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This 8-Bit Life | September 27, 2016

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A New Challenger Appears! X-men vs. Street Fighter CPS2 Arcade - This 8-Bit Life

Leland Flynn

I was leaving the office this past Friday and just happened to take a route that was a bit different than my usual one. I drove past a second hand exercise equipment store with a few arcade cabinets outside and had to stop. At first glance the X-Men vs. Street Fighter looked like it was in playable condition but the cabinet looked pretty iffy.

When I talked to the owner he initially quoted me about $399 for the machine and against my better judgement I laughed at him. I asked if he’d be willing to go lower and he asked what I’d pay. I took a longer look at the machine and offered $150 and he accepted; clearly he wanted to take the chance that I was gullible. To be fair though I found later that when parted out this whole thing could easily fetch $400 or more on-line. Cat did me a solid; I’ve offered him a deal if he ever needs any IT work.

We plugged it in there and everything worked great aside from some of the buttons and the marquee light. Of course there was also the serious water damage to the body from years of sitting in the elements. It really is a wonder that this thing still works and is in the condition it is. The CRT is absolutely perfect, though it needs the picture adjusted a bit to make it fit correctly.

And then there’s the issue of the suicide battery. See, this particular game runs on a system developed by Capcom in the mid 90’s called CPS2. These games have a widely known flaw with how they store the encryption keys that are meant to prevent piracy. The game board (cartridge or “B Board”) that connects to the motherboard (“A Board”) has a 3.7 volt axial lead half-AA battery that is used to provide power to the chip that stores the encryption keys when the game is turned off. Once this battery drops below about 2 volts the game is rendered unplayable unless you send it in to Capcom for a sizable fee. This can be remedied by simply soldering a new battery to the board within an hour of removing the old one.

I plan to post here as I improve and repair the machine but for now here’s a video tour of the cab and a To-Do list for the future:

  • Replace the Suicide Battery with a keystone socket for easy battery replacement
  • Repair the wood cabinet, hide cosmetic defects, or build a new one
  • Replace the marquee backlight
  • Swap out all switches for brand new ones
  • Clean the game board and motherboard
  • Clean all contacts
  • Clean the glass and the facia of the control panel
  • Recalibrate the monitor
  • (possible) Install a signal splitter so video can also be sent to an external source
  • Test other cartridges with the motherboard
  • Locate side-art, new panel art, new marquee and install these
  • Other stuff I haven’t thought of yet

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