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Congorilla Cabinet Fixup


SNESNESCUBE64

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Last week I picked up a Congorilla cabinet. For those who may not know, it is a Donkey Kong bootleg. The in game title is actually Crazy Kong. If you aren't familiar with the story, it is super interesting and is something worth looking into.

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The TLDR with Crazy Kong is that Nintendo was struggling to keep up with demand of Donkey Kong machines, so they licensed it out to Falcon for sale in Japan. Falcon broke the license agreement and was selling these now bootlegs internationally in Europe and North America as 'licensed' units. So companies like Orca (the one who made this one) even made their own implementations of the hardware. There was lots of legal fun things and Nintendo even put ads in magazines to try to track down anyone involved in the manufacture, sale, or operation of these cabinets.

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Anyway, this one is in suprisingly good shape. I don't know the status of the boardset yet, I was told that it mostly works but haven't built a harness for it.

Right now I am bringing up a K4600 monitor. I also made a jamma adapter so I can test the board on my bench before I address anything else. I also am debating about keeping the switcher power supply setup in it or rebuilding the original supply. The original design is kinda crappy, so I am not sure what I'm gonna do yet.

The hope is to get this thing up and running sometime this summer. The control panel artwork was painted on and is worn away in several spots. It is also a bit rusty so I will have to figure out a new overlay solution. But that might be a down the road project.

Edited by SNESNESCUBE64
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  • The title was changed to Congorilla Cabinet Fixup

I've never heard of this, but that's amazing to see!  It's sad to see the original are on the side is only half-present.  What's the other side look like?

EDIT

I see now that was the full side art, so that's cool.  So is the overall condition good, then?

Edited by RH
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1 hour ago, RH said:

I see now that was the full side art, so that's cool.  So is the overall condition good, then?

The sides are like a vinyl woodgrain. Both sides have intact artwork and are in fairly good shape. Couple dings and bruises, nothing worth redoing the whole thing for. There might be a little water damage on the bottom, but nothing significant.

One thing about the artwork that is interesting is that there is a cutout on the top for an "orca corporation" identification. I've never seen that before, no idea what the deal with that is.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I did a video of big kong on the Orca hardware yesterday. Reason I did such is because I was deconverting back to the original orca crazy kong set because I am gonna do the multi kit anyway.

So you might be thinking, how do you convert Orca Crazy Kong to Big Kong. You just have to burn a new set of program ROMs. The only pain is that you have to run a wire from the 74ls42 decoder chip at 2E pin 5 to the sixth rom's chip select and then stack the sixth ROM on top.

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But anyway, everything is now working as normal crazy kong. So everything is ready for the cabinet. I also took the time to rebuild the power supply even though there is a likely chance I will be using a modern switcher since the original supply isn't the best design.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Disassembled the rusty coin door and am having it sandblasted. It's gonna look pretty good when I get it back in a few weeks.

In terms of wiring, there is only a little bit left to do.

  • Wire in the light fixture
  • Add a ground wire for the switcher
  • Add a power switch (seems like there isn't one on this unit)

I have to start thinking about the control panel now and what I'm gonna do about all the rust. Considering that it's painted, I'm not sure how I am gonna do about this one. I probably will have to just get an overlay made.

Edited by SNESNESCUBE64
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On 5/15/2024 at 8:45 AM, RH said:

It's a small thing but I love seeing coin mechs getting love.  They are so unnecessary in homes and modern arcades, they are often trashed, replaced or ignored. Still, they are a part of OG hardware, and I think there is a place to take care of them for that reason.

I agree 100%. All my games at home are currently free play with the exception of bubble symphony, but I still want them to work and be nice if the rest of the cabinet is. On top of that, it is really easy to make a coin door nice, so ya might as well.

With Congorilla I am not going to be doing much in terms of cabinet work, but I want to try to make the coin doors and control panel nice. The control panel will be difficult because it was painted instead of using an overlay. So until I can figure out the panel, I am just putting a piece of acrylic over it so it can be playable.

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Found another message nintendo put out specifically for Crazy Kong. This one is interesting because it actually mentions "Congorilla" by name.

Screenshot_20240510-093100.png.97687b8e2605d90618058dd146c331f5.png

And just to close the loop on this topic for the notices I found about this. This one doesn't specifically mention Crazy Kong, but this was right when they were becoming a big problem. This was in the issue right before the 'wanted' one I posted in the OP. What's interesting is that it mentions 'Sky Skipper' which was only play tested and wasn't fully released back in the day. That game is available now, but never really hit the scene as far as I can tell.

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I haven't worked on Congorilla since the coin door, figured I'd post these though.

Edited by SNESNESCUBE64
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6 minutes ago, RH said:

There's nothing Nintendo has ever loved much more than good ole fashioned litigation and legal threats.

I think this is in part why they are the way they are today. Donkey Kong was their first home run in the arcade scene. They sold over 100k of these machines which is a wild number of Donkey Kong. Of course they would want to squash bootlegs.

These kinds of threats weren't uncommon back in the day. Companies like Gremlin, Sega, and Williams also put ads out in Play Meter with similar threats.

It's just interesting because some of these crazy kong cabinets were being seized and destroyed.

Edited by SNESNESCUBE64
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