Last weekend the annual Slabtown Showdown pinball tournament was held here in Portland and for fun I modified several machines for use as casual side tournament. Time Machine pinball was modified, so the left and right flipper buttons were swapped, Bad Cats lower playfield glass was covered with tape to block the view of the flippers and Star Trek 25th had light gun controlled flippers.
In the following video I show how I modified Star Trek to flip when shot with a light gun.
Several years ago I was chatting with a friend at a retro computer convention about 80’s B-movies and “Joysticks the Movie” came up. The simplified plot of the movie is a bunch of mischievous kids save their arcade hangout from being shut down by the city. They do this by playing video games against the cities player with two giant joysticks.
As a kid I vividly remember staying up past my bed time during the weekends and watching bad movies on USA networks “Up All Night with Gilbert Gottfried”. I always enjoyed when they played Joysticks, although at the time I’d never been in a real arcade, since most were long gone by the time I was old enough to ride my bike across town.
A few months after returning from the retro event I received VHS tape of Joysticks that said friend found at a swap meet and boy was I surprised by the nudity I hadn’t seen in the USA Networks edited for television version. I was also curious if this movie had ended the careers of the actors, so I started looking around and found many of them were still working today. I even found Jim Greenleaf (Andrew McDorfus) was on Facebook and he even accepted my friend request.
A few months ago I was chatting with Tanio and other involved with the California Extreme Arcade show (www.caextreme.org) and we decided to contacting Greydon Clark the producer and Jim and see if they’d visit the show. To our surprise they were very approachable, happy to spend a weekend with us and willing to screen the movie with Q&A at the end.
To celebrate the visit I built a likeness of the joystick they used in the movie, but unlike the the prop it would functional enough to play Satan’s Hollow, which was played by King Vidiot and Dorfus. It took a little more time than I expected, but after 5 evenings and a 10hr push at the end I had a working joystick that somehow lasted entire weekend of kids hanging off of it.
I’ve received several emails asking me to help modify specific types of floppy drives to record analog audio, but since all drives and taped decks are different the best I can do is explain the basic things to look for.
Enable the drive: Ground the motor pin, both select/enable pins to start the spindle motor.
Stepping the head: Tie the index pin on the connectors to the step pin.
Head direction control: Attach a switch between ground and the direction pin. This allows you to step the drive in or out.
Erasing the disk: While the spindle is turning move a strong magnet over the surface to erase the data on the disk.
Attaching the head: Try to trace the flex cable wires to one of the heads and check continuity on the pins. Attach the tape deck head wires to a pair of pins with continuity and try it out. If it doesn’t seem to work try another set of pins. I’ve also recorded audio to the disk by hooking an audio amplifier to the head.
I’ve been receiving many questions about the purse, so I thought I’d answer some of the popular ones here.
Produce: At the moment I don’t have plans to produce the purse, although being a toy designer I’m not apposed to designing this for mass production if a toy company approaches me about it.
Sell: FMCG has decided that most of the prototypes will be sold for charity. We’re not sure when this will happen exactly.
The Idea: I’ve always liked mobile computing and wearable computing, so ideas like this are always on my mind. I actually acquired the purse while at a second hand store when a creepy acting guy came up to me and handed it to me. I politely took it and moved away from him. While I continued to shop I realized that it was the perfect dimensions for a screen and controller.
Room inside: I have enough room in it for small items like credit cards, lipstick, etc.