FIREFOX COMMENTS
Written by Doug Jefferys


 ...Okay, so I didn't have to sneak into a Bilyarsk in the dead of night and blast out of a hangar in a hail of gunfire, but getting my Firefox still took a lot of effort...

The Addiction:

Based on the Clint Eastwood movie, Firefox was released in 1983, and was Atari's only laserdisc game. It happens to be one of my personal favorites, so I'll take a little bit of time to explain my addiction:

I first played Firefox while on vacation in a small tourist town called Sauble Beach, and was addicted the first time I played. Every summer when the family would return there, the first thing I'd check out was whether the Firefox machine was still there, and if so, whether or not it was still running. For a beachfront arcade and a laserdisc machine, the machine held up surprisingly well.

Before getting into video-game collecting, the only other contact I had with the game I had was during a two-year period during which Canada's Wonderland (a major amusement park near Toronto, Ontario, Canada) happened to have some cockpit Firefox machines at its Crystal Palace Arcade. Just like my Sauble Beach days, I always made it a point to play a game or two whenever I visited. One fateful year, the Firefox machines were all converted to Hydra, and the game dropped out of my life for a few years.


The Collection:

Then I discovered video-game collecting, and on my first bulk buy, what should appear but a box marked "Firefox" with a complete board set inside. Oh sure, I didn't have the player, the documentation, or even a piece of the (extremely complicated) wiring harness, but it was a start.

Two years later, a net acquaintance was chancing through a warehouse when he spied a dusty old machine with a parted-out monitor. Under the wraps was a Firefox machine, in relatively decent cosmetic condition. After a little haggling through e-mail, the machine was mine to pick up.

My space situation has always been extremely limited, and it's compounded by an angled staircase that makes the moving of cocktail machines extremely difficult, and full-size uprights impossible. In order to get a full-size cabinet inside, I'd have to tear it down into several large pieces and reassemble it indoors.

Fortunately, the cabinet used by Firefox (and also used by I, Robot and Return of the Jedi) lends itself rather well to this approach. Access panels on the back are trivial to remove, and the entire front of the machine (including the coin door) is also designed to be removable. This leaves only the base (in which the LD player is stored), the head (which encloses the monitor) and two vertical upright pieces of wood for the sides. By pushing the "head" to one side, the upright sides can be broken off the base and head, allowing for a much more compact arrangement.

How much more compact? Well, after a three-hour drive to get to the meeting point, and another hour of head-scratching, we managed to get the whole thing - a full-size upright cabinet, an LD player, a card cage, a control panel, the various coin door and coin box assemblies, plus the wiring harness, power supply, and two (!) Audio/Reg II boards into a Plymouth Sundance...

...and close the hatchback without breaking anything.


The Restoration:

A few hours of work later, and everything was reassembled like a giant jigsaw puzzle, held in place by the weight of the monitor and the neat design of the beast.

And the Firefox was flying over the Russian arctic once more.


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