OWN A 720?
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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 (Aug-13): BACK IN ACTION - After a long hiatus from the hobby, I’m 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, I’ve 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, I’ve 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 I’m 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 - I’ve 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 KLOV’er 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. I’ve 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 - I’ve 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 I’ve 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 don’t 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 Cab’s 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 year’s 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.
I’m already looking forward to next year’s show, and hope to see more 720 players there. If you’ve 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
John’s Arcade Website
A couple weeks back John finally added the holy grail of arcade games to his collection. As usual, he meticulously documented the game’s 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 720° arcade game! - Atari 1986 - Skateboarding - Rebuild Joystick
UPDATE (Sep-14): 720 History, Scoring & Twin Galaxies - If you’re 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. I’ve made my own comments on TG’s
handling of scores (mostly on their comparison of scores based on stories from “back in the day” 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 “720 Gamers in the House?”, 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 ‘Flywing’ 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, I’m
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 1980’s a revolutionary new arcade game was created,
promoted, played…...Then it was gone. To this day “Bouncer” is
nowhere to be found. It is rumored that the Bouncer hardware
was designed to be upgradable, and may have been the
inspiration for Atari’s 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 80’s arcade, but also has an excellent bar and menu with great hot and cold sandwiches. The place includes around 150 arcade games from the 80’s, 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/MC’s 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. I’m off my top game, but was glad to get the top score on the machine. Grinker’s 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.
UPDATE (NOV-14): POLE POSITION (Game #10) Added + Updated Contact Info: After playing a ton of Pole Position at Grinkfest I was on the hunt. I received a tip from a friend about one in L.A. and was unloading it a few days later. As is normal, it did not boot properly until doing the edge connector voltage bypass and reseating everything. I would say it is in ‘average’ shape, with plenty of cosmetic issues, but this is a game I simply want to play for a while so any large scale restoration is on hold. I did give it the “poor-man resto treatment” (Windex, Magic Eraser, Sharpie) and have it looking acceptable. Most importantly the game works well, monitor is clear and controls are in good shape after a gas pedal calibration. Richie Knucklez (also an excellent 720 player by the way) is one of the top Pole Position players in the world and has recently started a scoring throw-down on KLOV by posting a video of a great scoring run. If you’re a Pole Position player, step up here: KLOV Pole Position Throwdown
Also, I’ve finally caved and joined Facebook. If you’re a fan of 720, or general arcade collecting, please shoot the 720 Zone Facebook Page a ‘like’ for
site update notifications.
I’ve also changed my email address, so if you have any questions about info on this site, or simply what to chat anything 720 related; especially gameplay and strategy (what is the
deal with the blue bonus flags?), please reach out to me directly at Jeff@720zone.com <mailto:Jeff@720zone.com>.
2002 - 2012
UPDATE (MAR-15): Custom 720 "BONES BRIGADE" Edition + 720 Reproduction Cabinets!!!:
Mark Lukasik started off on a mission to create not one, but FIVE perfect, like new, fresh
off the assembly line-condition 720s. He is the first and only to take on the full
reproduction process of the complex 720 cabinet. The results were amazing: Five perfect
720s in new cabinets, with fresh vinyl, brand new art, completely rebuilt joysticks, etc.
Check out one picture of project to the left, and much more this KLOV thread. But he
wasn’t done there…
As a young teen I skated every day, read Thrasher magazines until they were tattered,
and occasionally would take the bus to Del Mar Skate Ranch to watch some of the pros
skate. (I would often end up in the small arcade crowded around 720, but that’s another
story) Mark had a similar youth and also obviously loved 720, so he came up with the idea
for the perfect tribute:
The 720 Bones Brigade Edition really is a work of art, and a perfect homage to the
Powell skaters that we idolized in the 80s. This amazing creation is completely covered in
custom art including a boom box marquee featuring a back-lit original Powell logo skull and
sides with deck art from Tony Hawk and Tommy Guerrero, main cabinet side art with the
Powell “ripper” skull graphic along with the 720 logo, lower sides featuring the entire 1986
Bones Brigade team (Rodney Mullen, Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, Tommy Guerrero,
Lance Mountain and Mike McGill), a front panel that looks like it would have been
customized by sticker happy 80’s skate grommets, and an incredible CPO that incorporates the Rodney Mullen skull and checker-board design, with the original checkerboard style of the traditional CPO. Click the pics below for larger versions, and if you love 720....and especially if you were into 80's skating...please check out more about this amazing project in the 720 Bones Brigade Edition KLOV thread, and view all of Mark's Custom 720 Bones Brigade Edition Picture Gallery. Update - Shout-out on the coin door!!!
UPDATE (JUN-15): 720 Joystick Photos: If you’re at all familiar with the 720 joystick, the process to rebuilt one and the cost of the parts, then you’ll really appreciate these photos. This is more of Mark’s work on full reproduction 720 cabinets. I love this stuff. Check out the full post here: 720 Sticks.
UPDATE (JUL-15): 720 Update & CAX 2015: Not a whole lot to report on the 720 front so far this summer, but CAX is coming up this month. I'll be there Saturday all day as usual. I always like meeting 720 fans, so if you see me, say hi. Also, I've updated my main collection page, and the 720 Hellcade has had three new additions. If you've not yet seen it, please check it out for a laugh (or cry).