As black clouds cloak the funeral procession with an oppressive pall, somewhere a baby's cry breaks the silence. The procession stops and the clergyman steps forward to administer last rites. His voice, a lament against the Creature's early demise, talks about how green and bright Creech used to be, and although he was reclusive, was always welcomed by players new and old. Though his brilliant green faded to blue (and then violet-purple) as he grew older, Creech still functioned as though nothing was wrong. When the players turned to cosmetic surgery in an attempt to restore his color, it was only then that the tumor was spotted - a black smudge that although did not affect the Creature's performance, signaled his demise. As the eulogy ends, the haunting opening refrain of Elton John's "Funeral For A Friend" begins to play...but then the clouds part and the sun streams through, reflecting off of a shiny new TV screen playing video, and the players' spirits lift in hope...
There is nothing more dramatic, more traumatizing to a CFTBL owner, than the death of the machine's hologram. It is the most prominent feature that uniquely sets this pinball machine apart from all others. Having the hologram turn blue might be the worst the owner sees...or it may not. With replacement holograms either impossible to find or exhorbatently priced, I had swapped out the hologram mirror and bulb with the green-up kit, which featured a green tinted mirror and a green LED, to try to change the appearance of the hologram from blue to green. The old mirror was in bad shape, with some kind of rippled damage on the surface, along with residue and scratches:
For some reason I was unable to see the hologram after installing the green up kit. I'm not sure whether not enough light was reaching the mirror or if I had changed the angle of the mirror somehow. Fed up with the whole system, I decided to install my PinballMikeD video mod to replace the hologram. When I pulled the hologram out, this is what I found:
I stared in disbelief at what appears to be a burn mark on the hologram, possibly from a nearby bulb, or maybe just a degradation from temperature, humidty, and age. Not to mention the large scratch across the left side of the screen. I was not pleased.
I downloaded PinballMikeD's YouTube installation videos to a flash drive, which I then plugged into my virtual pinball machine and played the videos as I followed them step by step. It was fairly easy to remove all the hologram assembly parts and install the TV and board mod, it took maybe a couple of hours. I powered on the machine afterwards and everything worked on the first try, which was a huge relief. I was a little concerned as it took my mod over a minute to come to life, but when it did, I completely forgot about the hologram and enjoyed one of my best games on the machine, getting to creature multiball and an extra ball, which allowed me to see several different video modes. I'll try to capture some of what I've seen in a later post.
I'm really happy with the new mod, it has breathed some life back into the machine!
...and they lived happily ever after. The end.