Southern Fried Gameroom Expo!

Live near Atlanta, or willing to travel in the southeast?  This June marks the first Southern Fried Gameroom Expo!

Featuring such gaming legends and icons as:

Billy Mitchell

Jerry Buckner

John Trudeau

Barry Ousler


Mike and I will personally be checking it out all weekend – Also lending my Mad Planets, Thayer’s Quest, Baby Pacman, and Burgertime to play  (along with over 1 hundred other games that will be there).  Freaking Billy Mitchell himself will be there, how cool is that?  I’m personally going to punch him in the nuts!

Restoring a Pinball Playfield w/a Mylar Overlay

I’ve been in the arcade hobby for many years, and have been plenty nervous about potentially wasting a chunk of money on first attempt restoration projects – this particular project was one of those times.

For pretty much all of my time restoring arcade machines, I’ve primarily dealt with video games (although I’ve owned several pinballs).  Since my Baby Pacman came with a junked extra playfield, I thought it would be cool to take a shot at restoring it with a mylar playfield overlay from – I am extremely anal with my restorations, and won’t settle for anything less than perfection, even if it’s my first time attempting a specific thing.  I am by no means an expert in this particular area – what is written below is what worked for me.

WORDS OF WISDOM:  The key component (massive majority) of any restoration project is patience – do not cut corners – if something isn’t right, do it over if you can (while you still can).

– I started with this:
<p style=”text-align: center;”><a href=””><img class=”wp-image-185 aligncenter” alt=”CAM00327″ src=”×300.jpg” width=”158″ height=”210″ /></a></p>
The picture does not do this thing justice, as to how bad it actually was

<li>The first thing I did was stripped the playfield completely, and sanded the entire thing – starting with 60 grit sandpaper on my orbital sander, to 120, to 220, to 320, to 400, and eventually to 600.
<li>Be sure to check your plastic inserts.  If they have cracks that are too deep to sand out, consider ordering and replacing them with new ones.</li>
<li>The next thing I had to do was coat the sanded playfield with Gloss Polyurethane, I tried three different ways to apply it (since I don’t have the capability to use a sprayer) with an aerosol can, with a foam brush, and with the wipe on option. (Aerosol not included in pic)</li>
<p style=”text-align: center;”><a href=””><img class=”size-thumbnail wp-image-184 aligncenter” alt=”poly” src=”×150.jpg” width=”150″ height=”150″ /></a></p>

<li>the aerosol can kind of sucked – it just didn’t seem to coat as evenly as I would have liked.  After three light coats spaced as directed on the can, I was fairly disappointed, and decided to start over.  This was no big deal at all, and took me about an hour to re prep (well worth it)</li>
<li>the wipe on option looked to have been the perfect answer at first, until the time came to put on the second coat – It didn’t take at all, and essentially turned out as if I’d done nothing at all.</li>
<li>the answer was the can of poly, with the foam brush.  When applying the first coat, I was left with somewhat significant vertical lines – I went over the entire area about three more times with the wide part of the brush to thin out the coat, and was left with a perfect coat – line, and seam free.  I added two more coats, wet sanding with 600 grit sandpaper in between coats for good measure.  The result was exactly what I was looking for (can’t believe I didn’t take a pic)
<li>it should also be noted, that the poly coat beautifully fills in any light scuffing on inserts from sanding – in other words, don’t worry about it after sanding.</li>
<li>After letting the poly coats cure for a couple of days, I received my overlay, and immediately got to work.
<li>lightly spray the playfield with mildly soapy water, or windex – you will most likely need to preposition the overlay since there’s not really a great way to line it up without doing so.</li>
<li>After positioning the overlay, use a flashlight underneath to check how your inserts line up, and double check to make sure everything is where it should be.</li>
<li>When you’re satisfied, use a squeegee, or something that won’t scuff the surface to gently push out the moisture from under the overlay from the center, to the edges of the playfield.</li>
Here’s what I came out with:
<p style=”text-align: center;”><a href=””><img class=”size-thumbnail wp-image-186 aligncenter” alt=”CAM00385″ src=”×150.jpg” width=”150″ height=”150″ /></a></p>

I’m very happy with the result, and am tumbling all of my metal parts, while ordering new LEDs, drop target inserts, posts, and flipper bats to basically have a brand new looking playfield.  I’ll update with pics when it’s complete!

OVERALL: I love the mirrored quality of the mylar.  I plan on taking the other approach with the other playfield – touching up, and clear coating eventually for the experience. always carries top quality stuff, and although the blue is very different, I prefer it, and it’ll look great with the new plastic posts that I’ve ordered from (search concentric fin blue)

Baby Pacman (part 2 of 3)

An updated look at the ongoing restore of this Baby Pacman machine – part 2 of 3

Steps taken since part 1
<li>Completely disassembled and fixed previous owners primer job</li>
<li>repainted sides and inside after re-priming</li>
<li>added new old stock artwork</li>
<li>added playfield glass</li>
<li>fixed edge connector issues</li>
<li>fixed and installed burn free 13″ monitor</li>

Wii-U, the Perfect Companion Console

<em>Update: I eventually bought all three. Forza and Dead Rising more than justified my Xbox purchase. I am happy with my PS4 and am knocking out innings of MLB The Show. But, the WiiU has been my favorite. At this point, not my most played, but I have definitely had the most fun while playing.</em>

I know what you are thinking, what the hell? The Wii-U? Yes. The Wii-U will be the console I purchase along with my PS4.  People can argue PS4, Xbox One or Both all day every day. But in my opinion the combination of the PS4 or Xbox One and the Wii-U will provide more must play exclusives for the life of this generation than combining the PS4 and Xbox together.<!–more–>

It’s my opinion that outside of Titanfall and indie games we will have very few third party exclusives on either console. This boils your buying decision, from a game standpoint, down to your preference in first and second party exclusives between Sony and Microsoft. Unless you purchased both the PS4 and Xbox One on day one you’ve basically chosen your primary gaming machine already.

<b>What to to buy next?</b>

The logical answer for most would be the one you didn’t purchase first between PS4 and XB1. I will use myself as an example as a PS4 buyer.  If you purchased the XB1, the same logic will apply. Moving forward I don’t think there will be compelling enough exclusives for me to justify the purchase of an Xbox One.   Mix in the fact that third party titles will most certainly be comparable between the two consoles; the exclusives are all that’s left.  That’s not to say it won’t be a late generation purchase after a price drop and a backlog of discounted titles.

<b>What’s left?</b>

The Wii-U, that’s what.  The knock on the original Wii was the shovel ware garbage that saturated the market, leaving the Nintendo first party games the only titles worth playing. The Wii-U has the opposite complaint, not enough third party support.  If you are only buying one console this could be a problem, but if third party games are a concern I can’t imagine many of those customers purchasing a Wii-U over the PS4 or XB1?

I understand I am now choosing Nintendo first party titles over XB1 first party and a more powerful console, why would I do that?  I feel that Nintendo titles offer a much different and more refreshing experience that would be a better compliment to my PS4, rather than a different take on shooters and action games.


If you are not a fan of Nintendo characters and the light approach to gaming than this direction might not be for you.  But in my case, I will get all of my hardcore gaming needs out of my PS4 and it’s always refreshing to jump into Mario, Zelda or any other Nintendo based franchise.  It’s a new school take on 30 years of reliable gaming that gives me a nostalgic feel with a new school console.

What is Retro? PS4 launched! – Retro Jonez E.14

This week we went deep into a lot of different topics, specifically what is retro gaming and what is a gamer.  Other show hightlights include the launch of PS4, a Donkey Kong event, Tetris and more….

Last major console generation?

With the advancements in mobile gaming, living room PCs, cloud computing , custom operating systems and more people cancelling cable are we looking at our last major console generation?  I think so, at least in traditional sense.  I will hit on the cable impact later on.

Current State

If you are a console gamer, I think you would agree that console releases are the most exciting time of a generation.  This time around the buzz has really stepped up with the popularity of socially media, and to put it bluntly, arguing on the internet. Over the last thirty years there has been no shortage of companies jumping into the gaming space with each generation.

In the latest launch we see Microsoft and Sony taking two different approaches to get into your living room.  I am not mentioning Wii-u on purpose.  Microsoft is promoting their system as the all in one media/gaming machine and Sony is taking an all about the games approach.  A reversal of roles when compared to the previous generation.  As we sit, late 2013, I feel these console launches are still relevant and it’s always an exciting time for the industry and gamers, but will they be in another 7 years?

What does the future hold?

There is no definitive answer to what is coming next. What we do know, is that there are other companies jumping into the mix, specifically, Valve with Steam Box and Steam OS.

Currently there are 65 Million Steam users, well short of PlayStation Network’s 110 million, but ahead of Microsoft’s 48 million.  That’s quite a number for PC gaming, especially considering the argument from many that PC gaming is dead.  PC gaming is alive as ever in the home office, but has yet to breach the masses in the living room.  This is where Steam Box, and Steam OS come into play.  If they can release a variety of hardware of varying cost and performance it could become a major player as this console generation moves on.  If Steam OS can be openly downloaded and installed on custom systems, sky is the limit.  But not only have they just entered the living room, they have entered every other device that can install steam os, and in theory allowing game streaming to those devices as banwidth permits.

Sony will be doing this with the PS4/Vita combo on home networks.  Its great tech and something I will use all the time when I pick up my PS4.

But imagine if this could be applied to PC gaming.  One centrally located PC with the ability to stream to other PCs throughout the house.  This tech is already available, but until it’s intuitive and affordable it will be a niche market only.

How does the cable market impact the discussion?

In the last 1-2 years we have seen a grass roots uprising of “ditch cable”. The devices people use to make such a switch are on the rise and along with it we have seen cable companies try to up there offerings with devices like the new Tivo and the X1 from Comcast.  With so many all-in one devices having hit the market or scheduled to release, more and more people are becoming comfortable with the technology surrounding a one size fits all device.  A powerful “set-top” box that does gaming is the next logical step.  You might ask, doesn’t the Xbox one fill that gap? In a way, but you are still limited to doing business with Microsoft exclusively, rather than all applications available for a Windows or Linux environment.

Where does it go from here?

In a nutshell I might have said a lot without really saying anything, but I think seven years down the road we will see a living room OS penetrate set-top devices similar to how android is now the OS on 4 out of 5 phones. This will provide developers with one common ecosystem and will allow consumers to decide which level of device is best for them.  With choice the console market will become saturated with competition and what are now exclusive developers for Sony and Microsoft would develop for all devices.  Will consoles die? Doubtful. But as it sits now I think there is a good chance the next time we have this conversation it will be more than Microsoft v. Sony and we might be arguing more about operating system than hardware.