Author Topic: DEBATE : original boards vs re edition boards vs boot vs emu vs nothing?!  (Read 19011 times)


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OK, because there are very often the same remarks on several topics on this boards, like the last ones for example :

May I ask why you didn't just order a "bullet-proofed" (refurbished) original Ms. Pac-man PCB off US eBay? It would've had the original intro screen with the 1980 Midway Mfg. logo AND it would've been half the price you paid. Also, since you're not using the Galaga game, you paid a premium for it needlessly. You also could've purchased to Pac to Jamma adapter.


Why not a 48 in 1 Bruno ?  Much cheaper, plays the original game code and not the "almost but not quite the same" on that Namco board, which is still emulation too.

Seriously, you had a couple of bad experiences with boards. Either I've been very lucky or you have been very unlucky, since my boards run 100% reliable. Galaxian, Mario Bros, Missile Command, Centipede (true, after 3 parts repaired) SW (OK, in all honesty I've had to replace 2 VG-Rams on that, but it's SO easy)....

I hope one day you realise that no restoration is truly complete without the original board in it.
I understand why you do it though, and there ARE good alternatives (like Jrok's multi-williams which is NOT emulation).

And I say this with a ton of respect for all the fabulous work you do on all your cabinets, please let that be clear !!!!!
 :) :)
But you's nice and stuff, but in the end it feels like sex with a condom.........

let’s create a dedicated topic for this question : original boards vs re edition boards vs boot vs fan made boards, vs emulation vs 48in1 boards…vs nothing…

Of course, strictly speaking about collecting ‘original’ stuff, the ‘original’ board wins without any question.

Now let’s see what are the different type of  … let’s says “collectors” ? It’s just few example, feel free to add others example.

- Some of us have only one of few cabinets, and their hobby is to restore them 100% original, without changing anything. They don’t mind to wait several weeks/months/years before reaching their goal…but it must be 100% original. They don’t have a dedicated game room, and it’s not a big problem to have a non working games for a long time. They don’t plan to play the games like a crazy… the most important thing for them : It must be ALL original or they won’t go further…this is the general definition of a collector of ‘original’ things.

- Some of us have only one or few cabinets, and they really want to play these games (because these games are the favorite one). They don’t have time/money/skill for repairing the original boards, and they must find an alternative… mame, X in 1, so t

- Some of us have a LOT of games (more than 30 or 40 cabinets)

A variation here :

* They are Living in USA :

The old ‘classic’ games are very cheap and very easy to find. The boards are easy to find, a lot of operators are still repairing these games. Warehouse are common. In addition, the US ‘Vintage Arcade Scene’ is big, deals are easy to do and very smooth…

* They are Living in Europe:

… where the old classic game are very hard to find, expensive, where the arcade community is smallest (but thanks to Internet, we are ‘almost’ together now. I’m very happy to have US friends here). Most of items (boards, parts) have to be imported… still much money … free space is a big problem in Europe. Some of us have access to a warehouse or garage, and can let non working games for a long … long time …. but others can’t have so many ‘non working’ games in their house or in their game room (the famous ‘WAF’ factor)…

Now the questions regarding … ‘the original board’:

Do Am I able to repair an original board? Where to find the components? How much money I want to spend for repair it? How much free time I have to spend in this? Do I have time to let that cabinet ‘non working’ inside my house/warehouse/game room?

What is the final objective in this?

- I’m a die hard ‘collector’… nothing except original stuff, even if it’ll take ages
- I’m a die hard ‘fan of the game’… of course I’m looking for original stuff, but they are alternatives, that won’t affect the game play or rendering of the game !

For example, using an Advance Mame setup, outputting the game on a RGB display, and with a configuration 1:1 in terms of game play, ratio/refresh of the game, exact controls, etc or using new *official* edition of the boards, such the Namco Reunion boards … no one will see any difference: same game play, same feeling, same display on the screen … IMPOSSIBLE to see or feel any difference when playing of it !

Of course, it’s not the old board behind the game, but my objective is to make the game playable EXACTLY like it supposed to be in the past, inside a restored cabinet (the aesthetic part is VERY important to me!) … and I can tell you my objectives are reached !
I’m very proud to present my games to friends, colleges, kids, games lovers (for real on via pictures on Internet), and for all the visitors and let them play on them. They don’t care if it’s the original board or not. But because I respect all these games… and the players, I’m doing all I can in order to present the games *ARCADE ACCURATE* … same game play, controls, display, sounds … the 1:1 pixel perfect experience… like it was, back in the Days.

In order to make happy the hardcore collectors, I keep all the original parts, and the modifications done are reversible.
So if one day, the GOD of arcade arrives on Earth and asks me : “What are you doing?”, I’ll tell him : “ok, let’s put back the originals parts… Here they are!”  ;D

Let me tell you something else : All the visitors/players or ‘classics games’ fans are really happy  after spending some time in my game room. They played on these old games like they did 10,20,25 or 30 years ago ! I mean the chances for them to see somewhere these games up & running are so small, even almost null  :-[  I can tell you they are more happy to play the games even without the original board than to see a cabinet original but … non working! And for the 'curious' players, I can even show them the real boards ;-) Of course, there will always few people to complain… it’s live… but they represent 0.001% of the community. I respect them of course, but our objectives are not exactly the same I would say.

In addition, I’m not afraid to show ALL I’m doing on my games… as you can see, ALL my projects are showed here… sometime it takes few weeks, or months, and even YEARS but they are ALL here, with a start… a work in progress ... and for most of them …a happy end (or a happy end very soon) ! I would be curious to see what some of these hardcore collectors are really doing by the way? I invite them to post somewhere their projects or give links  ;) It's so easy to speak... but not so easy to DO things  :roll:

How many road trip I’ve already seen on other websites, with ‘non working’ games to restore… a lot of enthusiasm at the beginning and … and … nothing more on the topic … even after many months/years? What happens to these games? Probably still broken under spider webs, in the back of a garage? Waiting for a part that never will be founded or repaired? Or sold for making business ? Or the owner has no more interest in it? Hope they won’t trash it in 10 years!
I'm so happy when I see someone finally playing his favorite game, even with mame, on his authentic arcade game, than an arcade game without any live... and finally the person give up because the repair is too hard/expensive/take too much time  :'(
Maintaining a park of more than 40 ‘old’ games like I have is a real challenge and a true nightmare! It would require a full time technician with all the spare parts available& electronic knowledge to maintain the games up & running & playable. I’m not unfortunately this full time technician, so I’ve to use others techniques, like to ones you can see in some of my restorations.
What about exposing games in a Museum, where only maybe 10 on 40 games are playable just in the name of '100% original' ? What is your objectives, still the same question... We use to read 'SIZE MATTERS' on spam mails  ;D But for this debate It would say 'Numbers matters'  :D

Doing so many ‘experiences’ during these years allowed me to find nice tricks, like using a TV monitor via RGB for a perfect arcade display, or hacking the original Daytona controls, using the fabulous Matteo’s EURO DL conversion card (after building it) in order to use a ‘modern’ laser disc player, more reliable than the original Philips one, and still enjoy Dragon’ Lair with the real board/LD on my cabinet, creating new metal/wood or Plexiglas parts, artworks,…building a game room, than an other one… and soon an other one (Galaxian3), working on a website, …
When some modifications have to be done, always do them reversible, and keep the original parts.

Sometime, I would like to have only two or three games, and so, everything would be original… every single screws … wires … condo … you can thrust me. Once again 'Number Matters'  :P

In conclusion, because they are different objectives, they are many solutions…

Why not a 48 in 1 Bruno ?  Much cheaper, plays the original game code and not the "almost but not quite the same" on that Namco board, which is still emulation too.

No way, the emulation of the games via the 48in1 board is not accurate at all : not the same refresh rate for some games, bad sounds (pitch of the sounds is not correct), ‘title’ screens are not correct (some copyright are missing). Here’s the perfect example for you André … Galaxian … listen this (old video recording 2 years ago in order to show to the seller I'm not happy with the board, before sending back to him)

Galaxian 48in1 version video

... immediately you can hear the problem  :arrow: bad sound... and it's just an example...

This board is fun for someone who wants to just play the games for time to time, but not for someone who is looking for arcade accurate emulation. In addition, this board is easy to setup (jamma) and very cheap.

I also disagree regarding the Namco boards such the Namco classics 1 / 2 or the Namco Reunion board : Class of 81’
These cards are real boards, made by Namco, and reproduce exactly the games like the original versions. Of course, there is a menu for games selection, but once you're in... it's perfect  ;) I wouldn’t call that ‘emulation’ but ‘in house reprogramming’, with maybe ‘some part of emulation’, -who knows?- but not via a reverse engineering like our favorite emulators (mame for example). Remember they are the creators of these games (PacMan, Galaga , Xevious or Ms Pac Man…), and I’m sure they have everything needed in-house for doing a good job on these modern boards. We can thrust them on that!

I don’t want to offense anyone here, but debate with all of us about our fabulous hobby : Arcade Collecting and most important thing to me : the Arcade Life Style!
There are so many people here... having their own vision of the thing : some of them are repairing everything, some of them are doing 'scratch build replica', some of them use some 'tricks', some of them are doing a little it of everything, ...  ;)

Because my English writing in not so good, I may write stupid/non-sense things here… don’t blame me / flame me! (‘sounds like a disclaimer, isn’t it?  ;))

Now, let’s debate...and once again, no offense  ;)


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100% agree with you Bruno !!!

Galaga - PacMan - Donkey Kong Red Cab - Track & Field Upright - Tempest - Burgertime - Gyruss - Defender - Track & Field Cocktail - Robotron 2084


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Numbers definitely matters.

I also already spent too many money for broken pcb that emultation, even it's not perfect,
mame authors put all their effort to be most accurate as possible.

about 48in1 and all those xxxx in 1
they are not too bad, but they are only good to play in a generic cabinet.
I have one in my cocktail cab, it plays quite well pacman and frogger, that all i ask....

Sonic 1992

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No offense here Bruno!!!!!  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D

My input on this topic.... 

Original boards or Emulation, or whatever....  Do what you like for your game!  Offer advice or suggestions to others, but don't criticize others for their choice of what they do, we all have common ground, to keep enjoying our games!   

I say  Do what ever it takes to keep your games going!! 

I don't understand why anyone would fuss?  Nothing is perfect, and eventually everything will break down.  It doesn't matter if you have
NOS boards for your game, they may or may not last another 20 years from this very day.  In a "Perfect World"  we all would love to use totally original parts, but sometimes it's just not possible.

Again, I say do whatever it takes to keep your beloved games going...  BECAUSE:

1.    You think parts are hard to find now??...  Try finding someone to fix that now 18 year old Sony Lasermax LD player in your DL 2 machine in another 20 years!

2.  Even if your doing fantastic work by using AdvanceMame like Bruno, Technology changes so fast, that it may even be hard to replace parts in the advancemame setup if it needs work later...  Need Proof?  Just try to go find some parts today that would be compatable for a computer you had back in 1995!

3. Let's not forget that CRT's are dying fast, if not already dead?  Now that flat panels are definately taking over, Have you thought about what you are going to do in 2023 when your new, as of today, CRT monitor in your Ms. Pac Man dies?  Do you let your game die for good, or use the new standard of tomorrow, so you can still enjoy your game?

So, Do you use original parts, or Mame it out?  It's up to you!  I say do what it takes to keep your games going!

My only rebuttal:   a little bitsy bit off topic.

Quote: * They are Living in USA :

The old ‘classic’ games are very cheap and very easy to find. The boards are easy to find, a lot of operators are still repairing these games. Warehouse are common. In addition, the US ‘Vintage Arcade Scene’ is big, deals are easy to do and very smooth…

Not always true!   Yes, there is no shortage of classic games here, BUT the ones that have them have figured out several years ago that people are  nostalgic and want these games and they price and gouge you accordingly!

Now, there are a few instances where someone had "an incredible find" for a bargain... let me just say that compares to finding treasure, winning the lottery etc.  because it is NOT common.  Sure, Everywhere you can find a beat to hell, gutted out game for 50.00

  I've had some bad dealings in the past with people who sell/repair games, (sometimes it's like used car sales)  Not to be negative,  but if money is no object to the buyer, then Yes, classic games are very "cheap" & easy to "find" here in the USA.  :roll:

Best wishes to everyone on their next game projects!!   :D


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You make very good points. I would just like to point out that I am not recommending you strictly adhere to original hardware in every instance. I was specifically referencing this Ms. Pac situation, you could have SAVED MONEY by purchasing a refurbished original, that was my opinion. It would've been cheaper for you, and since you wanted an exact feel of the original game with the original welcome screen it would be Midway Manufacturing Co. 1980, not NAMCO. And you would have the original welcome screen, not a Menu Screen with Galaga/Ms.Pac. Original did not have that.

And my second point was that you could buy one that was working from a tech that refurbished it to like-new, not to worry about pcb failure. That is all.

But in every case you should always do what you want to do, I was just giving you a suggestion.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 10:32:25 PM by WunderCade »


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...and breathe!  ;)

i have a 48 in 1 board, it has messed up sounds which particularly bothers me when i am playing Dig Dug. but for all intended purposes, it's great. it plays a load of old games which are too fragile for my liking since i have a tendancy of breaking boards, and they can be expensive and need me to fiddle around with a soldering iron to make yet another jamma adapter. hang on, i don't even have dedicated cabs, i have generic candy cabs! in the near future, i think i will look into MAME so i can play some model 2 games.

my point echos those above me, do what you are happy with. regardless whether it's a re-issued board from the maker or not, whether that does indeed look/ sound/ play identical to the original or not. unless you intend to submit scores to twin galaxies, it really doesn't matter. ultimately it's whether you are happy with the product or not. some people prefer fixing games than playing games... good for them, i prefer to play them myself. if possible, i would like my cabs delivered too rather than me sit in a car for 10 hours to fetch it myself.  ;D BUT, i do love reading your road trips, so don't stop.


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Hey Bruno,

Sorry if I pissed you man, that was not my intention at all !

I was lucky enough to visit your lair and play your games and man, you're doing a tremendous job in restoring all those cabs ! Like the Pleiads, I know how bad it was when I saw it at the seller's.

I like the idea of discussing this, but I have a feeling that you were mostly giving your view (get the games running fast) vs. my view (may take a little longer, but it takes as long as it needs) in the first posting on this thread.

It all comes down to personal preferences and what is possible for each person. I know that I will never have as much room for my cabs as you do. That leaves me with owning a small selection of games. Thus, I have much more time per game to spend. Yes, most of my games still need work in some way. This was also caused by the fact of lack of a gameroom, which made it hard/impossible to work constantly on my cabs.

For me, the bottom line is that a cab with a PC inside is like a classic car with a brand-new enigne. Sure it drives, it's reliable, it looks perfect on the outside but it's not complete.

I don't agree with you that PCB's are hard to get. I have a number of sources in Europe for boards. Andreas from is a wizard at repairing PCB's. He fixed the Meteor PCB for me. Would I have wanted to repair it myself ? Sure, but although I have _some_  PCB repair skills, I'm not a wizard at it. Andreas kindly repaired it for me for a very fair price indeed.

There are always boards on e-bay. Some I had to get from the US, yes, but that's not expensive at all. The board prices are reasonable there, shipping is not that expensive and custom taxes etc. are easy to defeat by having it send as a gift (or indicating a low(er) value).

Of course, that's not true for all games.
F.I. you bought your SW cockpit empty. So, you did a terrific job at getting it alive as good as possible. I would have done exactly the same my friend ! It's almost impossible (but not totally) to get all the original parts and bring it back to it's original state. I totally respect your choice for that.

Of course you're right about the 48in1 board, but I think the Pac games are very close to the real thing on them ?

But f.i. I played your Galaxian and really it doesn't feel the same as mine. I can't explain it but it's just different. Minor differences yet, but enough to notice. And the sounds are always different in emulation, especially on the early games that used dedicated hardware sounds (like DK, Galaxian etc. etc.).

Of course the majority of people will not notice the differences, but I do, so for me it's important to try to go as original as possible.

There's also one other point I really don't like when using MAME: boot-up time. I want to turn on the game and play. I really don't like waiting for the PC to start up and launch the emulator and game.

It's the same with the power supplies. Sure it would be easy to convert most PSU on my games to switchers. Some people say they're more reliable (which I do not agree on). They _are_ more energy efficient and they're great if there are no alternatives, but if possible, I rebuild the original power supply. I love the humm of powering up a cab :)

I'm not always a hardcore restores though. F.I. I bought my Joust just to fit in Jrok's multi-Williams board. Definitily not original hardware. The cab was already Jamma-tized, which is great because the board is Jamma. I don't have _any_ problems with that. It makes it very easy to get it running quickly and I'm able to play a number of great Williams classics. I _do_ like the fact that it's not emulation though. It plays perfectly like the original hardware (I know, I played Robotron and Joust at Thorsten's on the original hardware).

You work amazingly fast on your games, and you go through great efforts to restore them on the outside and it is just that that makes me wonder why you don't take that last step.

Yes, we do differ in opinion on that, that doesn't mean I don't respect your work at all of course, quite the opposite !!!

It's just a different view at things. I think everyone has a different view at this hobby and that is fine !

Hope to see you soon in my "Level 42" gameroom my friend !!!


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I totally agree with you bruno!

Till now I have no experiance with mame because all my boards still run, but that's only because I'm pretty new to the "Arcade Lifestyle @ home"... I'm sure I will get a Cab with a non-working pcb or one will break down in the future and if I cant get a new PCB for a "normal" price I will use Mame (or other possibilities)...  :)


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i don't think you crazy europeans should worry that you're offending each other.
you have strong feelings that differ slightly but thats what gets you your gamerooms
if you weren't so passionate (crazy), then you wouldn't be scouring ebay and other sources, building connections and arcade friendships, sourcing vital expensive parts, getting up at four am to drive hundreds of miles just so you can eat a burger king or any of the other insane things you guys put yourselves through, and i wouldn't have any damn fine arcades to visit (oh yeah bruno PM coming ;) :-*)

But to the Debate lets not worry about feelings and talk specifics of why we feel one is better and even how it is better. we can even discuss how in one situation emulation may be the best, for example a rare board, should it be treated with care and kept in a museum and not played, used only to make perfect simulation/emulation, extreme i know but one of the goals of mame is preservation. A good topic with lots to discuss i think.

so my questions
Bruno ,Andre you disagree on the reunion boards , why Andre do you consider them emulation, and Bruno you dont ? i don't wish to cause an argument but find out about these things from all sides.
like jroks board is real, is it the presence of certain chips that make it not emulation Andre, it would be nice to know so i can assess things
xx in 1 boards do these lack certain chips to make them emulation, not real?
 :spaceace: :spaceace:

just keeping an eye on things


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In 2023 We have 300dpi OLED screens that can be cut to any size, and which are so flexible they can be vacuumformed over your old CRT. The neuro-logic display driver calculates the shape in an instant flash and accepts ancient CGA signals on the fly and simulates the tridot pattern.


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Re: DEBATE : original boards vs re edition boards vs boot vs emu vs nothing?!
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2009, 11:12:21 AM »
In 2023 We have 300dpi OLED screens that can be cut to any size, and which are so flexible they can be vacuumformed over your old CRT. The neuro-logic display driver calculates the shape in an instant flash and accepts ancient CGA signals on the fly and simulates the tridot pattern.

That would be a nice solution  ;D ;D ;D
Wanted: Cadillacs and Dinosaurs CPS1 Q-Sound pcb | SegaSonic The Hedgehog Art & instruction set


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Re: DEBATE : original boards vs re edition boards vs boot vs emu vs nothing?!
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2009, 02:12:18 PM »
I think basically all the problem turns around 3 factors:

1) Money

2) Space

3) Time

Most of the people would love to have only 100% original boards and machines, who won't?

But this, as bruno underlined, means to spend lot, lot and LOT of money in expeditions, import, customs, unload containers, purchases of all original materials, looking for a garage and then call a shipping company who bring games at home (right here from the 2nd floor on up)

ORIGINAL ARCADE GAMES From US to Europe It is a VERY expensive passion like collecting Rolex watches I may say (since I collect even them)

This because original games still are only there

I remember the first times when I started in 2000 and I found myself seller asking me 1000/2000/3000 euros for my beloved game and / or the shippier taking 600 euros for the shipping (from US) or 300 euros for customs,

Looking back today I can say that only a strong passion and hardwork effort (I go in Japan for Work and jason this week had to go to South Africe) can take up to the HUGE sum of money that need to be spent to have the best games of our era at home and as long as I know the european community only Jason Finn who collected and imported like me can understand deeply the situation I faced and upholded until today,

Yes, Someone may say but today you've got all Original Games aren't you happy guys?

I say yes, but If I think to all the effort I did since today to someone who want to start today I would tell him to think twice

as I said to kevin (petieken that was looking for an original sonic board from Japan) I told him (imaging his wallet) how much it would cost at the end the hole operation couseling to him a very inexpesive emulation

Right or Wrong emulation allow to normal arcade fans the chance the feeling to play the game the loved when they were children at 0 cost or for some hard case cheaply

Time: In some cases there are also really creative fans who have more time than money and sometime we see them on internet trying to replicate some Games with their replicas (Dl, pac man or other)

I mean everybody do what it can,

Of course they even know orginal motherboards and cab are a different thing, but If I remember what I paid for them,

I have an headache at which effort I've been up to pay all the expenses to have the game at home..

My experience



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EDIT : Following this topic : Q*BERT - Scrat ........ @!#?@! Restoration

though the ..... But.. Q-bert´s Cubes.... nice!!!! Damn Nice!!!
« Last Edit: July 14, 2010, 05:08:33 PM by DarthNuno »


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though the ..... But.. Q-bert´s Cubes.... nice!!!! Damn Nice!!!

You should start to find arguments  ::)

Jaleous!   ;D

Well, It doesn't really matter following the awesome and 'arcade' respectful job here ... this is sooo Arcade Life Style (tm), and that is the most important here!  ;)



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though the ..... But.. Q-bert´s Cubes.... nice!!!! Damn Nice!!!

You should start to find arguments  ::)

We gave then many times before, no reason to dig that up again, we all have our feelings about it. I think Mame is a nice "last resort", but the biggest argument is simply that the games often do NOT feel the same. Galaxian is one example.

BUT as mentioned, let's not go down that road again. In some time I'm sure Jrok's multi Mylstar board will see the light of day, I personally would highly advice that over any MAME emulation.