Saturday, 4 March 2017

Namco 246/256 I/O Kit

I recently began shopping on Yahoo Auctions Japan (YAJ) again. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, but having enough spare parts to keep my cabs going for the foreseeable future, JAMMA PCB prices going through the roof, and having most of the games I really wanted anyway I was looking for something new to enjoy.

Now if you've ever shopped on YAJ for arcade stuff, you'll know there's a few sellers on there with incredibly huge inventories of stock. A couple of these sellers had an abundance of Namco 256 mainboards. I decided I'd pick one up for around 3000 Yen (~£22). Now these were just the mainboards, with no I/O and no games, and the only game I could see going for a reasonable price was Gundam Vs. Gundam Next. I purchased one of those, and now I needed an I/O to connect the board to my cabinet.

These are a little different to the usual I/O boards you see for your JVS hardware, they are specific to the Namco 2x6 hardware. This kit is the System 246 B kit, compatible with 246 and 256 hardware. This kit is specific to joystick games.

Here's the kit box, full of packaging tape and stickers, not particularly pleasing to the eye, but then again these were never intended for the average consumer.

And the contents of the box

If you ever decide to go into this range of Namco hardware, ensure you have all of the parts contained within. These are:

Main PCB
Kick Harness (Below PCB on photo)
Ribbon Cable (Top Centre)
Power Cable (Centre)
Phono Cable (Top Right)
VGA Cable (Botton Right)

There are various I/O kits for the Namco 2x6 hardware, as it was used for more than just regular joystick games. Read more about them on the Arcade Otaku Wiki

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Sega STV Carts and Internals

So it's been a while since I last posted....

I saw an interesting post on the Arcade Otaku forums from user Stompp who is putting together a Sega STV wiki. The plan is document the cartridges with as much info and art as possible. It will also include photos of the boards inside the carts. The reason behind the board photos is so people can identify if they have a legitimate or bootleg board. While it has long been assumed that bootlegging was quite uncommon on the STV outside of a couple of games it appears that bootlegs of even the cheapest games exist.

Here is Stompp's wiki:

Having a few STV cartridges I thought I'd help out and photograph my collection.

The following 12 cartridges are all Japanese and from my personal collection. All appear to be the genuine article. Click the images to get them in full resolution.

First up we have the mighty Radiant Silvergun

PCB Front

PCB Rear

Cotton 2

PCB Front

PCB Rear

Virtua Fighter Kids

PCB Front

PCB Rear

All Japan Pro Wrestling Featuring Virtua

PCB Front

PCB rear

Sega Bass Fishing

PCB Front

PCB Rear

Final Arch

PCB Front

PCB Rear

Funky Head Boxers

PCB Front

PCB Rear

Hanagumi Taisen Columns

PCB Front

PCB Rear

Puyo Puyo Sun

PCB Front

PCB Rear

Baku Baku Animal

PCB Front

PCB Rear

Suikeonbu: Outlaws of the Lost Dynasty

PCB Front

PCB Rear

Taisen Tanto-R!!

PCB Front

PCB Rear

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Astro City Lock Latches

The locks and latches for the Astro City often cause confusion as to whether the barrels are longer or why the standard latches cannot fit in certain places.

The standard Sega Locks for the Astro City are the Sega 5380 locks, with a different key and barrel used for the coin door.

The latches are as follows:

Coin Door latch (Left)
Control Panel Spacer (Left centre)
Main and Coin Mech Door latch (Right Centre)
Control Panel Latch (Right)

Only two of these parts have part numbers marked on them.

The main door latch is DP-1167
The control panel latch is QN-1311

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Sega Candy Cab locks

I thought I'd put a bit up about the locks Sega use on their candy cabinets as it's not always clear what you might need.

What you will usually find on cabinets from arcades is that they will have a standard set of locks for all doors except the cash box. This is done to make life easier, with the different lock on cash boxes because it's not difficult to get your hands on a standard key.

Here's an image of the 3 most commonly used Sega keys:

At the top you have the A001 key, below that the 5380, and at the bottom the 5575.

Here's a shot of the keys on their own. From left to right - 5575, A001 and 5380.

The A001 key is the newest of the standard locks here, and is commonly found on the Dino King style mini cabs.

The 5380 lock is the oldest of the 3 shown. It is used as standard on the Aero, Astro, and New Astro City cabinets.

The 5575 is found on cabinets from the mid-late 90's into the early 2000's. It's Standard on the Blast City and the Naomi and it's variations.

I've found the best source of these keys and locks to be on Yahoo Auctions Japan. They do show up on Ebay occasionally, but tend to be expensive. The going rate in Europe for these keys seems to around £15-20 each, with the locks going for £3-4 each, and the latches around £1 or so. From Japan you tend to be able to get a set of 5 locks and latches, with a key for around £20-£30. The exception being the A001 where the key alone sells for around that much. I'm not sure why there is such high demand there for those keys, but if someone would like to let me know I'd be grateful.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Arcade room, still work in progress

May was a busy month for me, I moved into my new house at the very end of April and have been trying to get the house organised. I'm finally getting there, and the dining room, also known as Arcade room is almost complete. I got another Astro City delivered the other day, and just need to add a new fluorescent tube and starter to it. Finally I need to put up a few bits of art I have and tidy up the cabling and then it's done.

Here's a panoramic shot of it, which includes all 5 cabinets and my work area/test bench.

The latest Astro City I acquired came with a nice 2l12b panel on it, but since I decided it was going to be set in 'tate' mode, I fitted a 2l8b panel I had spare which is more suited to vertical shooters.

Monday, 13 April 2015

New games room coming soon...

The time has finally come to once again move house. In the new house I'll have enough space to put all of my arcade cabinets, and a workbench for testing and repairs. There will also be space for what will be my latest arrival, another Astro City cabinet to match my current one. This will mean the arcade room will have the following cabinets:

2x Sega Astro City
1 x Sega Blast City
1 x Weche OK Baby
1 x Electrocoin Neo Geo MVS Upright

I've also recently purchased a Death Smiles Japanese B1 poster for the new games room, so I need to get some frames for these posters now. They're awkward to buy for because Japanese B1 is most definitely not a standard UK size.

All being well, I should be moved into the new place by the end of the month, and have my games room all set up. I'll get some pictures up as soon as it's all together.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Sega 5 Button Loom

After wanting a game on Guilty Gear Isuka but not having a cabinet with the correct setup for it (Ok Baby and Blast City monitors are rotated, Astro City doesn't have a 5 button loom), I decided to remedy that by making myself a 5 button Sega loom. By default these things usually come set up for 3 buttons, sometimes 4. For most games this is enough, the only exception I can think of from the top of my head is the Atomiswave and some of the games on that. Unfortunately Guilty Gear Isuka resides on the Atomiswave. I ordered the connector and pins from  Digi Key, and used some 18 AWG wire and some 2.8mm crimp terminals I had lying around. It's not necessary to use 18 AWG wire, 20 or even 22 would do the job just fine, but the thicker the wire the better generally speaking, and I have plenty of 18 AWG.

Once you have the parts it's a straightforward process. Connect the wires to the connector pins (they crimp but I add a little solder to secure it), push the pins into the connector, then add the crimp terminals (again I add a little solder to hold the wire into the terminal as well as crimp it. The only slightly tricky part is the ground wires. The ground comes from one pin, and has to be daisy chained. The only thing you need to really be sure of is that there is a good connection between the wires on all of the grounds.

Here's the end product:

If you wish to give this a go yourself, the pinout can be found on the Arcade Otaku wiki here:

Monday, 9 February 2015

DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou Tamashii

Released in 2010, DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou Tamashii was brought to the Asian market for the IGS PGM 2. It was released only in China and Taiwan.

I'm not sure what the story is behind this re-release, it seems to be simply a release for the Asian, rather than Japanese market, of the original DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou, albeit with a couple of differences. The first, and smaller of the two is the sound. While it has the same sound track it is slightly different sounding, presumably because the sound chip is different. The second is the introduction of an easy mode. The difference between easy and normal modes is volume of enemy bullets, as well as the speed they travel. The easy mode also seems to be more generous with hyper power ups. 

For those unaware of the original game, it is a bullet hell shooter from Cave, and is the 3rd game game by CAVE in the Donpachi series*. The original game was released on IGS PGM hardware, although not in cartridge form, but on a single PCB.

If you have played the original game, then you will know that it's not an easy game. It is in fact arguably the hardest of all of the Donpachi series. The easy mode is somewhat less difficult, but don't expect to have a few credits then be suddenly able to 1 credit the game, even the easy mode still isn't easy for beginners.

Here's a picture of the PGM2 cart on the motherboard.

*DoDonPachi 2: Bee Storm was developed and released by IGS themselves, under license from CAVE. Most people do not consider this to be part of the main series.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

First night at the Arcade Club

Last weekend I went to the quite newly opened "Arcade Club" for the first time. It's run by Andy, joint owner of the New Frontier Arcade. The Arcade Club is one half of a computer shop in Haslingden, Lancashire, and is home to around 20 or so video game cabinets and 9 pinball machines. The games are on rotation to it keeps it fresh. You pay £10 entry and everything is set to free play, you also get a couple of cans of soft drink with admission. There's a solid mix of classics and modern day, including a line of timeless games all in a row: Asteroids, Space Invaders, Robotron 2084, Defender, and Star Wars. Outside of that row there's classics such as Galaxian and Pacman also available to play. There's are candy cabinets and a couple of Sega Naomi's in there for some shooter and fighter action, as well and some more classic looking generic wooden cabinets, which on the night housed games such as Star Force, Shinobi, and Frogger.

The atmosphere was very relaxed, and there was a decent crowd in considering the time of year (3rd January). I met up with a handful of guys I know from the Arcade scene, and we had a good catch up and played a few games. One of the highlights for me was to be taught a few tips on Robotron, so I could finally clear a few waves. I also had a couple of games on DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou, although I'm still not very good on it, and cannot get past the Stage 3 boss. A game that was new to me was Outzone (1990, Toaplan), it's not a game I've ever come across before, but it was set up in an Astro City, and I had a few games on it. I found it difficult, but definitely a game I could learn the patterns and become good at.

Something that surprised me a little was that there were a handful of pinball players in, (I knew this because I'd seen them at shows etc. before) and there was some friendly competition going on on the Metallica table. Other pinball tables on the night included Judge Dredd, Revenge from Mars, Scared Stiff, and Addams Family. Some of those tables command a very high price in the UK, and it was great to see them all set to free play, without people queuing to use them after you'd had your credit. The Judge Dredd table instantly had me hooked and I had quite a few games on it, although they didn't take long as I am crap at pinball.

It was a great night, and the venue managed to capture a little of the magic of the arcades when they used to function with games in rather than fruit machines and ticket redemption games. The atmosphere was very relaxed and friendly, and there was practically no wait time on any games. The venue is open to anyone and is child friendly, and a few people brought their kids down to see how their parents misspent their youth. It's a night I'll certainly be going back to do again, and I'm already planning to get down again soon.

For details you can find out more about Arcade Club here:

For details on the New Frontier Arcade you can visit their site:

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Arcade 1CC

Here's an average playthrough of 3rd Strike I did. I find 3rd Strike to probably be the most enjoyable fighter at the moment. It's a game that took a bit of getting used to with the parry system, but once you get used to it you come to enjoy it. Typically after I'd recorded this and was playing the game again I managed to do a complete run without losing any rounds, just not on camera. I did manage to get a photo of the score at the end however.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

SNK Boss Syndrome

Ok, so it's pretty common knowledge that bosses in SNK fighting games tend to be bloody hard to beat, it's even been termed SNK Boss Syndrome. It's understandable that bosses should be difficult to keep the coins rolling into coin slots as people repeatedly try to beat the bosses. I've been playing a fair few King of Fighters games recently, and each and every one has got a boss that is completely bullshit. I know a lot of fighting games have tough bosses. They often have obscenely powerful special moves, moves that allow them to regenerate health (looking at you Gill, you son of a bitch), moves that take priority over your own etc. SNK bosses are different, they have all of these traits (health recovery between rounds), and a tendency to constantly use moves that stop you from getting on the inside and hitting them. Then if you do get on the inside they have other moves that drain your health so quick you don't know what's hit you. Take King of Fighters 2001 for example. First you have to beat Original Zero, which is doable but pretty hard, only to then be faced with Igniz, who is so tough to beat it will be a while before I try again. Next up is Rugal Bernstein who just heaped the pain on me in KoF '98 with cheap hits and huge combo's. Now Rugal with enough practice I think I could beat, but one boss I don't think I'll ever beat is Magaki from King of Fighters XI. He is without a doubt the toughest boss I've played against in any fighting game, possibly in any game ever. First you can't get near him, then at distance he fires bubbles at you that do pretty severe damage if they land, and are hard to dodge. If you're lucky enough to get near him (or perhaps unlucky) then he's got a move that sends you flying backwards that he always seems to be able to land when you got in for a hit. Finally his special moves are such a pain in the arse it's forced me to give up trying to beat him. King of Fighters XI is a great game, one that is a lot of fun to play through until the last boss. Unfortunately what seems to be lazy programming has ruined any fun for me in playing the game as I know I'm in for a whooping every time I try to play through it.

An honorable mention goes to Kryzalid from KoF 99, who while an asshole I was able to beat after a few attempts.

Monday, 10 November 2014 part 2

After giving a serious try I've decided to cease using their service. I've had no issues with them other than cost. The prices spiral out of control at a ridiculous rate, and once you factor in they only ship EMS, so almost everything shipped gets VAT added to it you are looking one expensive way of buying cheap items from Japan. Previously you were allowed to set your own prices that would be marked on the parcel, however that was stopped at the start of October (probably for good reason), but it meant that anything £135+ (including shipping fee) was then subject to not only VAT but further Import duty as well as Parcel Force's own £13.50 fee. 

It's a shame it hasn't worked out as their site is easy to use, and everything seems to run smoothly. I've now signed up for Shopping Mall Japan, which is another proxy service. I'll see how I get on using that service, but if this one doesn't work out well it's likely I'll just do without tapping the Japanese market places unless there is something I simply cannot get elsewhere.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Espgaluda II Marquee

Here's a scan of the Espgaluda II marquee that came with the arcade kit. The game follows on from Espgaluda in a very similar fashion, only this time it's much harder than its predecessor. Straight from the first level there is no settling in period like there tends to be in a lot of shooters. The bullets come fast and furious and if you're not ready for it you will get destroyed... quickly.

Click on the image for a full resolution shot.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Elevator Action Returns 1CC

Here's another 1CC video I did. This is one of my personal favourite games, and one I play quite often. The game is quite slow and methodical in places, and towards the end just goes mad. There's a fair amount of strategy involved in the game, so if you're looking for tips you might pick up a thing or two.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Jockey Grand Prix MVS Manual

I scanned this for a JAMMA+ member who wanted the wiring pinout. There doesn't seem to be much information out there on it so I thought I'd upload the manual here as well.

The game is a gambling game and has a wire that connects from the cartridge to a coin hopper for payouts.