Weekend Pickup! Sega New Astro City Candy Cabinet

For as long as I’ve been in this hobby, I’ve always loved the look of Candy Cabinets. Designed and built by Japanese manufacturers, and intended for the Asia-Pacific market these low slung cabinets with large 29″ monitors are essentially ‘dumb’ shells. But they come to life when a game PCB is placed into them. Think of them like a home console and TV requiring a disc in order to play a game.

The cabinet provides the screen, joysticks and buttons and usually comply to the Jamma standard – a ubiquitous arcade platform that many companies released games for during the 80s and 90s. This provides arcade operators with a very cost-effective way of managing their inventory. when a game becomes unpopular, rather than having to buy a complete new game, owners simply buy a new PCB board. Remove the old one, drop in the new one and away you go.

Taito and Sega are regarded as the kings of Candy cabinets, with the latter releasing various styles of their ‘City’ line of machines. If you want to read a brief outline of Candy cabinets and what they are, I’d recommend checking out this article.

I went through a phase of selling off a ton of parts recently, and amassed a good pile of cash, which I had in mind to spend on something new. As luck would have it, someone listed a Sega New Astro City Candy cabinet on eBay here in the UK at a great price. Sensing I might lose out if I dithered about it, I hit the ‘Buy Now’ button, paid my money and made arrangements with the seller to collect the machine the following weekend.

It was a long drive up the M6 to the sellers house, and once there, he showed me around the cabinet, we loaded up onto my van, and I cruised back home as carefully as I could, ensuring my newly acquired machine didn’t rattle around in the back too much. Once home, it was time to unload:

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I took plenty of blankets and old cushions, so had the thing packed in nice and tight
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Steady as she goes

The clean lines of the Astro City make it a very appealing cabinet for home use. The main difference between these Japanese cabinets and traditional Western cabs is the extensive use of plastic, and of course the player height. Candies are designed to be sat at rather than stood in front of:

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Many of these machines have had a hard life in Japanese arcades. Usually sold as new in the early/mid 90s, most are in pretty poor shape by the time collectors acquire them
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As you can see, this example is in good condition overall. But look closely at the pics and you can see some pretty comical touch ups that have been done over the years. It’s fair to say these haven’t been done to a very high standard!
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Back looks tidy enough

The paint work is definitely something I’m going to have to look at, but other than that, I have few complaints.

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Nice to see the original stickers from the factory on the back. The top sticker translates as “Anti-Static CRT Use”. Presumably a reference to the degauss function standard with the monitor
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Natively, these cabinets would run at 120V within the Japanese market, and would require a step-down transformer to run over here in the UK. This one has already been converted, suggesting it had a life in Hong Kong at some point, before being imported to these shores
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The seller replaced the buttons and joysticks with good quality Sanwa ones at some point, and purchased new graphic overlays for the control panel. This would not have been a cheap job – it is all in really nice shape and won’t need replacing
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The ‘New’ Astro City, sports a higher specced monitor and upgraded stereo sound via these speakers. This panel has been resprayed, as this area usually suffers from significant yellowing
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The control panel sits on a hinge and can be opened for easy access to the underside. This wiring could do with tidying up at some point
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The original artwork is there, but is pretty tatty. It has been reproduced and I’ll look to replace it at some point
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INSERT COIN – The monitor is nice and bright, but does have some minor screen burn at the bottom
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Here’s a height comparison for you. Upright Robotron on the left, Candy cab on the right

Being Jamma compatible, I was able to grab an old 19 in 1 board I had lying around and throw it in the cab just to test everything was working OK:

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Alright – you wouldn’t really want to play Defender on this cabinet, but I can confirm that everything works!

So there you go. Super pleased with my new acquisition, and after 13 years of being in this hobby, I now finally own a Jamma cabinet!

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It’s early days, but I think I’m going to strip everything out, and send the panels off to a local powder-coaters and get everything done properly. More on that in a later post.

Thanks for visiting this week.

Tony

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. neil1637 says:

    Not a bad choice for your first Jamma cab, Tony.
    I love my NAC, which could also do with minor resto at some point.
    But once you plug them in, the tendency to play, rather than strip it down is all too familiar.
    Be keen to see what you do with yours.
    You know you need to Pi it up though, right?………

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim Cain says:

    Welcome to Jamma World! I have had a small collection of of dedicated cabs since the mid 90’s and only finally got my first Jamma set-up this summer, so you are not the only one late to the party! J-Pac and Groovy Mame – it’s the future. Well, actually it’s the past… that the whole point!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. TomTom says:

    The New Astro City was the first arcade cabinet I bought and it turns out that it is my all time favorite!
    But after all, it seems fair as it’s the most beautiful of all 🙂

    Excellent pick!

    Liked by 1 person

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