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Drive Time!
Up 'N Down

Arcade Off-Roading in Classic Style!

?      The Up ‘N Down case began as a spare box that was a surprise bonus when a friend of mine won the GORF case at an was my unexpected “twofer”! The machine was in such beat-up condition it got pushed back to the depths of my garage for a “get-around-to-it” project. But when the college pastor at NKU said a buddy of his had seen their Ms. Pacman and was interested in a machine, I started thinking “How nice of a box could I make on a budget from loose parts that are already in my shop?” In the end, I had to buy two sheets of clear plexy, an Ipac keyboard/controls interface, a marquee light, and assorted paint, but not much beyond that. This machine was largely concocted out of my own brain “with things you find around the house” rather than trying to duplicate the original Up n’ Down, but the end result was pretty sweet!

  The real surprise came when I was almost done with the machine...I found out that what I really had was a vintage Frogger case! Back in the Day, arcade owners would take a $4000 game that was played out and convert it to another machine for a little bit more by buying a “conversion kit” from the game manufacturer. The kit would usually include a new marquee, side art, a set of snap in memory chips, and new art for the control panel. Viola! Your old dog became a new game to gobble quarters all over again! Had I known back in the design stage, I would have spray-painted it Frogger green and made up a new marquee, but hindsight is golden, eh? (Looks like I should shine up the back nameplate on any future machines BEFORE I start crafting!)

  The tube is, of course, is a massive old 20” CRT monitor, as I still have several from the old days. The control panel is one of my standard designs, with two-player three-button layout, plus one four-way stick for the classic games, and an aftermarket glow-trackball from Ebay. (The left mouse button is the rightmost fire button for Player Two to save space.) I went all out and in addition to the regular left and right Flipper buttons, included two “nudge” buttons for the Pinball simulator. The panel itself has some limited art I cribbed off of the original game brochure. The bezel around the monitor is modified from art I found on the Internet. The old ballast-based marquee tube was shot, so I bought an 18” glow tube to wire in. The coinbox contains the old familiar layout of Power, Boot, USB and CD/DVD drive, so you can load additional software and use a USB keyboard if needed. I boosted the box a few inches in height by making a 2x4 square base which raises the control panel to an easier level for we portly adults.

  You just can’t get real-switch, half-inch-plug keyboards anymore to hack for the cheap controls interface, so I had to break down and buy an interface encoder to wire all the controls into the keyboard inputs used by the game emulators. I tried a $24.95 China-made controller, hoping to save a few bucks, and discovered that the tiny device acted like two 10-button joysticks...which would be great if I was making a MAME-only machine, but with Pinball and other games, I absolutely needed to emulate the keys. I broke down and bought a $50 IPAC2 (ouch!) but the wiring left from the cheap board made connecting the controls a breeze, so there’s that...lessons learned.

  Exterior case paint was a Behr Deluxe satin black from Home Depot...I just didn’t have the time or the interest in fancy side art this time around. To finish, I used red T-Strip I had in my stored arcade parts to replace the worn-out black T-strip the box had from its past life. So, elegant basic black with bright blue and red accents...a classy lady. The only hiccup in this project was the one time the box got away from me and came down hard on one corner; that lousy particle-board they used to make arcade boxes from crumbled to bits, and I had to replace it with some custom carved cheap pine.

  I am really pleased at the end product from humble beginnings and spare parts. One more classic arcade saved to be loved again!

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The Wizard.................. 
This page last gimmicked by Andy Bartmess, AKA The Wizard, on 11/17/14
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