I always use TAW to monitor eBay for interesting auctions and yet again it really paid off. One day my list of auctions to check showed an Old Time Basketball by Exidy. This game was produced in 1976 and is a copy of the 1947 Chicago Coin Basketball Champ game. I really did not need another game, but it is a nice game so I added it to my TAW watch list. When it ended, Tadpole Auction Watcher alerted me immediately that there were no bids at the $800 opening price. I contacted the seller to see if he might sell for less or trade out for some of my other games. He did like my Sky Gunner 1953 so we arranged for an even swap. I traded a more valuable and older game for one that was more fun so it worked out pretty well for both of us.
Here is a video of the gameplay after I made my changes to the game. I changed the front button from a regular video game button to an antique button and changed the ping pong balls to ones that looked like basketballs..
I liked the way they display scoring with lights, just like older EM games did. I am glad they did not go with LED digits on this one, that would not look right. If I can get a good scan of the original Chicago Coin Basketball Champ glass, I may redesign a new glass for this one based on the old artwork.
When the game arrived, the man did not grab the balls so every one missed his hands and fell on the playfield. It turned out that during shipping the ball stack had moved. I had to adjust it up and re-angle it slightly. The ball feed must be in exactly the right place otherwise many balls will fall out of his hands. I also had to adjust the ring between the player's hands. He was shooting a little to the right so I re-centered his shots.
Three changes I immediately wanted to make were to the balls, the instruction sticker and the start button.
The balls were white ping pong balls with a couple of odd color balls mixed in. I did not like that and they looked dirty. I found some ping pong balls that looked like basketballs and ordered those. That is when I discovered all ping pong balls are not the same. I did measure my ping pong balls first but with a tape measure and a round ball I estimated 40mm and when I saw the sizes listed were 40mm I thought I had a correct measurement.
On October 1, 2000, the official diameter of the ball was increased to 40 mm from 38 mm. The ITTF estimated that the increase would decrease the speed of the ball by 4 to 8%, and the spin by 10 to 13%. The purpose of the change was to produce longer rallies and to make the ball more visible on television, in the belief that this would make the game more interesting to spectators.
Of course, this screws up all old games that used ping pong balls of the old 38mm type and makes them jam.
This is what happened when I tried to use my new 40mm balls. They jammed in the feed tube. After some investigation I realized the screw heads were the blocking point and the tube was actually big enough. Over time, it had warped and distorted. I took a heat gun, heated it up, inserted a piece of bathroom sink drain pipe that I had slit down the side and used that to straighten and expand the inside of the plastic tube. With some other minor adjustments, the balls started to feed correctly.
I also searched eBay for an antique doorbell to replace the arcade start button. The new button simply did not look right on the game. You can see the new button in the video above.
This is what the original door looked like. The video game button simply does not fit this old-time game.
Finally, I created a replacement for the worn and discolored instruction sticker.
The instruction sticker looked pretty bad which really stood out because the rest of the game was in great shape. When I tried to take the old sticker off, it came apart. It was rotten.
You can download a gif of the card I made HERE. The size should be 2.5x4in
The game is easy to service. Just open the back door, remove the plexi artwork by flexing it, and slide the game playfield out.
The cabinet is plywood and pressboard, not solid birch as stated on the flyer.
Some of these games had rounded plexi covers like the original ccoin, others had flat sided covers like mine.
The plexi is removable and not locked down or secured in any way. Just grab it and lift to remove.
A number of people have said the game has crowd sounds and it says so on the flyer. Crowd sounds seem a bit advanced for 1976 to me too. Maybe that was an add on? Not sure. My game has no sounds and I cannot find a speaker anywhere in it. I have seen other games on youtube with sound though.
Here is someone else's game which has sound.
I also added a piece of music wire on the coin return so when it is pressed it presses the coin switch and credit is registered. This was easy to do and I did not have to add any switches. Just clamp a wire to the coin return lever, then loop it around the coin sensor switch. You can't drop coins through anymore but you can get free play.
My serial number is 9173. Other sources have said only 1000 of these were made so I am not sure if that is correct, if there were 10,000 and not 1000 or if they simply started the serial numbers at 9000. It would be nice to see some other serial numbers from these games to determine how many were actually produced.
Another collector let me know his serial number was 9049 and his had a speaker in the top so it had sound.