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Author Topic: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"  (Read 2607 times)

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yotsuya

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Back in Chufftember, I had the opportunity to pick up one of my most-sought after games, Sega/Gremlin ' s classic Astro Blaster. When I was a kid, I remember hearing the game and it's synthetic voice calling out across the discount store as my grandmother and I went shopping. If I was lucky,  she'd give me a quarter to play the game while she paid for her purchases.

 I've always had a soft spot for the game,  and recently had a chance to acquire a non-working one that was missing the monitor and front bezel. Everything else was there, including a nice marquee and a cardboard bezel that had warped over time.

I had a spare monitor that needed to be fixed, so an expert on KLOV took care of that for me. Gamefixer on KLOV, who is both a scholar and a gentleman,  fixes these boards,  and he repaired the CPU board as well as the video board. When it came back, it still wasn't booting, but the power supply was somewhat suspect so I ordered a replacement G-80 power board replacement. This allows you to use an ATX computer power supply instead of the original Sega supply. It took two weeks since they build them to order,  and it showed up today.

I plugged everything in (I had since installed an ATX supply inside the cab and tapped 12v on it to add lights to the reject buttons, which weren't even wired when I got it). I fired it up... success!!!

He's some photos. More text in a bit.

This is how I got it.


Bringin' it home...


Rough boy..
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yotsuya

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Monitor repaired and installed...


New back door (2 pieces) cut and installed...


Crap, doesn't boot. Boards sent to Gamefixer...


New plexi cut and black surround plasma cut out of steel, hit with hammered black and then satin black...
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yotsuya

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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2016, 12:19:54 am »
Black areas all repainted. I also fixed the warped bezel. I glued a piece of 1/4 MDF to the back that at flattened it out and firmed it up. Perfect..


Found this in the school woodshop while looking for some braces. Gotta love high school kids..


Gamefixer had the board back to me i a week. VectorLabs board came in two weeks later (today). Plugged it all in....


Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!!!
« Last Edit: November 22, 2016, 12:24:07 am by yotsuya »
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yotsuya

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Put in in its spot in the Casa de Yotsuya gameroom...


Put a custom aluminum strip to hide water damage. This actually matches the metal strip that comes factory below the control panel.


Really clean marquee...


Custom coin reject inserts, just because...
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yotsuya

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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2016, 12:30:26 am »
And that's it! Game plays, I'm chuffed. The old Yot would have tried to go the minty route, but I have grown to love and embrace patina. Damage should be fixed, but wear and tear... it's history, it's age, it's battle scars. The game sat in a warehouse on the Arizona/Mexico border for a decade... the stories it could tell...

Glad to add it to the gameroom!
« Last Edit: November 22, 2016, 12:53:21 am by yotsuya »
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yotsuya

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Oh, I did replace the red and yellow buttons because they were worn out.  The white ones I soaked and cleaned.
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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2016, 06:00:15 am »
Looks great in that spot. Like its was always there.

acvieluf

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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2016, 09:58:33 am »
 :applaud: :applaud:

Beautiful.

Ian

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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2016, 10:30:15 am »
Great job Yots

I wanted to learn more about the game, found this video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AR2kStMWBCs

I love Todd from TNT amusements... And I have no idea WHY. But he has been must watch youtube for me lately. Anyway I thought it was pretty cool learning about the special bonuses and the fact that Gremlin/Sega put a lot of work into making this a unique and amazingly intricate game... and then boom. Total dud, made no money (that is so Sega for you). Looks like a great game! Have fun Yots.

Ian
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8BitMonk

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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2016, 10:57:45 am »
Very cool, nice work.  :applaud:

I had no recollection of this game so I had to immediately boot it up in Mame and check it out. Fun game play and that synthesized voice is awesome! I really like the art, nice touch on the coin mechs.
Games: Asteroids Deluxe | Atomiswave | Centipede | Championship Sprint | Defender | Donkey Kong | Dig Dug | Frogger | Ikari Warriors | Missile Command | Pac-Man | Pole Position | Robotron | Spy Hunter | Tempest | Super Mario Strikers

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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2016, 11:16:48 am »
 :applaud:

Nice job Yots!

I'm not very familiar with the game but still makes me happy when a collector finds and restores a game he really loved as a kid. Enjoy it!
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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2016, 12:50:48 pm »
Lovely work - one of my favs. Played a real one a few months ago and it took me back to being 10 years old again :)

Every man cave should have some wood-grain...

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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2016, 02:34:21 pm »
I've been getting spoiled with 8bit's restores, but sometimes you gotta bathe in the authenticity.


Incidentally, with the exception of Star Castles, I really hate no joystick games.

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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2016, 02:51:43 pm »
I really hate no joystick games.

I know it's blasphemy, but I don't care....I really wish Asteroids/Asteroids Deluxe used a joystick for turning.
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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2016, 03:29:58 pm »
Looks good.  Thank god you didn't saw the bottom off and paint it the wrong color.


yotsuya

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I've been getting spoiled with 8bit's restores, but sometimes you gotta bathe in the authenticity.


Incidentally, with the exception of Star Castles, I really hate no joystick games.
Yeah, if the sides were totally trashed I would have probably gone full restore, but there's an inherent beauty in a wood cab that gets lost if you add Full Griff it.
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yotsuya

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Thanks for all the kind words. I initially toyed with the idea of replacing all the wood sides, but ultimately this is just a game that I love to play. What's interesting about this cabinet is that it has the teal-colored marquee and bezel which I think was only found on the white factory cabinets. Almost all the wood grain Astro Blaster cabinets I've seen pictures of or in real life have been the dark Blue Bezel and Marquee.

I know this cabinet spent time on the Arizona, Mexico border in a small town called Douglas. That in itself I find fascinating.
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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2016, 05:57:14 pm »
How is attract mode?  Do you get the voice?  The ambiance in Casa de Yotsuya is palpable already, I imagine this would only add to it.

yotsuya

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How is attract mode?  Do you get the voice?  The ambiance in Casa de Yotsuya is palpable already, I imagine this would only add to it.
Yes! It rocks to hear the synthetic voice call out every few minutes in the game room. It's like I'm back at the drugstore with my grandmother and the game wants me to play it.
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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2016, 07:03:22 pm »
 :cheers:

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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2016, 11:23:42 pm »
I played a little of this today and realized I used to play this as a kid. Damn that was a fun game! I never remembered the name, mostly because I had gotten a c64 knock off named Threshold that I ended up playing for years.

Excellent game brother!

yotsuya

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I played a little of this today and realized I used to play this as a kid. Damn that was a fun game! I never remembered the name, mostly because I had gotten a c64 knock off named Threshold that I ended up playing for years.

Excellent game brother!
Thanks, brother!

I remember rediscovering it in MAME a few years ago. Hearing the audio callout brought it all back.
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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #22 on: November 23, 2016, 10:03:57 am »
I am going to load that up on my vertical cab and check it out.

yotsuya

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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2016, 10:53:32 am »
I am going to load that up on my vertical cab and check it out.
It's a great game, you can easily play with a joystick even though it uses buttons to move left or right. You use the fire button to fire your weapon, and the next button over for activating Warp. Here's a tip, on some of the Waves where the aliens scroll sideways, if you use warp and you destroy the entire wave before it reaches the other side of the screen, you activate one of the bonuses. I pretty much use warp for just that.
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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2016, 12:27:08 pm »
Thanks for the tip. I was trying to figure out the whole bonus thing.

yotsuya

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Thanks for the tip. I was trying to figure out the whole bonus thing.
There are two other really easy bonuses to get. The first one occurs in the asteroid field. Go through it without shooting once, and you'll get a bonus.

The other one is a little harder to do, but it's called the paint scraper bonus. When you go in to refuel, move your ship over so that you barely touch one of the docking arms as you go in. If you do it right, you get a bonus. But be careful, it's really easy to wreck into the arms.
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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2016, 10:45:56 pm »
Check out the link I provided... they give a lot of tips on those secret bonuses.
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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #27 on: November 25, 2016, 05:09:32 pm »
Do you know which version your cab is?

From KLOV:
There are a couple of versions of this game in existence. The original ROM version had a different attract screen that did not contain any instructions. The waves were longer and the player was given the option of "buying-in" an extra number of ships, although the player was not allowed to buy extra fuel -- the main difficulty of the game.
This early release of Astro Blaster was practically impossible to play because it was so difficult. The game was later modified to include instructions in the attract mode and the waves were shortened to reduce the overall difficulty. Even this later version is very challenging to the casual player and many seasoned players cannot even clear four out of the eight levels. To help players progress further, there exists a ROM hack that slows down fuel consumption and laser overheating.

I guess I will have to try all of them. :applaud:

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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #28 on: November 25, 2016, 05:21:27 pm »
Mine is the third version of the game. I've toyed with buying a spare EPROM board and burning the first version set just to have it on hand. :cheers:

It's a tough game. My goal is to get through all the waves, but I can only get halfway though level two.

EDIT: just checked. Mine has the second version of the EPROMS, not the third.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2016, 05:47:21 pm by yotsuya »
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yotsuya

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Do you know which version your cab is?

From KLOV:
There are a couple of versions of this game in existence. The original ROM version had a different attract screen that did not contain any instructions. The waves were longer and the player was given the option of "buying-in" an extra number of ships, although the player was not allowed to buy extra fuel -- the main difficulty of the game.
This early release of Astro Blaster was practically impossible to play because it was so difficult. The game was later modified to include instructions in the attract mode and the waves were shortened to reduce the overall difficulty. Even this later version is very challenging to the casual player and many seasoned players cannot even clear four out of the eight levels. To help players progress further, there exists a ROM hack that slows down fuel consumption and laser overheating.

I guess I will have to try all of them. :applaud:
How close do you live to Phoenix, AZ, bro? You should come hang out with us at ZapCon in April.
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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #30 on: November 25, 2016, 08:24:14 pm »
1786 miles :-[

If you are ever in the Chicago or Milwaukee area let me know.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2016, 08:28:17 pm by Mike A »

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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #31 on: November 25, 2016, 08:31:00 pm »
There is a nice arcade near me. They have more than 100 machines, no redemption, and about a dozen pins.

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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #32 on: November 25, 2016, 09:17:16 pm »
There is a nice arcade near me. They have more than 100 machines, no redemption, and about a dozen pins.

Which arcade Mike? I am from Milwaukee.
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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #33 on: November 25, 2016, 09:30:50 pm »
Underground Retrocade
http://undergroundretrocade.com/
It is in West Dundee Illinois.

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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #34 on: November 25, 2016, 09:36:39 pm »
good job bro montana! Looks like a pretty gun game, maybe I'll give it a whirl if I head out that way for the next Zapcon
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good job bro montana! Looks like a pretty gun game, maybe I'll give it a whirl if I head out that way for the next Zapcon
What do you mean "if", motherscratcher?
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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #36 on: November 27, 2016, 03:35:40 pm »
Astro Blaster is pretty fun.

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Astro Blaster is pretty fun.
Come to ZapCon, play mine!!!
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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #38 on: November 27, 2016, 04:10:18 pm »
Thinking about it. My daughter is in college and my son is in high school. They won't miss me for a few days.

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Re: "Fighter Pilots Needed In Sector Wars... Play Astro Blaster Restoration"
« Reply #39 on: November 27, 2016, 05:36:38 pm »
Thinking about it. My daughter is in college and my son is in high school. They won't miss me for a few days.
Last year we had more out of town BYOACers than locals show up. Three days of mirth, merriment, and Moon Patrol. Totally worth it. Dudes came from as far away as Australia, Connecticut, and the Great White North. Oh, and Tulsa!!!
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