bluescreenoftom (bluescreenoftom) wrote,

The Mortal Kombat machine

I missed Father's Day by a few days but it's been a long couple of weeks so I like to think that's a pretty good excuse.  Anyway, I like to take the day to think about things I did and enjoyed with my dad.  This is the first one that popped into my mind, but I liked it.

When I was a senior in high school, I really wanted an arcade machine.  I enjoyed them growing up, and it seemed like a fun project to work on one but they were (and still are) quite expensive so it wasn't really something within my grasp.  I was watching eBay listings for a while but I never really came across anything too interesting.  It was always either too expensive, broken down beyond repair, or way too far away.  And then there was the issue of space -- those things are heavy and take up a ton of space.  To my surprise, I discussed it with dad and he was totally cool with me getting one for the basement, assuming the cost wasn't too high.  So my search continued.

One day I came across an eBay auction (I think?) for a Mortal Kombat machine.  It was in pretty good shape, although the guy had done some modifications to it in an attempt to update it from MK1 to MK2, and it wasn't quite done.  It was basically an MK2 cabinet with an MK1 board in it.  I was fine with this, and the price was right.  The only problem was it was in Delaware, and we didn't own a truck.  I brought it up to dad, and I still remember his nonchalant reaction.  "No problem, I'll just 'borrow' a truck from work and we'll drive out and pick it up.  See if you can get it!" and so I did.

The day came for the pick up, so we drove to dad's office and took a truck.  I was still too young to drive, but dad seemed unfazed at driving this manual transmission box truck a few hundred miles.  I'll never forget when we got on the beltway, the noises the truck made as he shifted gears.  It took maybe 45 minutes or so for him to figure out the truck had six speeds, not 4 like he was expecting.  I guess we were skipping gears, which the transmission didn't appreciate.  The truck was not suited for long trips with two people.  It was loud and uncomfortable, and it was also a time before GPS, so my printed Mapquest directions were barely adequate, but eventually we made it.

The guy we bought the machine from seemed unprepared, but fortunately he had a friend over to help us get it loaded.  Unfortunately he forgot to secure the monitor to the frame before moving it, so the monitor fell out of the machine directly onto his foot and broke it, so that was cool.  He had another monitor handy that he gave me as a replacement, but that was broken too -- didn't discover that until I got home but that is another story.  Anyway, after a lot of pain and effort, the machine was loaded and we were on our way.

The drive home was similarly uncomfortable but by now dad had mastered the transmission.  We had to get help from some family members to get the thing in the house (and I believe it just barely fit through the door) but we did it.  Those things are much heavier and difficult to maneuver than they look, and I think they already look heavy and difficult.  I seem to remember dad (or maybe my cousin) saying something like "once we get this thing in it's final resting place, I'm never moving it again".  Fortunately I was able to use carpet sliders to get it around the basement.

At any rate, I had a lot of fun with that machine.  I did some major and minor repairs and tweaks and learned a lot about electronic repair.  I thank my dad for this because I think this isn't something most parents would be willing to do -- the entire process of acquiring it was a pain, it took up a lot of space, and I knew he did it all because he knew it would make me happy.
Tags: fathers day
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