Released: Currently Produced
Added to my collection: April, 2012
Current Condition : Working 100%
Even before I became a die hard hockey fan, I liked playing the stick hockey tables that they had in the arcades. Those are generally Chexx Bubble Hockey tables, and they're really cool. So, when I got into hockey, I decided I wanted a bubble hockey table for the arcade. Unfortunately, I didn't count on the price. Brand new, a Super Chexx table runs about $3000 or so. Even at the video game auction (where the occasional table shows up), I've never seen one go for under $500--and that one was pretty beat up. Most of the used ones sell for about $1000.
I looked into alternatives as well--there are lots of Chexx knock-offs that are sold for the home market. But the ones that are the size of the Chexx tables are still really expensive--around $600 to $800 or so. So, the idea of getting a hockey table for the arcade was put on the back burner.
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I can't stress this enough--if you're into the idea of having a home arcade, Craigslist is your friend. Ebay revolutionized the ability to find the games you want. Craigslist revolutionized the ability to find them cheap.
In my almost-daily searches of the local Craigslist, I kept an eye out for inexpensive dome hockey tables. They were still pretty pricey for the most part. Then, in April 2012, I found a moving sale that listed a table hockey game without a price. I e-mailed the poster as soon as I saw the ad, and he said it was a Carrom Super Stick Hockey table and he was looking to get $100 for it. I did some research and found that the cheapest you could get that particular model new was $600. It had all the features that I wanted--namely, it was the size of an arcade hockey table and it had electronic scoring. So I went to look at it.
There were two problems with the table when I went to see it. First, the scoring unit wasn't working. The seller told me that beforehand, and I knew I could get a new one from the company for $95. Second, the thing was ugly as sin. Carrom apparently thought that contact paper with a faux-sponge painted finish was the height of awesome. But I knew that was fixable. So, considering the scoring unit issue, I was able to talk the seller down to $80. Even if I needed a new score unit, I would still be making out pretty well.
Repairs and Cosmetic Overhaul
The first thing I had to do was get the score unit working. I was tempted to just order the new score unit, but I figured it couldn't hurt to look into other possible causes for the problem.
Turns out, that was a good idea. I'm sure that Super Chexx tables are a lot more complicated than Carrom Super Stick Hockey tables. Chexx tables have an automatic puck drop mechanism, coin-mechs, a power supply, and boards that control things like the crowd noise generator and the music. Carrom Super Stick Hockey tables are, as it turns out, extraordinarily simplistic. There's the score mechanism itself (which is self-contained and hangs from the top of the dome), a battery holder (the score unit runs on 4 AA batteries), a micro-switch button that starts the game, and two micro-switches (one in each goal) to tally the score. That's it. The scoring unit has a simple molex connector that plugs into the very minimal wiring harness on the bottom of the table. Not much there that could go wrong.
I went to put fresh batteries in the game (always check the batteries first), and I noticed that one battery was very loose. I tried the old wad of aluminum foil trick to fix that, but I got no power. Then, I took a closer look at the battery holder and saw that the entire terminal on the loose battery slot was missing. No wonder nothing worked! So, off I went to Radio Shack to pick up a brand new $2.00 battery holder. I brought it home, snipped two wires, removed the old battery holder, put in the new one, spliced two wires, put in the batteries and...success! The hockey table that would have cost me $600 online cost me a grand total of $82!
The ugly was just as easy to fix--and I already had an artistic direction in mind. A pretty obvious one, really. A little primer, a little black paint, and a couple of self-printed Carolina Hurricanes logos later, and I had a much nicer looking table that is part of both my hockey collection and my game collection.
As you can see from the pictures, the players themselves are just plain red (home team) and plain blue (away team). My plan is to eventually paint the players' uniforms to match actual NHL teams. Naturally, the red team will be the Hurricanes. Out of sheer laziness, I'll pick a team with predominantly blue uniforms for the other side. (Probably the Maple Leafs--their uniforms are pretty simple design-wise.)
But that's for the future. For now, they can just be red and blue.
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