Monday, January 7, 2008

Missile Command

Two days before Christmas, Andy brought over the old Missile Command arcade machine that used to sit in his basement before he moved out and his mother rented the room to a tenant. We moved it downstairs with some difficulty, where we discovered that the screen displayed only gray lines vaguely resembling gameplay. Andy, Mike and Jon all examined it but couldn’t find any obvious problems, so it’s likely that storing the game out in the cold must have caused some real damage to the circuitry. The machine’s innards (circa 1980) are surprisingly scarce, and even if I could understand the circuit board patterns, processors of any kind still baffle me. Schematics for a Missile Command machine look like this:

The wiring charts and instruction manual came in a bag with the following warning; the Atari Corporation no doubt aware that invoking arcade owners’ wallets would be more effective than invoking their patrons well-being:


Read the manual before location set-up. Not doing so may cause reduced profit.

Who knows if we can ever get the thing to work. Buying a new gameboard is expensive and probably impractical. Installing a computer and monitor with an emulator inside the cabinet remains a possibility, but is a huge project in itself. Until then, the game makes a good conversation piece.

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