Wednesday, August 31, 2011

'Medieval Madness' Madness!

A friend of mine recently purchased a Medieval Madness machine. It's in pretty good shape, except that the castle didn't work! Well, as anyone who has played MM knows, the castle is the biggest toy in the game. The previous owner included a replacement gate/drawbridge assembly. I looked up instructions on how to replace the assembly online, and was shocked to find that the instructions were over 20 pages long! (Here's a link to the tutorial.)

 So, with a stack of instructions in hand, I set out to swap the gate assemblies. Besides shopping an entire game, this is one of the largets projects I've worked on. I figured it would take about 5 hours, and I was right on. That included time to install Cliffy protectors and plastic protectors, and clean anything I came across. Besides stalling out while testing the gate. It did take about 4.5 hours. Unlike the instructions, I opted to unsolder the optos, and that only took a moment. I assume its much faster to unsolder and resolder the optos, than to pull all the wires out, one by one, but both methods work.

Here's a few photos I snapped along the way:

Here you see the old mech in the foreground, and the new mech behind it. The silver disc on the drawbridge is a weight that was added to allow the drawbridge to drop. I'm not sure why this was needed, the only issue seemed to be the obviously broken gate (in the top photo you see that it snapped clear in half!). A little adjustment of the set screws and switches on the drawbridge link allows you to properly raise or lower the bridge. I also found shards of soda cans taped to the underside of the gate. Someone needed shims and got creative! We've all been there...

Here's a shot underneath the game, with the mech and moat removed. It's a pretty large hole.

This is a shot with the exploding castle mech removed, as well as the stone pathway into the castle. In order to install the Cliffy around the sinkhole here, I had to remove the catapult and left ramp, as well as much of this area. I removed much more for the Cliffy than I did to actually replace the gate mech! I love seeing that clean, untouched wood though... niiiice... 

It was fun, and I learned a bit about MM. Namely, DON'T TRUST TEST MODE. I was able to get each item to work in test mode, but not all together in order to pass the test. I finally got fed up and just played a game, and it worked perfectly in game mode! We played about a dozen games, and it worked great every time! Don't be afraid to dig into your pins. Most were made with operators in mind, and are somewhat easy to pull apart. If you don't trust yourself, take lots of photos! Every time I have to mess with soldering, I take lots of photos to be certain and get all the different colored wires in the correct spot. Mixing wires leads to more repairs! Now onto that playfield swap....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

UPDATE: A Tale of Two Pin*Bots

After rushing to make at least one playable Pin*Bot in time for last months DCP Open House, I was left with one unit playable for the event, and another left in the carhold. *COUGH*

One game was cleaned up and shopped, while the other went untouched. It did however give it's kidney so that the cleaner machine may live. Sure enough, the cleaned up and beautified Pin*Bot was on display for the open house and has incurred dozens and dozens and dozens of plays in the meantime.

What of the kidney-less PB? Well, it became a solid starter project for another DCP member... their first pin! Beats the heck out of my first pin, a Bally Odds & Evens. It had a gorgeous backglass, but didn't even come with a power cord! Still, that was a nice machine to learn on, as I hope Pin*Bot will be for it's new owner. Glad to see the seeds of pinball spreading across the state.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Duke City Pinball Open House July 2011 Recap

The July 2011 DCP Open House has passed! We had a great time with lots and lots of great food and pinball. The $1 World Cup Soccer 94 tournament brought in about $70, with nearly $50 awarded to our first place winner.

First Place: Colson F - 1,467,165,690 points
Second Place: Nelson F - 1,092,809,580 points
Third Place: Zach B - 999,448,960 points

Still working out the tournament kinks, but everyone (except me) was pretty patient with the long line to play! Zach racked up nearly one billion points early in the competition. From that point on, everyone was chasing him down and racing to do so before the 9pm deadline. Very late in the game, Colson knocked Zach out by 500 million points! After 9pm passed and final paid games were being played, Nelson eventually landed in second place by less than 100 million points separating him from third. It should be noted that Hunter jumped on for a few unpaid games and blew all of those scores out of the water! I think he finished with over 3 billion on his last game. Gotta pay to win though! Hunter will be boning up on his yoga and meditation to focus his entries next time around....

Lots of new faces this time around too! Welcome Ray, Rodney, Cameron, Douglas, Kristen, Emily, Kevin and Christina among others! Thanks for joining us!

The photos seem to have been taken at the very start and very finish of the event, as many games seem unattended, but it was a solid mix of folks one each game, as well as playing Pinball FX2 on the Xbox in the living room.

Thanks to everyone for making this months open house a success and a special thank you to Bryan for bringing his awesome Addams Family machine! It was a hit with everyone, and a nice surprise as no one knew it was going to be there! It's collectors like Bryan that keep the hobby alive! I know we all get a little nervous moving these machines back and fourth. One wrong move and you're looking at hours of repairs! Thanks again Bryan!

Photos of the event are located here.

If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please email or check out our Facebook group.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Duke City Pinball Open House

Reminder.... the next Duke City Pinball Open House is THIS Saturday, July 30th!

Email me ( ) if you are interested in attending! Thanks!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 Plug

I thought I'd throw out a plug for another Duke City-area upstart! is a video game recommendation site, invented by Duke City Pinball charter member, Hunty!

The premise is... you rate video games you've already played on a 1-5 star scale, and Reccr will then suggest other games that you may enjoy! It's pretty simple, and it works very well. I've found several gems that I had previously overlooked thanks to Reccr. You can even sort by the consoles you own, or look for the best games on different consoles if you're new to the market.

The more games you rate, the better and more accurate your recommendations will become, to better cater to your personal tastes.

Go out and rate some virtual pinball games!

Friday, July 8, 2011


Half-shopped out one of the Pin*Bots today. Cleaned and waxed, new rubbers, some bulbs here and there. Played about five great games and then.... the resets started! So... it looks like it'll be a bit longer before she's 'showtime ready'.

Oddly, the plastics on the 'nicer' PB were far more broken than those on the other PB. I may do some mixing up here and there soon.

I don't know that I can get boards sent out for repair, and returned, before the open house... Even the game was shrugging it's shoulders and throwing it's hands in the air...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Tale of Two Pin*Bots

So... last October or so, I bought a Pin*Bot. PB has long been one of my favorite pins. It's brutal left outlanes make me weep like a baby girl, but I love the backglass art, I love the cabinet art, I love the sounds and speech, I love the playfield art, I love the helmet toy, I love the miniplayfield, etc. I LOVE Pin*Bot. I found one in pretty rough shape, but its PIN*BOT, so I bought it anyway. It was part of a group of pins, so the actual price for it wasn't bad at all, and it's better off in my garage than in a barn, right?

Fast forward to February. I bought ANOTHER Pin*Bot. Again, another group of pins, and this PB was in much better shape than the earlier purchase (which was still sitting, untouched, in my garage). Well, I got home, and packed it away. Didn't even turn it on... until today...

The plan is to fix up both machines, and donate one to the church across the street, and keep the other for my collection. The 'worser' PB works ok. I've turned it on and played a quick, unleveled, game here and there, but the cabinet is trashed. I'm not a big cabinet guy, but I'd love to try repainting it and restoring it. That's always been my plan. Here's a photo of the bad cabinet, but it looks even worse in person...

So, tonight I fired them both up. The better-looking-but-allegedly-far-more-broken PB fires up right away. Looks pretty great too! It's sitting on the floor, but I try a game... The balls don't kick out into the shooter lane. The drop target bank doesn't rise. The visor doesn't close. The eyes don't pop out. Hmmmm... could it just be a bad fuse?


YES! It is, just a bad fuse. Swap fuses and everything works great! Or, everything works great for just powering it on for five minutes. I turned it off and will dig deeper soon, it was getting dark.

Then I turn to the dirty, ugly game. Power it on. Half the backglass doesn't light up. The alphanumeric displays are very very very broken. It looks like the alien from 'Sphere' (15-year-old spoiler alert) is trying to communicate with me during attract mode. I switch it off. Looks like I'm in for the long haul on each...

I'll keep you posted, and with a little luck we'll all be able to play one, or both, of the 'Bots later this month at the second Duke City Pinball Open House!


In an effort to maintain interest, I have decided to include all my mundane pinball goings-on in this blog. I originally set it up for specific DUKE CITY PINBALL entries, but we haven't really had many yet, and it just looks like an outdated, dead, boring site in the meantime! Hopefully a league will start soon, and we can post photos and weekly rankings!

Today, I cannibalized a few other LED kits from to begin preparing my 'Tales of the Arabian Nights' for the DCP open house, later this month.

Due to a shipping error, I was left with a bag full of high power, warm white 44's that came with my 'World Cup Soccer 94' for the GI. Unfortunately, WCS94 uses 555's for its GI. Luckily, TOTAN uses 44s! On top of that, a friend gave me their unused 'Fish Tales' LED kit, so I stole a few bulbs here and there to add a little color to TOTAN.

This is the first pin I've done with high power LEDs in the GI lamps. I've outfitted a half dozen pins or so with LEDs, but the High power bulbs are very different. Overall, I'm pleased with the results. It's definitely brighter, without the obvious change in tone that the cool bulbs offer.

I placed a few colored bulbs below the lamp, and in the saucers, but they really need flex LEDs for the proper effect. I was also wishing to add just a little more color. The kit for the playfield inserts is on it's way, so maybe that will be enough color to add a 'pop' without changing the feel of the game. We added a ton of color to a 'Congo' recently, totally changed the look of the game'. Here's a pic if you're curious.

More photos of today's project are available here.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Duke City Pinball Party

We're holding another DCP Party, this month, July 30th, at 4pm. Email me or check out the Facebook page for more info...

This round will be more laid-back, just for fun... We'll probably mix up some sort of prizes though. Oh, and it's potluck style, so bring something to share if you can!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The DukeCityPinball rolls into Facebook. *cough*

Join our Facebook group! Facebook has many clever and interesting ways to integrate their site with yours, or your site with Facebook.... and I can't figure out how to work any of them. So here's the link, to the group page.

I'll probably post both places when events start happening, but Facebook is much easier to post to.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wake Up!

So... Here in the Albuquerque area, where do you play pinball? Home? Bowling alley? Gym? Where do you go to get your fix?