Project 6 Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back

Total Insanity

As you remember, if you tuned in last week, or whenever it was, my last project ended with I would like an original Starwars machine though....
Well 3 years later I finally asked myself how long I was going to wait for that starwars game I wanted. I decided the longer I waited, the fewer there would be out there. I did some checking around and played with the idea of getting a controller and putting it in a regular mame cab. They are hard to find. It is possible to take similar controllers from other games but I could not find any that were complete.

In my research, I found out about the Microsoft Sidewinder Dual Strike. It is no longer produced but the system can be interfaced with a starwars controller and even substituted for one easily on a regular cabinet. You can find some great instructions and diagrams HERE at Another great site the explains how to convert a real starwars controller to work on a PC is HERE at It seems the same controller is good on some shooter games that require precise control like Terminator 2(not a true gun game). I ordered a dual strike controller from someone on ebay for $10.00 and may use it for another cabinet in the future. I did some testing with the controller and it seems to do OK for star wars. I can see that if it's insides were in a true starwars controller it could be excellent. Maneuvering with one hand was a bit awkward but it did have good control and was much much easier than a joystick or mouse. I tried it with T2 but it was not very good at all. I had better results with a mouse. I suspect there are other driving games that use similar controls that would also be good for the Dual Strike. I guess I will put it in my arcade supplies box in case I ever get a controller to hack. At one time there was someone offering a TwistyGrip controller for StarWars blue print but the site has since disappeared.

I went to a local arcade warehouse in LA, which is a fun field trip in itself. There were a bunch of cabinets I would have loved to have taken home but I simply have no room for a battlezone, or computer space, or any of the other odd shaped cabinets. They had 2 starwars games. one in very good condition and one in good condition. They were way too expensive. I did talk the owner down quite a bit so we made a deal. As I figure it I only have to play it 6000 times to break even.

The first thing I did after the starwars game was in my living room was pull it open to see inside. It has the later Ampliphone type monitor which is more reliable. There was no manual. It then occured to me that maybe I should have asked for one. Well I do have a pdf version which is now printing out. It did have the information sheet on the back panel. I removed it and put laminate sheets over it to keep it in one piece. I had a choice of 2 cabinets(although our deal was only for the good not the very good condition one but I took the good one because it had the full original graphics on the front panel. The very good unit was black in the same place).

My starwars game

I was deeply concerned that I had not spent enough money on this project already so when I found out that there was a mod kit that allowed one to play starwars and empire strikes back on the same starwars cabinet I had to get it, only an extra $150 from the below link at

More links of interest regarding starwars arcade systems:
Empire Strikes Back Artwork Play SW and Empire Strikes Back in the same orig Cabinet Another great starwars and vector resource

Vector Monitor Repair Info
Check This an oscilloscope image of the starwars screen
Memos from Lucas Films and misc notes on SW during development

Some cheats for starwars from

Cheats, Tricks and Bugs
In the tower scene, you can shoot fireballs that are hidden behind the towers. In the trench scene, you can shoot fireballs through the catwalks. Moving the flight yoke far left and far right during the attract mode will switch between the instructions and the high score list. In the trench you can "use the force" and get an extra 100,000 points by not shooting anything except the exhaust port. The text "USE THE FORCE" will be at the top of the screen until you shoot. The 100,000 is actually awarded just before you have to shoot the exhaust port, so it's possible to take out some of the gun turrets at the end, too. (The bonus is actually lower on the first two waves.) If you shoot Darth Vader more than 30 times, you get 27 shields. It is said you can also get 255 shields, but this is rare.

Cheats, Tricks and Bugs for ESB:
TRICK: Flying between the legs of Imperial Walkers can yield a rather hefty bonus. 5000 points for the first time, 10000 more points for the second, 15000 additional points for the third, and so on. The best way to do this is to line up and fly through it from the side. After flying through, continue forward and the next walker will appear directly ahead.
TRICK: During the tie fighter sequence, if you shoot the ships before they leave the screen, you will stay focused on the Executor and have a very target-rich environment.
TRICK: The best way through the asteroid field is to aim for a far corner and stick with it unless you absolutely have to dodge an oncoming asteroid.
TRICK: It is not obvious, but when the high score list is displayed at any time, you can use the flight yoke to scroll up and down the list to see all of the top 25 players. Moving the flight yoke far left and far right will switch between the instructions and the high score list.
BUG: At the end of the asteroid field, the game says it is awarding points and a Jedi letter. However, the points are never added to the player's score.
BUG: If the player spells "JEDI" at the end of the tie-fighter sequence and dies during the asteroid field, the Jedi bonus timer will continue to run during the attract mode.
MISC: The high score list will reset if the Jedi-letter mode is changed on the game options screen.

Empire Strikes Back


Ok there is no doubt, I have crossed into total insanity. I was checking ebay for star wars arcade stuff thinking I might pickup a spare pcb cheap, you know the little board, fits neatly in the back of any closet or under the bed, when I find an Empire Strikes Back Cabinet. It was $500 less than I paid for the starwars cabinet. How could I pass that up? How? It was just sitting there begging me to take it home! I almost never see the ESB cabinets and only one other person even bid on it, luckily they did not know what they were doing as a bidder so I got it. The seller lived nearby so he delivered it the next day.

The insides were actually a starwars game but he included the original ESB board, the seller said problem was that it flaked out when it got warm. Hmm, sounds fixable to me besides I know where to get an ESB board cheap.
After some troubleshooting I found that the problem was that someone had put a starwars eprom where an ESB eprom should be. No wonder there was a display problem. Easily fixed by reburning a rom.
The monitor in this unit was the older Wells-Gardner type. I dont like it as well because it has an annoying hum so I have to leave the rear panel in place. I prefer to leave it off my other machine to let the hot air out.

I made some minor fixes, covered some holes where they had a security lock over the coinbox with black roundhead bolts, touched up the artwork. Removed the bad empire strikes back sticker and repaired the damage it did to the original artwork. A little cleaning and other touch ups and it looks pretty good. I was going to get a new bezel but I dont think I need one. I put some black tape over the corner that was slightly torn and it mirrors the "NEW" banner on the other side so it is not even noticable.

If you are not aware of it, the ESB is a starwars conversion. There was no ESB game. There was StarWars, Return of the Jedi, then ESB was released as an upgrade to StarWars cabs. It came with a set of stickers/overlays and the ESB plugin board to replace the starwars chip and some EPROMs. I considered converting it back to a starwars or getting the ESB stickers for the side but I dont want to put anything on my nice side artwork and dont need 2 starwars cabs so I will keep it as-is.

Now I only have to play this one 4240 times to break even on this purchase.