It has taken me longer than expected to advance to the next pinball machine in the queue. I did have plans for a short break after completing Harley, but a parts delay delay and sorting out a few mechanical issues at the end of that game ate up the gap I had planned. Sometimes, that’s how it plays out. The good news though, is this next game is one I’m really excited to be working on. It’s been raining SEGA’s here lately, with the next game up for a complete rebuild being a beautiful Batman Forever. It was released by SEGA in 1995 and roughly 2500 units were made. I don’t think SEGA games get enough credit and as a result, people miss out on some great fun. The game has plenty to offer players, serving up multiple ramps, rails, a diverter, 3 flippers, pop bumpers, targets, drop targets, a VUK, canon, Bat cave ball lock, large display (192×64), video modes and up to 6 players at once. The only thing it’s missing for me is a spinner. The game is also a widebody, but with plenty of things around the playfield, it feels filled to the brim. There’s even an easter egg hidden in the game – “After a certain number of slingshot hits, after a 3 second lag, a giant bat will appear on the screen and screech at you. If you hit the trigger then you will get 50M extra points”. I’ll have to keep an eye out for that one – easy points! There are a few issues that need to be sorted out along the way and I’ll go in to those as I work my way through the game. For the most part though it’s working well and just needs a good clean. Time to get started.
Since my SWEP1 arrived, the lightsaber Neon has been unreliable. Some days it works and others it won’t start up at all. In other cases it might finally kick in part way through a game or just stop working during a JEDI battle. It was a little random. The general work around for it was to adjust the two wires coming from the lightsaber, which would usually get it working again. At least for a day or so before it stopped again. This gave me hope it was a connection issue instead of a driver board issue. Last week the Neon completely stopped and no manner of wire adjusting would get it back on. Enough is enough – time to fix the damn thing properly. There are two probable causes – an issue on the driver board or the 12V transformer inside the lightsaber. I disconnected the power connector for the lightsaber and using my DMM, tested the voltage it was receiving. The driver board was doing it’s job properly and the correct voltage was coming in. I was fairly confident the issue was with the lightsaber, but this at least clarified it. So the lightsaber was removed for a closer inspection.
Having already made good progress on my SWEP1, I was keen to keep going and complete the remaining work. It’s no good having a half clean machine, so I made the decision to take SWEP1 offline for a couple of weeks to address the remaining playfield areas and assemblies. The lower playfield area around the apron and sling shots was covered in the last update and now I need to look at the middle and upper sections of the playfield. This means taking both ramps off to get access to everything on the playfield in these areas. The only assemblies I need to look at are the pop bumpers, so most of the work is cleaning at the playfield level and getting the parts back on.
I’m a fan of the Pinball 2000 (P2K) games released by Williams and I’m excited to now be working on one – especially since it’s my own. I have a little bit of down time while waiting for the Harley CPU board, so decided to keep my hands dirty and continue tinkering. The next machine to get a rebuild is a Star Wars Episode One. It was released mid 1999 and is the very last game to be made by Williams before they sadly closed. Interestingly, you can (or at least could) buy conversion kits for this and Revenge from Mars – meaning you could run both games in the same cabinet by swapping playfields, ROM’s and shooter assembly. It’s a bit of a manual process to swap them, but still nice to have two games taking up the one spot. There were sadly only two P2K machines made (with a couple more planned – Wizard Blocks and Playboy) and it’s a shame they were not able to continue with them. I feel they are very underrated! There isn’t much wrong with the game that needs to be sorted out. It mostly just needs the assemblies serviced and some cosmetic improvements. I’ll be doing my usual rebuild of all assemblies and cleaning, along with some presentation fixes too. Time to get started!
Progress on Harley has been traveling along really smoothly over the last couple of weeks to the point where I’m closing in on the final playfield assemblies to service. The first area to look at in this update is the pop bumpers, which will also include the scoop which sits just in front of them. There should be a plastic Harley sign that sits vertically on top of the scoop that has been broken off some time in the past. The pop bumpers are filthy and overdue for a full rebuild.