OWN A 720?
All content © 2008-2014, all rights reserved.
The 720 Zone: Your source for all things related to the Atari 720 Degrees arcade game, plus general arcade collecting resources and My Arcade Collection. SKATE OR DIE!!!
UPDATE (Jun-12): 720 & MAME - It's been a full year since I've had a chance to update the site. Family, work and other interests have kept my 720 and arcade collecting hobby sidelined but I'm thrilled to have some great 720 news to report.
I've often received questions about playing 720 on MAME. I would generally directly people to J. Stooky's site here: http://jstookey.com/arcade/720/index.php. I knew of a few attempts to create a MAME interface that would mirror the unique 720 joystick experience, but hadn't seen much success until longtime 720 player Rob Arreguin pointed me to Mike Reezy's BYOC post and video of an original 720 controller working perfectly with MAME. Rob was able to duplicate Mike's success of getting the original controller to work, then decided to take the project a step further: He created a complete, custom housing for the Joystick assembly which looks as if it was made at the Atari factory right along side the original cabinet. Rob's USB 720 PROJECT video chronicles the building process with plenty of pictures, then explains the Joystick set-up and shows the unit in action.
I really love seeing current interest and new developments in our favorite 25 year old arcade game. Click the video links below to see Rob and Mike's amazing work:
UPDATE (Aug-13): BACK IN ACTION - After a long hiatus from the hobby, Iím happy to have the 720zone Collection fully functional. My games were unplugged and turned sideways along the edge of the garage for quite a while. When I powered everything back up almost all of them had some sort of issue. A few weeks of tinkering in the evenings has everything fully functional again, plus, Iíve cleared enough wall space for one more game, and just had my next project delivered:
On the 720 front, after repairing an issue with my boards, and giving my joystick the regular maintenance, Iíve finally been able to get some games in. Due to the board issue I ended up resetting all of my high scores. The long break has me struggling to break 400K, but Iím hoping to get back in high-score shape soon.
UPDATE (Nov-13): 720 Vinyl Package Available - I plan on updating this site more frequently with 720 and arcade collecting info, and am happy to start off with some great news for 720 collectors restoring their games. Rich at ThisOldGame, creator and provider of top quality reproduction arcade game art, has begun to offer a new improved 720 vinyl set. The set includes 3M 1080 series vinyl. TOG offers the vinyl cheaper than if it were bought from a wholesaler, and of course, the pieces are cut to fit all 720 cabinet parts. If you own, or are thinking of getting a 720 that will need restoration, here is a good reason to get started: http://www.thisoldgame.com/products/720-vinyl-kit
UPDATE (Oct-13): Punch Out!! Added to the 720 Zone Collection - Iíve had Punch-Out listed on my wanted page for the better part of a decade, but could never seem to find the right time to pull the trigger. Finally this year I realized I had the space and time to get this done. I was fortunate to find a KLOVíer willing to sell me his Punch-Out in good shape. I had it shipped down to San Diego from the bay area in late August, and then began a full restoration detailed here: KLOV - Punch-Out!! Restoration. The game now looks and plays perfect and is a great addition to the collection. Iíve also been pulling together parts for Super Punch-Out and Arm Wrestling, with hopes of one day fulfilling the long-time goal of all three working in one cabinet. More to come on that (I hope) in the near future.
UPDATE (Dec-13): 720 Zone YouTube Channel - Iíve always had very limited YouTube involvement; I would only occasionally post videos, mostly related to help with a
technical issues, or the occasional tour of my garage arcade. Lately Iíve consolidated 720 content from my other YouTube account, and posted a few full 720 gameplay videos. My hope
is to have a more formal, dedicated 720 Zone channel, with more regular content related to 720 game play and strategy, as well as videos related to my other games and arcade
UPDATE (Jan-14): 720 Zone Collection Update - I decided
to start off the new year with a quick video update of the current
state of the small garage arcade. Only one game has been added
since my last video walk through several years ago, but the layout
has changed, and small improvements have been made to various
games. If you're curious about the rest of my collection, please
I'm also working on a video highlighting the 720 soundtrack along
side some random screenshots, pictures and trivia about the game,
SKATE OR DIE!!!
UPDATE (Jan-14): Cab & 720 Degrees: 1986-2014 and Counting - The story goes that in 1985 or early 1986, pro skater Steve Caballero was brought in by Atari to do some ramp skating as part of 720 design research. Atari built a ramp in their headquarters and filmed Cab and others in a very primitive session of motion capture, which they used as a basis for certain character movements in the game. As part of his compensation Cab was later given a 720. (See a video from that skate session here - From Atarigames.com).
After stints in his home, and I believe a local skate park, that 720's joystick reached the grinding (eventually frozen) state most 720 owners & players are familiar with. After many years in storage the control panel made its way to me through mutual friend: Rich Cooley. A full tear-down found the stick in surprisingly good condition. I donít believe it had ever been disassembled before, and of course was never used commercially. I replaced the version1 roller and stick with the updated version, replaced a bit of hardware, and of course cleaned and lubricated everything. The 720 is now working again in Cabís home where he and his friends and family are enjoying it almost thirty years later.
Below is a picture from Cab after the repair (Jan-2014), next to a photo from a 720 ad that he did back in 1986. Also see the disassembled joystick and the full ad, scanned from Thrasher Magazine (Mar-1987)
UPDATE (Feb-14): 720 Soundtrack Video - I finally got around to finishing this video, which pairs the epic 720 soundtrack with some random 720 facts and tidbits. If you're interested in some 720 trivia, or want to revisit the songs, please check it out: Atari 720 Degrees Soundtrack: Music & More.
UPDATE (Jul-14): 720 At California Extreme 2014 - After skipping last yearís CAX I was happy to be back in action at the show this year. As usual the event was awesome.
Excellent venue, and packed with games and cool people. This year there were again two 720s on the floor. Both were in good shape with clear monitors and smooth joysticks. I spent
the majority of my time on one near the back of the hall that I had not seen before. The other is part of the massive shared inventory of show organizers Ken and T.J. The high score
table on that machine is still pretty well covered by myself and my good friend and fellow 720 enthusiast Rich. Unfortunately neither of us was able to best our efforts from prior years. I
think in the one game I completed this year I just broke 400K, well off the 460K I have on that same 720.
Iím already looking forward to next yearís show, and hope to see more 720 players there. If youíve never been to the show and like classic arcade games or pinball, it is well worth
Below is a picture of yours truly playing the 720 near the back of the hall, as well as two pictures showing the other 720's row of games:
UPDATE (Aug-14): John's Arcade Adds a 720 - John Jacobsen is a busy guy with a bunch of gaming related activities including several gaming themed podcasts, a great YouTube channel, multiple bands, and of course a killer arcade collection with a dedicated website. Check out some of the great content here:
Arcade Outsiders Retro Arcade and Pinball Collector Podcast
John's Arcade Game Reviews & Tech YouTube Channel
Johnís Arcade Website
A couple weeks back John finally added the holy grail of arcade games to his collection. As usual, he meticulously documented the gameís pickup and a very detailed run-through, both inside and out. A large portion of the video is dedicated to a complete rebuild of the 720 Joystick. It should be entertaining for any 720 fan, and anyone diving into the joystick for the first time will find it very useful. Thanks to John for the great 720 info and steady stream of arcade related entertainment.
John gets a 720į arcade game! - Atari 1986 - Skateboarding - Rebuild Joystick
UPDATE (Sep-14): 720 History, Scoring & Twin Galaxies - If youíre not familiar, Twin Galaxies is a long standing arcade scoring authority that was brought much visibility in
recent years by the movie King of Kong. When the original owner finally stepped down, the organization, its name, web site, score database and forums, were sold to a group of
collectors. Varied drama ensued for a couple of years with the site being re-launched once or twice, only to disappear for many months at a time. Iíve made my own comments on TGís
handling of scores (mostly on their comparison of scores based on stories from ďback in the dayĒ versus scores that went through strict documentation processes).
As it relates to 720, TG maintained a list that was always dominated by one of these heyday scores until a small group of us began making attempts and submitting scores. Discussion
surrounding these score submissions was housed in a years-long forum thread called ď720 Gamers in the House?Ē, that was full of some great 720 players' memories, tactics, stories of
rivalries, links to other 720 posts on the internet and tons of other great 720 discussion. Especially significant were posts by a good friend of the record holder, as well as a poster
named ĎFlywingí who initially pointed me to the thread. I owe many of the tactics I used today to these posters. The latter part of the thread details a more recent scoring rivalry
between Mike Stephenson and myself.
Needless to say for me personally, having that post, so full of 720 histories, removed from the internet was the biggest loss associated with the TG turmoil. For the meantime at least, it
looks as though the site has been returned to stable ownership, and all content brought back online. Regardless of my take on the recent drama or new scoring submission system, Iím
very glad to see that the score and this special forum post are back online.
And here are a few good excerpts:
UPDATE (Oct-14): Bouncer - The Missing Arcade Game
In the early 1980ís a revolutionary new arcade game was created,
promoted, playedÖ...Then it was gone. To this day ďBouncerĒ is
nowhere to be found. It is rumored that the Bouncer hardware
was designed to be upgradable, and may have been the
inspiration for Atariís system 2, which was used for 720. The
search for Bouncer is one of the more interesting arcade lore type
stories out there. Check out my video synopsis for more info, and
if you know anything about the whereabouts of this game, please
shoot me an email: Jeff@720zone.com.
Turbosub.com - An amazing amount of research and information
related to the search for Bouncer. The main source of info shared
in the video.
UPDATE (Oct-14): 720 @ GRINKFEST 2014:
Now THAT is how you do an arcade get-together. I had the good fortune to attend Grinkfest in Idaho this past weekend, and let me just say: What a blast. Grinkfest was the second of a now (hopefully) yearly arcade tournament put on by the Arcade Outsiders and the owner of Grinkers Grand Palace: Steve Barbey. Grinkers is first and foremost an 80ís arcade, but also has an excellent bar and menu with great hot and cold sandwiches. The place includes around 150 arcade games from the 80ís, with a few from the surrounding decades. This KLOV post includes tons of detail around the initial remodel, game acquisition, and set-up of Grinkers. It is a great read. For the classic arcade collector that likes to have a few drinks and visit with like-minded arcade enthusiasts, the Grinkfest event is bliss.
The owner made a point to visit with attendees, share knowledge about the games, participate in the tournament, and ultimately take part in the fun. He and his staff were excellent hosts. The event organizers/MCís were John, Joe & Shawn of the Arcade Outsiders weekly podcast. They actually did three live pod-casts from the event, in addition to participating in the tournament, and generally enjoying the party.
On to the 720 Report: Grinkers has a beautiful, fully restored 720 with a very nice joystick. The monitor is crisp, buttons, sound, everything else perfect. The best part for me was the location in the arcade. Most games are in rows like you would associate with a classic arcade, but at Grinkers the 720 is in its own area, with no games on either side. When I play I usually like to have a wider stance, and am of course throwing elbows to spin the stick. The location of 720 allows plenty of room. I played three games, but finished only two of the three, putting up 400K and 413K on two continues. Iím off my top game, but was glad to get the top score on the machine. Grinkerís generous offering of $1 beers to tournament attendees did not help my gameplay.
720 related highlights included getting to play a couple of games of 720 with the owner, and having a chance to talk some 720 on one of the live pod-casts. See pictures below and check out Episode 49 of the Arcade Outsiders Podcast. Skip to 10 minutes in for the quck 720 chat, or r better yet, listen to the whole thing. My only complaint? Not enough 720 players! One of my favorite parts of CAX is the opportunity to split games with other players and talk 720. Next year I hope to hook up with more players at Grinkers, and perhaps even a 720 side tournament. If you play 720 and can swing it; plan to get yourself to Grinkers next October to Skate or Die!!
Click images for larger versions: The Grinkers 720 // My first score // A quick chance to talk 720 on the Arcade Outsiders Podcast // Grinkers owner Steve Barbey and I after a game.
** Grinkers Grand Palace - Eagle, Idaho: - Official site for the tournament location. If you're anywhere near Boise, Idaho; check it out.
** Arcade Outsiders Podcast - Site for the arcade outsiders podcast with John, Shawn & Joe - A good mix of arcade info and general debauchery. More from John a further down.
** Grinkfest 2014 KLOV Thread - Tons of photos and other info about the event.
** My GrinkFest KLOV Post - More personal comments and photos from the event.
** My Picture Album of the Event - Flickr hoto album with my pictures.
** John's Arcade Youtube Video - Coverage of the event and every game at Grinkers.