Last updated: January 18, 2001 3:00PM EST - Added a LOT of info from my recent trip to visit the game!

Discs of Tron (Bally Midway, 1983) (Page 2)


Cleaning and Repair (or, OMG what a job!)

    Restoring this game is definitely going to be a labor of love.  The good news: The game plays. The bad news: it needs a great deal of cosmetic surgery, and a few new parts to get it looking great again. The easiest way to show what I am doing, and what needs to be done, will be to include pictures on this page as well as on the next page, with each picture a link to a larger, higher-quality image. Hit BACK on your browser to return to this page.


    First off, this game has apparently not had a thorough cleaning since it was built! Being in a warehouse or wherever it was stored, plus SILT from a water leak or flood has not improved it's general condition, either. Fortunately, my friend Ed agreed to help me out with the work here, and even at the height of our frustration he only took a sledge to the back of the game a couple of times. Here are some "before" pictures to give you an idea of what we were up against:

The game plays, but boy is it dirty. You can't see any of the behind-the-screen art either.

This game has dust old enough to vote!It's been chopped into two sections. The lip and floor on the front piece join with the back environmental piece.

Oh, the humanity! The rear of the environmental pieceThe stripe and splash marks on the art were caused by tape removal

This control panel is GRUNGY!

The scariest part of the renovation will be getting this taken care of..

She's aaaaaaaaan.... uuuuuugly girl

Okay, it's a before/after. Sue me.

Look at all that CRUD! It's got to go...

    Here's a short list of things that needed doing, cleaning-wise:

    The blue items are ones that have been completed thus far.

    Items that we needed to accomplish our goal:

    Now that we have our supplies, we're ready to begin! First, we went over the artwork on both pieces of the cabinet to remove the excess dirt. A little 409 later, we tackled the worst job of all - glass-work! The environmental Discs of Tron (and possibly the UR, but I haven't seen an UR in a very long time) has several different pieces which together, help simulate the feel of being in Tron's world. First is the glass directly behind the control panel. Next is the mirror which reflects the image of the monitor, which is mounted facing up. The mirror reflects the artwork on either side of the area between the front glass and the mirror, giving the illusion of there being a larger area shown. Since the mirror may be seen through, there is art behind THAT, a red trapezoid with lines that connect with the mirrored artwork. Behind the red art is a blue art piece, that consists of some lines that coincide with the reflected game playfield. Behind THAT is a large blue piece of plastic that has a futuristic city-scape drawn on it. When all these pieces are in place, and all the lights (normal and black) work, it gives a VERY cool 3-D effect.  Here's some pictures (run your cursor over each picture to get more detail about it. Click the link to get a larger picture):

We removed the control panel, CP blacklight cover, and other pieces before removing the front glass.After removal of the blue backdrop, you can see the layering - blue (white from behind) and red art pieces, then the mirror.

Now for the red to come out. Yes, this was taken while fixing a bad installation

Sort of a before and after.. note the black rectangle on the after.. does not appear on both sides!

Once the dust has cleared, we can see our friend, Screen Burn, it all it's glory.

It always helps to get things back in the same way you removed them..I need new carpeting for the inside now..

Wax on, wax off, Madoc-san

It's clean, clean, clean..

Nothing like a little before......and after!

    We had just a few problems as you saw above :) First, we didn't put the red art glass back in correctly, so it did not match up with the reflected red artwork on the inside sides of the cabinet. Next, we failed to place the blue plastic backdrop with the black rectangle facing in towards the player. After fixing that, we turned the game on... and discovered it WAS possible to put the mirror in backwards! Word of advice, make some sort of mark on the glass in a part that cannot be seen once you re-install it, so you know which way to put things back. A photographic record of the removal of pieces can be helpful, as well.

    Once the dust was removed, the screen burn on the monitor was quite evident. It wasn't too bad during gameplay, but when the machine was off it was definitely an eyesore. Here is a final pair of pictures, showing the difference visually between having the dirty screen and art, and having them cleaned up:

Before.....and after!

    We cheated a LITTLE by hanging a work light on the back of the game with the access panel open, to simulate the missing fluorescent light that would normally illuminate the backdrop. But, you get the idea! The "trails" on the right image are from me playing while Ed takes the picture - it's limitation of the digital camera, not a problem with the game.

    The joystick, control panel, and blacklight cover were much easier to work on by comparison. All that was needed to clean those was some 409 and a little elbow grease, and time. I think they turned out quite well, don't you?

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