Restored retro games arcade possible for Dunedin video

HAMISH MCNEILLY/stuff.co.nz

Dale Brimblecombe is bringing old arcade games back to life in Dunedin.

Dale Brimblecombe is going back to the future and upgrading old arcade games with hacked televisions and e-waste.

The Australian hopes to restore enough machines for a boutique retro games arcade in Dunedin.

It started when he moved across the Tasman to New Zealand and bought two arcade cabinets for $25 each from Trade Me in December 2014, despite the only furniture in his new house being a bed.

Dale Brimblecombe with a restored arcade game at Wolf at the Door cafe in Dunedin's Carroll St.
HAMISH MCNEILLY/FAIRFAX NZ

Dale Brimblecombe with a restored arcade game at Wolf at the Door cafe in Dunedin's Carroll St.

With no electronics inside the gutted arcade cabinets, he installed a hacked television and an old PC to bring back the games he loved playing as a kid.

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"It seems really simple but it is actually a minor miracle in itself, getting a PC talking to a TV."

The key was sourcing compatible 20-inch CRT (cathode ray tube) TVs, which would become the arcade screen, and old PCs from e-waste recyclers.

A restored arcade game at Wolf at the Door cafe.
HAMISH MCNEILLY/FAIRFAX NZ

A restored arcade game at Wolf at the Door cafe.

Some of the arcade machines had been covered in grease and soy sauce from the days of being in fish and chip stores, and "the grit from thousands of teenagers".

One of the arcades revealed its coin counter had been used 38,000 times over its lifetime.

"That is a lot of action for an old game."

Free play of a restored arcade game at Wolf at the Door cafe.
HAMISH MCNEILLY/FAIRFAX NZ

Free play of a restored arcade game at Wolf at the Door cafe.

Brimblecombe said there were easier ways to restore old games, but he wanted the experience to be as authentic as possible.

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Free-play arcade games were based at Morning Magpie and Wolf at the Door cafes, and he had dubbed the games' list on each "Puberty in the 90s . . . because that is what arcade games were for me".

The PC's game emulator meant he could run thousands of games, but that would force people to spend their time scrolling through a lengthy list.

"I like the idea of games being curated. So the idea is people come in and play a game of Street Fighter while they wait for a coffee."

Brimblecombe said there was potential to have a retro arcade in the back room of Wolf at the Door, and the machines could be linked so people could take part in competitions of popular games.

"The difference now is that you can play the games of your childhood, but as an adult you can have a beer while doing it . . . that's so much fun."

 - Stuff

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