CGCC forum:

  1. Access it here:

Other forums (for you treasonous bastards):

  1. MAACA:

  2. KLOV:

  3. Arcade Controls:

Why do you do this?!?

  1. Vintage Console Gaming:

  2. Vintage Arcade Gaming:

  3. Vintage Pinball Gaming:

Mandatory reading:

  1. Andy Hunt: The Final Day at Westfield Arcade (2013)

  2. Brian Ashcraft: Arcade Mania: The Turbo-charged World of Japan's Game Centers (2008)

  3. Craig Kubey: The Winners’ Book of Video Games (1982)

  4. David Kushner: Masters of Doom (2003)

  5. Doug McCoy: Arcadian: The Great Arcade Games of the 1980’s (2012)

  6. Ernest Cline: Ready Player One (2011)

  7. Harold Goldberg: All Your Base Are Belong to Us (2011)

  8. J. C. Herz: Joystick Nation (1997)

  9. Jeff Rovin: The Complete Guide to Conquering Video Games (1982)

  10. Jeff Ryan: Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America (2012)

  11. John Sellers: Arcade Fever: The Fan’s Guide to the Golden Age of Video Games (2001)

  12. Ken Uston: SCORE! Beating the Top 16 Video Games (1982), Mastering Pac-man (1982)

  13. Len Albin: Secrets of the Video Game Super Stars (1982)

  14. Leonard Herman: Phoenix: The Fall & Rise of Video Games (1997)

  15. Mark J.P. Wolf: The Video Game Explosion (2008)

  16. Martin Amis: Invasion of the Space Invaders (1982)

  17. Marty Goldberg & Curt Vendel: ATARI Inc. - Business Is Fun (2012)

  18. Michael Rubin, Carl Winefordner & Sam Welker: Defending the Galaxy (1982)

  19. R. L. Stine (as Jovial Bob Stine): Blips: The First Book of Video Game Funnies (1983)

  20. Raiford Guins: Game After: A Cultural Study of Video Game Afterlife (2014)

  21. Rob O’Hara: Invading Spaces (2008)

  22. Roberto Dillon: The Golden Age of Video Games (2011)

  23. Rusel Demaria & Johnny L. Wilson: High Score! (2002)

  24. Scott Cohen: ZAP! The Rise and Fall of Atari (1984)

  25. Steven Kent: The First Quarter (2001), The Ultimate History of Video Games (2001)

  26. Van Burnham: Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age 1971-1984 (2003)

Mandatory viewing:

  1. 100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience (2012)

  2. Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade (2007)

  3. Gameplay (2013)

  4. High Score (2006)

  5. Joysticks (1983)

  6. Once Upon Atari (2003 - Four-part Documentary)

  7. Pinball Summer (1980)

  8. Pixels (2015)

  9. Street Fighter (1994)

  10. The King of Arcades (2014)

  11. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)

  12. The Last Starfighter (1984)

  13. The Space Invaders: In Search of Lost Time (2012)

  14. The Video Craze (2013)

  15. The Wizard (1989)

  16. Tron (1982)

  17. Tron Legacy (2010)

  18. Video Game Invasion: The History of a Global Obsession (2004)

  19. Video Games: The Movie (2014)

  20. War Games (1983)

  21. Wreck-it Ralph (2012)

  22. Man vs Snake: The Long and Twisted Tale of Nibbler (2015)

Information sites:

  1. Arcade Flyer Database:

  2. System16:

  3. Mike's Arcade:

  4. Crazy Kong Arcade:

  5. Ionpool:

  6. PCB pics:

  7. Swallow repair guide:

  8. Williams, Atari and Taito preservation information:

  9. International Arcade Museum:

  10. Map of known arcade locations:


  1. Arcade Shop:

  2. Mike's Arcade:

  3. Quarter Arcade:

  4. Happ Controls:

  5. T-molding:

  6. Phoenix Arcade:

  7. Hobby Roms - for chip programming (Canadian):

  8. Cineplex Starburst (The Playdium Store):

  9. Multicade Canada:

  10. Repro cabinet plans:

  11. Repro artwork:

  12. Digikey (the BEST place to order electronic parts in Canada):

  13. Arcade Chips (hard-to-find chips):

  14. Arcade Parts and Repair:

Arcade collector stereotypes (funny):

  1. #1 The Opportunist  Often only have 1 or 2 arcades, but believe they can pay for their kid's university education by selling them.  Their machines are continually listed on Kijiji or Craigslist for several years and they wonder why no one replies.

  2. #2 The Player These collectors are in it to play the games with their buddies. Who needs an Xbox when you have arcades? They often have several arcades, do little-to-no work on them, because they regularly trade or sell them in order to get new ones and keep things fresh. Consequently, they usually own a pickup truck and have a garage.

  3. #3 The Professional Player These collectors often have a few games that they play incredibly well and could probably beat the Twin Galaxies record if they wanted to. They play hard and often, and tune their machines for the gameplay. It isn't uncommon for them to have a spare PCB just in case there are problems with the current one, and they'll drop some serious coin on parts if they need to. A true vidiot.

  4. #4 The Hoarder  These collectors have a LOT of arcades that they rarely play. Quantity over quality is the general idea here, so don't expect too many popular games, or games that are in good condition. They've usually been contacted at least once by a reality TV show producer.

  5. #5 The Hacker  These collectors buy whatever they can get cheap, and Frankenstein or mod the crap out of it. For these people, an Asteroids cab with a Pengo bezel and NeoGeo marquee running a 60-in-1 PCB and LCD monitor they found in the garbage is a beautiful thing.

  6. #6 The Restoration Expert These collectors often have popular arcade games (e.g. Pac-man, Defender, etc.), and get their kicks out of stripping them down and restoring them to their former glory inside and out. They usually have a big workshop, and end up selling the machine some time after restoring it for a fair price in order to fund the next restoration project. These guys are the absolute best people to buy an arcade from if you have the money.

  7. #7 The Worshipper These collectors often buy popular arcade games in bad shape for little money, and spend years trying to keep them as original as possible. They typically don't play their arcades, since they are "collector items." As a result, the machines get turned on only for a few moments when friends come over, but are quickly turned off in case the additional stress causes the power supply, PCB or monitor to die.

  8. #8 The Multicader These collectors often buy a single nice arcade cabinet (or fix one up), and throw in a nice multicade board (e.g. a 412-in-1) or a good MAME PC and JPac board. Drilling a few extra holes for the additional buttons in the original control panel doesn't bother them because they just want a nice arcade machine that plays a ton of games for their kids, themselves, and when friends and family come over. They may also do one up for a friend or family member too, but you won't find a ton of machines in their home.

  9. #9 The Multicade Entrepreneur To fund other purchases, these collectors often buy a bunch of old arcade cabinets in any condition, Windex them, throw in a 60-in-1 multicade PCB, and sell them to others. There's darn good money to be made doing this (depending on your area). It should be noted that there could also be a category of collectors who can be described as "Jealous of The Multicade Entrepreneur."

  10. #10 The Shady Re-seller / Ambulance Chaser More interested in money over the hobby, and will sell their mother to get a deal. Sans integrity.

  11. #11 The Underprivileged Player  Like #2 (The Player), these collectors are in it to play the games with their buddies and often have several arcades. However, they do little-to-no work on them primarily because they have limited repair skills. They often buy junk, hoping that it will be gold, and don't own a truck or have a garage.

  12. #12 The Eternal Optimist  These collectors acquire cheap "fixer-uppers" of their favorite games and all the parts to restore them. However, they don't actually have any time to actually restore or play them. They usually don't own a pickup or van, since that would simply mean drowning in 4 times as many projects...

Arcade terminology:

  1. AC  Alternating Current.  The current that comes out of your wall socket.  While monitors can use AC directly, game PCBs can not (it must be first converted to DC using a PSU).

  2. B1 A term that refers to converting a classic arcade machine to a multicade or MAME. It was popularized by the user b1buwg97 on the CGCC forum (an avid multicader).

  3. Bezel The (usually) decorative glass that covers the monitor of a video game.

  4. Bit rot  A phenomenon whereby the software instructions stored in the ROM lose their integrity over time.

  5. Burner  Sometimes called a device programmer, it is a device used by technicians and advanced hobbyists to read and re-write ROM chips. 

  6. Cab  Cabinet. A cabinet is the housing for the video game. It is usually made of some sort of wood and is generally quite heavy. Cabinets come in several flavors: Cabaret, Cockpit, Cocktail and Upright.

  7. Cabaret  Also called a mini, it is a mid-sized video game cabinet (about one-half to two-thirds the size of an upright cabinet) that often uses a smaller monitor than it's upright counterpart.

  8. Cap Kit  A kit comprised of capacitors of various sizes which, once installed, is intended to repair a monitor. May sometimes contain transistors. Also known as a Monitor Get Well Kit.

  9. Chassis  This term usually refers to the electronic components of the monitor.

  10. Cockpit A cabinet specially designed so that the player can sit inside and be surrounded by the game. Probably the heaviest of all cabinets.

  11. Cocktail A table-sized cabinet with a flat, glass top. May have a smaller monitor than an Upright or Cabaret cabinet and will usually have controls for two players.

  12. Coin door  Metal door that contains the coin mechanisms ("mechs") and sometimes counters. 

  13. Control panel  A piece of wood, metal or plastic to which buttons, joysticks, and/or trackballs are mounted for the player's interaction with a given game.

  14. Conversion Any game that resides in a non-original cabinet. Many games were sold only as kits...therefore, less popular games were converted to these newer (and usually less popular) games.

  15. CPO  Control Panel Overlay. This is a sheet of artwork that covers the control panel of a video game cabinet.

  16. CPU Central Processing Unit. The CPU is the brain of the game. Example of common video game CPUs are the 6502a and the Z80.

  17. CRT Cathode Ray Tube. Simply put, the monitor/screen/TV in an arcade machine.

  18. DC  Direct Current.  The current typically used to power a PCB.

  19. Dedicated  A game residing in its original cabinet.

  20. DIP switch  This is an electronic component found on PCBs that contains tiny switches that are manipulable by the game owner. Commonly used to set free/coin play, difficulty, cocktail mode, and other settings.

  21. Distributor  A person or company who sells video games and pinball machines and associated parts. May also be an operator.

  22. DMM  Digital Multimeter. A device for reading voltage, current, resistance, and sometimes capacitance of a circuit or component. Some can also be used as a continuity tester.

  23. Flyback transformer  Often called "the flyback," this monitor chassis part is responsible for clearing the tube of all the already emitted electrons by hoovering them up with a wicked high voltage charge on the anode.

  24. Heater  The heater is a monitor component (found in the neck) that is designed to maintain proper cathode temperature (1100-1200 deg. C). When someone tells you to check to see if you have "neck glow" you are actually checking to see if the heater is activated.

  25. Horizontal output transistor  This is a large transistor (T03 or similar) on the monitor chassis that drives the yoke.

  26. IC  Integrated Circuit. ICs are the "chips" on a PCB. These chips contain internal micro circuitry designed for a specific purpose such as data processing or data storage (e.g. RAM, ROM, CPU).

  27. Isolation (ISO) transformer  This transformer isolates AC power going to the monitor from the AC feed, thus buffering the monitor from possible damage.

  28. JAMMA  A standard for PCB pinouts that trivializes game conversion.  It was common in games from 1987 onwards.

  29. Joystick  Stick-type game control that controls movement. There are many types including 2-way, 4-way, 8-way, 49-way, rotary, hall effect, optical and pistol-grip. Contacts may be leaf switches or microswitches (except on optical and hall-effect where movement is not translated mechanically).

  30. Kit  A game kit is the PCB with one or more items. A complete kit would contain everything but the game cabinet proper (PCB, CPO, side art, marquee, bezel, wiring harness). Partial kits are the norm, usually a PCB and a marquee.

  31. MAME Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. A neat piece of software that, with optional ROM downloads, allows your PC to emulate any number of video arcade games.

  32. Marquee  The plexiglass, glass or plastic header, generally backlit, installed into the top of a cabinet.

  33. MIB  Mint In Box. Any part or game that has yet to be removed from its original packaging.

  34. Monitor surround  Plastic or cardboard piece mounted in-between the bezel and the monitor.

  35. Multicade A term that refers to an arcade machine that can play multiple games via a JAMMA multicade PCB. Many inexpensive multicade PCBs have been manufactured in recent years.

  36. Multimeter  Instrument used to probe and measure electrical states in circuitry. Basic functionality includes measurement of potential in volts, resistance in ohms, and current in amps. Advanced units come with more bells and whistles, such as capacitor, diode and IC testing modes. Multimeters can be either analog (needle-type) or digital (LCD display).

  37. NOS New Old Stock. This adjective applies to any part that is original equipment that has not been (hypothetically) used. A NOS part will usually be a direct and exact replacement.

  38. Operator  Often called an “op”, it is a person who places video games and pinball machines in establishments in order to earn a profit.

  39. PCB  Printed Circuit Board. Most video game motherboards are referred to as PCBs. Strictly speaking, any circuit board with electrical traces can be referred to as a PCB.

  40. PSU  Power Supply Unit. It provides all the necessary voltages to the arcade PCB, sound system and any other system that requires DC voltages. The usual voltages are +12V, +5V and -5V, although some supplies carry other voltages. Older games were usually equipped with linear power supplies, whereas newer games usually come equipped with switching power supplies.

  41. Raid  A raid is where a collector finds and scores a whole lot of games. It is a glorious thing and should be revered as such, as they are few and far between. 

  42. RAM  Random Access Memory.  These computer chips on the PCB hold data and software instructions only while the game is powered on.

  43. Raster monitor A monitor is used in most arcade games from the classic era. The monitor is much like a TV monitor (images are drawn line-by-line from the top to the bottom of the screen).  Most games from the classic era used 19” raster monitors (e.g. Pac-Man, Centipede, Donkey Kong, Dig Dug, etc.).

  44. Repro A reproduction part. May or not be similar to the original. Many control panel overlays are repros.

  45. Ringer  A monitor diagnostic tool. A flyback ringer checks for proper impedance by sending a pulse into the flyback coil. An oscilloscope can then be used to observe the ringing (oscillating) waveform caused by the self-resonance of the coil. 

  46. RGB  Red-Green-Blue. Additive color scheme used by virtually all color monitors. In the context of analog electronic display, refers specifically the individual cathode guns within a color CRT, one each for red, green, and blue wavelengths.

  47. ROM  Read Only Memory. These computer chips on the PCB hold data and software instructions for the game itself (this data stays on the chips even when the game is powered off).  ROM chips that can be rewritten with a burner device are often called EPROM or EEPROM chips.

  48. Side art Decorative artwork seen on the side of arcade cabinets. Side art can either be painted on, silk screened on, or be in the form of a large sticker.

  49. Spinner  An arcade control that spins 360 degrees (used in games such as Arkanoid).

  50. Top glass  This term usually refers to the sometimes-printed glass top of a cocktail arcade.

  51. Trackball Arcade control consisting of a ball that is manipulated by the players hand. This ball actuates 2 rollers corresponding to X and Y position. Optical sensors sense movement of the rollers and deliver the signals to the PCB controller inputs (used in games such as Centipede).

  52. Underlay Artwork printed on material that was designed to be positioned under a piece of glass (e.g. bezel underlays and cocktail underlays).

  53. Upright  A full-sized video game cabinet.

  54. Vector monitor Also known as an X-Y Monitor. This monitor is draws images by using x-y coordinates, much like plotting lines on a graph. Images on the screen are always frame based with new color in the middle. Examples of games that use vector monitors include Asteroids and Tempest.

  55. Wiring harness  Often just called a “harness”, it is the wire bundle that connects all of the controls, coin door and RGB monitor inputs to the PCB interface edge connector(s).

  56. Yoke  Yoke can have two separate meanings.  Firstly, a yoke could refer to a type of arcade control where the user can control the X axis by "steering" and the Y axis by pulling back or pitching forward (used in games such as Star Wars). Secondly, a yoke could refer to a monitor component that integral to the magnetic deflection system on a monitor. It consists on 2 coils of wire wrapped around the neck of the CRT such that their windings are at a 90 degree angle to one another. Drive signals are applied to the yoke, they vary the field strength, thereby deflecting passing electrons and creating an image.

Retro 80s slang:

  1. Ace  A video-game expert. An accomplished player.

  2. Arcade  A retail space or building housing video-games. Good times meeting place in the years from around the late 70s to mid 90s. Sometimes containing various other entertainment machines such as Pinball games, Crane games, Whack-a-mole, Skee ball, etc.

  3. Arcade rat A person seen at the arcade every time you went there. Likely was someone who would later create a web site entirely on the subject.

  4. Board  The screen-displayed list of top players, The high score board.

  5. Bleeping sickness  Nightmares or dreams brought about by playing too many video games.

  6. Bottling out Giving up on a machine, becoming intimidated. Chickening out.

  7. Credit A unit of measurement equivalent to one game play.

  8. Da Vinci  The inputting of one’s initials onto a game screen upon completion of a well-played game tallying a high score. (Example: “Hey Dude, great game of Galaga! Slap your Da Vinci on that!”)

  9. De-res  Death of a player or enemy, especially in the game TRON.

  10. Dog  A bad machine.

  11. Doubles  Playing a two-player version of a game. (Example: “Wanna play doubles?”)

  12. Game hog  A loathsome person who stands at the same game for several plays ignoring anyone who may be waiting for a turn to play.

  13. Game over  The ending of a game. OR An exclamation in regards to an unavoidable event bringing anguish. (Example: “That dude’s girlfriend just saw him in here. Game over, man. Game over!”)

  14. Guy  One of many interchangeable terms for the character or icon you control on screen in a game. Not appropriate for use with a space ship, although far too many people do this.

  15. Intruder alert A warning cry often heard in hushed tones when a total dweeb has entered the arcade. I think I heard this once or twice when I would arrive, but I am not certain.

  16. Invadee  A video-game addict.

  17. Kill (as in “kill the machine” or “kill the game”) To demonstrate mastery in playing a particular game. (SYN. Beat, Blow away, Destroy, Rack on, Trash, Waste, Wipe out.)

  18. Learning the board  Getting used to, or becoming familiar with the game play of a machine.

  19. Level  One of many interchangeable terms for a particular stage in a game. (SYN: Stage)

  20. Life One of various interchangeable terms used to describe the icon or number of icons you have left in a game.

  21. Luck  The sole factor causing poor performance in a game.

  22. Man  One of many interchangeable terms for the character or icon you control on screen in a game. Not appropriate for use with a space ship, although far too many people do this.

  23. Mario  To jump over something unlikely. (Example: “Dude, did you see that guy Mario over the bike rack when those six big guys showed up to fight?”)

  24. On the count  The counting and awareness of the number of shots fired during a game of space invaders. Planning to shoot the twenty-third and each succeeding fifteenth shot at a saucer for highest bonus points.

  25. Pac-Man elbow  A condition of mild tendonitis stemming from the overuse of a joystick in a video-game like pac-man.

  26. Pac-Man fever  A strange phenomenon in the early 1980’s where millions of people across the nation depleted their savings on paraphernalia relating to a little yellow pie-shaped character. A frighteningly catchy song by Buckner and Garcia.

  27. Pong  Something older, or dated. (Example: “Look at that dude rockin’ out on the Super Breakout machine. Man, he’s SO pong!”)

  28. Put a quarter up  To stake a claim on the subsequent game on a certain machine. The act of communicating one’s desire to play the next game by placing a quarter on the machine of choice. Usually on the lower lip of the marquee, or on a lip of the bezel.

  29. Scam  To cheat or trick a machine into a free game, or added lives.

  30. Skill  The sole factor causing excellent performance in a game.

  31. Soak site A testing location for a video-game before it is released on a wide scale.

  32. Stage One of many interchangeable terms for a particular level in a game. (SYN: Level)

  33. Token  A unit of coinage used almost exclusively in arcades.

  34. Turn over  To exceed the number of points a screen can display and therefore to go back to zero, similar to “turning over” a car odometer.

  35. Tweak  The selling feature of a particular game. The clinching feature, or come-on.

  36. Up Having the right to play the machine immediately, as in “Hey, you’re up!”

  37. Video game athlete  A term designed in an ill-fated attempt to dispel the notion that video-games were for nerds.

  38. Video game junkie  A video-game addict who is no longer in control of his or her ability to stop dispensing quarter dollar coins into large wood boxes with a screen on the front.

  39. Vidiette  The female form of Vidiot. Rare.

  40. Vidiot A video-game addict, often with punk styling and quirky behaviors.

  41. Vidkid  A particularly young video-game addict.

  42. Warping  Going into hyperspace, changing from one level to another, or the act of leaving a place. (Ex. “Hey, I’m done with my pizza, let’s warp out of here.”)

  43. Wave  A completed group of aliens or other targets. A complete section, or segment of a progressive game.

  44. Wraparound  A shot or missile, or vehicle capable of moving off-screen and then coming back immediately on the opposite side of the screen. Common to Asteroids type games. (SYN: Reflection, Wrap, Wraparound shot.)

  45. Zembla A recovered video-game addict. Many think the term is useless because they believe there is no such thing as a fully recovered video-game addict.