I just wanted to take a moment and share my experience and photos from my visit with Chicago Gaming / Churchill Cabinets today, 5/17 to see MMR. (I saw Rick's post about visiting Chicago Gaming today and took advantage of this opportunity.) All I can say is it was amazing! Doug and Roger Duba are two outstanding individuals and made me feel at home. Two super nice guys who have been in the industry for years and know their stuff. Not only did we see, play, and talk MMR, we got a tour of Churchill Cabinets factory, playfield screening room, playfield assembly room, cabinet fabrication and assembly and more. Here is how it went down.
I call my friend Joe Miller and say hey, I saw a post on pinside from Rick about an open house on 5/17. Joe says pick me up in the morning first thing and lets go. Joe, my son George and I get up early on Saturday and head to Cicero. It's only about a 20 minute ride. We get to Chicago Gaming a bit early thinking there would be tons of people, and nobody was around. I mean nobody. We wait until 10:00 AM and head in.
We are great by a nice woman asking us what we were there for, and just at that time Roger Duba showed up and welcomed us with open arms. He offered us refreshments, etc, and asked us to wait in the showroom until Doug showed up. The three of us head over to the showroom and are totally awed by the history of the place. It has been around forever and has charm up the wazoo. You could tell a lot happened here over the years just by the stuff piled around. Here's a few pics of the showroom where they have some CG games assembled and what looks to be Video Poker / Vide Slot machines.
Doug shows up a few minutes later and greets us n the showroom. What two great guys Doug and Roger are. Roger told us some great stories about the factory and how he bought it in the 50's sometime from Bally / Midway. One of the engineers, Shawn, also showed up, and they wanted to take a few minutes to get the game ready. In the mean time Doug shows us a bit of the factory assembly area when CG completed "all in ones" are sitting. He also shows us a new line of Poker and Slot machines they are developing for the local market.
Shawn says they are ready, and we go over to the engineers room where the MMR is located. In the mean time one added person, (Dave - Chicago Fireman) show up to see the MMR. (It was just the four of us all day.) Note, I don't have any close-up pictures of the MMR. Everyone has seen it in previous posting on pinside, so this part will be mostly verbal. If you want to see close-ups, go search pinside or PPS blog.
First, let me say that Doug and Shawn have a real passion for the Medieval Madness remake. The way they talked about it, and the modifications they made based on pinside feedback and show feedback was amazing. They are making every effort to make us happy, and in my observation, it's a home run! If you had any reservations about buying one, don't. Its a hit and in many ways looks better than the original.
Right away I notice the playfield and entire game is stunning. Real deep colors, sharp registration and super high detail. Later Doug showed us how they tested various color processes to get the look and detail just right. They hit it right on the mark. Playfield also had a very glossy, high luster look. Everything you want. I also notice how the ramps, are super clear, plastic assemblies look dead on. Castle looks perfect, drawbridge / gate right on the mark, and trolls look great. Dragon wings and dragon body are a dead match to each other, and he looks menacing. Cabinet also looks amazing. Detail super sharp and crisp. Doug goes through the process and detail they went through to get the cabinet right. He also mentions that the cabinet will have a layer of protective UV automotive clear coat on it. It will glossen up the graphics while having UV protection.
Shawn fires up the game and Doug shows us the new menu features, how they solved the castle tower timing sequence and how they solved / simulated the timing of the light strobing aspects of incandescent bulbs. They really took a lot of time, and expense to ensure all the little details are just right. This is what I mean when I say these guys are passionate about this project. Here is a list of the new features and some upcoming features. Note, the game plays dead on to the original. I have spent a lot of time playing the original Williams version and this is dead on. Lighting looks great, and we even played it with the lights off for a bit. It looks killer!!!!
1. Flipper strength is adjustable. We felt +5 was dead on. Some discussions going on about how it will ship, but flipper power is adjustable from weak to super powerful.
2. You can adjust the display color to any color possible by upping one color aspect ratio and reducing another to get the mix you want. Gives you an infinite number of color possibilities.
3. The timing of the GI attract strobing feature is adjustable. From slow to fast. Default is dead on to incandescent bulbs and how they power up and fade out as power is added and cut to them. Again attention to the small details.
4. Code can be updated via a small SIM card that can be plugged into the small board in the back box.
5. One cable connects the head to the body of the game. Makes it easy to remove the playfield if necessary.
6. Confirmation of three leds per illumination and leds getting stronger if another fails.
1. Shawn showed us an example of a completely colorized display. The game will ship with the display selectable to one color as discussed, and is adjustable as the user desires. New code will be made available, post go live, that will allow the display to display full multicolor capabilities. (Similar to multicolor displays being sold today.) They showed us a partial sample and it looked awesome.
2. Before the game ships, all connectors will be labeled for location. I don't have anymore detail on this one as I was playing the game and conversations were happening behind me.
3. The intent is to run additional game titles. Time and money was spent on ensuring the OS and PCBs were extendable, and robust enough to support future titles. Doug wouldn't say what the next title was, but I am sure it will be right based on market desire.
We then take a break and Doug buys us some sodas. He then asks us if we want to take a tour of the Churchill factory and playfield screening process. Note, CC makes all the playfields and cabinets for Stern and used to make the cabinets and playfields for Bally / Williams. Here are some photos.
Tons of wood, cabinets, playfields, giant machinery and paint booths everywhere.
More cabinet body wood. Note, I didn't realize how well the cabinets were made until I saw all the parts disassembled. Doug commented on how well a cabinet needed to be made to sustain weight and abuse.
We then get to the playfield lens assembly area. This is the room where the workers pound in the lenses into the cut playfield before screening. It's a totally manual process. Note the cartons of lenses. They are running MMR playfields right now. Interesting fact, the hardest part of the process is to insure the right colored lens gets into the right hole. A completed playfield is placed underneath as a color template.
We finally get to the playfield screening room. Check out the walls. Lots of playfields they previously ran. Also, note the machine used to apply the ink and draw it across each screen one at a time. Very labor and time intensive process to create a playfield.
Mustang playfield in various color stages drying.
More wood as we leave the screening room. Note, the naphtha smell is so strong, my sinuses are stinging. Have no idea how someone works in there for hours.
Some assembled games on our way back to the front of the factory.
My son and I taking some final shots.
Lastly, I just wanted to thank Doug, Roger and Shawn from Chicago Gaming for making this visit a really unique and awesome experience for us. We really appreciated it. Also, super thumbs up on the Medieval Madness remake. It's a home run all around and their hard work looks fantastic!!! Can't say enough good things on how the game played and looked. Go get one!