Saturday, May 28, 2011

Scramble Arcade Restoration

I recently picked up an arcade machine with the intentions of restoring it. I saw this baby on craigslist and felt bad for it. It's called SCRAMBLE made in 1981 by STERN. STERN makes pin ball machines and this is one of their forays into stand-up arcade machines. I am a sucker for yellow, so after seeing the side side art and bezel art, I had to have it.

Scramble is a side scrolling game. You are a space ship with forward shooting guns and bombs that you drop on enemy rockets, turrets, and fuel tanks. One unique feature of this game is that you have to replenish your fuel supply. You do this by bombing the fuel tanks on the ground with your. Scramble was re-vamped a couple years later and sold as Super Cobra. The only thing that changed was instead of a spaceship, you were a helicopter. But you were still in space?!?!?!

Here it is when I first saw it. Sitting in a guy's gigantic dirt lot full of old construction equipment and various crap as you can see. It's surrounded by junk. I love an underdog and this was definitely an underdog. It was located in Laveen, Arizona, somewhere I never knew existed and never cared to look into. But my friend and I drove out to check it out. The game was in neglected shape, but not too bad. It didn't work, lights came on, it had power, but monitor was dead, or something, that's not why I am buying it. My main focus was the side art and artwork on the bezel and marquee. They were in good enough shape to convince me to buy it.

The owner and I agreed on a price and I loaded it up.
Now the fun part begins, the clean up and inspection. This thing was dusty, full of spider webs and who knows what else. I took the back off and opened the coin door and let fly with my leaf blower! My driveway was a cloud as twenty years of dust. I spent a long time blowing crap out of this thing. Then I vacuumed all the rocks and stuff out of the inside.

Look at those sweet side graphics...I found some old toys and some wasp nests inside.

No Idea what this plug on the inside of the cabinet does...
The artwork on the marquee and bezel are what made me fall in love with this cabinet. Look at these crazy Heavy Metal esque graphics! I love it! Also, its yellow, you don't see too many of those.

The bezel is glass and the artwork is screen printed on the underside of it. Now this has been neglected for years so the paint is starting to chip off. But that's ok, I love the used, neglected look of these old games. Check out the paint that's fallen off...

Also, the joystick overlay is stainless steel! With a screen printed graphic right on top of it! So cool. Joystick overlays are usually just painted black. So this is a neat detail.
I will be working on this thing off and on. My plans are to repaint or replace all the rusted bolts and repaint the front. I like how the sides look but the front is nasty. Has a big splotch of red paint on it. I am going to give all the black metal bits a fresh coat of paint and clean up the outside of the coin door. After that, I will start to look at why it's not working.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Needa and Pulse Rifle Paintings.

I made a Captain Needa stencil on a 30X40 canvas using spray paint. I also tried my hand at a couple pulse rifle paintings. The one is obviously supposed to be a Nintendo Zapper with a Duckhunt background. It's not finished yet. I need to add ducks, the laughing dog, and also the ammo counter on the gun. The rifle is by far the hardest stencil I've done, so many small things.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


For the March 4th show I made a series of Stormtrooper stencils. Measuring 30X40. It is some house paint, some spray paint, and some touch up paint on cavases. Here is a picture progression of of the process. All of these have been sold except for one. Going to make prints of it.


Once the arcade was up and going, we started getting some attention from the local culture blogs and papers. A big moral booster was getting in the Phoenix New Times, twice! Once for the gallery itself and another for my show. Here are some links to articles....

Game Room Junkies

Phoenix New Times

Nathan Nelson Ross' article "The Dork Side"

Ken Tanaka's show currently at Cade

Cade Gallery Facebook page

It's Been A While

It’s been a while since my last post. A lot has happened in these past months. The biggest one is my friend and I opened an art gallery in downtown Phoenix. It’s called Cade and it is an art gallery / video arcade. The pictures will tell the tale. It’s taken up most of my time and has re-invigorated me, its exactly what I needed to stay energized and motivated with making art and thinking of the bigger picture. I’ve loved video games and 80’s arcade games my whole life, but now, since I own them and have to maintain them and know them in and out, my interest has increased ten fold and its definitely an addictive hobby. We have ten games at the gallery, and I just bought my first fixer upper just for myself. I’ll make another post all about that game and it’s restoration. In the mean time, here is a bunch of pics of the gallery remodeling and progression.