Document Title: [FAQ-rgvac.html (html file)]
From: email@example.com Newsgroups: rec.games.video.arcade.collecting Subject: FAQ POSTING (rgva.collecting) Frequently Asked Questions rec.games.video.arcade.collecting $Revision: 1.3 $ $Date: 1997/11/05 03:23:40 $ This is the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list for the Usenet newsgroup rec.games.video.arcade.collecting (hereafter abbreviated to rgva.collecting) This FAQ is posted every 14 days and the current copy should be considered to supersede all previous postings. This FAQ was developed by Tony Jones, and reviewed by Doug Jefferys and Steve Ozdemir. This document (and all previous versions) is copyright and may only be reproduced (either in whole or part) with the express written consent of the author. Information about UK sources and European TV/monitor specifications was kindly provided by John Keay. This document has been designed for viewing on an 80 column display. Comments and suggestions for improvement welcomed. Send email to tony@rtd[DOT]com (please replace [DOT] with a period) Index of Items -------------- > indicates a change since the last revision of the FAQ * indicates new information *1. What is rgva.collecting? *2. Guidelines to posting to rgva.collecting *3. Answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) *4. Other related FAQs 5. Further sources of information *6. Some commonly used terms and acronyms. 1) What is rgva.collecting? rgva.collecting is a forum for discussion related to the COLLECTING of ARCADE VIDEO GAMES. The main topics of discussion are how to purchase games from operators and auctions, technical discussions of game hardware, issues relating to the maintenance/repair of games, and game conversion, which is the process of converting or augmenting an existing game to play one or more additional games. Postings advertising items FOR SALE, AUCTION or items WANTED may not be posted to rgva.collecting, they instead must be posted to 'rec.games.video.arcade.marketplace' (rgva.marketplace). Discussion of all games (including those currently in the arcades) is welcome on rgva.collecting, as long as the discussion is directly related to collecting (as defined above). Postings relating to arcade game play, game history, game features and game advocacy (the various merits of one arcade game over another) should be directed to the parent group, rec.games.video.arcade (rgva), unless a clear link to collecting can be made. Please do not post discussing home/pc versions of arcade games. Instead post to a more appropriate group, such as 'rec.games.video.classic' or 'comp.sys.
.games'. 1.1) History of rgva.collecting The initial "request for discussion" for the formation of rgva.collecting was issued on Wednesday October 20th 1993 by Tony Jones. Voting began on Wednesday November 24th. With help from Steve Ozdemir who rallied the VAPS membership, the newsgroup came into being on Wednesday December 22nd having passed the newgroup creation process 4 days earlier by a vote of 165 to 16. In the early days of the newsgroup, traffic was in the low tens of articles per day, rising by 1996 to around 100 articles per day. In August 1997, Steve Ozdemir organised a vote to split Forsale/Wanted (so called 'marketplace') traffic out of rgva.collecting into a new newsgroup rgva.marketplace. This new group came into effect on the 1st of October 1997, having passed it's vote by a majority of 5 to 1. 2) Guidelines to posting to rgva.collecting. rgva.collecting is a Usenet group, no different from any other. As such, most if not all of the usual guidelines for posting articles apply. Remember that before posting to rgva.collecting you should already be familiar with the posting conventions and guidelines that are posted periodically to the newsgroup "news.announce.newusers". If you cannot find these guidelines by reading the group, wait a while and a copy *will* be posted, or try asking fellow users or the system administrators at your site for a copy. In addition, newcomers are strongly advised to read rgva.collecting for at least a few weeks (at a minimum, have read this FAQ) before posting for the first time. You are, of course, free to ignore all of this advice. You should, however, remember that your postings reflect upon yourself. If you choose to pursue collecting video games further, you may be dealing with people who read your postings, and first impressions can often be lasting. 3) Answers to some frequently asked questions: 3.1) -- I want to buy and sell games and game parts by advertising on rgva.collecting, are there any tips? These types of postings are no longer allowed on rgva.collecting. In October 1997, a new group rgva.marketplace dedicated to this type of posting was created. See the FAQ for rec.games.video.arcade.marketplace for more details. 3.1b) -- OK, but if I post to rgva.marketplace, then I can also crosspost my Forsale/Wanted/Auction posting to rgva.collecting. Right? Wrong. No posting of 'marketplace' items to rgva.collecting, whether directly or via crossposting. 3.2) -- Somebody told me that this group is only for 'classic' games such as Tempest. Is this really true? -- I just bought a Primal Rage, can I post about it on rgva.collecting? The charter of rgva.collecting (which was voted upon) states: "rec.games.video.arcade.collecting will be open to all games, including those currently popular in the arcades, provided the discussion is collection, rather than gameplay related". If you hear someone say that rgva.collecting is really only for 'classic' games, you can safely ignore them. 3.3) -- How can I get the list of moves for the game "latest&greatest"? -- I was playing "punch&kick" last night and this happened, has anyone else ever seen it? -- Does anyone know of an arcade which has the game "old&dated"? -- My favourite arcade game is "classic". What is yours? -- What is your highest score on Tempest? Please don't post these questions to rgva.collecting. These are "gameplay"-related questions; they belong in rec.games.video.arcade. 3.4) -- There is supposed to be this 'cool' PD version of Tempest for the Macintosh. Can anyone tell me where the ftp site is? -- What good versions of arcade games exist for home machines? These are home/pc related questions; they belong in rec.games.video.classic or comp.sys. .games 3.5) -- I'm new to collecting, someone is offering me a PacMan for $900. He says it is a 'classic', it's 'hard to find' and he regularly sells them at this price. Is this really a fair deal? -- I have a Asteroids I'm looking to sell. Someone told me he had heard of a friend who had sold one for $1000. I should be able to sell mine for the same - right? Most rgva.collecting readers would consider $300-$400 a fair price for one of the above machines in good condition. Paying significantly more for the above is an example of the phenomenon known as "Greater Fool Theory" (GFT) which Jim Grove described as follows in a posting to rgva.collecting: "This is the sort of thing you will see if video arcade game collecting gets a 'guide book'. The idiot that develops the guide book will take the claim that someone has sold a game for $800-900 and has heard that people sell them as high as $1200. The next issue of the guide has the game listed at $1200. People then become consumed by GFT. The comic book, BB and Dutch tulip markets all operate under the GFT." Basically, if GFT prevails, real collectors will find it much harder to own their favourite arcade machines. Something for you as a collector to consider next time you sell a game! There is however a flip side. There are several games which had production runs in the low hundreds (PacMan was produced in the tens of thousands) for which $1000 would be considered the 'going rate' by many collectors. Finally there are 'prototype' games which may never have been released for which only one or two may exist. A good way to get a feeling for what games are worth is to read rgva.marketplace for several months. 3.6) -- I want to buy the game "myfavourite", what can I do? First, do some research before posting. You'll learn a lot in the process. The knowledge in this FAQ, for instance, came from doing the same kind of research. Games can be bought from four main sources: a) ...from operators, Operators are the people who provide the games you see in arcades and movie theatres. Older games cease to make money, and often get "warehoused". The "Amusement Devices" section of your Yellow Pages is the best place to find a list of operators. Many operators also place stickers with their name and phone number on games they operate. You can also try asking the people who work at the local arcade where they get their games. Often dealers who specialize in "Home Sales" will advertize alongside operators in the Yellow Pages. Usually their prices are far higher than those of a true operator, so it pays to shop around. A cool head and "don't appear too eager" are the keys to getting a good price. Visiting in person combined with a degree of "disinterest" towards the games present, rather than telephoning to ask "do you have game X" almost always results in a better deal. There is a detailed FAQ available on buying machines from an operator; you should probably read this before you start hunting. Check section 4 of this FAQ for details on where to find it. b) ...from auctions, Auctions are held periodically around the country. These are where operators sell their surplus games, either to other operators or to collectors such as yourself. You can find out about auctions in your area by reading rgva.collecting, by checking a "Miscellaneous Games" section in your local paper or by asking a few operators in your area (since they may be selling games at the auction, you may recieve a rare showing of helpfulness) If you live in the USA, you might want to consider obtaining a copy of one of the following trade magazines (Replay is probably the most popular - single issues of Replay are available for $6 each) Replay Magazine Play Meter Magazine Vending Times PO Box 2550 6600 Fleur de Lis 1375 Broadway Woodland Hills PO Box 24970 New York CA 91365 New Orleans LA 70184 NY 10018 (818) 347-3820 (504) 488-7003 (212) 302-4700 (818) 347-2112 (fax) (504) 488-7083 (fax) (212) 221-3311 (fax) www.replaymag.com PlayMeter@aol.com Readers from the United Kingdom, can subscribe to "Coin Slot" (beginning July 15th it will be available by seperate subscription only): Worlds Fair PO Box 54 Desborough Northants NN14 2UH 01536 763466 01536 760306 (fax) There is a detailed FAQ available on buying machines from an auction; you should probably read this before you start hunting. Check section 4 of this FAQ for details on where to find it. c) ...from ads in your local paper, Most papers have a "Miscellaneous Games" or equivalent section in the classifieds. Prices are often artificially high, as the sellers are hoping to find "gullible" first time buyers. This does not, however, prevent you, as an informed buyer, from haggling the price back down. Often the sellers will be the same people as the dealers listed above who specialize in "Home Sales". d) ...or from the net! Check out the newsgroup 'rec.games.video.arcade.marketplace' and it's associated FAQ for more details.. Please do not post Forsale, Auction and Wanted postings to rgva.collecting. 3.7) -- How much does a game cost? How much money do you have? Brand-new games can cost $2500 and up. A typical old game will go for $100-$200 in decent condition, and old, broken games (which *may* be trivial to fix!) can go all the way down to $25. Experienced collectors often find it cheaper to buy a game circuit board and adapt it into an existing cabinet, rather than buying the complete game. It's cheaper, and it also saves a lot of space. Most boards generally sell for between $5-$25 "as-is" in a bulk deal with an operator and for $30-100 guaranteed from rgva.marketplace. 3.8) -- I have the game "earlygame" and someone just gave me the board for the game "latergame". Can I use this board somehow? -- I want all these games, but I don't have room for this many cabinets! What can I do? This is generally referred to as "conversion", the process of taking a new game (usually just the circuit board) and installing it into the cabinet from an older game. This is perhaps the most complex subject for video game collectors. Fortunately, there is a detailed FAQ dedicated to the topic; you will likely want to read this before you start brandishing your soldering iron. Check section 4 of this FAQ for details on where to find it. 3.9) -- I just bought a game, but there is no documentation, can someone send me some? Don't expect rgva.collecting readers to answer your post until you've checked the sources of information outlined below and in section 5. If the information you are looking for is not present in the archives, information on how to locate the manufacturer should be, and they are often willing to supply documentation for around $10-15 per game. If that doesn't work, your local operator will often have filing cabinets full of documentation. Sometimes they will let you leave a deposit and borrow some. Develop a relationship with your local operator(s); it can really pay off when the game's manufacturer has gone out of business or discontinued support. If you locate some documentation which was not in the archives, *PLEASE* take the time to type in some useful sections and make it available to the rest of us! (see section 5.1 for details). 3.10) -- Where can I buy parts for my game? Call the operators listed in the "Amusement Devices" section of your Yellow Pages and find out who your local distributor is. They'll be able to help you (for a price). You can also try operators for spare parts -- if the game is old and they have spares, the price can often be quite a bit cheaper. Failing this, see section 5 for help in finding the addresses of parts suppliers. 3.11) -- Can I hook an arcade game board up to a TV or computer monitor? To a first approximation the answer is yes. Most game boards produce an analog RGB signals and a sync signal (or 2). These signals can be fed directly into the SCART port on a European TV. If the TV doesn't have a SCART port then the RGB signals would have to be fed into a box of tricks that converts from RGB to NTSC/PAL and modulates the signal so it can be plugged into the UHF input of a TV. These convertors are available commercially. Most computer monitors with analog RGB inputs will happily display game board signals. A few more modern monitors have difficulty synchronizing down to the low-resolution scan rates used by all but a handful of video boards. Monitors that are easy to use include Commodore 1080, 1084 and 1084S monitors. 4) Other related FAQs: The following additional FAQs are available. See section 5 for information on where they can be found: Addresses FAQ Addresses and telephone numbers for game manufacturers and parts suppliers. Buying from an Auction FAQ How to buy a game from an auction Buying from an Operator FAQ How to buy a game from an operator Conversion FAQ How to convert "game A" to "game B" How to make "board A" play "game B/C/etc." How to run "boards A/B/C" in the same cabinet rgva.marketplace FAQ How to buy, sell and auction items on the marketplace newsgroup. 5) Further sources of information: It's a good idea to exhaust these sources of information before you post a question. Readers are much more likely to answer a post when it is clear that the poster has already put in some effort themselves. 5.1) FTP archives: The rgva.collecting anonymous FTP archive at "www.spies.com" is kindly provided by Al Kossow (firstname.lastname@example.org). The archive is also available over the WWW as: http://www.spies.com/arcade Additions/corrections to the archive are welcome, especially information about pinouts and switch settings. The following information is available via FTP in the "arcade" directory. In each directory, there is a README file containing further instructions. CPDist: - an archive of postings to rgva.collecting from CP Distributing (see addresses FAQ), includes 'usa2.zip' an auction price guide. RFromm: - an archive of postings to rgva.collecting from Randy Fromm (longtime technical contributor to PlayMeter magazine). An index is available as 'RFromm/index.txt'. See section 5.2 for a pointer to Randy's home page. boardPinouts: - a directory containing pinout info for various games gameList: - a directory containing the Killer List of Video Games (KLOV) incoming: - a directory where you can leave additions. If you do leave something, please send email to "email@example.com" documenting what you left - THANKS! info: - a directory containing informational files - mainly other FAQ's, the following 5 files are a sample of the information available: info/FAQ.addresses: - the also Addresses FAQ (game manufacturers and parts suppliers) info/FAQ.game.buying: - the Buying from an Operator FAQ info/FAQ.game.auctions: - the Buying from an Auction FAQ info/VAPSlistMMMYY: - the VAPS membership list for month "MMM", year "YY" info/pinoutinfo.lst: - a list of available pinout and dip switch information conversion: - a directory containing conversion information for various games conversion/Conversion_FAQ_v?.? - the Conversion FAQ, detailing how to convert games (see section 4) repairHints: - a directory containing some common repair tips switchSettings: - a directory containing dip switch setting info for various games 5.2) World Wide Web (WWW) pages: The following WWW pages cover arcade game collecting, or provide information that may be useful for collectors (for a more complete list, see the "Classic Video Games Nexus"). Several commercial companies (parts suppliers etc.) also have home pages. For these URLs, see the Addresses FAQ (section 4). To access a WWW server, you will need a WWW browser such as Netscape or Internet Explorer and a full Internet connection. If you have questions regarding the WWW (what it is, how to use it etc.) PLEASE do not post to rgva.collecting. Instead try asking your local site administrator, or subscribe to the USENET newsgroup 'comp.infosystems.www'. If you would like your page listed here or have corrections/comments please send me mail. The www.spies.com archive (see section 5.1 for details): URL ftp://www.spies.com/arcade http://www.spies.com/arcade Although other Web sites may have HTMLized versions of the FAQs and other information, www.spies.com is usually guaranteed to have the most upto date version. The rgva.collecting FAQ home page: URL http://www.montefiore.ulg.ac.be/~vecoven/rgvac.html Most of the FAQ's from rgva.collecting in WWW hypertext format. (NOTE: these versions may not be as current as those available above from www.spies.com). The VAPS home page: URL http://www.vaps.org/VAPS/ The home page for the Video Arcade Preservation Society (VAPS). Maintained by Kevin Ruddy (firstname.lastname@example.org). Also includes a searchable version of the KLOV. See section 6 for more informarion on VAPS and the KLOV. Classic Video Games Nexus home page: URL http://fly.hiwaay.net/~lkseitz/cvg/nexus Probably the most complete set of arcade related WWW links. The Virtual Coin-Op Museum: URL http://www.coinop.org On-line museum for Coin-Operated Arcade Games. Currently also houses Steven Ryner's Classic Arcade Games page and Steven's writeup of his visit to the National Coin-Op and Video Game Museum, located in St. Louis, Missouri, "The Atari Arcade Game Page" by Jess Askey: URL http://magenta.com/~jess/home.htm A complete source of information on Atari XY games. Recently extended to cover some Atari raster games. Jess Askey's Arcade Games Page: URL http://arcadegames.miningco.com As if keeping the "Atari Arcade Game Page" upto date wasn't enough work, Jess also maintains this site which he describes as a "good resource for beginners". Additions and suggestions for the page are welcome. Tim Hoffman's XY home page: URL http://www.flash.net/~thoffman/arcade/index.html Information on Atari, Century, Cinematronics, Midway, Rockola, Sega (take cover) and Vectorbeam XY games. Sean Riddle's Williams Arcade Games home page: URL http://www.ionet.net/~sriddle/willy.html Lots of useful tips for anyone who owns or dreams of owning a Williams Electronics video game. E-glide's game description pages: Defender, Joust and Robotron: URL http://www.users.interport.net/~e-glide/WILLIAMS/williams.html Sinistar (includes short interview with Noah Falstein, Sinistar project leader at Williams): URL http://www.users.interport.net/~e-glide/WILLIAMS/SIN.HTM Q-Bert: URL http://www.users.interport.net/~e-glide/qbert2.html Denis Hruza's Arcade home page: URL http://www.cybercomm.net/~king/arcade-i.html Pages dedicated to Sinistar, Stern, Crystal Castles, Space Duel and Elevator Action. Kevin Phillip's "Arcade Nostalgia" home page: URL http://ubd3.vdospk.com/Nostalgia Love the tattoo Kevin! David Shoemaker's "Laser Head" FAQ home page: URL http://www.wolfe.net/~davids/ArcadeGames/LaserHead/LaserHead.html Is your head out of alignment? Need help with your optics? If so, take a look at David's page. Paul Davidson's Dragon's Lair/Space Ace Headquarters: URL http://www.loop.com/~paulsd/arcade Phil's Arcade Emulation Page: URL http://www.netcomuk.co.uk/~pmorrisb/index.html Complete list of freely available arcade emulators. Randy Fromm's home page: URL http://randyfromm.com Variety of tech tips from Randy's many years as a contributor to Playmeter magazine. Also, many other arcade related links also, primarily industry related. Online Yellow Pages: URL http://www.telephonebook.com URL http://yp.gte.net Yellow pages for the entire US. Search by category, using a keyword such as 'amusement'. 5.3) Network information services Many network providers maintain online databases containing addresses and telephone numbers of various organizations. Querying these databases can be an easy way to find an address. For the Internet, AT&T operates "internic.net", the Internet Network Information Center. There is a telnet interface, allowing interactive queries. Most entries also list an email address. As is the case with all databases, the information you get out is only as useful as the search criteria you provide. EXAMPLE: (In the following transcript, "..." indicates lines deleted. You would see additional output if you were following the example yourself.) $ telnet internic.net Trying 184.108.40.206... Connected to internic.net. Escape character is '^]'. ... [ ] InterNIC > wais sega Search Response: NumberOfRecordsReturned: 14 1: Score: 1000, lines: 17 'Sega of America (SEGAOA-DOM) ... ... 14: Score: 1000, lines: 13 'Sega of America Inc. (NETBLK-SEGAOA) ... View document number [type 0 or q to quit]: 1 ... 6) Commonly used terms and acronyms: "conversion" - Usually used in the context of the type of game/cabinet. Indicates that an existing cabinet was modified in the field to play a new game. This is usually achieved by the operator purchasing a "conversion kit". See also "dedicated". "dedicated" - Usually used in the context of the type of game/cabinet. Indicates that the game is in it's original factory cabinet. Some games were released in dedicated factory versions and also as conversion kits. The dedicated version is usually more valuable to collectors. See also "conversion". "edge connector" - The large connector(s) that link the wiring harness to the game's circuit board(s). "flyback" - A step-up transformer used to provide the high-voltage (10-20kV) supply required by a monitor. "pinouts" - A description of the purpose of each of the pins on a game's edge connector. Can also be used to describe the purpose of all the wires in a game's wiring harness. "raster", "raster-scan" - The most popular method of displaying an image on a monitor. An an electron beam "scans" horizontal lines down the screen - just like your TV set at home. "reproduction". - When used in regard to replacement control panel overlays a reproduction is either 'Willis' style (which were produced around the same time as the game) capturing the essence of the NOS version while being graphically different to avoid copyright infringement, or more recently, a reasonably exact copy of the NOS. See also "NOS". "sync", "composite sync", "separate sync" - the synchronization signal(s) used by raster monitors to control the movement of the electron beam. "Sync" comes in two main flavors: composite and separate. Separate sync has two separate signals for horizontal and vertical synchronization, and composite sync is a combination of horizontal and vertical sync onto one wire. Some manufacturers also invert the signal; if a board produces the wrong flavor of sync for your monitor, you'll need to hack around before you can play it. "wiring harness" - An assembly of wires and connecting terminals that connects the controls, power supply, the monitor, speakers, coin door, and circuit board(s) together to form a complete video game. "DIP switch", "switch" - A small set of switches (usually 8) in an inline package. Most often mounted onto the circuit board, used to alter game parameters (# of lives, difficulty level, etc.) "EAROM", "NOVRAM" - "Electronically-Alterable ROM", and "Non-Volatile RAM". These are forms of memory that are preserved when the power is shut down, but can be modified on the fly. Often used to store things like "all-time high scores" and game accounting information. "KLOV" - The "Killer List Of Videogames", a fairly complete list of all the arcade games ever made. "LD" - LaserDisc. Dragon's Lair is an example of an "LD game". "NOS" - New Old Stock. A term primarily used to describe replacement game artwork (side decals and control panel overlays) which are unused original manufacturer versions. See also "reproduction". "NTSC" - NTSC is the video signal standard used by U.S (et. al.) TVs and video recorders. "PAL" - PAL is the video signal standard used by British (et. al.) TVs and video recorders. "RGB" - Red/Green/Blue, referring to a color monitor that has separate inputs controlling each of the 3 color guns. "RAM" - Random Access Memory, used to store temporary things like your score, the positions of the enemies on the screen, and so on. Data stored in RAM vanishes when the power is removed. "RGVA" - rec.games.video.arcade, the parent newsgroup - the proper place for gameplay questions. "RGVAC", "rgva.collecting" - rec.games.video.arcade.collecting, this group "RGVAM", "rgva.marketplace" - rec.games.video.arcade.marketplace, the newsgroup dedicated to buying and selling arcade video games and parts. "ROM" - Read Only Memory, used to store the code for the game. When power is removed, the data remains (unlike RAM) "SCART" - SCART is a European standard port fitted to almost all modern (European) TVs, VCRs, satellite decoders, video cameras, etc etc. amongst other inputs it has analog RGB inputs compatible to those produced by game boards. "VAPS" - The "Video Arcade Preservation Society", a list of all the game owners on the net, and their respective collections. Additions and corrections are welcome by email to Kevin Ruddy (email@example.com) "X-Y", "Vector", "Vector-scan" - A type of game monitor where the electron beam moves in straight lines which can start and end anywhere on the screen. The last vector games were made in 1984-1985. Examples of this type of game include Battlezone, Tempest, and Star Wars.