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rec.games.video.arcade.collecting


Credits

This is the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list for the Usenet newsgroup rec.games.video.arcade.collecting (hereafter abbreviated to rgva.collecting)

This FAQ is posted every 20 days and the current copy should be considered to supersede all previous postings.

This FAQ was developed by Tony Jones, and reviewed by Doug Jefferys and Steve Ozdemir. This document may be freely distributed, as long as the above credits remain in place.

I welcome all comments and suggestions for improvement via email to tony@sunquest.com.

Information about UK sources was kindly provided by John Keay.

WWW version by Frederic Vecoven

veco@montefiore.ulg.ac.be


Index of items

  1. What is rgva.collecting

  2. Guidelines to posting to rgva.collecting

  3. Answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs)

  4. Other FAQs available for this group

  5. Further sources of information

  6. Some commonly used terms and acronyms


What is rgva.collecting?

rgva.collecting is a forum for discussion related to the collecting of arcade video games. The main topics of discussion are the various methods available to purchase games, technical discussions of game hardware, issues relating to the maintenance/repair of games, and game conversion, which is the process of converting or augmenting an existing game to play one or more additional games.

Discussion of all games is welcome on rgva.collecting, as long as the discussion is related to collection (as defined above).

Postings relating to game play, game history, game features and game advocacy (the various merits of a game or games) should be directed to the parent group, rec.games.video. arcade (rgva), unless a clear link to collecting can be made.


Guidelines to posting to rgva.collecting

rgva.collecting is a Usenet group, no different from any other. As such, most if not all of the usual guidelines for posting articles apply.

Remember that before posting to rgva.collecting you should already be familiar with the posting conventions and guidelines that are posted periodically to the newsgroup news. announce.newusers. If you cannot find these guidelines by reading the group, wait a while and a copy will be posted, or try asking fellow users or the system administrators at your site for a copy.

In addition, newcomers are strongly advised to read rgva.collecting for at least a few weeks before posting for the first time.

You are, of course, free to ignore all of this advice. You should, however, remember that your postings reflect upon yourself. If you choose to pursue collecting video games further, you will be dealing with people who read your postings, and first impressions can often be lasting.


Answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs)


How can I get the list of moves for the game "latest&greatest"?

I was playing "punch&kick" last night and this happened, has anyone else ever seen it?

Does anyone know of an arcade which has the game "old&dated"?

My favourite arcade game is "classic". What is yours ?

Please don't post these questions to rgva.collecting. These are "gameplay"-related questions; they belong in rec.games.video.arcade


I want to buy the game "myfavourite", what can I do?

First, do some research before posting. You'll learn a lot in the process. The knowledge in this FAQ, for instance, came from doing the same kind of research.

Games can be bought from four main sources :

from operators
Operators are the people who provide the games you see in arcades and movie theatres. Older games cease to make money, and often get "warehoused". The "Amusement Devices" section of your Yellow Pages is the best place to find a list of operators. Many operators also place stickers with their name and phone number on games they operate. You can also try asking the people who work at the local arcade where they get their games.

Often dealers who specialize in "Home Sales" will advertize alongside operators in the Yellow Pages. Usually their prices are far higher than those of a true operator, so it pays to shop around.

A cool head and "don't appear too eager" are the keys to getting a good price. Visiting in person combined with a degree of "disinterest" towards the games present, rather than telephoning to ask "do you have game X" almost always results in a better deal.

There is a detailed FAQ available on buying machines from an operator; you should probably read this before you start hunting. Check Section 4 of this FAQ for details on where to find it.

from auctions
Auctions are held periodically around the country. These are where operators sell their surplus games, either to other operators or to collectors such as yourself. You can find out about auctions in your area by reading rgva.collecting (Chris McBride [mcbride@cs.arizona.edu] posts biweekly 'Coin-Op Auctions Lists', see Section 4 for details. There is also a fairly constant discussion relating to future auctions in the group.), by checking a "Miscellaneous Games" section in your local paper, by asking a few operators in your area (since they may be selling games at the auction, you can often get a rare showing of helpfulness).
If you live in the USA, you might want to consider obtaining a copy of the trade magazine "Replay". You can get a copy of Replay by sending $5 to:

          Replay Magazine
          PO BOX 2550
          Woodland Hills
          CA 91365
Readers from the UK, should obtain a copy of the newspaper 'Worlds Fair' which contains a smaller paper called 'Coin Slot'. This contains information about upcoming auctions, and also many adverts for complete games and boards.

There is a detailed FAQ available on buying machines from an auction; you should probably read this before you start hunting. Check Section 4 of this FAQ for details on where to find it.

from ads in your local paper
Most papers have a "Miscellaneous Games" or equivalent section in the classifieds. Prices are often artificially high, as the sellers are hoping to find "gullible" first time buyers. This does not, however, prevent you, as an informed buyer, from haggling the price back down. Often the sellers will be the same people as the dealers listed above who specialize in "Home Sales".

from the net!
You can buy a game from another reader of rgva.collector, bearing in mind that shipping is NOT a cost-effective option (see Section 3.5 for shipping details), though shipping just the game circuit board is fairly cheap.

There are frequent "For Sale" and "Wanted" adverts for both complete games and just circuit boards posted to the group.


If you post your own WANTED/FORSALE advert **PLEASE** mark your Subject line with either FORSALE or WANTED and your LOCATION.

If you were in the UK and looking for a PacMan pcb use a SUBJECT line similar to:
"WANTED (UK): PacMan pcb"

If you were in California and selling an upright Space Invaders use a SUBJECT line similar to:
"FORSALE (CA): Space Invaders upright"


PLEASE DO NOT FORGET TO STATE YOUR GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION, as it is often difficult to tell from looking at your Internet address. If you cannot specify your location in the Subject line, or you need to elaborate, please do so in the text of your posting (after all, in the examples above, California and the UK are BIG places)

Learn something from how you would advertise in a newspaper - make your posting stand out. When you advertise in a newspaper, you wouldn't leave out information such as price and condition, and expect people to call you for details. Its no different via email, if you are selling state the price you want, whether this includes shipping or not, what the condition of the game is and anything else you feel will help you attract a buyers attention. Unlike a newspaper, you are not paying by the word, so you are free to be a little more descriptive.

If you are posting a "Wanted" ad, state as precicely as possible what you want (sorry, but "Games wanted, email me your list" just doesn't cut it), state what you are prepared to pay, if condition is important, mention the desired condition. If you have other criteria be sure to list them also.

Finally, remember, that method of shipment and packing is usually left up to the seller, if you want a specific method employed, be sure to mention it.


I want to sell a game by advertising on rgvac, are there any tips?

Yes, buying and selling games on the net is discussed in details in section 3.2.


How much does a game cost?

Brand-new games can cost $2500 and up. A typical old game will go for $100-$200 in decent condition, and old, broken games (which may be trivial to fix!) can go all the way down to $25.

Experienced collectors often find it cheaper to buy a game circuit board and adapt it into an existing cabinet, rather than buying the complete game. It's cheaper, and it also saves a lot of space. Most boards generally sell for between $5-$25 "as-is" in a bulk deal with an operator and $30-40 guaranteed from a fellow rgva.collector reader. See Section 3.6 for more details.


John Distant has a game I want, but lives far away. Can I ship it?

Yes. Of course, but since a game weighs 200-300 lbs, it'll cost you.

Usually this translates into about $200-$250 to deliver the game to the shipping company's closest warehouse (relative to your home). Add extra bucks if you'd like it delivered to your doorstep. The seller will also have to "crate" the game before taking it to the shipper, which costs additional money, to say nothing of his time.

Expect to pay extra to ship very long distances, or to ship larger cabinets (i.e. 4 player or sit down cabinets). Shipping smaller cabinets (i.e. coctails) or shipping very short distances (next state) may end up slightly cheaper, but not much.

Still want to ship the game? Okay, but remember we warned you first. Finding one locally is a far better idea.


I have the game "earlygame" and someone just gave me the board for the game "latergame". Can I use this board somehow?

I want all these games, but I don't have room for this many cabinets! What can I do?

This is generally referred to as "conversion", the process of taking a new game (usually just the circuit board) and installing it into the cabinet from an older game.

This is perhaps the most complex subject for video game collectors. Fortunately, there is a detailed FAQ dedicated to the topic; you will likely want to read this before you start brandishing your soldering iron. See Section 4 for more details.


I just bought a game, but there is no documentation, can someone send me some?

Don't expect rgva.collecting readers to answer your post until you've checked the sources of information outlined below and in Section 5.

If the information you are looking for is not present in the archives, information on how to locate the manufacturer should be, and they are often willing to supply documentation for around $10-15 per game.

If that doesn't work, your local operator will often have filing cabinets full of documentation. Sometimes they will let you leave a deposit and borrow some. Develop a relationship with your local operator(s); it can really pay off when the game's manufacturer has gone out of business or discontinued support.

If you locate some documentation which was not in the archives, PLEASE take the time to type in some useful sections and make it available to the rest of us! (See Section 5.1 for details)


Where can I buy parts for my game?

Call the operators listed in the "Amusement Devices" section of your Yellow Pages and find out who your local distributor is. They'll be able to help you (for a price). You can also try operators for spare parts -- if the game is old and they have spares, the price can often be quite a bit cheaper.

Failing this, see Section 5 for help in finding the addresses of parts suppliers.


Other FAQs available for this group

The following additional FAQs are available. See Section 5 for information on where they can be found:

Addresse FAQ
  • Addresses and telephone numbers for game manufacturers and parts suppliers.

Buying from an Auction FAQ
  • How to buy a game from an auction

Buying from an Operator FAQ
  • How to buy a game from an operator

Conversion FAQ
  • How to convert "game A" to "game B"
  • How to make "board A" play "game B/C/etc"
  • How to run "boards A/B/C" in the same cabinet

Look for it to be posted periodically to the newsgroup.


Further sources of information

It's a good idea to exhaust these sources of information before you post a question. Readers are much more likely to answer a post when it is clear that the poster has already put in some effort themselves.


FTP archives

The rgva.collecting anonymous FTP archive at http://www.stormaster.com/Spies/arcade/">stormaster.com is kindly provided by Stormaster and Damon Beals.

Additions/corrections to the archive are welcome, especially information about pinouts and switch settings.

VAPS
a directory containing the Killer List of Video Games (KLOV)
info/FAQ.addresses
the Addresses FAQ (game manufacturers and parts suppliers)
info/FAQ.game.buying
the Buying from an Operator FAQ
info/FAQ.game.auctions
the Buying from an Auction FAQ
info/VAPSlistMMMYY
the VAPS membership list for month "MMM", year "YY"
info/pinoutinfo.lst
a list of available pinout and dip switch information
boardPinouts
a directory containing pinout info for various games
switchSettings
a directory containing dip switch setting info for various games
conversion
a directory containing conversion information for various games
incoming
a directory where you can leave additions.

EXAMPLE

 (In the following transcript, "..." indicates lines deleted.
 You would see additional output if you were following the
 example yourself.)

 $ ftp stormaster.com
 Connected stormaster.com.
 220 stormaster.COM FTP server (Version 6.11) ready.
 Name (stormaster.com:): anonymous
 331 Guest login ok, send e-mail address as password.
 Password: 
 230-
 ...
 230-Guest login ok, access restrictions apply.
 ftp> cd game_archive
 250 CWD command successful.
 ftp> ls
 200 PORT command successful.
 150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for file list.
 ...
 info
 tradingPost
 boardPinouts
 switchSettings
 conversion
 ...
 226 Transfer complete.
 123 bytes received in 0.011 seconds (11 Kbytes/s)
 ftp> cd info
 250 CWD command successful.
 ftp> get FAQ.game.buying
 200 PORT command successful.
 150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for FAQ.game.buying (38437 bytes).
 226 Transfer complete.
 local: FAQ.game.buying remote: FAQ.game.buying
 39281 bytes received in 43 seconds (0.88 Kbytes/s)
 ftp> quit
 221 Goodbye.


World Wibe Web (WWW)

To access a WWW server, you will need a WWW browser such as Lynx or Mosaic and a full Internet connection (e-mail only is not sufficient).

If you have questions regarding the WWW (what it is, how to use it etc) PLEASE do not post to rgva.collecting. Instead try asking your local site administrator, or subscribe to the USENET newsgroup comp.infosystems.www

The following WWW pages are currently available:

Peter McDermott's rgva.collecting home page:
URL http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~pmcdermo/
Links to the following pages plus archives of selected past postings to rgva.collecting.
A good place to begin your surfing.
Maintained by Peter McDermott (pmcdermo@cs.utexas.edu)

stormaster.com page:
URL http://www.stormaster.com/Spies/arcade/">http://www.stormaster.com/Spies/arcade/
This is a plain ftp interface, but usually contains the most up to date information.

The VAPS home page:
URL http://www.vaps.org
The home page for the Video Arcade Preservation Society.
The rgva.collecting FAQ home page:
URL http://www.montefiore.ulg.ac.be/~vecoven/rgvac

Most of the FAQ's from rgva.collecting in WWW hypertext format. (NOTE: these versions may not be as current as those available from the rgva.collecting ftp server stormaster.com).


Mail server archives

For those without FTP access, or if you experience a problem with the FTP server at wiretap, there is an email interface kindly provided by Jonathan Deitch (musjndx@gsusgi2.gsu.edu).

The following subset of the FTP information is available from the mail server:

 Keyword         Equivalent information on stormaster.com
 -------         -------------------------------------------
 pinouts         info/pinoutinfo.lst
 addresses       info/FAQ.addresses
 <pinout_name>   boardPinouts/*
 <switch_name>   switchSettings/*
To request information from the mailserver, send an email message to:
rgva@gisatl.fidonet.org

The "Subject:" line of your message MUST read

 Request <keyword>
where is one of the above listed keywords. The "body" of the message MUST include the line:
 Mail-to: <your email address>
To obtain the pinouts/switches for a particular game, first obtain the list of available pinouts by using "request pinouts". Then request the specific pinout or switch using the keyword as specified in the pinout list in place of <pinout_name> or <switch_name>.

EXAMPLE

 $ mail rgva@gisatl.fidonet.org
 Subject: Request <pinout_name>
 Mail-to: <your_username@your_site.subdomain.domain>
 EOT

Network information services

Many network providers maintain online databases containing addresses and telephone numbers of various organizations. Querying these databases can be an easy way to find an address.

For the Internet, AT&T operates internic.net, the Internet Network Information Center. There is a telnet interface, allowing interactive queries. Most entries also list an email address.

As is the case with all databases, the information you get out is only as useful as the search criteria you provide.

EXAMPLE

 (In the following transcript, "..." indicates lines deleted.
 You would see additional output if you were following the
 example yourself.)

 $ telnet internic.net
 Trying 198.41.0.5...
 Connected to internic.net.
 Escape character is '^]'.
 ...
 [] InterNIC > wais sega
 Search Response:
 NumberOfRecordsReturned: 14
 1: Score: 1000, lines:  17 'Sega of America (SEGAOA-DOM)    ...
 ...
 14: Score: 1000, lines:  13 'Sega of America Inc. (NETBLK-SEGAOA)   ...

 View document number [type 0 or q to quit]: 1
 ...


Some commonly used terms and acronyms

DIP switch, switch
A small set of switches (usually 8) in an inline package. Most often mounted onto the circuit board, used to alter game parameters (# of lives, difficulty level, etc...)

edge connector
The large connector(s) that link the wiring harness to the game's circuit board(s).

wiring harness
An assembly of wires and connecting terminals that connects the controls, power supply, the monitor, speakers, coin door, and circuit board(s) together to form a complete video game.

KLOV
The "Killer List Of Videogames", a fairly complete list of all the arcade games ever made.

LD
LaserDisc. Dragon's Lair is an example of an "LD game".

flyback
A step-up transformer used to provide the high-voltage (10-20kV) supply required by a monitor.

sync, composite sync, separate sync
The synchronization signal(s) used by raster monitors to control the movement of the electron beam. "Sync" comes in two main flavors: composite and separate. Separate sync has two separate signals for horizontal and vertical synchronization, and composite sync is a combination of horizontal and vertical sync onto one wire. Some manufacturers also invert the signal; if a board produces the wrong flavor of sync for your monitor, you'll need to hack around before you can play it.

pinouts
A description of the purpose of each of the pins on a game's edge connector. Can also be used to describe the purpose of all the wires in a game's wiring harness.

raster, raster-scan
The most popular method of displaying an image on a monitor. An an electron beam "scans" horizontal lines down the screen - just like your TV set at home.

rgva
rec.games.video.arcade, the parent newsgroup - the proper place for gameplay questions.

rgva.collecting
rec.games.video.arcade. collecting, this group.

RGB
Red/Green/Blue, referring to a color monitor that has separate inputs controlling each of the 3 color guns.

RAM
Random Access Memory, used to store temporary things like your score, the positions of the enemies on the screen, and so on. Data stored in RAM vanishes when the power is removed.

ROM
Read Only Memory, used to store the code for the game. When power is removed, the data remains (unlike RAM)

EAROM, NOVRAM
"Electronically-Erasable ROM", and "Non-Volatile RAM". These are forms of memory that are preserved when the power is shut down, but can be modified on the fly. Often used to store things like "all-time high scores" and game accounting information.

VAPS
The "Video Arcade Preservation Society", a list of all the game owners on the net, and their respective collections. Additions and corrections are welcome by email to Steve Ozdemir (ofoz@intgp1.att.com)

X-Y, Vector, Vector-scan
A type of game monitor where the electron beam moves in straight lines which can start and end anywhere on the screen. The last vector games were made in 1984-1985. Examples of this type of game include Battlezone, Tempest, and Star Wars.


Last modified 27/10/1994 - 10:16.

 
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