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Questing Youth...


"Shots do not hurt other players...yet."

     The Rockade was such an ambitious project, I spent most of my time building and didn’t take enough pictures! 

     I made it for the youth center at my church, and it was a real challenge. I started with another classic, the box from a used-up Phoenix machine. (The side art was in such good shape I kept it.) Just like my previous work, I brought the case home and gutted it, and got down to the more mundane bits of work, like mounting the monitor, and working on the lighting. But it would prove to be a box filled with surprises. 

     I knew from the start, I wanted to try my hand at making a four-player machine, which would involve building an elaborate control panel, much larger than the original. For such a case, there could be no other was going to become a Gauntlet! That was a game I dumped quite a few quarters into “back in the day!" 

     The biggest challenge to this one proved to be getting the controls console operating reliably. I started with some half-hearted work cutting and gluing the actual panel, and everything else broke down from that bad cornerstone. A crooked control board later made the trackball unreliable, and the console creak…let’s just say that from there after I started using stout poplar instead of cheap pine for the control panels. In the end, I replaced a damaged trackball with a less-pretty, but more functional one, because hey, the play’s the thing. 

     The artwork was first rate, though…I found Thor, the Valkyrie, the Elf and the Wizard on the Internet, and produced a colorful panel not too far from the original art. I gave Players One and Two a full six button set, wired for the first time into an actual control matrix (couldn’t find a old keyboard available!) and wired Players Three and Four into USB gamepads with a more limited three button set. To run full four player, I actually had to locate a Pentium Three machine to keep it all from lagging and looking bad, but four player Gauntlet couldn’t be beat! (And the extra speed gave me some really smooooooth pinball play, even on the later tables with all the extra fluff going on!) 

     For the furious play that those kids were going to enjoy, I put the “Coin Up” buttons on the main panel, as placing them down where the real coin slots were would be hard to reach with the bigger panel. Interestingly enough, the coin buttons were salvaged from the original Phoenix case, not because they were part of a true arcade machine, but because by the time I got this case, it had been remodeled for illegal gambling! (The lightup rectangular buttons were labeled “Bid”, “Bump”, etc!)  And of course, pinball flippers and plunger to round out the project. The sub-woofer down below gives impressive power to the jukebox for those late-night youth gatherings. 

    This was my last machine where I just mounted the CD drive behind the coin door. Starting with RallyX, I began doing an actual finished faceplace behind the coin door for a little more class. 

     Click on PacMan to go back to the main Arcade!

The Wizard.................. 
The page last gimmicked by Andy Bartmess, AKA The Wizard, on 02/12/09
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