Bringing back the “Arcade away from home” Part 1

Somehow in the span of a month I managed to double the size of my arcade, the only problem was all of the machines were in Chicago. In March and April I found a Mad Planets for $50, my white Mr. Do! and another game that I hope to be sharing about by Sunday and somehow I had to get them back home. (more…)


Sinistar hungers for his own comic strip

You remember Sinistar, the sweet devil cat planet that taunts you as you play “Run Coward”, “I Hunger” and “Beware I Live”. Cut and comforting, I imagine the playing experience of Sinistar in the 80’s was similar to an experience I had playing Resident Evil at 2:12 am in a dark basement jacked up on Mellow Yellow. But who knew he could also be so…funny? Stephen Notley figured when compared to a PO’d daisy anything is funny and gave Sinistar his own book of comic strips.

Coffee with Sinistar Book

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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?


Sinistar CPO’s and HUO Sinistar

Today is the day of Williams Sinistar.

Surfing Klov there was a mention that Quarter Arcade is doing reproduction artwork for William’s Sinistar control panel overlays. Here are the photos;

Williams Sinistar Control Panel Overlay Reproductions by Quarter Arcade 1Williams Sinistar Control Panel Overlay Reproductions by Quarter Arcade 2

I emailed Anthony at Quarter Arcade, and he was nice enough to let me know that Darin at Phoenix Arcade did these Sinistar CPO’s and he just had a few he bought and now is re-selling them. I visited Phoenix Arcade, and I must have missed the listing of Sinistar before. Maybe the control panel overlay’s had sold out before 2006 when I got into collecting.

I would guess that Phoenix Arcade might have had the original Williams Sinistar films. I did a quick search on both Google and the arcade.collecting usenet group to see if there was a mention of the Williams films but I didn’t turn up much of anything I didn’t already know. I already knew that Darin produced the Multi Williams artwork for a number of successful runs up to 2004 and then he ebayed the files. I also found a mention to Illinois Pinball.com, but I assume they would have Williams films for for pinball artwork.

Any of the Sinistar artwork is a challenge to reproduce because of the detail in the splatter / speckle / pointilism effects. Like always, Darin did an awesome job, whether he scanned an NOS CPO or he had access to the original Sinistar films. Wikipedia says gives credit to Noah Falstein and John Newcomer for co-developing Sinistar. I don’t know which of them actually created the artwork, but maybe they were the inspiration for the “Idle Hands” movie:) (Surely, you must have a love of detail to create artwork like that, it would make you, and your hand crazy way before completion.)

Since I already “hunger” to share Sinistar news, how about jkoolpe in San Francisco scoring a Home Use Only (HUO) Sinistar.

Williams Sinistar Home Use Only (HUO) 1Williams Sinistar Home Use Only (HUO) 2Williams Sinistar Home Use Only (HUO) 3Williams Sinistar Home Use Only (HUO) 4

Here is some backstory on his Sinistar Aquisition;

According to the guy I got this from, this baby was originally owned by a Cinematronics game designer…he also had a Boxing Bugs as this was the game that this previous owner had helped design (a fellow CAX staffer got the BB).

The Boxing Bugs designer who originally owned this machine was named Jack Ritter. For whatever reason, he apparently did not take the 3 games he had owned with him when he moved from my area and the new home owner assumed custody.

The 3rd game was a Defender that I think was also HUO (not 100% sure), but it needed a marquee and bezel, and the CPO was lifting. Otherwise, the cabinet was also in GREAT shape and worked fine (after I replaced one RAM chip)…he is also looking to sell it so someone will get a nice Defender once they replace the aforementioned items.

I still haven’t played Sinistar in person, but I love it on the William’s game collections for the playstation, even if playing causes pre-mature arthitis. I am sure as time goes on, over the next 20 years, as we see some of the original developers move into the later stages of life some of their classic games, artwork, notes and other materials will start to come up for sale. But Jon (jkoolpe) got a find this time and bragging rights for the week.


Acquired Sinistar Marquee

Not a lot of time today to do my daily arcade post, so I thought I would show off my acquisition from last week.

Williams Sinistar Marquee

Met with another collector, and he gave me a Williams Sinistar marquee as a trade of sorts for some web services. He got a stack of Sinistar’s marquees earlier this year at one of the Indianapolis, IN USAmusement arcade auctions for a pretty great deal. Made me wish I had paid attention to those opening auctions where they sell of that pile of stuff on the folding table.

I really like Sinistar, but I have only ever played it on playstation. I haven’t ever played a real Williams UR Sinistar at another collectors house. Still looking for an arcade collector that is fairly close by that I can try Sinistar out as it was played in the day.