Now with the sale of my house complete, I have been able to focus more on the Barcade, the pinball machines, the virtual pinball simulator, and Zombie Raid. I'm making some good progress on them. Here's what's happening:
The machine was only running for a week before a problem reared its ugly head. One of the game's plastic pieces broke off, specifically this piece pictured to the right. When a ball travels down the wire ramp and falls into the reel, as the reel spins the ball falls out into the playfield instead of remaining captive. It seems that the plastic actually helps to keep the ball in the reel. With the reel unable to keep the ball locked, it may still be possible to start multiball, but the balls won't physically be in the reel. A close examination of the plastic reveals that it had been broken before and was superglued back together. An even deeper examination of all the game's plastics shows that a second piece was also broken and re-glued - a blue piece next to the pop bumpers. So I ordered a complete plastic set. However, when I unscrewed the star post holding the broken plastic, I found the screw had stripped in the playfield due to the tension of the rubber pulling on the star post. So Fish Tales is now down until I can repair the playfield.
I ordered a lenticular 3-D translite (see photo to right). The first 3-D translite manufactured by these guys was for Medieval Madness, and though it contained a flaw that gave some people fits, it proved to be very popular. White Water was the second game to get one, and they took extra care to make sure everything looked right. Supposedly Fish Tales is the next game being worked on. They are produced in Europe but are now being carried by Planetary Pinball, which is where I ordered mine from. My initial impression upon removing it from the box is that it is definitely unique but doesn't pop as much as I hoped it would, and some areas look a bit fuzzy (like the bear on the rocks). I held it up to a lamp, and backlighting does improve the appearance greatly, so it should look better when installed in the game.
Creature From The Black Lagoon
I ordered 2 Pinsound cards, with one designated for Creature. If you haven't heard of Pinsound, it is a hobbyist creation that has turned into a viable product which can enhance the right machine. Imagine subbing in real banjo music, like Earl Scrugg's "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" for Fish Tales, instead of early 90's synthesized banjo...or how about changing some of the sounds in White Water or the music in Monster Bash - all while improving the sound to true stereo? I wanted to acquire one of these for Creature because the 5 synthesized songs in the game do tend to get a bit stale. Instead, I would replace the original score with actual songs from the 50's, which is when the CFTBL movie was released and shown in drive-ins. I want to use energetic songs to keep both the pace and excitement level high, so I've chosen these songs so far: The Great Pretender, That'll Be the Day, Don't Be Cruel, Yakkity Yak, I Wonder Why, Tequila, The Book of Love, Come Go With Me, Mister Sandman, Little Darlin', I'm Walkin', Whispering Bells, Lollipop, Oh Boy, Shake, Rattle and Roll, Twistin' the Night Away, A Lover's Question, Sugartime, Shout, Dream Lover, Broken Hearted Melody, and The Happy Organ. That's 22 songs, which might be enough variety, especially if I add the real versions of the stock 5 songs in the game. I'm not sure what I'll do with the second Pinsound yet, I bought it mostly for future capabilities. I also acquired a set of teal colored bumper caps, which I will install while removing the red ones as I attempt to add lights to the bumpers - bumper lights do not exist on an original Creature.
I finally was able to order replacement PC parts - yay! Here are the components I ordered:
Motherboard: MSI Gaming 990FXA
Processor: AMD FX-8350 8 core 4Ghz AM3+
Memory: GSkill Ripjaws X Series 8GB DDR3
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB
SSD: Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB SATA 3
Cooling: Corsair Hydro Series H105 Liquid CPU Cooler
OS: Windows 7 64-bit
Reasonable prices for all components made the decision easy. Although the AM3+ is now a "dated" processor, it has more than enough juice to power the virtual pinball system. The components arrived and I am pretty much done assembling the motherboard. The next step is to install the setup into the virtual machine and test everything out. Progress!