Welcome, APB! Another arcade joins the game room (with pics)

Today my wife (who is 8 months pregnant), my dog, and I headed up to Nampa, Idaho (about 15 minutes east of Boise) to pick up an APB arcade game from a fellow KLOV/BYOAC member, FrizzleFried. Boise is about a 5 hour drive from here, so we got started early. The little adventure wasn’t without its complications, as you’ll see by checking out the pictures and descriptions below, but it was 100% successful and we had a great time. We’re back home, very tired, but happy to have our new game. It’s still in the garage, but we’ll get it moved down into the game room early next week after I do a little bit of extra cleaning on the machine (it’s already pretty darn clean). I usually don’t like splitting posts with a jump, but since this one is a little lengthy I’m going to do so in order to save the front page from being abnormally long.

Continue reading Welcome, APB! Another arcade joins the game room (with pics)

The Stupid Gamer Street Fighter IV Guide

At times I try to convince myself that I’m actually pretty good at Street Fighter. I mean, I probably gave local gas stations and arcades every quarter I owned from the moment Street Fighter II hit the US up until the late ’90s.  As Street Fighter IV has caused a lot of hype and attention, I have noticed that many popular message boards are filling up with newcomers asking why the series is so difficult. There are also quite a few old-timers that walked away from the game around the time that Capcom started focusing in on the Alpha series.  Well, I’m hoping that our Street Fighter IV guide will be useful to both of those groups, as well as the longtime casual player that’s never really been able to delve into the deeper bits of the battle system.

You can find the guide here: http://stupidgamer.com/street-fighter-iv-guide/

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A link to the guide is also available just below the site header. Please feel free to email me anything that you think would improve the guide at jar155 [at] gmail.com. I also welcome any and all criticism about my strategies or conclusions about the game. Thanks for reading!

And they say that Jedis aren’t real…bogus!

This guy has to have some sort of supernatural power to do what he does in the video below. Seriously. I have Marble Madness at home, with the trackball, and I’ve only ever completed the game once. When I did, I think I had like 9-10 seconds to spare and I felt like the greatest gamer ever. Now this video comes along and humbles me beyond description. Check out the video guys, even if you’ve never played Marble Madness in the arcade, you’ll have to appreciate what this guy manages to pull off.

Street Fighter IV: an arcade grail in the making

In the arcade collector’s community, a game that is very rare or hard to come by is considered a “grail”, and people get fanatical about finding and owning them. Games like Major Havoc are classic grails, and can sell for $2,000 (or higher) at auction or on the private market, depending on their condition and how many original parts are full intact. Now, it seems like Street Fighter IV is going to be mighty scarce here in the United States, as Capcom hasn’t officially released the game here, and getting one is a major runaround. Stephen Totilo of MTV Games’ Multiplayer blog did some digging and found that in order to get one, you gotta have a lot of cash and even more determination and patience. From his article he says…

…the average gamer probably could” get one — if they can navigate the following hurdles:

1) Spend A Lot Of Money: Capcom won’t divulge the price. All I could find out is that the 2,349,400 Yen cost I found on a website from March is a re-seller’s price. Capcom is selling for less. But considering that re-seller price amounts to $21,802, I guess we’re talking about an actual price that is still greater than what I usually spend on a PS3, a year’s supply of socks or a honeymoon.

2) Buy In Bulk: Want a “Street Fighter IV” arcade cabinet? Too bad, you can’t get one. You have to get four of them. So be ready to write a really big check. Capcom won’t take orders for single units. The company requires a purchase of four units of “Street Fighter IV.” I wonder how many “Street Fighter V” units they’ll require when that game comes out? (Apparently Bungie Studios inquired about buying one — but do even they have money for four?)

3) Live In Japan: Capcom isn’t selling “SFIV” arcade cabinets in the U.S. yet. So how is the game already in some American arcades? It appears that U.S. arcade-owners have imported their units, in some cases just having imported the boards and stuck them into non-”SFIV” cabinets. The units in the U.S. now are gray-market and not approved by Capcom.

4) Wait: Capcom U.S. pr man Chris Kramer tells me that there’s no official date for when the “”SFIV” cabinets will ship to the U.S. But the company wants to make it happen. “We’re still talking with a few people here, but the arcade business outside of Japan is tough,” he told me today. “There are at least two companies seriously interested in purchasing ‘SFIV’ machines from us, but no done deals at the moment.”

It sounds like if these beauties make it over here in any sort of significant number (doubtful) that the operators are going to be reluctant to take them off their routes any time soon. In order to recoup their costs, they’re going to need the game to eat up quarters for quite some time. And when these games finally do start making their way into the private collections across the country, they are going to be extremely costly as demand will most definitely outpace supply on a permanent basis. At least we know the game will be coming to the 360 and PS3 at a reasonable and affordable price…

MAME cabinets on Amazon.com

Wow, these are certainly overpriced, but it’s interesting to see these offered right on Amazon. For a measly $4,300 you could own your very own MAME cabinet! I mean, that’s quite the deal, considering that I built my own for about 1/5th the price, and I used much nicer components. I guess for those that are just terrified of doing things for themselves, this is a real and viable option, but the price is outrageous.

Link to the cheaper model: Gargantugame Junior Arcade Game

Link to the more expensive one: Gargantugame Pro Arcade Game

Here are the listed Key Features:

  • Dimensions: 72 inches tall by 48 inches deep by 32 inches wide
  • Keylocks for control panel and back door
  • Intel computer running at over 2.8 Gigaherz
  • 512MB of Memory, 80 Gig Hard drive, DVD Drive
  • Nvidia Graphics Card, Keyboard, and Mouse
  • Four USB Ports, LAN Port, Windows XP Home
  • 27 inch color monitor (800 x 600 resolution)
  • Stereo speakers with Sub-woofer
  • Three arcade joysticks (two 8-way and one 4-way)
  • 26 arcade buttons
  • One Trackball (Centipede, Missile Command, etc)
  • Pull-out drawer for keyboard and mouse
  • Accessable DVD drive and USB ports
  • Four side buttons to simulate Pinball flipper buttons
  • Ergonomic design on joystick / button layout
  • Trackball doubles as a mouse
  • Can run any Windows-compatible game
  • Add PC hardware like steering wheels, light guns, game pads, analog joysticks, printers, etc.

Signs that you’re addicted to arcade gaming/collecting

Arcades might be on the way out, but they’re not going away completely. Instead of just becoming relics of the past, they’ve slowly made their ways into the hands of private collectors. These collectors often evolve from casual admirer to avid arcade addict. Below are some signs that you’ve crossed over the oh so fragile line.

-You can identify an Electrohome G07 monitor chassis in under 3 seconds from a crappy cell phone pic posted on a message board
-RGVAC, KLOV, VAPS, GGDB, and BYOAC all mean something to you
-HUO, JAMMA, NIB, MCR, PCB, MVS, NOS, DMM, MAME, CRT, and CPO all mean something to you as well
-Leaf and cherry aren’t parts of a tree in your vocabulary
-Your garage hasn’t seen a car parked in it for ages
-You’ve checked and you’re sure there’s room for a Galaga cabaret between your toilet and bathroom sink
-That pile of wires isn’t junk, it’s a vital piece to a very worthwhile project
-You can recite the serial numbers to your cabs as quickly as your own phone number
-You have Bob Roberts’ home address memorized
-You can spot the differences between lemon yellow, sunflower yellow, electric yellow, Simpson yellow, and Pac-Man yellow
-You feel a bit of warmth each time you get change and you notice at least one quarter in the mix
-You have several Journey songs on your iPod
-You know every clever, dirty, or disturbing 3 letter word or abbreviation possible in the English language
-Cocktails are perfectly safe for minors in your home
-You can’t pass an arcade machine in the wild without molesting it in some fashion
-You’re over 30, but you’re still not afraid to play with a dolly in front of your friends
-You have RSS feeds on craigslist, every local classified, and other arcade listing services that you check at least 20 times per day
-You bought up your city’s remaining stock of solder when you heard lead was being phased out
-You’ve picked a side in the Billy vs. Steve ongoing battle
-You have more projects than Detroit

If you can think of any more surefire signs that you’re an arcade addict, feel free to post them in the comments below.

Hori EX2 Xbox 360 Arcade Stick Review

Even though this stick has been out for months, and even though I’m a huge arcade nut, I just barely got around to getting my hands on the Hori EX2 arcade stick for the Xbox 360 for review. I’ve had experience with the Dead or Alive 4 stick that came out for the Xbox 360 not long after the console’s release, but there were a few issues that I had with that joystick. The Hori EX2 immediately felt like an upgrade the moment I took it out of the box. Keep reading for specific details.

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The joystick itself is lightweight (only a couple of pounds), but it still feels like it’s a quality built stick. The curved button layout is reminiscent of Japanese arcade buttons, so those that grew up on Street Fighter II with its six button straight row layout will need a few moments of adjusting to feel comfortable. The buttons themselves are leaf switches, something I very much appreciated. Rather than a noisy click with each button press, you get complete silence. The joystick uses standard microswitches, so it does produce clicks. Also, the joystick is using a square restrictor plate, so hitting diagonals is a breeze. Overall the stick is put together quite impressively and has a very comfortable layout. But how does it perform with Xbox Live Arcade titles?

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Games like Pac-Man: Championship Edition work very well with the Hori EX2

Obviously the EX2 can only be played with games that make use of a single stick. This limits the stick to be used with a smaller number of XBLA titles, but it drastically improves the playability of each title you use it for. Using the Xbox 360 d-pad or analog stick for games like Street Fighter II, Pac-Man: Championship Edition, Paperboy, Ms. Pac-Man, and others is a real pain in the neck. The d-pad is a squirrelly piece of junk, and the analog stick lacks the exact precise nature of a digital input, so the EX2 solves these issues by offering arcade perfect controls. After swapping out my standard 360 controller for the EX2, I was able to consistently pull off fighting moves, make sharp turns in Pac-Man, and avoid misdirections in all my games. As much as I love XBLA, the EX2 is a godsend.

At $59.99 (some online sources are cheaper), the EX2 is a pricey peripheral, but I’d argue that it’s a must have for those that are serious about playing the XBLA games regularly or competitively online. While you can still get a higher quality stick from custom arcade stick makers like Timoe or Kaytrim’s Kustoms, this is easily the best option for those looking to pick up their stick from a retailer.

Dimensions: 11″ x 8″ X 1.5″

Wow, this is ridiculous

I love arcades and console gaming. I think both are great, but I don’t really see the point in cramming both into a massive monstrosity. A couple of weeks ago I posted about somebody who ruined a Tempest to shove a Wii into the cabinet, but this guy takes it one step further. This custom MAME cabinet incorporates a full MAME setup, a Nintendo Wii, a 42″ HDTV, a 6.1 sound system, and one of the biggest cabinets you’ll ever see. It’s ugly, it’s huge, and it’s probably just an overall bad idea. The four player coin door is a genius stroke when it only has a two player setup as well. Just great thinking all around went into this one. To get an idea at the size of this thing, here are some comparison dimensions and a picture:

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Dimensions for a Donkey Kong arcade cabinet
Height: 67″
Depth: 33.5″
Width: 23.5″
approx. 220 lbs

Dimensions for the Custom MAME/Wii machine
Height: 78″
Depth: 60″
Width: 48″
approx. 500 lbs

Oh, and did I mention that the seller wants $7,000 for this thing (before shipping)? Hahahahahamburger.

An arcade miracle…a Spy Hunter homecoming

Back in the early 90s, my cousin and I used to ride our bikes to this Fred Meyer department store in Bountiful, Utah each Saturday. We did so to check out the new comics and to play the 7-8 arcade games that they had in a small room up front. The games would rotate, but the regulars included TMNT, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter II, and Spy Hunter. Each Saturday for years I’d play that Spy Hunter at least once, until the store remodeled and the arcades were removed. As a kid, I was crushed.

Fast forward to 2008 and the wife and I decide to go camping down in Southern Utah to some sand dunes. Just before leaving I did my daily check on eBay, craigslist, and local ads for a Spy Hunter. BAM! There was one in Las Vegas and the auction was to end Saturday night. I contacted the seller and asked if I could pick it up if I won on Sunday, he said yes. I threw in a token bid, and we went camping.

Sunday morning we got up early, broke down camp, and made our way to St. George, Utah where we got some breakfast and I found a computer I could use in a hotel lobby. I checked eBay and…YES! I won! We started down for Vegas when the seller called and told me the directions to his house and that he’d be there all day.

We got there, crammed the machine in the back of my parent’s Yukon and rearranged all the camping supplies (and our dog) and made it all fit. Just wanting to get home, we drove the long drive back home, which is just north of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Last night as I was going over the machine, I found something really odd: a sticker from Classy Chassis Beauty Supply. This sticker came from a store that’s local to Bountiful, Utah (I googled it, it’s the only one)…and is only about 1/2 a mile away from Fred Meyer! I had somehow found my childhood Spy Hunter. I couldn’t believe it.

The machine needs some work to fix a broken trigger button, and it needs a good cleaning up, but knowing where it came from and where it’s been, I’m never letting this one go. Here’s a picture of the machine, before I get to restoring it, and before I get it down into the arcade room.

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