May 062012
 

Growing up in small-town America, the local roller rink was a kid’s dream. Not only could we roller skate to Ghost Busters and fall dead to a weird “Dead Bug” song, but it was the only place in town with an arcade.

The Neo Geo Romance Begins

In an era dominated by the beloved NES, arcade machines stood tall and maintained command of our curiosity and our quarters. Within the dazzling array of arcade machines, the Neo Geo created a lasting impression on me as a 10 year-old. Not only could this machine produce deeply rich visuals, but it provided fantastic, engaging game play!  Just as incredible as the Neo Geo was, we kids were equally intrigued by the idea that some rich kid could own a home version. Yet with a price tag of around $650.00, we kids simply placed the Neo Geo into the ethereal category of unattainable gaming systems.  Naturally, that made us all the more attracted to it. It was the holy grail, and the closest we’d ever come to owning a Neo Geo would be to plunk in our quarters and to buy a few minutes of time in front of our local Neo Geo MVS arcade machine.

Some twenty years later, with that same childhood dream still smoldering in the subconscious, I decided to start looking for a Neo Geo. After doing a bit of research, I realized that the Neo Geo MVS was a bit more reasonable to purchase than the home AES version.  Sure it’s a full sized arcade machine, but price and game selection won out! Armed with my trusty Craigslist app, I checked for Neo Geo items every day for about a six months before pulling the trigger…and I couldn’t be happier!

Apparently this particular MVS had a tough life in east county San Diego.  However, the previous owner Lou took incredible pride in restoring this machine:  painted, new decals, new joystick, buttons, plexiglass, locks, etc.  Heck, he’d even added high-end cup holders to the sides (‘atta boy!). The price was right, and Lou was even cool enough to help set it up once a buddy and I trucked it over.

Moving the Service Panel

One mod that Lou hadn’t finished was the service panel mod.  He had cut a 6″x6″ hole, moved the service panel to the side, and horizontally mounted it. The hole was cut quite well actually, so the door he recommended I order worked quite nicely.

Due to the depth of the door, I had to flip the panel’s mounting bracket inside out and mount it vertically so that it wouldn’t hit the door.  Aside from my questionable paint job, it came out quite nicely…so pretty.

Lessons Learned

1) I seriously need to work on my painting skills.

2) Having purchased and collected countless retro gaming items and having experienced the onset of buyer’s remorse more than a few times, I have to say that my MVS has become a favorite purchase and a solid continued sense of entertainment!

3)  If you buy an MVS, introduce your wife or significant other to Puzzle Bobble.  It turns out my wife both loves this game and is able to consistently destroy me in it.  As they say, happy wife…happy life…and happy collecting! 🙂