Project: MrGame Motor Show

Refurbished / Rebuilt game, Fall 2005


I had always wanted a chance to see, work on, and play one of these rare MrGame games. I had only seen them in pictures, and knew only a little bit about them from what I had read on Federico Croci's web site, and what Cristiano Corti had published. And knowing that MrGame evolved from Zaccaria, I knew had to see one someday.

Out of the blue, one appeared. A collector about an hour's drive away had acquired a Motor Show from a local operator and was looking to sell it. He wasn't sure if it was working or not, but thought that it might have been working as of when it was last plugged in. I made arrangements to drive up to his place to pick it up, then told my wife I had bought another game.

I drove up to Rockford, Illinois the evening of 30 December 2004. I had moved many games in my truck, an Isuzu Amigo, before, so I wasn't expecting any problems. A quick examination showed that the game was in the condition he'd described via email, and the deal was done. All that was left was to get it loaded up and head for home. We got the game up on a moving cart and rolled it out to my truck.

Here is where we hit the first problem. MrGame games are very tall, even when the backbox is folded down. I have moved Williams, Zaccaria, Gottlieb, and Bally games, EMs, early solid state, and WPC era games, and they all fit just fine. But this cabinet is about 3" taller than the roofline of my truck where the cabinet neck sticks up and out to provide protection for the neck of the monitor. Several attempts were made to get the game in, but it just wasn't going to fit.

The Amigo, fortunately, is a semi-convertible. The roof over the driver's seat area is solid, but the roof over the back half is a soft-top. The obvious solution to the problem was to remove the soft-top, which would provide ample head room to get the game in. The problem with this is that a) It's December, in Northern Illinois. b) It's cold out. c) It's really windy and looks like it's about to rain or snow. Well, the Amigo has a really good heater, I've got a warm coat and gloves on, and I brought a roll of stretch wrap. And it's not raining, yet.

A couple of other collectors have shown up to pick up another game at this point. The four of us quickly cocooned the game in stretch wrap. I removed the top, and we loaded the game. I usually like to load games with the backbox in first, but this game won't clear the roofline that way, so it goes in plunger-end first. I strapped it down, folded up the soft-top, and stuffed it behind the passenger seat before heading out.

By now, the wind is picking up. The sky is dark and looks even more like the rain in the forcast may actually be coming any minute now. I have an hour's drive home. Between Rockford and DeKalb, there is a two-lane road through the farm fields that runs more-or-less east with some south-east parts. The wind is blowing and gusty out of the south. And did I mention that it looks like rain? Off I go. The Amigo rides pretty high, and the crosswind makes for an interesting drive with lots of countersteering to stay in my lane. I have the heat cranked, and it's a bit breezy, but warm enough. I'm driving, and hoping that it won't start raining.

About an hour later, I'm pulling in to my driveway. The garage door goes up and I pull in. I beat the rain. As I'm lowering the garage door, the sky opens up and it starts a pretty good downpour. I beat the rain, but not by much.


The game sat in my garage, still wrapped up, through the summer. In the fall of 2005, I finally got in to it. After unwrapping it, and drilling the locks, here's where I started.

The cabinetThe backglassThe playfield


I decided on a full refurbishment of the game, but not a restoration. No paint touchups, or playfield clearcoating. The game was in pretty good shape, overall, with a few minor problems.

Playfield teardown begins...
Playfield closeups during teardown.
The standup target banks. Note the broken yellow RALLY target. We'll fix that later.
Playfield plastics and ramps removed.
The playfield after removing most parts......and with the Pop Bumpers and Flippers removed.

After tearing down the playfield, cleaning everything, replacing all coil sleeves, and rebuilding all of the moving mechanisms (flippers, pop bumpers, slingshots, etc.), a couple of problems needed to be corrected.

The broken RALLY target.
I purchased most of a parts playfield from another collector that had picked one up somewhere. It was for a World Cup '90. Motor Show used targets that were printed, on the back side, with the artwork. World Cup '90 used stickers on clear targets. I peeled off a sticker, reproduced the RALLY artwork on paper with an ink-jet printer, and laminated it to the back of the clear target. See the "After" pictures, below, for how this turned out.
The right inlane guide.
A some point in this game's life, the wood threaded post holding the right inlane guide had broken off in the playfield. Somebody first tried to glue the guide in place (didn't work), then added another wood threaded post next to the remains of the old one. I removed as much of the glue as I could without damaging the playfield, then drilled out the remains of the broken post. This, plus the extra hole from the extra post, plus some extra holes from more wood screws added to hold it in place, was just not the way I wanted this to be put together. For strength, a T-Nut post would be better, and I already had most of the hole for it. So I removed the flipper mechs, drilled the holes through the playfield, and countersunk them to clear the flipper mechs on the bottom, then installed T-Nuts. This should provide a stronger and permanent solution to the problem.
No easy way to remove the left and right ramps.
This didn't make sense to me. The lamp strings on the left and right ramps are soldered to the wiring harness under the playfield, and are installed on the ramps in such a way that there is no way to remove the ramps. I cut the wires, and added some connectors here.

Parts! Cleaned up and ready to reinstall.
Ramps and apron, cleaned up and ready to reinstall.
Adding T-Nuts, countersunk with a Forstner bit to clear the flipper mechs, to hold the inlane rails in place. The right side inlane rail had previously blown out of the playfield since only wood-threaded studs were used to hold it in place.

The playfield is ready. The parts are ready...

Playfield reassembly begins.
Playfield reassembly - right side.
Playfield reassembly - left side.
Playfield reassembly - Pop Bumper area.
Playfield reassembly - Top center.Playfield reassembly - Top right.
Playfield reassembly - Most ramps and plastics reinstalled.Playfield reassembly - More plastics reinstalled.
Playfield reassembly - Complete except for the apron.
Artwork Easter Eggs


I got lucky on the electronics. No battery leakage on the CPU, and other than the usual problem with the power supply fuse clips, the boards were all in good shape and working. I added a memory backup capacitor to the CPU, replaced the fuse clips on the power supply, plugged it in and it booted and played. Some testing, tweaking, and more testing got all the switches dialed in and the game playing nice and fast, just in time for Pinball Expo 2005.

BackglassCabinet Front
Cabinet Left SideCabinet Right Side
Cabinet Inside Left Side - Power Supply and Driver boards.Cabinet Inside Right Side - CPU and Sound boards.
Cabinet Inside Front - Knocker, Tilt bob, and Coinbox.Cabinet Inside Front - Volume pot.
Playfield closeups.
Game - Overall View.Playfield - After refurbishing and reassembly.

Video Games

Motor Show features three video games using the backbox monitor.

DragsterFormula 1Moto Cross
The video games.


I had a good time bringing this game, and Dakar, back to life. Getting to bring them both to Pinball Expo was fun, especially the first comments ("What the h*** is that?!?") as I opened the van to start unloading it. The game is fun to play, though the ramps are somewhat hard to actually hit and can be frustrating at times. But, one last problem: I cannot fit this game in my basement. With the backbox up and the legs on, it is about 4" taller than my basement ceiling. In the spring of 2006, Motor Show and Dakar were both sold to PAPA and should be making their appearance there.