- A -
AC (Alternating Current): A condition of electricity, AC occurs when charge carriers in a conductor or semiconductor periodically reverse their
direction of movement. Household utility current in most countries is AC with a frequency of 60-hertz (60 cycles per second), although in some countries (like
the United Kingdom) it’s 50 Hz. An AC waveform can be sinusoidal, square, or saw tooth-shaped. An example of sine wave AC is common household utility current.
Arcade (ar-kad) n. 1) A series of arches supported by columns, piers, or pillars. 2) An arched, roofed building or part of a building. 3) A place where
teenagers spent their paychecks during the 1980’s playing video games.
Atari: A video game company created by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. The word Atari comes from the game GO, which is what you say when you have
surrounded your opponent's stones and are about to take them.
Attract Mode: When a game is not being played, it will cycle through what is called Attract Mode. Attract Mode serves three basic functions.
1) To prevent Burn-in of the monitor (a built in screen saver), 2) to “attract” you to the game, and 3) Demonstrate game play.
– B –
Bezel: The glass or Plexiglas that covers the monitor. Most bezels have the artwork silk screened directly on them. Technically, a bezel is the
Bit Rot: A phenomenon that occurs within game ROMs where the software instructions stored in the ROM lose their integrity over time.
Bootleg: Something that has been made without the permission of the original copyright owner.
Burn-in: When the graphics of a game do not change frequently enough, the game display will be slightly “burnt” into the monitor. A good example of
this is the game Pac-Man. A Pac with burn in will slightly display the Pac-Man maze on the monitor when the game is powered off.
Burner: Short for “ROM Burner”. See Device programmer.
– C –
Cab (Cabinet): The wooden structure (usually plywood or particleboard) that houses an arcade game.
Cabaret Game: (also called a Mini-Game) A version of an upright video game that is roughly 75% of the size of a full upright video game. They usually
have wood-grain sides instead of sideart and have smaller monitors. Production runs were much lower on Cabaret Games than that of full uprights.
Capacitor: A passive electronic component that holds a charge in the form of an electrostatic field. Capacitance is measured in units of Farads.
Cap-Kit (Capacitor Kit): To replace electronic components (capacitors) on video game printed circuit boards (to include monitor boards). Capacitors tend to
dry out over long periods of time. Installing a Cap-Kit is not advised for newbies since CRT monitors can discharge up to 20,000 volts of electricity, a dangerous
procedure. Warning – seek advice before installing your first Cap-Kit.
Checksum: The final cyclic-redundancy-check (CRC) value stored in a linear feedback shift register (or software equivalent).
Chip: A popular name for an Integrated Circuit.
Clone: A variant of a game that may have different graphics or be designed for a different country (not original).
Cockpit: Refers to the “sit-in” style cabinets,which contain its own seat.
Cocktail Game: A “cocktail” or “sit-down” arcade game is like a coffee table with (usually) adjustable legs. There is no difference in game play
between a cocktail game and upright game, although cocktail games usually have slightly different artwork, two control panels (one for each player) and sometimes
smaller monitors. Cocktail games generally had much smaller production runs than their upright counterpart.
Coin-Op (Coin Operated): Refers to an arcade machine.
Coin Door: The metal door (usually black) that accepts quarters for game play. Upper coin doors house the coin mechanisms. There are also lower coin
doors, which allow easy access to the coin tray.
Control Panel: As its name implies this is the panel that houses the joystick, buttons, trackballs, and related controls of an arcade game.
Control Panel Overlay (CPO): A control panel overlay is the decal (usually a vinyl-like material) that covers the control panel. Most CPOs have artwork of
the game silk-screened on them.
Conversion: This is the act of installing game a different game in another game cabinet. Conversion refers to either an occurrence of conversion or
to the actual thing that was converted. Conversion often includes painting over original sideart, hacking control panels and wiring harnesses. Operators often converted
older games when they fell in popularity.
Converted Cab (Converted Cabinet): An arcade cabinet that was originally designed for one game, but now houses another.
Credit Switch: A switch (usually concealed) that allows you to “coin-up” a game to play it. A credit switch allows you to play games without having to use
CRT (Cathode Ray Tube): A CRT works by moving an electron beam back and forth across the back of the screen. Each time the beam makes a pass across the
screen, it lights up phosphor dots on the inside of the glass tube, thereby illuminating the active portions of the screen. By drawing many such lines from the top to
the bottom of the screen, it creates the picture you see.
– D –
DC (Direct Current): DC is the unidirectional flow or movement of electrons. The intensity of the current can vary with time, but the general
direction of movement stays the same at all times. In a DC circuit, electrons emerge from the negative (or minus) pole and move towards the positive (or plus)
pole. Batteries commonly produce DC. Household AC is converted to DC by means of a power supply consisting of a transformer, a rectifier (which prevents
the flow of current from reversing), and a filter (which eliminates current pulsations in the output of the rectifier.
Dedicated Cab (Dedicated Cabinet): An arcade cabinet specifically designed to house a specific game, by the game’s distributor. Normally, a game that is
still in its original cabinet.
Device Programmer: (also called PROM burner or PROM programmer) Device programmers are used by technicians and advanced hobbyists to perform ROM dumps
and ROM burns. A dump is taking an existing ROM image and using the programmer to transfer it to another media such as magnetic disk. A burn is the reverse: taking a
stored ROM image and writing it to a blank chip.
Diode: An electric component that only conducts electricity in one direction. In the other direction it behaves like an open switch.
DIP (Dual Inline Package): This is an electronic component found on PCB’s that contains tiny switches that are switchable. Commonly used to set free/coin
play, difficulty, cocktail mode, and other settings.
Distributor: A company that distributes products to retail.
DSP (Digital Signal Processor): A processor that is used to manipulate digital data using dedicated code subsequently freeing up CPU time.
– E –
EEPROM (Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory): Pronounced double-ee-prom or e-e-prom. An EEPROM is a special type of PROM that can be erased
by exposing it to an electrical charge. Like other types of PROM, EEPROM retains its contents even when the power is turned off. Also like other types of ROM, EEPROM
is not as fast as RAM.
Emulator: A software program that simulates the hardware inside an arcade system.
EPROM (Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory): Pronounced ee-prom. EPROM is a special type of memory that retains its contents until it is exposed to
ultraviolet light. The ultraviolet light clears its contents, making it possible to reprogram the memory. To write to and erase an EPROM, you need a special device
called a PROM programmer (or PROM burner, Device Programmer). An EPROM differs from a PROM in that a PROM can be written to only once and cannot be erased. EPROMs can be
changed many times.
ESD (Electro-Static Discharge): The electro-static discharge refers to a charged person, or object, discharging static electricity. Although the current
associated with such a static charge is low, the electric potential can be in the millions of volts and can severely damage electronic components.
– F –
Free Play: A feature on some games that allows people to play games without using quarters or tokens.
Flyback Transformer: (also called the flyback). This monitor chassis part is responsible for clearing the tube of all the already emitted electrons by
collecting them up with a high voltage charge on the anode.
– G –
– H –
Heater: The heater is a CRT component (found in the neck) that is designed to maintain proper cathode temperature (1100-1200 deg C). If someone were to
tell you to check for “neck glow”, you would check to see if the heater in the CRT is activated.
Hertz (Hz): The basic unit of frequency. One Hz equals one cycle of a sine wave per second.
Hexadecimal: A base 16 numbering system.
High Voltage Transformer: See Flyback Transformer.
Horizontal Output Transistor (HOT): Electronic monitor chassis component. This is a huge transistor (T03 or similar) that drives the yoke. If it quits
working, your monitor will likely stop operating, not even with a cap kit.
– I –
Impedance: The resistance to the flow of current caused by resistive, capacitive, or inductive devices (or undesired elements) in a circuit.
Measured in Ohms.
Integrated Circuit (IC): A device in which components such as resistors, capacitors, diodes, and transistors are formed on the surface of a single piece
Isolation Transformer (ISO): The Isolation Transformer isolates AC power going to the monitor from the AC feed, thus buffering the monitor from possible
damage. It also prevents episodes such as you inadvertently reversing the polarity of the feed and creating a 110VAC potential on the metal monitor frame.
– J –
JAMMA (Japanese Amusement Machine Manufacturers Association): A standard format of arcade game circuit boards that enable machine owners to swap
JAMMA-compatible circuit boards between JAMMA-compatible arcade machines to change the game that is played on them. This enables the same cabinet to be used for a
variety of games.
Joystick: Stick-type game control that controls movement or fire. There are many types including 2-way, 4-way, 8-way, 49-way, rotary, hall effect,
optical and pistol grip. Contacts may be leaf switches or micro switches (except on optical and hall effect where movement is not translated mechanically).
Jumper: A small piece of wire used to link two tracks on a circuit board.
– K –
Kilohertz (kHz): A unit of frequency. One kHz equals one thousand cycles of a sine wave per second.
Kit: A game kit is the PCB with one or more items. A complete kit would contain everything but the game cabinet proper (PCB, CPO, Side Art, Marquee, Bezel,
wiring harness). Partial kits are the norm, usually a PCB and a marquee.
– L –
Laser Diode: A special semiconductor diode which emits a beam of coherent light.
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display): A type of display that utilizes two sheets of polarizing material with a liquid crystal solution between them. An electric
current passed through the liquid causes the crystals to align so that light cannot pass through them. Each crystal, therefore, is like a shutter, either allowing light
to pass through or blocking the light.
Lead: (also called pins) A metal conductor used to provide a connection from the inside of a device package to the outside world for soldering or other
LED (Light Emitting Diode): An electronic device that lights up when electricity is passed through it. LEDs are usually red. They are good for displaying
images because they can be relatively small, and they do not burn out.
Lexan poly carbonate: Used mainly as a replacement for Plexiglas parts, Lexan is one of the most widely known “plastics”. Lexan sheet with its unique
combination of high impact strength, flame retardancy, and thermoformability makes it ideally suited for security applications. No other plastic can match Lexan’s
combination of light transmittance (clarity), and the ability to withstand extreme impact. Can be found at local home DIY stores in the storm window section.
– M –
Manual: The instruction book for a game. They usually contain troubleshooting guides, operating instructions, and schematics (drawings).
Marquee: Is the “sign” that identifies the game. The marquee is typically located on the front of the game at the top and has the name of the game
silk-screened. Marquees are usually backlit, which highlight the game.
Megahertz (MHz): A unit of frequency. One MHz equals one million cycles of a sine wave per second.
Mint: A term used to describe the condition of an item. One that is in Mint condition is in perfect original condition, exhibiting no signs of wear,
use, damage or discoloration.
Monitor Glass: See Bezel.
Monitor Surround: The plastic or cardboard piece mounted between the bezel and the monitor. Also see Bezel.
Multi-meter: A piece of test equipment that measures voltage, current, frequency, capacitance, resistance, etc.
– N –
NOS (New Old Stock): Refers to any item or part that has never been used, but is many years old (thus the term old stock). However, since its never
been used is considered “new”.
Non-volatile: Types of memory that retain their contents when power is turned off. ROM is non-volatile, whereas RAM is volatile.
– O –
Octal: A base 8 numbering system.
Ohm: A unit of resistance represented by the Greek letter Omega.
Operator: (also called Op) The person that owns and operates many video games for arcades, movie theaters, etc. They usually store many arcade games in
Oscilloscope (Oscope): A piece of test equipment that shows how signals change in the Amplitude vs Time domain. The vertical (Y) axis represents voltage
and the horizontal (X) axis represents time. The intensity or brightness of the display is called the Z axis.
– P –
PCB (Printed Circuit Board): Most often refers to the main logic board holding the game ROMs, but can refer to any printed circuit board including
monitor chassis boards, sound boards, etc.
PEBKAC: Problem Exist Between Keyboard And Chair. (think about it…there you go).
Potentiometer (Pot): A potentiometer is a modified form of a resistor that usually has a knob that adjusts gain. The volume knob on an amplifier
is a potentiometer.
Power Supply: This is circuit board that provides power to the game. It converts AC power to DC voltage. Common voltages are +12V, +5V and -5V.
PROM (Programmable Read Only Memory): A memory device whose contents can be electrically programmed (once) by the designer.
PSU (Power Supply Unit): See Power Supply.
– Q –
– R –
Raid: A raid is where a collector finds and scores a lot of games, usually from an operator’s warehouse.
RAM (Random Access Memory): A type of computer memory that can be accessed randomly; that is, any byte of memory can be accessed without touching
the preceding bytes. These memory chips hold software instructions in a volatile state. See volatile.
Raster: A monitor signal generation defined by scanning the whole screen in, line by line, from top to bottom. This is the most common method, as
opposed to vector signal generation.
Raster Monitor: A raster monitor is used in most arcade games from the classic era. The monitor is much like a TV monitor and is usually 19″ on
Repro (Reproduction): Reproduction parts for classic games are being made and may be purchased from vendors. This includes marquees, side art,
CPO’s, bezels and more.
Resistor: An electronic component that resists, limits or regulates the flow of electrical current in an electronic circuit.
RGB (Red – Green – Blue): A monitor that requires separate signals for each of the three colors. This differs from color televisions, for example,
which use composite video signals, in which all the colors are mixed together.
RGB Monitor: An RGB monitor consists of a vacuum tube with three electron guns — one each for red, green, and blue–at one end and the screen at the
other end. The three electron guns fire electrons at the screen, which contains a phosphorous coating. When the electron beams excite the phosphors, they glow. Depending
on which beam excites them, they glow red, green, or blue. Ideally, the three beams should converge for each point on the screen so that each pixel is a combination of
the three colors.
R.G.V.A.C.: (rec.games.video.arcade.collecting) An old newsgroup where collectors got together to discuss tech issues, collecting, sell/trade items, look
for parts and post other arcade-related information. It has been replaced with the forum on KLOV.
ROM (Read Only Memory): Chips that hold software instructions in a non-volatile state. See Non-volatile.
– S –
Schematic: The drawing of a circuit diagram.
SEGA: A video game company created in 1954 by David Rosen to export coin operated amusement games to Japan. SEGA is short for SErvice GAmes.
Shill bidding (aka shilling, bid padding, etc): shill (shil) Slang. –n. 1. One who works as a decoy, as in a confidence game, by posing
as a customer or an innocent bystander. 2. One who poses as a satisfied customer or an enthusiastic gambler to dupe bystanders into participating in a swindle.
–intr.v. shilled,shilling,shills. To act as a shill. [Orig. unknown]
Shopped: A game that had undergone some form of restoration.
Sideart: This is artwork on the sides of a game. Some games (such as Robotron and Joust) have the artwork painted on sides, while others (such as
Dragon’s Lair and Gauntlet) have decals of artwork applied to cabinet sides.
Spectrum Analyzer: A piece of test equipment that views analog signals in the Amplitude vs Frequency domain.
Spinner: An arcade control that spins 360 degrees, as on the game Tempest.
– T –
T-Molding: Flexible, plastic molding that is on the front edge of a game. Many games have black t-molding, although a few, such as Pac-Man or
Galaxian use color t-molding.
Top Glass: This term usually refers to the glass top of a cocktail game.
Track-ball: A round ball usually the size of pool ball that is used as the main control in such games as Centipede, Missile Command, and
Crystal Castles. This control manipulates the X and Y positions.
Transformer: A device used to change the amplitude of an AC signal. Transformers can be categorized into two classes; power and signal. Power
transformers are used to convert AC voltages inside power supplies.
Transistor: A device composed of semiconductor material that amplifies a signal or opens or closes a circuit.
– U –
Underlay: An underlay is artwork printed on a clear material that is positioned under glass. You see this mainly on cocktail art and marquees.
Un-shopped: Refers to a game that has not been restored and is usually is not fully working. Most games from the classic era have been sitting
for many years and require a thorough cleaning as well as technical work and a good bit of restoration before they are considered “shopped.”
Upright (UR): A full-size, stand up arcade game, usually measuring about 5 1/2′ tall, and approximately 2 1/2′ by 2 1/2′. These are the most commonly
– V –
Vector Monitor: (also known as an X-Y Monitor) This monitor draws images by using x-y coordinates, much like plotting lines on a graph. Images on
the screen are always frame based with new color in the middle. Examples of games that use vector monitors include Asteroids and Tempest.
Volatile: Types of memory that do not retain their contents when power is turned off, such as RAM.
– W –
Warehouse: A building where operators store their games, usually for years and years.
Wiring Harness: A wire bundle that connects all of the control inputs/outputs, coin door and RGB monitor inputs to the PCB interface edge connector(s).
– X –
X-Y Monitor: See Vector Monitor.
X-Y Axis: (also called coordinates) The X and Y coordinates are respectively the horizontal and vertical addresses of any pixel or addressable point
on a monitor.
– Y –
Yoke: 1)The part of a monitor that consists of two coils of wire, wrapped around the neck of the CRT. The wire is wrapped at a 90-degree angle to one
another. Or 2) A type of arcade control where the user can control the X and Y axis by steering. It is used on games like Star Wars.
– Z –