Zaps: Retro Arcade Bar
Retro Arcade Bar | Coming to Bournemouth in 2018

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Asteroids Strike!

Asteroids is a highly sought after cab in collectors circles and it's not unusual to see even a mid-range quality unit selling at a high price. Not only were we lucky to find an Asteroids so early into our quest to build up our cab collection but it came in at a lower than usual price. That low price came with something of a gamble though. Our cab in question was something of a 'barn find' (or more specifically a garage find). It had been left in storage, all forgotten about for a good length of time before being found and promptly uploaded to eBay. We knew it wasn't working when we purchased it, we took something of a gamble on how much cosmetic work it would require and also whether we could actually bring it back to life at all.  

"The control panel had definitely seen better days" is an understatement. After years sat in a garage it took a brave man to touch those buttons. That man was Ross, as Paul flatly refused even a tentative press.

Once we took delivery we were pleasantly surprised as the state of the unit. It was a solid build with no signs of water damage. The control panel had definitely seen better days but we were confident that we could spruce that up easily enough. Delightfully, the cardboard surround that sits in front of the monitor looked in great shape - they're pretty fragile, and get trashed pretty easily. 

 Behind the dust and smears, the cardboard bezel with the beautifully painted asteroids artwork looks in great shape. Hopefully, once we get to it, it won't be too grubby – they're a devil to clean-up

Behind the dust and smears, the cardboard bezel with the beautifully painted asteroids artwork looks in great shape. Hopefully, once we get to it, it won't be too grubby – they're a devil to clean-up

Up top, the marquee looks great – there's the usual sticker that will no doubt stubbornly resist all but the most frantic scrapping – but the art is bright and the perspex crack free. The metal rails are a little rusty, but should clean-up ok.

 Considering how simple the graphics of the game are, the Asteroids art is simply fantastic

Considering how simple the graphics of the game are, the Asteroids art is simply fantastic

The most exciting thing, that we hadn't noticed from the photos we'd seen before buying (note: must pay more attention to cab ads), is the coin door. Now, exciting as coin doors can be, they're not usually the first things to float out boats. What did it in this case was that the coin door is an Atari 'Owl Eye' door. This puts our Asteroids as being in one of the early run of machines – they swapped to the more common Atari coin door pretty early on, as the Owl Eye door can be easily tricked to give free credits. 

z-asteriods-coindoorbefore.jpg

Easily tricked into giving free games, the owl eye coindoor was only on the early cabs

We trust you not to mess with ours

The coin door looks quite a mess at the moment, but we're confident that once we've stripped it down and had it sand-blasted and powder-coated it's gonna come-up like new – just like the control panel and other metal parts. In fact, as grubby as it is right now, this machine is going to polish-up beautifully.

Now, does it work? Simply, no. At some point the power-cable has been removed at the power-brick, and so the first step will be to attach a new one and then begin testing the voltages.