Introduction from Home Page, cont...
Obtaining Pac-parts is a real problem. The monitors are
no longer being manufactured and Pac-Man is notorious for causing screen phosphor
"burn in" that pretty much ruins the visual impact of the game. This happens because
the maze remains stationary for all play screens as does most of the text.
Sadly, when the remaining supply of the CRT (Cathode Ray Tube)
monitors is exhausted, it won't be possible to do an original restoration. Even those
few remaining monitors will develop burn-in and that'll pretty much bring Pac-Man
in its orginal form to an end.
Other parts, particularly the original Happ
leaf-switch joystick are also long gone. That's really sad because the replacement
joysticks, at least the microswitch types, ruin your (or at least my) ablity to play patterns comfortably.
This is because of the high tension springs and the inherent hesitations.
If you find a way to get around the hesitations, you'll still have to be okay with
greater effort required and the clicking tactile feedback. Smooth is better, or was, in my book.
There are more than just monitor issues with Mr. Pac--the cabinets were constructed
of plywood with screened-on graphics that discolor and peel off over time.
But those graphics have powerful iconic value and, combined with the game design and operation,
made it one of the most appealing arcade games of all time.
Many players hold onto the cabinet side with their free hand as they play.
Human sweat is really aggressive cocktail of chemical agents resulting in dark stains.
And make no mistake, people really sweat when they run the little yellow guy around under duress
of impending death by Inky, Blinky, Pinky, or Clyde.
The "kick panel" in front is aptly named as takes a lot of abuse
from frustrated players who lost their last Pac-Man. Palms resting on the
control panel wear off the black paint and the graphic overlay develops missing
chunks, probably with some help from kids who may picked at it in acts of idle
desecration. The orange T-molding turns yellow with age and gets beat up
along with all other cabinet edges by careless arcade vending company movers.
Inside the cabinet, you usually find even scarier stuff and you will probably enter
with some feeling of dread--as if you're opening the tomb of some ancient Egyption mummy. It will
likely be full of filth, layers of cigarette tar, bugs & spiders, and wasp or mice nests.
Plywood contains moisture and natural resins that undermine the adhesion of the paint
to the wood. This process has had 30 years to go to work on the graphics and the
result is the same for all of them--look closely and you'll see that there are
checks (cracks) and all that iconic artwork is peeling away like the ceiling of
the Sistine Chapel.
You can purchase silk-screened self-adhesive vinyl overlays for both sides and the front kick-plate.
But for me, these don't restore the machine to original condition. The classic
screened paint appearance is lost and the overlays lack the "blue spatter" that Midway applied
to all the yellow surfaces. On this last issue, I'm more flexible that most Pac-aholics--
I don't mind if the spatter is not there. It was added to help mask cabinet graphic
imperfections. I think the machine looks a lot cleaner without the blue spatter.
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