Crazy Climber came in several different types of cabinets. The most common is the Taito cabinet, which is a generic orange on white cabinet with "Americanized" artwork. The original cabinets from Nichibutsu came in two flavors. A standard cabinet and a deluxe cabinet. The deluxe cabinet is pictured to the right. I got mine from Bill Esquival after begging him to let me buy it from him, he finally gave in. I ended up paying too much for it for the condition it was in but I was happy as a clam.
It needed a lot of work. The control panel was badly cracked, the coin mechs were missing, a little t-molding on the right side of the control panel was mostly gone and the monitor needed a cap kit real bad. The cap kit was the easy part.
I had high hopes after a I found a guy who said he ran across the panel I was looking for in an old operator's warehouse. He said he'd grab it next time he raided the place in about a month. After emailing and emailing him about it, he finally told me that he got the panel but had accidently left it on top of his car and drove off. Uhhhh. Yeah, right.
After that, I gave up hope of ever finding a replacement. I found another guy in Canada named Michael L. who had the same problem I had. He was an industrious fellow and told me to send him my broken panel and he would flatten and scan it. Sure enough, he did a fine job so I set about redrawing the artwork from his scan. He then set about getting some new plexi bent in the shape of the original. The end result came out pretty good, but the plexi didn't quite fit the old mounts perfectly so I needed to improvise with some metal strapping at the bottom to hold it securely. I printed the artwork on an Epson Photo 1200. The results are very good, but the colors don't quite match the custom fluorescent colors of the original. I managed to dig up a couple coin mechs to fill the empty holes in the front of the cabinet, but they don't match each other. I'm still looking for a nice clean matching pair. I doubt I'll ever find replacement t-molding. Got any that's orange with two silver stripes? ;-)
I also redrew artwork for the sides and kickplate, but I haven't gotten around to having it printed on something with adheasive on the back yet.
About a year later, someone posted to r.g.v.a.c that they had new plexi control panels (without art) made to fit this cabinet and they came out great and "fit like a glove". I got very excited and sent the money. The plexi arrived quickly and it looked okay, but the square holes that the joysticks went through were cut a little wobbly and there were no holes drilled on the bottom edge to mount the plexi. Oh well, not a huge deal, since it was going to fit like a glove, it would be better than the one I had on it. I set it aside to wait until I had time to take my old one apart. It turned out to be about 6 months before I had time to work on it. When I finally did, I discovered that my idea of crazy gluing the joystick balls to the shafts so they wouldn't keep coming off when you played wasn't such a great idea. Now you couldn't get the sticks out through the bottom because the balls were stuck on and you couldn't pull them through the top because the black plastic bushings wouldn't slide off the bottom without being cut off. I grit my teeth and cut a slice into the bushings and pulled them off to get the panel apart. I grabbed the new plexi and put it on the panel to see what a nice fit it would be and... NO WAY. It didn't even come close to fitting like a glove. The curve stuck way out too far and it was crooked and it didn't meet the places to screw it down. Great. So, I set it aside again and moved on to other things.
About a month went by before I was ready to work on it again. I went out and bought some clamps and a long rail to use as a cutting guide and trimmed about an inch off the bottom curve of the plexi and tried again. Now, if I kept pressure on the curve, at least it meets with the screws. So, I clamped it down, drilled the holes, screwed it to the control panel and struggled with it for about another 90 minutes until I got it mounted to the control panel. I put my cut joystick bushings back on the shafts and put it all back together. It feels like it's under a lot of pressure, so I hope it doesn't crack in a year. I don't know if I would have gone through that again if I had known how much headache it was going to be, but at least it doesn't look jury-rigged like my old one with the metal strapping holding the bottom of the plexi to the control panel.
In December of '02, I picked up a set of artwork off eBay. Once I clean the sides and front of the cabinet, and re-attach the lower front coin door that has fallen off, I'll apply the artwork and take new pics (done 1/30/03).
There were a few things I didn't like about the Crazy Climber interface, so I fixed them. Check out my hacks page for Crazy Climber.