Quick Points of Interest
- Robotron’s Extra Life Bonanza
- The Man who fixed Robotron
- General Troubleshooting
- Ram Chips
- Wico Joysticks
- Wico Grommets
- Robotron Rom Colors
- Game Platforms Available
- MAME Install
- A look inside a Blitter Chip
- Control Panel Design
- Pause Button Hack
Technical Main Page
Larry DeMar (Jan 2015)- Robotron: 2084 was originally dubbed 2084:Robotron and the marquees were printed before the name was changed. As is the folklore, Steve Ritchie came up with the name Robotron and was the key voice when everyone was calling the otherwise-named game “Robotron” to getting the name switched. A very good move IMO.
Mike Stroll- Actually, the story is a bit more complicated. The name initially was Robotron: 2084 and the artwork was started. Eugene called me and said that he would like the name to be 2084: Robotron instead… so … We did the art for 2084: Robotron. After the completion of the new art Eugene called me again and literally begged for the name to once again be Robotron: 2084 and promised he would not ever request a name change again…and since then he kept his promise.
Full-size Scan of Original Marquee from DeMar’s site, backglass.org:
- Ken Graham explains Williams boards- Youtube
“Carpet Pattern” resets- click HERE
Digital Eclipse patch- click HERE
Williams Robotron boards –
- From YellowDog- Rev B boards were the MPU boards through most of the Robotrons. It debuted with Robotron and was put into Stargates when the last of the Rev – boards ran out. Just before the end of the Robotron run the Rev C boards were phased in and the Rev D boards were phased in just before the end of the Joust run and were used through the end of the Sinistar and Splat! runs.
CPU performance and RAM- Click HERE
Williams Rom chips- Click HERE
Building your own Williams Test Rig- Click HERE
Beginners Guide to Fixing PCBs- Click HERE
Replacing Wico Centering Grommets- Click HERE
Why does Robotron use 4 inch Wico Joysticks? – Cick HERE
What is the colorful line of graphical garbage off to the side of the screen?
- that line comes from a bit of the video RAM that’s used as scratch memory, so it’s there on every Defender/Robotron and it’s supposed to be adjusted off screen. If it has a G07, just tweak the width coil (carefully with the proper plastic tool so you don’t kill yourself) and it should be fine.
Robotron artwork –
Larry DeMar, July 2013- It should be noted that John Sheldrake is an artist that worked for us doing some of the art for Robotron and Blaster. For us, that was a significant step as in Defender and Stargate, all of the art for the images was done by the programmers, making crude images with colored pencils on graph paper then translating these blocks to pixel colors in the program. John worked part time for Vid Kidz and used some crude art tools to create images on the screen (viewing oversized blocks of the pixels where the editing was done while simultaneously viewing the image in its tiny pixallized glory. Eugene created this program which was called “Picasso”. Eugene and I also created some of the Robotron images. By our next game, Blaster, John was working with another part-time artist, Ken Roberts and art for videogames was almost solely created by artists going forward.
Williams Cabinet Serial Numbers Explained (per Ken Graham)-
- The system that was in use at Williams as it was described to me involved a
large binder that contained a sheet of paper with a set of stickers with serial
numbers and some information about the machine.
- When a machine was completed, it was wheeled into QA where they had a punchlist of things to check
based on the machine. When it was complete, they went the the previously
mentioned binder and grabbed the next sheet. Filled it out and put the serial
number stickers where indicated on the punch sheet. The completed sheet then
went into a different binder and the machine was wheeled into the shipping
department. As part of the process a set of numbers matching the paper stickers
was stamped into the cabinet.
- So if a Joust was ready for QA it got sticker set xxxx. If a pin was next, it got sticker set xxxx+1. If three Jousts
were ready, they got sticker sets xxxx+2, xxxx+3 and xxxx+4, and so on. So the
only thing the serial numbers were really good at was telling if you had an
original board set in the original cabinet or not.
- As far as mismatched cabinets, that was more common at the end of life for a production run. If they
didn’t have any more Robotron cabbinets, for example and they got an order for 5
more, they would go scrounge some compatible cabinets (Stargate or Joust),
quickly repaint them, toss the boards in and ship it. So it is uncommon, but not
that rare to find that the paint on a specific cabinet doesn’t actually match
the cabinet shape.
- Robotron Prototype Cabaret used by Williams Development, with a built-in pause button
Why are some Joust machines really just painted over Robotron cabinets?
Larry DeMar Sept 2013- While Robotron was a significant success in the marketplace, the market got ahead of itself and there were more orders in the distribution chain than the market of operators could absorb. As things settled, the distributors cancelled orders for a significant number of games (probably a few thousand) which Williams was in the process of making. Some number of completely painted Robotron cabinets were re-painted to become Joust which followed Robotron.
Everyone Learns Something New Every Day
- Awesome fan based technical review of Robotron repairs- http://nfgworld.com/?p=1369#comment-7561
- Which found real gems of links- Sound Analysis- http://www.lomont.org/Software/Misc/Robotron/
- Robotron Autopsy, reverse engineering review- http://www.sharebrained.com/2013/06/22/robotron-autopsy-at-open-source-bridge-2013/
Robotron Psychadelic Cabinet Art- http://www.spencerhibert.com/
- 2012- Watch CnlMoore (KLOV) work on a Robotron restoration– website HERE
- 2012- See Broodwich (KLOV) restoration video HERE
- 2013- Ground up restoration by Matt.Moore (KLOV)- HERE
- 2014 Restore by ArcadeImposssible
Trade Magazine Images
Ken Fedesna Sept 2013- This picture was taken and then became the Cashbox cover story to announce Williams getting back into designing and manufacturing video games. When the video marketplace took a dive back in 1984, we got out of video design and concentrated on pinball. By 1989, we decide to get back into video, and Narc was the first of the “new era of video games” from Williams/Midway.
The concept behind the picture was to give the impression that the new lineup of games being introduced by Williams was the next group of GREAT games coming from the successful lineup of games we had created back in the early 80’s.
We probably didn’t have an original Joust cabinet but did have a Joust 2 cabinet. So we most likely replaced the Joust 2 marquee with an original Joust marquee. Joust 2 was not exactly a big success was like Joust 1 was, but we did want Joust 1 in the picture with Defender, Stargate, and Robotron, so we did the best we could.
Gary McTaggart’s Williams row. Check out his City 17 Arcade project
UK Street’s brand Robotron (side art not original- Atari style cabinet)
Author’s first Robotron, survivor condition.