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  1. Introduction I recently did a little bit of travelling, and wanted to find gaming-related goods in other places instead of just locally or online. I found a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant. Unlike several other restaurants (such as McDonald's, A & W, DQ, Pizza Hut, etc.), I have no memories of being at Chuck E. Cheese when I was a kid. I might've visited the restaurant once, but don't remember. I do remember seeing some of the commercials in the early/mid 2000's (during the Chuck E. Cheese character's "Avenger Chuck" days), but didn't think much of it. In fact, I didn't think of Chuck E. Cheese at all until recently. A week or two before visiting the restaurant, I watched a few Chuck E. Cheese "tour" videos on YouTube showing some of the locations in Canada. I wanted to get an idea of what Arcade games to expect. I arrived at the restaurant, and was a little nervous since Chuck E. Cheese is (or at least appears to be) mainly for kids. I also noticed some posts on Reddit saying that some locations don't allow adults to enter without kids, and some people saying they were allowed to enter but got looks during their visit. I'm not much of a Breakfast person, so by the time I got to the restaurant (a little after noon) I was getting hungry. Also let's face it, I'm never too old for pizza and video games. I entered the restaurant. It wasn't busy when I entered. The staff greeted me, and had no problem with me eating and playing games there despite being an adult. The Play Pass Card The location I went to has more or less phased out tokens, so I was given a Play Pass/All You Can Play card (with a wristband) for playing the games. I was given the option of putting either points or time on the card. It took me several seconds to decide, but I chose time. I got 45 minutes. They've also phased out physical tickets, and so "e-tickets" are automatically saved onto the card while playing a game. There is a Kiosk at the restaurant that can be used to reload the card. The Pizza One of the things Chuck E. Cheese is known for is its pizza. I ordered a large, stuffed crust pepperoni pizza (it's Chuck E. CHEESE, of course I wanted stuffed crust). I was given a small paper cup and grabbed a drink of Mountain Dew (the restaurant has Pepsi drinks). I was a little disappointed with the cups. They used to have cups with pictures of the Chuck E. Cheese characters on them until recently. Now they have these generic white cups with lines on them. Oh well. I sat at a table by a window, distancing myself from the one or two families that were there when I arrived. Chuck E. Cheese himself (an employee wearing a costume) appears at the 30 minute mark every hour. While I was waiting for my pizza, Chuck E. walked by my table and waved at me. I waved back and said "hey Chuck E.!". I can only imagine how hot it must be while wearing that costume, especially the head piece. After 15-20 minutes, a server came to the table with my pizza. The pizza looked fresh and tasty, but I noticed the slices were different sizes. There are rumors that the chain reheats leftover pizza, though I don't know if that was ever proven. Also, the pizza has gotten mixed reviews. Some people like it, and others don't. I put a slice on my tiny Chuck E. Cheese plate. While not as good as, say, Papa Johns or Busters, the pizza wasn't too bad. It kind of reminded me of McCain frozen pizza. I'm not sure if the quality of the pizza differs somewhat at different locations or if some people's expectations are a little too high, but I thought the pizza tasted good. Not great, but good. The Games The other big reason I visited, besides grabbing a bite to eat. I had a chance to play a few Arcade games that I hadn't played before. I didn't think I'd be able to find this anytime soon, but it was in Chuck E. Cheese. It has a Poltergust Vacuum for a Controller, like what Luigi uses in this and the other Luigi's Mansion games. The game was beside the table I was sitting at. I didn't even notice it until I sat down. I have the Super Monkey Ball games on GameCube, Game Boy Advance, Wii, and Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz HD for Switch, but I didn't know about this game until a couple weeks ago when I watched the Chuck E. Cheese "tour" videos I mentioned above. It has a tracker ball for controlling the characters, which I'm not used to. But I am glad I had a chance to play the game. This Cars game was in the kids area (well, younger kids area) with the rides, so I wasn't sure if I was allowed to play it. However, unlike the rides, this game looked big enough for an adult so I tapped my card and played. No one complained. The game is actually pretty fun and humorous, like the movies. I almost missed this one and didn't play it until my card was almost out of time. This is the newer Rampage game that was released a few years ago, and is loosely based on the movie. It plays like a traditional Rampage game where you pick from three characters (George, Lizzie, and Ralph) and destroy cities. This game was also located in the kids area, and I actually had to kneel down to play it. I also played a Batman game and a Fast and the Furious game, but I didn't take pictures of them. The Photo Car Ride. The car moves a little, the headlights turn on, and a kid gets his/her picture taken with Chuck E. Obviously, this ride is too small for an adult. But if you've seen even some of my posts on Twitter, Instagram, and here on VGS, then you probably know that I like to take pictures. Apparently, most (and maybe even all) Chuck E. Cheese locations have this ride. I probably would've liked this when I was a kid. Something weird that I noticed is that the logo on the front has Chuck E.'s current appearance, but he's wearing his hat from the Avenger Chuck era which he rarely wears nowadays. The Studio C Animatronic Like the tokens and physical tickets, the Animatronics of the various Chuck E. Cheese characters that were a big part of the restaurant appear to have been mostly phased out and replaced with TV's showing a puppet version of Chuck E. The location I went to still has a Chuck E. Animatronic, which is based on one of the character's earlier designs. There are also several pictures on the walls which also look like they're from an earlier era. Nice that they have some reminders of the past. The Goodies Even though Chuck E. Cheese wasn't really part of my childhood, I actually like both the restaurant and the character now as an adult. After playing some games, I went to the Chuck E. store that is beside the counter near the entrance where you order food. There was a card scanner on the counter. I found out there were 27 e-tickets on my card, no where near enough for most of the prizes on display. Which didn't matter to me, because I wasn't really interested in the prizes (which were things like slinky's, balls, etc.). On the right side of the store were some Chuck E. items that I was more interested in that I bought with cash instead of using tickets. I got a small Chuck E. plush, a big coloring book, and two sticker books. Some people dislike Chuck E.'s current appearance, but I like it. He looks cuter and even more friendly than he used to be. I also bought some Cotton Candy earlier when I ordered my pizza, which was available in pink and blue. I'm MegaMan52, so of course I had to buy the blue Cotton Candy. I also kept the plate I used when I ate my pizza. Don't worry, I wiped off the grease after I ate. Conclusion Overall, I enjoyed my visit. The pizza was reasonably good, the games were great, and I got a lot of goodies. The restaurant was also very clean. Yes, even the washrooms...though that might be because I was there only an hour after they opened. It got a little busier about an hour after I arrived. I'll probably visit again someday, as I want to play those Luigi's Mansion and Super Monkey Ball games again. As with my other blogs, I'll update this blog later to fix typos.
  2. Hey all, here's your chance to watch me embarass myself as I try to 1CC five different arcade games live, alongside a bunch of actually talented gamers who will also be completing games. The event will be ongoing all day, 15 hours from 9 in the morning (European time) until midnight. So that would be 7am Saturday UTC, or 3am EST for all the Americans, so just tune in whenever you feel like it. I'll be playing my first game 4 hours later, and it's a god damn tough one, fortunately the rest are easy. Here's the schedule (again, this is European time) Once we're live it will be at https://www.twitch.tv/the_shed_arcade And there'll probably be a Friday stream as well without much happening outside of people getting drunk.
  3. About two months ago now I finally started a project on a cabinet that needed a lot of help. For a long time now I've been wanting a Bubble Bobble cabinet because it is my absolute favorite arcade game, and when a Taito cabinet came up for sale locally on facebook marketplace, I was able to start This is what I had to start with, a poor Jungle King cabinet that had been converted several times in its life. Unfortunately it had holes in the side of the cabinet and the base was completely totaled. Cabinet also had some swelling problems and was just a genuinely not fun game. Plus the poor thing had its beautiful Taito paint covered. But at least everything was there. First thing was first, this thing needed to be stripped down and redone. Unfortunately I could not save the original paint, they used some really nasty paint on the side. Ripping off the crappy tecmo artwork confirmed what game it was: Jungle King From there it was just pulling the cabinet apart. All the parts had to be pulled out so I could begin the cabinet work. Basically, The goal was to strip down the sides so that I could repaint with a new stencil. While I was stripping, it was also beneficial for me to replace the base because boy was that thing trashed. I used Citrusstrip to remove the paint, from there I could sand down the surface. While after I sanded down the edges, I made sure to use some wood hardener where the cabinet was swollen on the bottom. Hopefully with the wood hardener, it will stop the swelling. Building the base was trivial, I just bought some lumber from home depot and slapped it together. This time however, I decided I wanted leg levelers so that way the cabinet is not sitting right on the wood, which will hopefully prevent damage on there. From there it was just attaching it using wood glue. Worked out pretty well I'd say. From there it was time to fix the damage. This poor thing had a chip missing in the front corner and a few holes in the side. For this I used bondo and a lot of sanding. It made that corner look like it was brand new. I was even able to make a nice groove for the tmolding to fit. While I was at it, I also filled in the holes that were on the side, unfortunately I didn't take a picture of that. After the damage was addressed, it was time for paint. I used Glidden gripper primer for the base, wet sanding between each coat with a fine sanding sponge to give it a smooth surface. From there I painted the sides with electric lime statin finish and the front with black satin finish paint from Shermin-Williams. I was super happy with how it looked, the electric lime was also SUPER close to the original, almost indistinguishable. Now for the really scary/fun part: The stencil. My two options were wait a year for This Old Game to make a run of the stencils or I could get it from escapepod. Now I will say this, the stencil was NOT the best quality, but it was accurate and worked for the purpose at hand. Overall I was pretty happy with it. I will continue to NOT recommend escapepod for anything, I am not a fan of their artwork as a whole, but your mileage may vary. I just used green rustolium spray paint (which was surprisingly hard to find locally). The front stencil was a similar situation, just with a lime green krylon paint. I will say that I was not too happy with the paint itself, but the color was almost perfect. After that, I did the last piece of woodworking that I needed to do: built the piece of wood that power input block slides into because it was missing. It was pretty easy, just used a piece of scrap wood and routed out the slot. After was just some black spray paint and some screws. Basement time! Moving it down to the basement was a straight forward task. From there it was just putting it back together. Stocking it full of electronics is my forte. I had built a harness and redid the coin door because it was all hacked up. I also went ahead and installed a highscore save kit because I like all my games to save my score. I also made sure to rebuild the monitor. The tube itself actually tested pretty healthy, so I think I'm going to keep that one in there. I also replaced the switcher with a high quality RT-125A supply while I was there. The original power supply had been pulled out years ago for a switcher. Controls time: The original control panel was a mess, fortunately joseph77 on KLOV makes reproduction control panels, so he hooked me up with one for this. With the new panel, it needed some planning out to where the holes were going to be, so I laid it out in Kicad because I didn't have real design software. It worked out very well actually. From there I used a drill press for the buttons and then a power drill with some metal bits for everything else. The square holes for the carriage bolts were made using a dremel with a metal bit to remove the roundness. Afterwords it was time for the artwork. The control panel overlay was made by arcadeartshop.com and they did an excellent job. I cannot recommend them enough for artwork, they make nothing but quality. The joysticks were Seimitsu LS-32s and the buttons were generic ones with cherry switches that I got from my weekend job. After all of this, it was time to finally apply the finishing touches with the artwork. It ended up turning out super nice and I am super happy with how it turned out. The rest of the artwork was done by arcadeartshop.com and I am super happy with it. The only thing I wasn't 100% happy with was the stencil, it might have been user error on my part though, but it no matter, it still turned out pretty good.
  4. Hi everyone, I've dabbled with repairing game boards and have had moderate success. I was wondering what kind of equipment I should be using to diagnose issues? I have two oscilloscopes (both an analog and digital one), a logic probe, a bench variable power supply, a reliable fixed 5, 12, and -5V supply, good soldering equipment, monitor discharge tools (both a hv probe and screwdriver with ground), a good eprom burner, and a test pattern generator. I guess what I'm looking for is recommendations for other useful tools that I already don't have. For example, does anyone have a recommendation for a good 74/4000 series chip tester?
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