My Obsession with a late 70s Videogame

If you know the Chirico household you would know that we grew up with an asteroid deluxe arcade machine. After the divorce that machine has long been sold. Buut, I found two asteroids machines available to the public at the Barcade (new haven) and the Game Craft (Putnam). I already claimed the high score at the game craft arcade (67000). Barcade…this one is a little more difficult at a whopping 99k high score. No wonder this record is nearly a decade old. I will beat it or a lot of spaceships will die trying

The asteroids original is a bit easier than the deluxe. The hyperspace button was replaced with a shield in the deluxe. Hyperspace is ….terrible. pressing it transports you to a random location on the screen or just destroys your ship. The random location can be straight up terrible. It could be in front of an asteroid or in range of the aliens guns. There’s a reason it was replaced with a shield in the deluxe. But, alas its what I got. Games like these are just a matter of screentime and luck. Screentime might be a problem though. The Barcade is located 45 minutes without traffic and a 10 min train ride from work. So I need a trainer devise. Luckily their is a Makerspace nearby .

More on makerspaces later. Anyways, I went on a secret mission and took measurements of the machine,

Quick vidieo pan of the Make Haven makerspace

Then replicated those measurements on a wood board. Now for the hard part the Buttons, wiring and programming.

I got the buttons installed to the same dimensions (the buttons themselves are slightly smaller)

Bam, created a simple circuit with an Arduino Leonardo. Now everyone believes I am a mystic for “programming” and coding. Family people would say “oh, woooowww impressive”. It really isn’t its just Control C and Control V and Delete from what other people did until I arrive at a code that looks like this. Most of the work was done by other people I just copied and debugged.


Video is a bit dark. but, you get the point

And finally I can “train” in my fathers movie room. So far I average 30 to 40k. I believe its because in the actual game on the machine there’s a bug, “double shot” where I can stack two bullets on top of each other eliminating two asteroids instead of one when they multiply. I have a feeling that the code running the game on the computer has a max bullet density programmed in, than the 1970s asteroids machine whose designers that only had so much memory to work with. Also, my fresh buttons needs more…pressure than the 1970s buttons lubricated with human slime and beer at the Barcade. It should be good enough. 100k Here I come.

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