ZX Spectrum – Eric and the Floaters.

Eric and the…..ew!

It doesn’t sound like a game you’d want to play but on trying it, it actually turned out to be a mighty fine game of Bomberman…in fact, taking a closer look at the ZX games catalogue I unearthed a few months ago …it appears that it was actually written by Hudson Soft themselves so yeah it is in fact the original Bomberman.

Scan from my catalogue – Might Bubble Buster be the original Pang?




You can complete the level either by destroying all of the floaters or walking over the exit portal (once uncovered with one of your bombs).

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Eric has an unlimited number of bombs to start off with, so from the outset, you can lay down a wall of napalm. Take that yer pesky floaters!

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For a laugh, place a bomb next to the exit portal. Once it’s destroyed it will be replaced with umpteen floaters. – Run Eric Run!

Oops, didn’t make it and poor Eric is mutilated beyond recognition. I wonder were his top hat went?

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A vintage arcade classic that never gets old whether you enjoy it on the original rubber keyboard, online via WOS or any number of emulators (currently running on my iPad via iXpectrum).





Also, powerpall by Hudson soft also turned out to be an early port of Pang – which just so happen to be another of my favorites from both the Arcade and Amiga.

I had no idea that Hudsonsoft started out making games for the ZX Spectrum


Retro Gaming: Silpheed – Sega Mega-CD

Whilst taking a breather from the arcade machines at last weekends Retro Revival event and sitting down to for a natter around the RCM area, I started looking through the selection of Sega Mega CD  boxes and stopped at this one purely based on it’s box art and the screenshots on the back.



It looks like fun I thought, so I fired it up on my mate Jim’s Sega Megadrive/32X/Mega CD stack.



Now, I’m not overly familiar with the majority of Sega Mega CD games, apart from some of the early PC CD-rom titles that were ported over and I’d always assumed that the rest were just cheesy FMV style games. It certainly bears more investigation on my part as man was I in for a treat with this game.
The in game visuals on the Mega CD versions are beyond anything I thought possible on the Megadrive and include silky smooth polygon ships, pre-rendered backdrops, plenty of cinematic speech and a cracking audio track . Playing this reminds me a little of Namco’s Starblade. although this is a full on vertical shmup as opposed to an on the rails shooter.

Part of the impressive intro animation. Static screenies are o.k but when this thing is animated it looks fantastic




I do recall playing something similar on PC once, albeit much basic in looks.  I’ve done a bit of research since playing this at the weekend and it appears that it may have been the 1988 conversion by Sierra Online based on the the NEC PC 8801 original. However, how this Mega-CD version slipped past my radar though I have no idea. Maybe it’s because at the time of it’s release, I was all immersed in a similar game at the time – Star Fox/Wing on the SNES.

Seconds ago a huge laser ripped through one of the large ships. Poor boggers!


The game itself is a bog standard shooter and includes the usual smatter of power ups and boss rushes. That’s not to say it’s a poor game of course, its actually one damn fine blaster and with the addition of those amazing prerendered backdrops, it really add to the drama going on around your ship.


The second level see you battle the enemy ships from deep within an asteroid belt. It looks superb in motion as they spin towards you or smash into one  another creating even more rocks to weave around.  You have limited shields which, when being depleted either by enemy fire or collision,  your firepower effectiveness is reduced too.



Like the opening scene from Revenge of the Sith….sorta.



Lock S-Foils into attack posi…..oh wait, I don’t have any of those.




After each stage, you can take a breather and decide which weapon upgrades you want fitting.  I’m sure there’s a right combination for each stage…just need to figure out which one!


and here’s a look at the intro and the first few levels.

Mame Arcade Machine:Light and Sound

With the the Mame PC and CP pretty much finished now I thought I’d spend the afternoon getting the marquee light and speakers installed.

Before doing all that though, I need to trace some of the original wiring as there’s a few bits and bobs that I’ll reuse and other parts such as most of the  Jamma harness and power supply needs removing.  Regarding the PSU, it’s fully working although I don’t have a use for myself I’m sure there’s someone on the Jamma+ forum that will find a use for it.

I’ve cut away the old tie wraps from the metal staples securing the original cables in place. Once I know which wires I’ll be reusing plus my own wiring I’ll re affix fresh tie wraps to keep it all nice and tidy again.

…but first we have to make a mess to sort this lot out!

eeek, the Jamma monsters got me!

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I’ve retained the original arcade power switch that’s found on the external back side of the cabinet. I plan to rewire this to the PC power switch allowing me to switch it on without having to remove the cabinets rear panel.

I’ve also found the original alarm button too and although  I won’t be reusing it, it’s quite interesting how it works. Basically, when the rear panel is fitted, the panel presses up against a switch. If a thief tries to remove the back panel (thinking it an easy way to get to the coin box)  the button is released, alarm bells ring and everyone goes mental etc etc.


That’s the wiring sorted out for this stage so time to have a looksee at what’s lurking behind the marquee panel.

I’ve removed the screws that hold the marquee clip in place and gently moved it out of the way as I had no idea the marquee was actually glass…I’d always assumed that most were perspex.

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Like the game board, the marquee assembly is fitted to a single piece of wood that slides out on two guide rails either side of the cabinet. I must say, the makers of this cabinet have made it really easy to get to all the serviceable parts which is why this particular build is becoming most enjoyable…unlike the unfriendly Phoenix cab.

A-ha, the burglar strikes again, someone’s nicked my right speaker 🙂 Actually, looking at the wiring, I think this cabinet  only ever had one speaker.

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Having previously removed the light strip wires from the arcade PSU, and having checked the ratings on the transformer, I attached a regular plug and switched on the mains to test…..nothing. I’m not surprised though after lifting the florescent bulb out and there was definitely a hint of something loose inside.

To the DIY superstore!

Wow, it was super busy here, but as expected because after a late start, spring is finally here, the sun is out and folk are out in force buyinggardening toosl, lawnmowers and patio furniture.  Thankfully, nobody was in the Arcade Machine building section…aka, the light bulb area, so I was able to get in and out before getting stuck at the checkout.

Back to the Man-Cave!

Fingers crossed and hoping that the starter motor wasn’t buggered, I flicked it on…and StiGGy said ‘Let there be light’


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The PC speakers I intend to use are a cheap set from Logitech which I picked up the other day. They’re basic, no frills but the sound quality is surprising good with ample range from top to bottom. I tested these out on my PC running a few Mame games the other day and am very happy with them.



The speakers aren’t going to fit in the small area as is because the plastic casing is quite bulky. Out with a screwdriver and my dremel to crack them open.

It isn’t pretty, but now I can mount them to the speaker grills and have the volume control pointing downwards where I can get at it once I extend the shaft of the potentiometer behind the volume button….well that was my original idea for having external volume control but  I’m finding it just as easy to adjust any game volume on the fly with Mame’s build in menu system. Still, the options there if I want a physical solution.

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With all of the cables temporary wrapped up, I reseated the marquee board back into the cabinet, refitted the glass marquee and clips and finally switched it back on again to see what it looks like.

No too bad at all. Maybe in the future  I’ll replace it with a actual classic game marquee but for the moment I’m really happy with this……

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……although I’ve spotted a few areas (marked) where the marquee paint must have been scratched  from behind as you can see light shining through. An easy fix though.

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So that’s the light and sound sorted and the next bit on my list is getting  the coin mechanism working.

Regarding the screen, I’m currently sourcing a nice curved 19″ PC CRT screen  and may have a lead after speaking to a local lady via  Freecyle who has one up for grabs. Until then, I’ve temporary fitted a TFT screen. …..yes yes I know, TFT screens in arcade machines are a no no, but with scan lines and Mame’s HSLS filtering, it doesn’t look that bad…if you squint a bit 🙂

So with the PC fitted and everything hooked up to test the speakers and controls etc…there’s no way I was going to finish off the day without firing up this bad boy for my very first game test.

MameWAH loaded and ready to Rock!

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Yay, Twin-Stick awesome-ness with Robotron……I may be some time!

Mame Arcade Machine – New buttons

My order from Gremlin Solutions arrived today with a fresh set of buttons for the arcade machine.


I had no idea that they come supplied with switches so it was a nice surprise to find them included too. Most of the control panel switches were replaced last week but I think there’s one or two of from the original set that remain on the 2-up side. Now I’ve got a few spare, I  think I’ll swap these out for new too.

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I really do like working on this flip down control panel. I wished my Phoenix cabinet was the same.


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I’ve also swapped out the four (x2) joystick bolts. All were rusty and looked horrible. Note to myself….don’t misplace the 9/32 sockethead or you’ll have to undo them bit my bit with pliers!

Much better I think.


Arcade Machine arrives home.

I took the drive up north the other day to pickup that ‘Vbas’ Jamma Arcade machine I won on eBay last weekend. Thankfully my measurements were just about right as with a bit of manoeuvring and taking a few back seat out of the MPV there was just enough room….for the plug and that’s about it 🙂

Getting back late and after dark,  I dragged it into the garage (yay, finally I’ve got an arcade machine with  wheels on the back) I reluctantly left it there until today and with four days off for the Easter break and a little more free time (and light) , I couldn’t wait to get out there for a  looksee this afternoon.

Here it is.


Overall the  woodwork is in really nice condition. Sure there’s a few bit scuffs here and there but there doesn’t appear to be anything that looks like it’s about to drop off. It could do with a good cleaning though. The rear panels are present and the the T-Molding on both sides is complete with no chipped or loose bits.

I’m also really happy with the bezel glass too, there’s not a mark on it and all the paint on the reverse side is intact and has not flaked. Likewise, (boring though it is – it will be swapped out soon) the ‘V-BAS’marquee is unmarked and complete with both retaining clips


A bit rough down at the bottom side but still sound and the metal work will probably get a fresh coat of paint.



The control panel exterior is in really nice condition with no major scuff, rips or unsightly cigarette burns. Both joysticks seem to be o.k, centred and have a microswitch audible click on all directions. Most of the buttons seem to be good too although there’s a couple on the right hand side that might need  replacing or have new switches fitted.  Either way, I’ve got plenty of spares so no major problems there.  The joystick mount bolts  are looking a bit rough  and rusty though so I’ll treat them to some new chromed ones.


Clean me!


The eBay seller mentioned that the coin mechanism is fully working  but the coin box door at the bottom will need a new lock.

As you can see here, the bottom coin box door is looking a bit rough compared to the coin mech door. I’ll give it a good rub down and a fresh coat of hammerite and hopefully it’ll look much better. It seems to shut o.k though so at least there’s no dents beat out etc.




The seller also  mentioned that the monitor was dead but the game board was working. I thought I’d check it out myself and true enough, no picture on screen but the coin  and  marquee lights up  and the familiar SNK startup sound could be  heard through the speakers.

My next job is to have a looksee inside and get a feel for where the PC, Monitor and various components will go……it’s here that I hit a snag. When i collected the cab, we were far too busy nattering about good old games, I completely forgot to ask for the keys to the rear panel door 😦 I could ask him to mail them down to me but with the holidays etc, there would be no chance of getting these anytime soon and I’m itching to make a start on the Mame conversion.

It’s a cheap tubular lock on the back anywasy and easily replaced and so I broke out the power tools :-)….and watched a few lock picking Youtube videos.

Bwah ha ha.



More photos to follow.