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Midway Arcade Cabinet
by Big Electronic Games

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An Insider's View

Shortly after this article was first published, we got some great photographs of the inside of the Midway cab from a reader known only as "Lane." He took some very revealing shots, and here they are with his descriptions and thoughts about the unit:

This picture is taken in towards the back with the back removed. It reveals
what appears to be an entire TV with a blue plastic enclosure. The
speakers on the sides of the TV are what makes the sound and it uses
standard RCA connectors to feed the video and audio.

This shot shows the electronic module (what there is of it). It appears the
cartridge itself must have most of the electronics in it. The ribbon cable
carries the signals from the buttons and joysticks. The three wires on the
left are the video and audio cables.

The power box/strip.

The video and audio connections from the TV to the box.

The front of the electronic module — where the cartridge
plugs in. You can see the video and audio cable connections carried right
thru! On the other side you can see a connector that looks very much like
a Nintendo type edge connector.

The underside of the control panel

Closeup of the left controls

Closeup of the right controls

Here is the link for the TV, it is a TCL 14001. From there you can click on the 14001 model and see some specs.

I did play the unit in the store...I wasn't crazy about the thing, but didn't think as poorly of it as you did.

Here is what I liked:

  • Cabinet included and basically assembled
  • Cabinet painted
  • Cabinet art (although it could be MUCH better)
  • Monitor included
  • Arcade type controls included
  • Run box/mother board included

When you consider all this is included I found it a pretty good buy for the money. I got it for $397.00 plus 40 dollars off for using/getting a new Target Card. That makes it $350 for a working arcade... a pretty good price point.

I might mention that Defender, Defender II (or Stargate) and Robotron are my all-time favorite arcade games. If it included Tempest it would be my perfect game set.

I also would point out that it ran Robotron as it should with 2 joysticks. And the game play seemed accurate and the sounds - Although it could be better produced - seemed accurate as well.

My thinking was that this might get me going and let me see how I liked it and maybe upgrade/mod it as time went on.

I am an electronics buff and have wood working tools... But even given that, I would have to invest about 3 times this amount of money and many many hours to get a better machine.

I wish someone made a decent stand up arcade for under (or even at) 1 grand, I would buy it.

— Lane, RetroBlast Reader

A Secret Revealed

One of the more fascinating discoveries while reviewing this unit was the discovery that the internal hardware was programmed by Clay Cowgill (creator of many multigame kits for arcade games.) Here are his own thoughts about the project.

If Anyone is Listening

Just one more word to the folks at Midway, Target, Big Electronic Games and Natural Science Industries (The trademark applicant for “BigGames”), the games represented in this device are arguably generational, national, and even global treasures. Those of us that grew up playing these games see the same enjoyment in our children as they experience titles such as Robotron and Stargate for the first time and understand that these were never a passing fad, but works of living interactive art with a life-span far beyond our own.

This reviewer hopes that the experiences detailed in this review are read by many and serves to deter holiday shoppers from wasting their hard-earned money on a very poor re-creation of the arcade experience. Placing these wonderful titles in a cabinet so poorly thought out is akin to pasting a Ferrari logo onto a Chevette and calling it a classic sports car. Shame especially on Midway, they should know better.

Big Electronic Games Home Page


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