Second Robotron cabaret prototype found in Illinois!

Last night Chris got to see a Robotron prototype in a cabaret cabinet. That was 12 hours ago, I called to check on the Mad Planets I bought for $50 and he told me that the game was being wheeled out. I was so starstruck that I was getting that Gottlieb classic for $50 that it has taken some simmering to really realize the big story that is this Robotron prototype. Granted, it took a little research, but now that I know that this Robotron is quoted as one of two that exist from Eugene Jarvis himself, I know this is a huge deal! (more…)

Old Joystik ‘Innerview’ – Eugene Jarvis – Creator of Robotron, Defender and Stargate

Originally published in Joystik September, 1982, here is an interview – or ‘innerview’ with one of the famous arcade game creators of that era Eugene Jarvis. These magazines are available online at a couple of different website, but they are not searchable text. If you’ve never read this article, hopefully you will find it interesting to hear Eugene talk about his philosophies on games as well as some insights into his creator owned game studio Viz-Kids. (more…)

New Arcade Keychains Designs

Brian finished some new arcade keychain designs, adding them to the existing Dig Dug, Zookeeper and Centipede. In the previous post I mentioned the Centipede keychain, but now we actually get to see photos as well as the new Joust and Robotron keychains. These photos are gorgeous, and I love the presentation in the custom packaging. (more…)

Sinistar in Joystik Magazine 1983

Note: Some of the following content is directly from Xmission. As best I can tell, Xmission were the original online publishers of this content, and you can find all of what I have here at the above address. Also, a short nod to Joystik magazine who originally published the arcade content in paper form.

I have visited a lot of arcade sites since I started collecting, and it can be challenging to keep them all straight. Xmission is a great arcade website, although not that user friendly, for a wealth of old arcade information and resources.

It wasn’t until today that I realized that Xmission has a section on their website for scanned pdf and jpg images of arcade related books, magazine and literature.

One such magazine was “Joystik” magazine, published in the 80’s, that focused on classic arcades, reviews, strategies, etc. etc. Most of the articles talk about the arcade games as they were still new, or newly released, from Pac-man and Tempest to Pengo and Robotron. Here are just a couple of the covers;

I love the artwork, they did the best with the clunky printing technology available in the early 80’s. Especially some of the inside magazine graphics of Pengo (upper right cover) are strange Monty Python-esqe direct translation instead of interpretive illustrations of the game characters.

I decided to read through an article on Williams Sinistar that was released in the Joystik magazine back in September of 1983 (Sinistar Cover above). At the time it was released, I may have started to read, but judging by my mental capacity today, I doubt it. I would have been almost four years old when it was published. Sinistar had just been tested at the AMOA in Chicago in 1982 and got mixed reviews from players and critics.

I love Sinistar but would not have heard of it if it wasn’t for the beauty of classic arcade game collections for the modern systems, in this case – Playstation. I got hooked on Sinistar in the Williams collection, but have never actually played it in person as an Upright Machine. I would love to. I have played Food Fight with the analog joystick, and assume the 7×7 joystick in Sinistar would be a similar feel and make controlling the ship a little bit easier. Surprising as it may seem, opposable thumbs may separate us from monkeys, but they aren’t great for collecting sinibombs.

Either way, I thought the article on Sinistar gameplay, although straightforward, had some interesting tips in it that I will employ. I pieced together the pages with the tips, click on the image below for a larger version. (2 MB+)

Here are the tips I picked up on – Originally written by Doug Mahugh;

Once a Planetoid has absorbed enough energy from your shots, it will being emitting crystals and then continue emitting crystals as long as you keep the total energy of the Planetoid above a certain threshold. there is no limit to the number of crystals that can be mind from a single Planetoid, but the Planetoid can be accidentally destroyed if you fire into it too rapidly; it will simply absorb too much energy and shake itself apart.

If you do recover it, (crystal from a blown up Worker) you’ll receive 200 points, but following a single crystal all around the universe – when you could be mining many more – is definitely a rookie move.

(Referencing strategies to gameplay from design team leader Noah Falstein) Start out by mining crystals like mad. Then, use a bomb to find the Sinistar (drop a bomb and watch which direction it goes).

The idea of chasing down an errant crystal isn’t a great insight, but couple that with the idea that a Planetoid will keep emitting crystals as long as you don’t blow it up and I have a new method of destroying Sinistar. I chased down bombs because I thought there were limited amounts emitted per planetoid. Plus, the idea of dropping a test bomb to discover Sinistar’s location is a good one. I hadn’t researched strategies before now, most collectors who play this game a lot or own a Sinistar probably already know all of this. Heck, some of them may have this issue of Joystik and read it when it was released.

But it was a fun trip back in time for me, and hopefully I will be that much better when I finally do play Williams Sinistar in person.

Any of my readers have any other great Sinistar gameplay tips that weren’t listed in Joystik?

Stripping the Pac-man cabinet

Even though it was very sad, tonight we stripped the old Pac-man cabinet I had sitting in the garage. Justin was down and he brought with him all of the guts from the Mr. Do I had bought last November.

Now, this Mr. Do was the most hideous thing you had ever seen. It was in an old Space Duel cabinet with chewed up sides, the joystick was sunken in, the monitor didn’t even have a frame so the chassis was attached directly to the wood, etc. etc. I ended up finding a buyer for the thing, a Mame guy, and for $15 I didn’t have to worry about it ever going in the basement.

So, I had some paint stripper, and although I went back and forth on what to do with the Pac-man cabinet, I decided a couple of things. I am tired of walking around it in the garage. It could be one of the most common cabinet, so to destroy the already partially destroyed artwork that had been painted over wouldn’t be as big of a deal. People were making new ones all the time. I also wanted the experience of how to strip one down, it should be a fun project, and I had already bought the stripping stuff.

Overall it took about two and half hours total to strip down to small bits of paint and primer.

Justin and I also got out the old monitor, and put it into a horizontal frame from another tube I had from the Robotron cabinet.