I’m Old, Part LXXI: A Quick Nerdy Flashback

I’ve collected video games for years, especially the ones from the early 80’s. I’ve come to appreciate how much thought went into some of the cabinet designs. Most of them were built to withstand drunk adults and to be maintained. For example, some of the Williams cabinets have a little mirror on the inside of the cabinet. You loosen a couple wing nuts and the whole monitor easily slides back. From the back of the cabinet you can access all the monitor adjustment controls and see what’s going on in the mirror. Nice.

This is a Robotron that Joe Holt and I bought from a campus arcade in Oakland. We did some hackery and were able run Robotron, Joust or Stargate by swapping in a game board set and a control panel. It worked nicely. The control panel above was custom made by Bennett Leeds. He was going to make it out of plywood, but he didn’t have enough so he used mahogany. It seemed blasphemous to put plastic buttons in it, but so be it.

Joe and I had a good time with this. We pulled the ROMs from the Robotron and dumped them. Joe wrote a 6809 disassembler and we started taking the game apart bit by bit and came up with a decent functional model of the game.

One thought on “I’m Old, Part LXXI: A Quick Nerdy Flashback”

  1. Oh my gosh, that photo is so cute!!! Last fall when I went to Santa Fe, there’s this crazy art exhibit/interactive experience that has a room full of the classics, all FREE. I parked myself at a Centipede cabinet and lost myself in the game. It was so great. I’m not much of a video game person, but that was just a blast back to 1982 or whenever.

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