Monday, November 24, 2008

Centipede on a Budget

When people find out I have some games in the basement, most of them say: "Sweet, do you have Centipede?".. and I've always had to say: "uh, no."

I've kept my eye out for a machine, but it's one of those popular/recognizable titles that's a bit of a cross over. What I mean is this--collectors want it, but so do people who only buy one machine for fun. Centipede prices can be a bit higher than the average game, despite the large number of machines made. That being the case, I set out to find a decent converted cab.

Here's the one I found:

This is a Mania Challenge, but in a former life, it was a Centipede. It has the screen burn and the painted over side art as proof of its former greatness! When I called the guy about this machine, time was running out--he said I could come pick it up in the morning if it didn't get rained on in the meantime. (It was outside--he had just moved, and there was no room for it inside.) I got there and struck a deal for $50. Interestingly, when he found out I wanted to convert it back to a Centipede, he led me to his parts room, where I picked up a beautiful marquee, a completely populated control panel and an original painted glass monitor bezel. I ended up offering him $60 for those items, and he was fine with that. It just goes to show--if you don't like the prices on the internet, it's time to get out there and start pounding the pavement.

He said the machine wasn't running, which wasn't a big deal to me, since I wanted it for the cab (and perhaps the monitor). When I got it home, I found that the Mania Challenge boardset was sitting loose in the cab--I plugged it in to the wiring harness, and it fired right up! The monitor takes a long time to warm up, but it works fine. The cab is in exceptionally good shape--glad I got to it before the rain did! Time to convert this thing back to Centipede! For the rest of the parts, I went to the 'conventional' source--the internet. I was able to score a wiring harness for $25 shipped, an Atari ARII board for $13 shipped, and a working boardset for $50 shipped. Fortunately, the Atari power/transformer/fuse block was still installed in the base of the cab. A few miscellaneous parts from Bob Roberts (a new AC cord, a big blue capacitor (I had a spare from a while back), and a cap kit for the G07 ran about $20). All told I have about $218 into this project, with enough parts to make it go--I hope! Stay tuned!

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