Dragon's Lair has been my holy grail since I became obsessed with collecting arcade games.
The first time I saw Dragon's Lair was when I was on vacation with my family in Hawaii. We went to a large marketplace in Oahu and I immediately spotted an arcade. Once inside, I noticed a large group of people gathering around a game. I squeezed my way in and I couldn't believe my eyes. The graphics (or what appeared to be graphics) were beyond anything I could have imagined. Up to this point, the best graphics I had seen were in Donkey Kong.
Upon returning to Portland, I immediately found a couple of local arcades that had recently received Dragon's Lair machines. I was hooked and didn't stop playing until I could compete the entire game on a single credit (which was 50 cents at the time).
Of course it turns out Dragon's Lair game play is fairly limited. Due to the fact that the "graphics" are really painted cells that are displayed via a Laser Disc player. The moves you can perform are predetermined and it results in the game being more along the lines of a choose-your-own adventure. However, even with those limitations, I truly enjoyed the game then and continue to enjoy it today.
The restoration of my Dragon's Lair machine was quite extensive. I originally obtained the cabinet via eBay. For some reason someone had converted Dragon's lair into a, "Bottom of the Ninth". I started my restoration by collecting all of the necessary parts: power supply, volume control, main PCB, laser disc, and artwork.
I spent quite a bit of time restoring the control panel as the conversion to "Bottom of the Ninth" required drilling numerous additional holes. Once I had filled the holes, I applied a reproduction control panel overlay.
I obtained several laser discs, most of which have some degree of, "laser rot". Fortunately, most of them play all of the way through. I also purchased one of the Limited Edition reproduction discs containing additional footage. For the player, I went with a Sony LDP-1450 which is driven by a Hi-Tech Laser Disc Conversion Kit.
As far as cabinet work goes, during the conversion they decided to chop the marquee (a common occurrence with these cabinets). Thus, I had to rebuild the marquee portion of the cabinet, purchase rails and obtain a marquee (with original artwork).
One interesting note is that whoever did the conversion to, "Bottom of the Ninth" decided to apply its side art directly on top of the original Dragon's Lair art. So, I spent time (painfully) removing it with a hot air gun. Thus, I didn't apply the side art I purchased, as the art on the cabinet is original.
I was shocked and amazed when I put everything together that the game actually fired right up.
To date, I have performed the following repairs on this game:
- Acquired power supply, volume control, main pcb, marquee and brackets
- Repaired existing wiring harness (replaced plugs that had been removed, etc.)
- Acquired several laser discs including a limited edition reproduction
- Acquired Sony LDP-1450 player and Hi-Tech Laser Disc Conversion Kit
- Fully restored the control panel (filled holes, new control panel overlay, etc.)
- Rebuilt marquee holder, etc. (had been chopped)
- Removed "Bottom of the Ninth" side art to expose original Dragon's Lair art