A trip through time to an early 90s arcade
December 23, 2010 1:44 PM   Subscribe

YouTube has a fair number of recordings of well-played classic arcade games. Dig Dug, Mr Do!, Mr Do's Castle, Do! Run Run, Lady Bug Part 2, Bagman, Super Bagman, Q*bert, Venture, Zoo Keeper, Moon Cresta, Scramble, Make Trax, Phoenix, Rastan. click through for more

Here's some more information on these games and what makes these playthroughs interesting. Further below are more videos, less generally interesting I think, but of newer games from Konami, Taito, Capcom and others.

First, the videos linked before the fold:
Dig Dug (Namco)
He plays fifteen levels without dying, and with extensive rock milking. Every monster is killed with a rock, often in groups of six or more. It's a cold exploitation of Dig Dug's monster behavior.

Mr. Do! (Universal)
Mr. Do! is like Dig Dug, but much cooler. While Dig Dug has only a couple of play elements in each level, and tends to be about figuring out a system of overcoming them in each level, Mr. Do! is much deeper, much more random, and much MUCH more interesting. This video shows off many strategies, including monster traps, Alphamonster manipulation, pacing monster kills, and powerball strategy. This video goes through round 24. He earns his first extra life at 2:07. Oddly, the machine seems to play the Astro Boy theme music whenever this happens. Second life at 4:17; third at 7:35; fourth at 10:42. He doesn't die until round 14, at around 9:40. A rare Diamond appears at 6:42, worth a free game.

Mr. Do's Castle (Universal)
There are several games in the Mr. Do! series, the most recent dating to 1996. The best ones are those released in the classic era or soon after it. This is the second. Castle is about enemy manipulation even more than the original game; the hapless clown is much more defenseless here. Play long enough in Mr. Do and you're almost bound to earn an extra life, but life earning is much more random in Castle. Even more frustrating, each level has a strict timer after which the enemies begin to rapidly speed up and divide; as you can see in this video, once this happens it's almost impossible to survive.

Do! Run Run (Universal)
Do! Run Run is the next-to-last Mr. Do! game (that I know of). It is one of the easier games in the series, but can still catch you by surprise if you're not careful. This video has no deaths in the first ten levels.

Lady Bug Part 2 (Universal)
Universal was the company that made both Lady Bug and Mr. Do! Lady Bug resembles a Pac-Man clone at first, albiet one in which you can manipulate the layout of the maze. In fact, it is a much harder game. The enemies seem slow and stupid at first, but later on become vicious. If one of the bugs decides to become dangerous (an apparently random decision) he suddenly becomes a ruthless pathfinder, but by carefully adjusting the moving walls you can turn a short trip through the maze into one that requires traversing a lot of territory. More successful players will take advantage of this.
There are letters in the maze that cycle through colors: red for a half-second, yellow for a few seconds, then blue for a while. You want to collect hearts while they're blue, which is worth a point multiplier. Collecting letters in EXTRA while they're yellow will earn an extra life. Hardest of all is collecting letters in SPECIAL while red, which is worth a free game. I have played this game extensively but have only managed this once, partly because the letter mix is random: each level offers one letter from SPECIAL, one letter from EXTRA, and one that could go in either. If the game decides not to ever generate the S, P, C, I or L in SPECIAL you're out of luck that game. (The same applies to the X, T and R in EXTRA, but as one of them is generated every level this is rarer.) Amazingly, SPECIAL is spelled in this game. Check around the 6:30 point in part 1 to see the free game display, which features a wedding for some reason.

Bagman (Valadon Automation)
This odd game appears to come from France. Bagman is a criminal in stereotypical prison stripes, whose goal is to collect all the moneybags in a mine. He is chased by two guards. The mine takes up three screens which may be freely explored, and contains a good variety of obstacles. At the top of the mine is a wheelbarrow which can be moved around, possibly decreasing the distance Bagman must lug each moneybag. Only one moneybag can be carried at once, and they slow him down (one of the moneybags is blue, and it slows him even more). At the start of the game the guards are slow, but as Bagman collects the loot they speed up a lot, eventually becoming much faster than him. The key to Bagman is in manipulating the guards' behavior; in this video, the player manages a perfect run for the first mine, never dying while collecting every bag.

Super Bagman (Valadon Automation)
A sequel to Bagman, this time with a five-screen mine and many more game elements. It is the same idea though, and the graphics are also very similar. There is a gun in this one, but it is sort of a boobytrap; the moment you shoot a guard the first time, the guards unholster their guns and open fire. The player can also jump for a short distance here. Like the Bagman video, this shows a perfect run collecting every moneybag and also rescuing his partner locked up in the mine.

Q*bert (Gottleib)
This famous game is about changing all the colors on a pyramid to match the "target color." Most players know the game from the first two levels where progress is fairly sure, but starting with level 3 jumping on completed blocks changes them away from the target color, making the game much more of a puzzle. This video shows a player completing Level 8 once and Level 9 twice (it loops) without dying, the hardest levels.

Venture (Exidy)
Exidy is one of the more underrated arcade game manufacturers of the classic era. Their best games are probably Mouse Trap, Pepper II and Venture. Venture was the first arcade game to really reproduce the flavor (if not the actual gameplay) of a D&D dungeon. There are three levels contains four rooms to explore, each containing unique monsters and traps. Although partly random in movement, monsters do react to your shots and often prove infuriatingly difficult to hit. Watch for a special guest appearance by Cthulhu as the "Hallmonster." In this game, the player manages to complete the first three floors, showing off every type of room. He perishes so quickly in level 4 that I have to wonder how many people have ever completed that big box of question marks containing all the treasures.

Zoo Keeper (Taito US)
This video is taken off an arcade machine, is edited, and blurs out near the end, but before that happens you can see a single jump that earns the player two million points. The whole game was only worth about 5M! This happens because the more animals you jump over in a single bound the more points you earn, without limit.
This game was produced for Taito's "framebuffer hardware." A framebuffer is a section of memory that maps directly to individual pixels on-screen, as opposed to tile-based hardware, in which the screen is mapped to a much smaller section of memory that, in turns, maps to another part of memory that contains reuseable "blocks" of screen data. Games like Pac-Man used tilemaps for memory and processor efficiency, games like Defender and Zoo Keeper used framebuffers when they wanted to be able to adjust every individual pixel on-screen. Framebuffers require much more processor work to make an attractive display, so most popular classic arcade games used tilemaps, but in the hands of a great programmer framebuffer games look great. Zoo Keeper is an excellent example.

Moon Cresta (Nichibutsu/Sega Gremlin)
In this odd game you have to join together multiple parts of your spaceship to build a bigger ship with more shots. This video demonstrates two perfect loops. It is not terribly interesting overall, but is an interesting permutation of the multiple-ship mechanic Galaga uses.

Scramble (Konami/Stern) (deathless loop)
Scramble is the first side-scrolling shooter, predating Defender by a good bit (and anyway Defender is really its own kind of thing). Made by Konami, who followed it up with Super Cobra and, eventually, the Gradius series, which sees new entries to this day in the form of (deep breath) the Otomedius series of scantily-clad girl spaceship shooters. (exhale, exasperatedly) So in Scramble, you see destiny.
Scramble forces the player not just to maneuver carefully, but to continually shoot fuel tanks on the ground to refill a steadily-emptying fuel meter. The last section of the loop requires the player to maneuver precisely through a series of narrow vertical tunnels. In the Gradius series this aspect would mostly be abandoned in favor of shot-dodging.

Make Trax (Kural Samno/Williams)
This is another odd one. The object is to control your paintbrush to paint an entire maze. There are two goldfish that chase you. That may seem easy compared to Pac-Man's ghosts, but they are much better pursuers, you have more limited means of overcomming them, and they have a surprisingly habit of trapping you between them. Note that the game is exacting about what constitutes a completed maze. If even one slight corner of a passage hasn't been painted, perhaps because you doubled-back or didn't paint in all directions through each intersection, the level continues.
In this game, the only real way to beat the goldfish is to hit them with the paint rollers in the middle area of the board. After the first few hits, they become much more wary about approaching that portion of the screen; in this play, the paintbrush hits them again and again and again, racking up an absurd score in level one.

Phoenix (Amstar Electrinics/Centuri/Taito)
This is the first video in a five-part run. Phoenix is one of the first true color video games too be made. It's still interesting today for offering perhaps the first "boss" enemy in gaming, that big mothership that shows up every five levels. The Atari 2600 port of this, by the way, is surprisingly faithful!

Rastan (Taito)
Rastan is a middle-era arcade game, a solid hack-and-slash platformer. It's known for its high difficulty. Anyone who's played it should be gratified by this no-death playthrough. Can you tell that the developers were inspired by that Conan movie?

Gradius: Complete loop and sped up 10M game
These videos aren't directly linked because they're not on YouTube, but instead on Japanese site video site Nico Nico Douga. The linked leads to an entry on the excellent gaming blog Magweasel written by fellow GameSetWatch columnist Kevin Gifford that inlines the videos. (Nico Nico Douga doesn't allow for viewing videos without either inlining them or an account.)
The first video is of a complete playthrough of the first loop of the game. The second is of a complete 10 million point game, sped up tremendously. As Kevin mentions in his blog entry, Gradius is a deterministic game that doesn't use random elements; if you do exactly the same thing every time, the game will always respond the same way. This means you can "solve" each level, figuring out the one, true way to beat it, and if you can execute that perfectly you can always survive.


World of Longplays's legion of devoted gamers records complete playthroughs of popular late 80s/early 90s video games. Sometimes they play well, sometimes they don't. The videos linked here are examples of them playing very well! Arcade Longplay's focus is generally on 90s gaming, so these games are better graphically (but I find, less interesting to watch) than the classic games listed above. They have many more arcade playthroughs than these, this is just a sampling of games that I can (mostly) personally vouch for.

Willow (Capcom)
A game based on George Lucas' attempt at a fantasy version of Star Wars. Still, a fun-to-watch platformer that, like the more entertaining movie games, takes weird liberties with the source material.

Commando (Capcom)
Also called "Wolf of the Battlefield" and recently made available on the Wii Virtual Console, this is probably the best early overhead-view, vertical-scrolling run-and-gun. A complete loop of this game is actually eight levels; it only appears to be beaten after the first four. Note that, despite heavy flickering, the NES version of this game is actually far superior, one of those games that staggers the players with a huge number of secret passages and bonuses.

Rygar (Tecmo)
If you're only familiar with the NES version, you'll probably be surprised at this one. Arcade Longplay -- and they mean it this time, this video is over 37 minutes. Other than the very short, silly ending, fairly typical for the time, there's not much interesting here beyond the first few minutes.

Vampire Hunter (Konami)
The mostly-forgotten arcade installment of the Castlevania series! This notoriously difficult game is won without taking damage. Alas, it's not a lot of fun to watch (or play), despite featuring a few classic Castlevania musical pieces. Video just over 20 minutes in length.

R-Type (Irem)
Another difficult game won without dying.

Strider (Capcom)
This is one of the more interesting longplays, partly because the game is so short, and partly because it is batshit insane start to finish. Highlights include the Russian Politboro transforming into a giant flying mechanical snake wielding a hammer and sickle, fights with robot gorillas, big round gravity machines, flying battleships, fur-bikini girls armed with boomerangs and goofy voice samples, and at the end our hero rides off on a whale. Utterly bizarre. Our hero Hiryu never dies in this play.

Metal Slug Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4
A later run-and-gun game, my favorite SNK game and tons of fun both to play and watch. There is so much character in this game it's amazing, but the real stars are the enemy soldiers, who have way more personality than run-and-gun opponents have any right having. The player here finds many hidden secrets and bonuses; he doesn't play perfectly, dying a couple of times near the end, but he doesn't run out of lives.

Ghosts N Goblins (Capcom)
One of Capcom's most beloved platforming series begins here. Note that the NES game is probably a little easier than this, due to the shitty porting job of infamous contract developer Micronics. Remember, to truly win this game you have to complete all the levels twice.


The Simpsons (Konami)
One really good player takes the game apart, with copious annotation, through about 5/6 of the game on one life (he doesn't win though):
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6
Four player chaos, through the whole game:
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5
Yes there was an early-90s Simpsons beat-em-up arcade game made by Konami using the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles engine, and yes it's oddly awesome. Features many cameos from Binky, Sheba and Bongo, the rabbits from Matt Groening's Live In Hell comic strip, which I find strange since they don't really cameo in the cartoon very much.
A lot of things about the game are a little "off" to fans of the show, both because it dates to the early seasons but also because the game is as much a product of Konami's developers as the Simpsons licensing people. Get a load of surprisingly evil, bomb-throwing, differently-voiced "Welcome to my world" Smithers in the last video. It's very busy and noisy (the music sounds like some fool turned Danny Elfman up to 11), but still filled with its fair share of cameos and awesomeness. Oh, and here's an image for your nightmares. Here is just the ending.

Wonder Boy (Westone)
Some of you might recognize this game as an arcade version of Hudson's Adventure Island. If you're not familiar with the terribly confusing saga of the Wonder Boy games, series creator Westone had the rights to the game but not the name, and so worked with Hudson to make a game just like it but with different characters. The series ineage is laid out on Hardcore Gaming 101's page on the Wonder Boy series. Note that this is an extremely long game, requiring over an hour to play through. The player never dies REPEAT: NEVER DIES, while collecting every doll and letter. He plays well enough, calmly using the correct tactic in every situation out of the hundreds in the game, to cause one to suspect the use of save states. People with lives might want to cut to the last five levels.

Golden Axe: Revenge of Death Adder (Sega)
This is a rare game that I was fortunate to encounter in an arcade once. This video does not show particularly skillful play; it just shows off a game few people have seen. If you're interested in better play, in a three-player game to boot, here is another run through in co-op mode without continuing: Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

Star Fire II (Exidy)
For a game that came out the year after Space Invaders, it's surprisingly cool-looking with giant spaceships. This is video of an actual machine in operation. Obviously, this is framebuffer hardware.

Rampart (Atari Games) Part 2
Rampart is my favorite arcade game, and it was never better than in three-player versus multiplayer. These videos make me cringe a little at the mistakes players make, but that's only because they aren't as obsessive over this game as I am.

And, finally, for no reason other than my own satisfaction:

Gradius: The Morning Music
posted by JHarris (35 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
I learned everything I know about Mr. Do from that walkthrough. Here's how you get 255 extra lives on the first level, on the Taito version of it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:49 PM on December 23, 2010

That was a lot of quarters! I remember those days, being the oldest guy in the room by far and highschools bumming smokes from me. Was about || this close to opening an arcade, and the bottom fell out, saving me from utter ruin, I'm sure.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 1:51 PM on December 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

Holy smokes, nice post. Just wanted to add NARC - two different versions.
posted by senor biggles at 1:56 PM on December 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've been collecting these links for a while now, if you guys find more (not as easy as you'd think) I might aggregate them into a longform comment to this thread.
posted by JHarris at 1:58 PM on December 23, 2010

Awesome post!
posted by fartknocker at 2:01 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

When I was a kid I would have birthday parties at the Aladdin's Castle arcade in my town almost every year. In exchange for what was - I'm sure - more money than my family could reasonably afford, my friends and I would receive rolls upon rolls of tokens to do with as we wished. One year four of us played the Simpsons arcade game all the way through. It was my birthday so I got to be Bart. It actually was a pretty great game, mostly because it was based on the Ninja Turtles arcade game which was so very great. Biggest disappointment of my young life was when I got the NES Ninja Turtles game and it was nothing like the arcade version.
posted by ND¢ at 2:08 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm kinda' surprised by how many of these I'm not familiar with. Loved Q*bert, and liked Dig Dug. Occasionally played Mr. Do. Scramble I remember from way back, but nearly all the others I somehow missed despite a considerable amount of my youth having been wasted in arcades. Rampart looks like a cool game!
posted by fartknocker at 2:21 PM on December 23, 2010

Aw man, Strider is the best game ever, and I really have never gotten any better at it. Daren't look at the Wonderboy one for fear of restarting that addiction. Thanks for this! How did you choose the games, just personal favourites?
posted by Iteki at 2:24 PM on December 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm curious how the full screen videos are made that get posted on YouTube. Maybe it's obvious to someone with even a little bit of knowledge of these things, but I have no idea how it's done.
posted by OmieWise at 2:38 PM on December 23, 2010

Great post! That Willow game is insane. I enjoy watching people play Parappa the Rappa.
posted by santaslittlehelper at 2:50 PM on December 23, 2010

This is awesome!

I love Dig Dug but have never been good at it. The dude that plays it in the link does not blow up any single dragon or mole (I call them moles since I do not know what they are): he uses the rocks all the time!! That adds to a lot of points.
posted by dov3 at 2:51 PM on December 23, 2010

Love it! My friend had a Mr. Do! machine that we smuggled into Tijuana. My best was a couple of hundred thousand but my friend has done, christ 40 million, on that machine. We had a tray built into the side for beers, smokes and snacks.

Absolutely one of the best times of my life...

Great post! Nominated!
posted by zerobyproxy at 3:00 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Instead of watching you may want to install MAME the ''Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator'' and grab a few ROM's
posted by jbalwen52 at 3:35 PM on December 23, 2010

Mr. Do! Never got good at that game, liked watching other people. I loved walking up to a Universal game for the first time, you knew you were going to have some sort of instant love/hate reaction to it.
posted by user92371 at 3:51 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Strider began my love of space ninjas. Looking up on it, I've just discovered Osman, which looks awesome.
posted by yeloson at 3:52 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

> Rastan


Really great post, JHarris!
posted by sidereal at 4:17 PM on December 23, 2010

First mistake: the arcade Castlevanis is actually called "Haunted Castle" now that I think about it.
posted by JHarris at 4:45 PM on December 23, 2010

I shudder to think how many quarters I fed to the Strider cabinet in back room of that pizza shop. I made a few of someone's boat payments, that's for sure. I loved that game, but the pizza was awful.
posted by the painkiller at 4:59 PM on December 23, 2010

The inclusion criteria was, mostly, if I could find a good playthrough and if it was a classic era game. There are fewer arcade runthroughs than you'd think on YouTube, and the number that are really good are lower still. Even some of the longplays were't suitable for one reason or another.

And yes, Rampart is amazing.
posted by JHarris at 5:07 PM on December 23, 2010

Q*Bert, Zookeeper, and definitely Phoenix are from the earlier '80s, so I'll whine a little that I don't see Xevious or my own obscure favorite, Spiders. But still: Wow!
posted by phrits at 7:53 PM on December 23, 2010

This is just so cool. Huzzah, JHarris!
posted by Kevin Street at 7:57 PM on December 23, 2010

I had been trying to tell friends for YEARS about the hyperactive fun that is Night Striker. And, of course, in the same lineage of continuous forward gunning, The GI Joe Arcade game.
posted by yeloson at 8:11 PM on December 23, 2010

I could finish Strider on one life. Great game, great post.
posted by schoolgirl report at 8:24 PM on December 23, 2010

God, the typos in the post are galling to me. Just to try to defend myself, this post has been in the works for a couple of weeks. Eventually I just got sick of it and put it up in a hurry.

If I had found a good playthrough video of Xevious I'd have included it. I'm a bit sad there's only one Namco game up there, but not as sad as I am that the only Atari link is in the extras.
posted by JHarris at 8:42 PM on December 23, 2010

Oh, and Omiewise, most of these were probably made in MAME or some other emulator, possibly exported directly to a video file.
posted by JHarris at 8:43 PM on December 23, 2010

yeloson: Night Striker looks great, yeah. That type of hyper sprite scaling still seems to offer something that even polygons don't.
posted by JHarris at 10:38 PM on December 23, 2010

Second mistake: I said NES Ghosts N Goblins is easier than the arcade version. I meant to say harder.
posted by JHarris at 10:42 PM on December 23, 2010

Don't forget about Williams games like Robotron, which featured not only a separate dedicated CPU to render 8-bit sound, but a basic GPU and framebuffer that was better than PC graphics until the 90's.

Also it was the granddaddy of dual-stick shooters and it would make you cry for mama.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:51 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Love it! My friend had a Mr. Do! machine that we smuggled into Tijuana.

What? Wow. I want to hear that story.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:27 AM on December 24, 2010

This may be one of my all-time favorite posts in MeFi history.
posted by Dirjy at 12:45 AM on December 24, 2010

RobotVoodooPower: You don't have to do anything to convince me of Robotron's greatness.
posted by JHarris at 1:22 AM on December 24, 2010

Some other classics: Xybots, Road Blasters, Space Gun, Virtua Cop.
posted by yeloson at 1:25 AM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

For no special reason, I want to talk a bit more about Mr. Do, which is my favorite game in the post (other than Rampart).

It is really an amazing game. Very finely balanced. The criteria for when the Alphamonsters come out is a big part of it. They emerge whenever the player collects the prize that appears in the middle of the screen after all the enemies (or "Badguys") are in play, or whenever the score passes a multiple of 5,000. Note that the points for collecting the prize cannot trigger an Alphamonster, because the monster emerges for taking it. If there's already an Alphamonster in play when a threshold is passed, the opportunity is wasted. If finishing a level collects the points needed to make a monster appear, it comes out immediately at the start of the next level.

The only way to earn an extra life in Mr. Do is to spell EXTRA, and you only get letters by killing the proper Alphamonsters. When not roaming the board, the monster cycles through the letters in the EXTRA box at the top of the screen. The monster always goes through every letter, back and forth, but it stays in already-collected letters for only a short amount of time. Thus, even if the player isn't watching the box, he still has a good chance of getting a useful monster when one emerges. Also note that the monster's behavior actually makes the chances of getting the letters X, T or R each roughly twice as often as an E or A.

The biggest (common) point awards in the game are for collecting prizes and killing multiple monsters with one Apple. The points for collecting prizes can never generate a monster because the prize itself produces one, so figuring out how to kill many monsters with a single drop is important. The player in the video shows off the best technique I know of, to push an Apple so that it overhangs a passage slightly. This breaks the monster's chase routine a bit; it wants to go up through the Apple but can't, but the way to Mr. Do is through that passage, so it keeps trying to go through. As you can see later in the video this only works for a little while; Badguys randomly turn into Diggers, more often as both the level and the game progresses, and they will make their own way around the Apple. Still, this is probably the key technique for great Mr. Do play.

There are actually four ways to finish a level: collect all the Cherries, kill all the Badguys, spell EXTRA or collect a Diamond. The first option is kind of a chump's game, since Cherries are only worth 50 points each, with 500 extra if collected in a run of eight. At 900 per set, you'd have to collect more than five full runs to trigger an Alphamonster. It takes time to collect all those Cherries too, which the Badguys will use to get faster.

Killing Badguys works better. The preferred way, of course, is to use Apples, but that gets harder as the game continues and the monsters speed up. Mr. Do also comes equipped with a Powerball, which semi-randomly bounces around the board when released. Once the ball is out it keeps bouncing until it either returns to Mr Do or hits an enemy, after which it'll reappear in Do's hand after a delay. That delay increases in length the more enemies killed with the ball; after the first two, it gets increasingly bothersome, then outright dangerous. The delay resets at the start of a life, of a board, and when collecting the prize.

While the ball careens around the screen, Mr Do is defenseless. However, when the ball is in his hands it's not out killing enemies. I usually release the ball at the start of a level to give it a chance to seek an initial victim and reduce enemy numbers by one, but then I usually have trouble getting past level 10. Still, the player in the video seems to use that trick too.

The Diamond is mostly random in appearance. When collected it produces a special display, 8,000 points, and increments the credit counter. There is an operator setting to make the diamond rarer, but it appears rarely enough as it is that the default setting is Easy Diamonds. I seem to remember reading somewhere about a trick that could force a diamond to appear but I can't seem to find it now and I may have been imagining it. It involved dropping two Apples, with the second one both dropped and landing while the first Apple was in transit. It might also require the first Apple killing a monster. Please don't take this as any kind of evidence; I tested it once and it worked, but I could have imagined that too. I've certainly played Mr Do enough that I could have dreamed it one night.
posted by JHarris at 1:46 AM on December 24, 2010 [4 favorites]

I must be mistaken about the diamond, it turns out someone's dissected the Mr Do game code and discovered the diamonds are generated pseudorandomly.
posted by JHarris at 4:05 AM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Love it! My friend had a Mr. Do! machine that we smuggled into Tijuana.

What? Wow. I want to hear that story.

@IvoShandor --I lived in Tijuana from 1994-1997. One of my colleagues had grown up playing MR DO! His father, a jack of all trades, had bartered a deck installation against a hot tub and a DO! machine. Pretty nifty. Anyhow, my friend loved the game and would always play when he went home to Omaha. In the late summer of 1996, he found a DO! machine outside of Los Angeles. He haggled with the seller and got it for about 300 bucks. It worked well enough, the cabinet was a little worn, but it had all of the original artwork. We drove it back toward Tijuana, to our office in Chula Vista. A plan was hatched on how to bring it into Mexico without having to pay customs or pay la mordida (a bribe, literally "the bite") to the Mexican customs agents.

We knew that the red/green lights to enter into Mexico were tripped by a weight sensor. So, our van loaded with DO! we headed to the San Ysidro border crossing. We tried to align our van with other like sized vehicles on either side of our vehicle. We kept an abnormal pace as we rode up to the checkpoint.

When you drive through, there is a traditional looking stop light with only a red and green light. Red = REVISION (SECONDARY SEARCH) and Green = PASE (PASS THROUGH). Additionally, a loud bell rings to alert the Mexican Customs agent that there is a REVISION. Anyhow, we hit the stop light at the same time as a couple of SUVs and a truck (all pretty heavy vehicles). All of our lights lit red for REVISION at the same time and all of the bells went off. The poor customs agent just started waving his arms toward the Secondary Search area. I just gunned it and watched in the rearview mirror. The dude didn't notice or care. The other agents that were sitting in their cars also didn't care or didn't notice. Soon, I was on the via rapida and heading home with my friend who was ecstatic to get his DO! home without paying a couple hundred bucks in customs.

He ultimately did have to pay US Customs to bring it back to California though...and had his Cuban cigars incinerated (and had to pay a $200 fine rather than have his car impounded) before he could return. He still has the machine and we still play whenever I get out to Northern California.
posted by zerobyproxy at 8:03 PM on December 24, 2010 [4 favorites]

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