Manufacturer: Atari
Released: 1983
Designer: ?
Added to my collection: February 17, 2007
Current Condition : Working 100%


Description:

I'm not sure what it was about this game that really got me going...but I loved it from the first time I played it at River Town, a Chuck E. Cheese knock-off that was a couple of miles from my house. It has been on my must-have list ever since I started collecting.

The object of the game is relatively straightforward: guide your man (Charley Chuck according to the marquee) from the right side fo the screen to the left and eat the ice cream cone before it melts. Between you and your objective are a bunch of chefs that pop up out of little manholes that are scattered across the screen. There are piles of food--peas, bananas, watermelons, and tomatoes--around the screen as well. The chefs can throw these at Charley...but Charley can use the food to go on the offensive as well.

The game is simple but addictive. The graphics were nothing to write home about even in 1983--there isn't even a background on the screen. Still, it's loads of fun. Also, Food Fight is the first game that I remember that ever featured an instant-replay when you completed a screen in a particularly spectactular fashion. That was definitely a cool feature. It was a great reward for a job well-done.

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My Machine

One of the things that makes Food Fight such a cool collectible is the unique cabinet of the upright version of the game. The cabinet is distinctive, even when someone has converted it to something else because of its one-of-a-kind shape. And the side art is very cool, too.

Of course, I don't have the upright version. I have the cocktail version.

I had been looking for a Food Fight machine for a long time. I ran across an upright at an auciton (the same machine was there two times, in fact) but it wasn't in great shape and the bids went too high for my blood. I also ran across an upright that a collector was selling for $600. It was in pristine condition...but I just didn't have the money at the time, so I passed.

Since then, Food Fight machines have been scarce. The game was produced in relatively small numbers, so that's not surprising.

Then, when browsing RGVAC one day, I saw that Anthony at QuarterArcade was selling a cocktail Food Fight.

 

I jumped at the chance to get the game (he was asking a very fair price). And, what I didn't know at the time, was that there were only around 100 cocktail Food Fights produced. That makes this game officially the rarest one in my collection. And mine was apparently the 21st one off the assembly line!

I've got some cosmetic work to do on the cabinet--the CPOs are pretty torn up (don't know what I'll do about that). Parts-wise, the game needed a replacement centering bellows on one of the wacky gimble joysticks they used in this game. I found a source for this rather rare part, though. WizzesWorkshop has reproduction centering bellows that are actually better than the original ones. I also needed some coin door parts, which I was able to obtain from David Michel, a member of RGVAC. He had parts from a Centipede cocktail coin door that worked perfectly.

Oh...and special thanks to Lloyd at Coin-Op Warehouse. Thanks to him and his son, Ben, I only had to go to Richmond to pick up the game instead of Philadelphia--they were nice enough to give it a ride on one of their trips down south.

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Food Fight Technical Info:

Changing the Monitor

So, I put a brand new monitor in my machine. The original monitor (it really was the original--it has the game serial number on it) was burned in and needed a cap kit, which I had never gotten around to having done. (I can't do it myself.) It wasn't that bad, so I didn't really plan on buying another monitor. But I was at the September 18, 2010 auction and there was a whole table full of brand new Imperial 13" monitors. The bidding only went to $70, so I picked one up. (They retail for $179...great deal.) So it was time, once again, to play the swap-the-monitor game.

You would think that after over 10 years of collecting that I would be long past the point where I would have the words "It's just as easy as..." in my video game repair/refurbishing vocabulary. But, no. The day after the auction, I decided to do the swap, which I figured would be "just as easy as" removing four bolts, unplugging two wires, pulling out the old monitor and putting in the new one, and reversing the wire and bolt process.

Sigh.

There were a couple of issues.

The first was getting the monitor out of the cabinet. Helpful tip: if you're changing out the monitor in an Atari cocktail machine, do NOT remove the four obvious bolts at the corners of the monitor unless you want the monitor to go crashing down into the cabinet. The monitor frame is attached to two brackets that sit over the structure of the cabinet...but the monitor is bolted UNDER the brackets, so if you remove the bolts, the monitor drops. What you have to do is remove the brackets themselves. This is particularly challenging because, (a) the screws are torx screws and (b) the space between the screw heads and the sides of the cabinet is about half the length of pretty much any screwdriver you probably own. It's loads of fun using just the bit from an interchangeable-tip screwdriver to remove screws that have been in place since the mid-80s. Not.

Then there was the frame. At this point, I'm pretty much convinced that new monitors have frames that don't fit any cabinet. I'm sure that's not the case...but in two of the three instances when I've installed one, the frame on the new monitor had zero chance of fitting into the cabinet. This meant that I had to take the original monitor out of its frame and do the same to the new one, and then find a way to jury-rig the new one into the original's frame. The bolts at the four corners are pretty universal, so that wasn't a problem...but the chassis is a completely different shape, so I had to use stiff wire (instead of the nice screws it came with) to hold it in place on the old frame.

So, after the physical part of the task was completed (only about 2 hours behind schedule) I got the monitor in place and hooked up the cables. The power cable was no problem, and neither was the video connector--the 6-pin connector on the cable fit perfectly on the 6-pin connector on the board. I switched on the game--and the video didn't sync (jittery, garbled picture). I spent some time researching the issue, and was initially stumped. The pin-out on the new monitor's board was labeled RGBEHV--which stands for Red, Green, Blue, Earth (ground), Horizontal Sync, and Vertical Sync. I checked the pin-out in the game schematics (which you can find here) and the pin-out matched. Perplexing.

I searched the Internet to find a solution, but to no avail. Then I noticed something in the game manual--there were two connectors, each of which were wired differently. The 6-pin version with both types of sync was used on the original monitor, but the other one was not. The other connector only had 5 pins wired--there was a single Composite sync wire instead of two separate ones. I decided it couldn't hurt to try a swap...and it worked! It was as simple as that.

Those words again. No, it was not REALLY "as simple as" that. The cramped quarters inside the cabinet makes it next to impossible to discharge the monitor, and of course it had been on when I was fiddling with the controls trying to stabilize the picture. And, of course, some genius decided that the video connection on the monitor should be nowhere near the edge of the board where you can safely reach it. Instead, it's way in the back, under the neck of the monitor. At this point, I was not going to take that monitor out again to discharge it. So, I played a high-voltage game of Operation and reached in CAREFULLY to make the connector swap. I'm happy to say I was successful and did not make my nose light up (or kill myself).

There you have it. I wanted to post this ASAP due to the lack of info that's out there. The good news is that the monitor is now working well, and I have a crisp clear picture on my game.

And it only took me three hours. Yay.

DIP switch settings:

Food Fight has one 8-switch bank on the main game board. (Bold settings are factory defaults.)

DIP Bank 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Coin/Credit Free Play
off
on
1 Coin / 2 Credits
on
on
1 Coin / 1 Credit
off
off
2 Coins / 1 Credit
on
off
Right Coin 1 Coin / 1 Credit
 
off
off
1 Coin / 4 Credits
 
on
off
       
1 Coin / 5 Credits
 
off
on
       
1 Coin / 6 Credits
 
on
on
 
Left Coin 1 Coin / 1 Credit
off
 
1 Coin / 2 Credits
on
 
Bonus Coins No Bonus Coins        
off
off
off
4 coins, logic adds 1 more coin          
off
on
off
4 coins, logic adds 2 more coins          
on
on
off
5 coins, logic adds 1 more coin          
off
off
on
3 coins, logic adds 1 more coin        
on
off
on

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More Food Fight Info:

 

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