 » Logged

Blanka
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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2011, 09:45:49 AM »

Nice story.
I love Q*bert too. I have to do it with 2 versions myself: the Videopac one, and the handheld from Parker.
The latter is an amazing conversion, and definitely in the top 5 of faithful arcade to handheld conversions. The only change they made was the size of the field. The handheld has a pyramid with 6 cube sides, where the arcade is 7 cube per side. Al the rest is excellent. Different patterns to colour the cubes, various badies chasing you, the elevators on the side, weird sounds. The graphics are amazing, and better than any console version from that time.
The videopac is very accurate in gameplay, but the graphics are Atari 2600 like too. Fun trivia on that one: I run it on a G7200, the one with built in B&W tube. With the contrast dial, you have to tweak Q*bert for every level. After yellow cubes against blue being nice bright grey and dark grey, the appearance of red and green of the next level might result in exact the same grey levels. By turning the dial, you can "bend" the chroma-channel to have different colour to grey conversion. If you connect it to a TV, you have the best image of any console made before 1990. It has RGB scart output! You can play Q*bert mirrored to a modern screen!
« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 09:55:42 AM by Blanka » Logged
Blanka
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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2011, 10:00:17 AM »

Anyway, I never noticed any weird smells then

I think it smells like a combination of conifers, with men's sweat. Not a weird smell if you grow up like me being a boy scout and playing army in the, back then still widely available bushes in towns.
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Level42
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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2011, 10:05:18 AM »

So, now the BIG HUNT is open !  I need PARTS !

While we were ordering stuff from Phoenix arcade in the groupbuy some months ago, I figured I might as well already get the great "swearing" marquee:


To my surprise nobody asked why I actually bought it....but I was already pretty sure the cab would end up here  Grin Grin

Through The Force it just happened that Bruno threw up his US Q*bert CP on the "Eurocade marketplace" EXACTLY on time, and naturally I "grabbed" it !

Man, that was the hardest part to get, shipping this from the US would be no fun (IF I could find one). Thank you Bruno ! (put a little extra in Bruno's daughter Sun's piggybank because I was so happy with the CP and the price !)



Further, through a WTB on KLOV I found a nice joystick with it's wiring that should be on it's way by now.


Got some offer on boards but I am not in a real rush and prices are high (got some other older projects to finish first) so I've got my hope set on this:
http://www.jrok.com/xfer/msf/

I know, I know original hardware is sweet, but this cab has no original hardware or harness anymore and I am very happy with JROK's Multi-Williams board.
It has the following essentials for me:
1) No emulation
2) speech support
3) knocker support
4) nice but not necessary, multiple games
5) very reliable
6) good price

Now, bezel, side and CP art-set is being worked on....now I still need the buttons. Does anybody have a close-up of them (Bruno ?) I know they are transparent and I think red ? Are they long or short ? Are there leafs or micro-switches under them ? (Not that it really matters a lot, it's just for starting a game and I'm not anal about it in that case).


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Etienne MacGyver
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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2011, 11:02:06 AM »

Hey dre, cool that you finally got your grail!

if you need assistence let me know, i'll be glad to help you where needed.

(in the same way i can maybe forfill my sons question....  (to enter / play  that "big blue-black airplane" as he likes to call it, again  Grin)
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Level42
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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2011, 11:08:11 AM »

Hey dre, cool that you finally got your grail!

if you need assistence let me know, i'll be glad to help you where needed.

(in the same way i can maybe forfill my sons question....  (to enter / play  that "big blue-black airplane" as he likes to call it, again  Grin)

Hah...sure no problem !!! And thanks, I will definitely take you up on that offer !
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robotype
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« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2011, 11:59:05 AM »

ok......now I understand your email...congratulations andre!
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Q*ris
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2011, 01:50:56 PM »

Not only one but two Q-Berts @ eurocade and that was a damn sweet sight!
Really happy for you André!
(and I love the background story a lot)
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ElPancho
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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2011, 02:52:43 PM »

Congratulated you on your grail at Eurocade but what the heck ..... congratulations once again !
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current line up: 3 x New Astro City 2x Atomiswave SD, 3 x Aero (2 NOS) and Aero Table
Pac Man
Black Knight pinball
On the way: Daytona USA
Level42
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« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2011, 03:04:07 PM »

Thanks guys !!!

....of course, there is always a new grail....  Grin Grin Grin
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Luigi
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« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2011, 03:45:44 PM »

We're really happy that you like the cab that much  Smiley  We were almost ashamed to bring it to Eurocade 'cause of its bad condition roll eyes

Unfortunately I don't have a closeup picture of the panel...will do it and then you'll know what buttons are used. I think they are original and I also think you are right with your guess (red and transparent). I'm sure they are leafswitch but I'll take a look Smiley


Is the Multi-PCB already finished? If you will Jamma it I can send you a bootleg. It's without speech but at least you could paly 'til you get the Multi-PCB Smiley
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shilmover
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« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2011, 03:50:28 PM »

I have a repro Q*Bert Bezel.  Its one that you just apply to a piece of glass.  I can send you pictures if you want...
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shilmover
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« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2011, 03:52:17 PM »

And I just sold a working Q*Bert PCB last week.   Angry
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Level42
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« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2011, 03:59:08 PM »

And I just sold a working Q*Bert PCB last week.   Angry
Too bad !!! That's my punishment for keeping it a secret :S

As long as you don't sell the DK panel to anyone else Wink

Bezel: Is that the same one like from Mikesarcade ?

@Luigi:
No , the mult-Mylstar FPGA is not finished yet but I know it will be a reality one day...
The bootleg Jamma _would_ definitely be an option to bridge that gap of time...I'll PM you !
 
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atarimania
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« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2011, 04:37:51 PM »

Congratulation Andre. Is it the same size cabinet than the cab of Bruno ?

So now.... WIP... and then... next Grail Huh???  Grin Grin
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