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September 2015 Retro Gaming Article


September 1, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Resurrecting my Moon Patrol arcade game was a very rewarding father/son project this Summer

Moon Patrol arcade marquee In the early 1990s my roommate and I decided the house we were renting needed some arcade entertainment. We found a local amusement dealer and loaded up a U-Haul with several video game cabinets. I bought Dig Dug, Asteroids, Stargate and 2 PCBs - Moon Patrol and Vanguard. My buddy picked up Mr. Do and Zaxxon.

We decided the Moon Patrol PCB wold be a fun project. With only the set of boards, I ordered a CRT monitor, power supply, a joystick, and several fire buttons from Happ Controls (now Suzo Happ). I was a pretty good amateur carpenter and my buddy had some good electronics skills. Between us we assembled Moon Patrol on his kitchen table and I went to work building an upright cabinet to house the innards.

I loved my Moon Patrol game because it gave me a great sense of accomplishment to have it working. Eventually, I had to get rid of the cabinet when I moved, but I kept all the parts. Nearly 2 decades later, I decided it was time to resurrect Moon Patrol. I'd left almost everything connected. Upon connecting two speaker wires and plugging in the power supply and monitor, Moon Patrol was now running on my kitchen table!

Moon Patrol arcade project I had told my 10-year-old son about my box full of arcade parts and decided this Summer would be a good time to get him excited about a real arcade game!

He was stoked when the monitor came to life since we'd played Moon Patrol on other home systems, but this was the original arcade game and it was being served up via a chip-laden PCB!
Moon Patrol arcade project I had rigged an extra fire button to serve as the quarter-drop for initiating a 1 or 2-player game. It acted up a bit, but reconnecting the wire to the JAMA connector and it was good to go!

I loved playing Moon Patrol in arcades which makes this project truly special.
With the guts laid out on the table I worked the joystick while my son hed the Fire and Jump buttons in each hand. Together we played our first game of Moon Patrol together. He was only visiting for another week, so I wanted to get the game up and running in a playable configuration, so we build a quick cabinet, that I'll have to put some more finishing touches on.

The next order of business was to build a cabinet. We bought 2 sheets of plywood and a few 2x3s and tied them to the roof of our car. Over the next 2 days we constructed a frame that was sturdy enough to house the monitor, power supply and a few buttons mounted to a control deck.

He was fascinated by the drill bit that dug out perfect oles for the fire buttons. He was a big help and learned a lot about wood working, electronics and the golden age of arcade games.

Moon Patrol arcade project The day after we had Moon Patrol playable in our new cabinet, I saw this Matchbox vehicle at the grocery store. We took it as a good sign. I'm looking forward to putting the finishing touches on the cabinet and getting it ready for his next visit in a few weeks.

This was a great project for us to embark on this Summer. I love being able to share my arcade days with him 30 years after. I've even taken him to one of the arcades I played at in the 80's - they still have a Donkey Kong cab that makes me wonder if it's the same one I played on as a teenager.

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