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DavidDayton

"$1 coin = 3 Plays (Susan B. Anthony coin)" sticker on cabinet

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So, I stumbled across something different recently...

 

A local restaurant/coffee shop has an Asteroids Deluxe cabinet. I don't know if the owner bought it, or if it was cycled in from a local arcade machine service chain...

 

In any event, I noticed something that seemed different to me: under the coin slots, there is an official-looking Atari logo decal stating:

 

"2 coins = 1 play

$1 coin = 3 plays

(Susan B. Anthony coin)"

 

Was it normal for Atari cabinets to TAKE Susan B. Anthony dollars?

 

I was also puzzled about the pricing -- 50 cents per game seemed too high for an early 80s Atari cabinet, but I'm puzzling whether they'd be printing Atari pricing decals late in the generation, especially ones referencing the dollar coin nobody wanted.

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I doubt it was manufactured that way in 1981. But a few years later inflation contributed to the video game crash. Operators had to generate more revenue per play to stay in business.

 

Edit: seeing that the coin was discontinued in 1981 maybe it was manufactured that way in 1981.

Edited by mr_me

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Well... after a LITTLE bit of research, I found a scan of the Centipede operator manual. ( https://www.arcade-museum.com/manuals-videogames/C/centipede-tm182.pdf )

 

Page 12 shows pricing stickers -- the 5th is the the one that was on the machine.

 

Does anyone know how common $1 coin acceptors were at the time?  I don't think I ever remember seeing a notice like that, even when I was a tiny kid playing arcade games ages ago... granted, that doesn't mean they didn't exist, but it's new to me!

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4 hours ago, DavidDayton said:

Well... after a LITTLE bit of research, I found a scan of the Centipede operator manual. ( https://www.arcade-museum.com/manuals-videogames/C/centipede-tm182.pdf )

 

Page 12 shows pricing stickers -- the 5th is the the one that was on the machine.

 

Does anyone know how common $1 coin acceptors were at the time?  I don't think I ever remember seeing a notice like that, even when I was a tiny kid playing arcade games ages ago... granted, that doesn't mean they didn't exist, but it's new to me!

I've never seen one in an arcade machine.   In fact I don't think I've ever seen any vending machine in the US accept $1 coins outside of stamp vending machines.

 

I've also never seen a Centipede machine charge 50 cents per play either :)

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I remember pinball machines often had dollar-coin slots when the Susan B. Anthonys first appeared.  I seem to recall some even had warning stickers teling players they didn't take the new coins.

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Susan B. Anthony coins were fairly common around here in the 70's and 80's, as were the $.50 cent Kennedy pieces. Pinball machines from the era typically took them also. In the case of the SBA coins, you had to pay close attention when emptying coins, or use the smaller inner boxes that fit inside the main box to help separate the various coins as they fell from their respective acceptors.

 

I have a bunch of SBA coin insert plastics for Atari, Bally, Chicago Coin/Stern, Gottlieb and Williams machines floating around here somewhere. Will post pics for fun if they turn up after a quick looksee.

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MAME sheds some light on this too.  Some games, Centipede included, have dip switches to set how many "coins" each coin slot triggers, along with a separate set of switches to set the number of coins per game credit.

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On 6/15/2019 at 7:39 AM, mr_me said:

I doubt it was manufactured that way in 1981. But a few years later inflation contributed to the video game crash. Operators had to generate more revenue per play to stay in business.

 

I remember things going the other way... most arcades I went to transitioned to tokens: 4 tokens for a dollar. Then after a while, it was suddenly 6 tokens for a dollar. I couldn't believe it at first - I thought the change machine made a mistake (I was 8 or 9). The only games that were more expensive were the deluxe cabinets or the laser disc games.

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6 hours ago, Zoyous said:

I remember things going the other way... most arcades I went to transitioned to tokens: 4 tokens for a dollar. Then after a while, it was suddenly 6 tokens for a dollar. I couldn't believe it at first - I thought the change machine made a mistake (I was 8 or 9). The only games that were more expensive were the deluxe cabinets or the laser disc games.

What year are you thinking of.  I'm talking about just before the arcade crash in 1983/84.  I can see after the crash all these machines getting redistributed dirt cheap so operators have very little invested in the pre-crash machines.  At least where I was, just before the local arcades closed, newer machines jumped to 50c.

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Good question. I'm thinking of the same era, but I could be remembering wrong because I was 8/9 years old in '83-'84. Also, for the same reason, I wasn't able to go to arcades that were 18+ at the time. They were all independent businesses so I'm sure they each had to think of their strategies for surviving those years. Maybe the six tokens for a dollar era was more like '87, '88. I definitely remember when Dragon's Lair came along and it was $1 per play. $1 was often my entire budget for a visit to the arcade in those days! IIRC the deluxe Star Wars cabinet was 50 cents.

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The arcade closest to my house, which lasted maybe three years in the early '80s, would do something like 4 tokens for a dollar, but 25 tokens for five dollars.  I believe the token machines were even more generous with $10 bills, and they also did something like double-token Mondays.  The catch of course was you couldn't exchange your leftover tokens back for cash. 

 

I don't remember seeing 2-credit/50-cent machines until the mid '80s, when games like Paperboy demanded two quarters.  But then I didn't get into the laserdisc games like Dragon's Lair when they came out, so maybe I was just lucky enough not to see inflation at work before then.

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First game I ever saw with the 50¢ tag was Missile Command with the Super Missile Attack kit at Aladdin's Castle.  It had a large warning on it stating it was for professional players only...it had a real seriousness to it, and when someone dared to play, a crowd gathered.  My Missile Command has the 50¢ labels, one of these days I need to change them out.

The lame laser games were the real start of 50¢ plays followed by the very expensive cockpits that move around like a ride.

 

The machines are very versatile in how they can be setup.

Below are the settings for my Asteroids Deluxe and as you can see, a 3rd slot was available and supported.  Games like Defender also support a 3rd slot and have even more options set through an on screen bookkeeping display instead of DIPs.

8 SWITCH DIP (L8)
87654321
--------
......11   Free Play
......10   1 Coin = 2 Plays
......01   1 Coin = 1 Play
......00   2 Coins = 1 Play 
....11..   Right coin mech * 1 
....10..   Right coin mech * 4
....01..   Right coin mech * 5
....00..   Right coin mech * 6
...1....   Center coin mech * 1 
...0....   Center coin mech * 2
111.....   No bonus coins
110.....   For every 2 coins inserted, game logic adds 1 more coin
101.....   For every 4 coins inserted, game logic adds 1 more coin
100.....   For every 4 coins inserted, game logic adds 2 more coins 
011.....   For every 5 coins inserted, game logic adds 1 more coin

4 SWITCH DIP (M12)
4321
----
..11   All coin mechs same denomination
..10   Left and center mechs = same, right is different denomination
..01   Left = one denomination, right and center = another denomination
..00   All 3 mechs different denominations

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I have a pinball machine with the "SBA" coin mechanism still installed. I couldn't find any "SBA" coins -but- discovered "presidential dollar" coins work in those coin mechs.

 

I never saw one on an arcade cab though

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10 minutes ago, chas10e said:

I have a pinball machine with the "SBA" coin mechanism still installed. I couldn't find any "SBA" coins -but- discovered "presidential dollar" coins work in those coin mechs.

 

I never saw one on an arcade cab though

Try your bank.  I like $2 bills and they always seem to have plenty kicking around.

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11 minutes ago, Turbo-Torch said:

Try your bank.  I like $2 bills and they always seem to have plenty kicking around.

I'll have to try them again , they were the ones who sold me the "presidential dollars"

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$2 bills, believe it or not, still get printed, which is why banks have them.  SBA's are out of circulation, however, so I would doubt any banks have them.  SBA's were brought back briefly in the late '90s, but then the Mint switched to the Sacagawea dollar before moving on to the Presidential series, all in an effort to wean people off $1 bills.  Obviously it hasn't worked.

 

Having said that, if your bank still has Presidential dollars, which haven't been minted in wide numbers since 2011, then it couldn't hurt to ask.

 

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The first game I saw with a SBA coin slot was the Space Invaders pinball machine.

 

The coins were *kinda* common the first year, but they died off fairly quickly, mostly because the coin size was too close to quarters.

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