Super Pac-Man Pick Up

Ever since I decided I wanted to buy a full-sized arcade machine, I saved a Craigslist search in my toolbar in Chrome and have, almost every day, clicked that button to see what’s out there. For the most part, there are a lot of arcade cabinets for sale, but most sellers are asking way more than the arcade cabinets are worth. Ms. Pac-Man, for instance, usually goes for over a grand. This cabinet was one of the most popular, and are not rare at all. Yes, for some reason, they are listed for a lot of money. No thanks!

On September 24th (2015) I came across a Craigslist post that was for a Garage Sale in Grand Rapids, Michigan. That’s about an hour and a half drive for me, and our Ford Explorer needs a new radiator (ordered) so I didn’t trust taking it that far. The ad listed a “not working pacman” game for sale, but no more information than that.

I emailed the seller, and he told he it was a Super Pac-Man and the screen stopped working a few years ago, but he could hear it playing, just no picture. The price was $50. I went back to the Craigslist ad, and noticed that I had neglected to check the pictures. Sure enough, there sat a Super Pac-Man game, and as you can see in the picture below, the cabinet looked to be in great condition.


An arcade playing “blind” is pretty common. These are, after all, thirty to thirty-five year old monitors. I have watched enough restore videos to know that many times, the problem is usually one of two things: a cap-kit (Capacitor replacements) or a faulty power supply. For $50, I thought it was worth taking a chance.

To be clear, I am not a huge fan of Super Pac-Man. It’s only an “okay” game. I much prefer the original Pac-Man or Ms. Pac-Man, by far. But again, $50!

I enlisted the help of Chad Perry, one of my best friends. Chad has a truck! He agreed to help if I did buy the machines.

I contacted the seller again, and asked if I paid for the machine via PayPal, would he hold the cabinet for me. He said yes, so I paid and hoped I didn’t just get played and scammed out of $50. But with the pictures, and the address of the garage sale, I felt good about it.

Saturday, September 26th, was the date for the pick-up. My wife already had plans to take the girls to baby shower, so that left my seven year-old son and me home alone. So while the girls all had a day out, so did Cole and I with Chad!

One uneventful drive later, we get to the address. Sure enough, there is a garage sale going on. It was a nice house, with a big garage. But we did not see the arcade cabinet. Turns out, once it was sold (to me!) they had moved it into the garage. Chad was able to back his truck almost right to the door, and within two minutes, we had the Super Pac-Man loaded up and we hit the road!

We did stop for gas at one point, so I took the below pictures of transporting the cabinet. And for those curious, yes, that is Chad pumping gas into the truck in one of the pictures.


Once home, I lightly cleaned the machine up with some Fantastic and Magic Eraser. It still needs more cleaning, but for now, I just wanted to get it plugged in and see what it does. As advertised, the monitor is dead, but when you power it on, and coin it up, the game does play. You can hear the music and sounds just fine. The marquee also lights up. It’s playing blind.

I checked some voltages coming off the power supply, and everything checked out. I also replaced all the fuses. Still, no joy from the monitor.

A cap-kit is not expensive, but I wanted to visually check the monitor before I ordered one. That’s when I took a close look at the neck board on the monitor, and noticed that it is cracked. Opps! But at least I now know what the problem is. (Well, what ONE of the problems are: it may still need a cap kit)

Many people on the Arcade Collectors World-Wide Facebook page suggests this is a fairly easy fix with some wire jumpers for the tracers, and hot-glue to hold it together. I may eventually solder it up, but another user informed me he had an extra neck board of this model, so I now have that. The next step, when I have the time, will be to replace the broken neck board with this “good” one and see what happens. It’s not a long or tedious job, but I will have to discharge the monitor. Heck, it’s taken me longer to write this post than the actual swap will take, but I wanted to get a post online about my latest addition first.

Here is a picture of the Super Pac-Man sitting next to my Neo Geo. Yes, I know that Neo is sporting the Ms. Pac Man marquee! But this does demonstrate how much smaller the Super Pac is next to the mammoth Neo Geo Dynamo cabinet.

Lastly, I am torn. I know I want to keep the cabinet original, including the monitor, PCB, power supply, etc. But as I wrote above, Super Pac-Man is not a favorite of mine. So I may get a Super Pac-Man to Jamma adapter, and put in a 60-in-1 board. This will allow me to have more games in the cabinet without the need to remove or change any of the original parts. (And Super Pac-Man is actually on the 60-in-1) I would simply unplug the wiring harness from the Super Pac-Man PCB, plug that into a Jamma adapter, and plug the 60-in-1 board into that. Presto, original arcade cabinet, with all the original internals, but with a nondestructive mod for more games!

Oh, and the joystick really needs to be rebuilt. I think it works okay, but it’s old and could use some TLC.

Check back soon to see which direction I go!

Upgrading the NeoGeo (Or NeoGeo Love)

IMG_7086 You may think, what with all my posts about the mini-Arcades, that I have forgotten or abandoned the full-sized NeoGeo cabinet. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, before I even started to build the mini-Arcade machines (and I still have one left to go as I write this), I had updated the NeoGeo in four very significant ways.

The fist was gameplay itself. While I really like the Bubble Bobble game that originally came with this NeoGeo, I wanted more variety. Maybe this is the fault of my MAME machine, or the fact that I currently have very limited space, but having such a large cabinet taking up that much space for a game I won’t play all that often seemed wasteful. Enter the 161-in-1 NeoGeo MVS Mulitgame Cartridge.

The NeoGeo is a cartridge based video game system, much like an Atari 2600 or an NES. To play a different game, you just swap out the cartridge that is in there, and you’re good to go. But again, this is a large machine, and NeoGeo carts are not cheap. (They are about the size of a VHS tape) And to swap out a cartridge, I have to pull the arcade machines away from the wall (it’s heavy), unlock and open the back door, swap the games, and reverse the procedure. My solution was to use a cartridge that had multiple games build-in, in this case the NeoGeo MVS Mulitgame Cartridge.

This cartridge has 161 games on it, pretty much the best of the best on the NeoGeo. While most of these games play just fine, they are technically not the REAL game, but rather emulation on a board in the cartridge. Still, they all look great and play great.

I picked up this at Holland Computers. The price, as I write this, is $89.95. That’s about $0.56 a game! Well worth it. You can find the list of games included here. There are more fighting games than any other type, which for people who know NeoGeo should not be surprised. I like fighting games, but they are not my favorite. That said, there are some other real gems here, my favorites being Neo Bomberman, Neo Mr. Do!, Neo Drift Out, Metal Slug (all of them), and some others. All in all, I am glad I have this cartridge.

The Buttons
The original buttons on the arcade were fine. Nothing wrong with them. But what I really wanted were those buttons that would light up. After some research, I decided on getting the Ultralux LED Illuminated buttons from Ultimarc. Ultimarc is based in the U.K., and I am in the U.S., but I received my order within days of placing it. Fast shipping, great communication after the order, I could not have been happier. I have since ordered other items from Ultralux for both the mini-arcade and my MAME cabinet.

The buttons are plastic with a faux-chrome finish. As you can see from the pictures, I purchased the Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue buttons. The buttons themselves are standard buttons, but with a Bayonet-fit LED holder.

The NeoGeo has a switching power supply, and the LED buttons require 5v. To connect them, I ran a wire from the 5+V on the Power Supply to the first of the LED holder, and then just jumped from one button to the next until all eight were connected. I then ran a common ground wire to all eight. When I turned on the arcade, all buttons sprang to life, and you can see the results. I think it looks awesome! Oh, and I did not replace the Player 1 or 2 buttons. Maybe at some point in the future I will.

The Switch
Because the NeoGeo does not have a volume control, and it sits close to the living room where someone could be watching television, I wanted a way to mute the arcade. I did this with a very simply toggle switch. I just tied it into the speaker cable and the switch is sitting inside the coin door.

I do eventually want to mount it somewhere, but I don’t really want to cut into the cabinet or put any screws in it if I can avoid it. So it’s behind the locked coin door, actually sitting atop the coin mech. It works fine, and I have had zero problems with it. I may also change it to a volume control, rather than a volume on/off switch. But for now, this works great.

The Marquee
I really didn’t like the Bobble marquee. Some people do, but I hated it. It was always my plan to buy a red and white NeoGeo marquee, but this took me a long while to find. Then about a month or so ago, while pursuing posts on the Arcade Collectors World-Wide Facebook group, I ran across this post from Joe Szabo:

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$22 sounded like a real good deal to me, so I contact Joe via Facebook, told him what I was looking for, and he created it to my specifications. Within a week or so, the vinyl print arrived, and I could not have been happier. I had two clear pieces of Plexiglass cut to size, and sandwiched the NeoGeo marquee between then. It looks fantastic in my cabinet. (See the first picture of this post)

Then I got to thinking; while this is a NeoGeo, it is the only “real” arcade machine I currently have. I would love to own more, especially two of my favorites, Ms. Pac-Man and BurgerTime., but if I can’t have them (yet), maybe I can at least FEEL like I have them. So I asked Joe if he could create those two marquee’s to fit in my- NeoGeo, and viola!


I think they both look killer. No, this arcade machine does not play either of those games, but I don’t care. I can rotate the three marquees in and out as I see fit, and treat it as more a display than anything else when I feel like it. Screw it, it’s my game room! And I think (know) I will be contacting Joe again soon for a few more, specifically Pac-Man, Star Wars, and Donkey Kong.

All in all, I really am happy to own the NeoGeo. There is more to do with it, such as side-art, new CP artwork, and a repaint eventually, but for now, I am very happy with the machine!

Replacing X-Arcade Joystick with Mag-Stik Plus

Now that I have two arcade machines, one of the things I had been wanting to address was the controls on the MAME cabinet. It came with the X-Arcade Tank Stick, which on first glance and a casual play seems like a good deal. The more you play with it, however, the more you will realize that the buttons and joysticks are pretty crappy. The roller ball may be as well, but I don’t remember using it save one time.

The first step into upgrading the controls was to do a little research. For this, I googled and asked a couple Facebook arcade groups, and the one joystick that kept being mentioned as being very good was the Mag-Stik Plus. Continue reading