Judge Dredd is a pinball machine that I had not heard much about until a little over year ago. I had come across Judge Dredd mentioned a few times here and there, on various forums and so forth, but never considered it for a pinball to own. About a year ago I was at a local league event and the host had a Judge Dredd. It wasn't part of league play, but I played it a few times and enjoyed it. At that point I decided I'd keep a lookout for one but didn't pursue it very strongly
About a year later at the Southern Fried Gameroom Expo 2016 (SFGE 2016), I was able to play several games on the Judge Dredd at the show. I hadn't thought much about Judge Dredd during year preceding SFGE2016, but once I played it again I decided it was time to more aggressively look for one. The specific game that was at SFFE wasn't for sale, but I ended up locating another and bringing it home a few weeks later.
Below are great aspects of Judge Dredd:
I don't know anything about Judge Dredd canon, and I've never seen the Stallone movie, but Deadworld is very cool. It is a little sad, however, that Deadworld isn't as cool as it might have been.
Deadworld is used to start multiball in Judge Dredd. During design and just up to release of the game, Deadworld held 3 locked balls. Balls would be diverted into the orange rim around the planet and they would spin around the planet. A crane would remove the balls when multiball started. As far as I understand the story, a large operator was unhappy that, in his opinion, the balls could get stuck in deadworld. This operator must have had a lot of clout since the game was modified to do a virtual ball lock for the first 2 balls and to only ever have a single ball in deadworld. Additionally, the orange rim around the planet was modified such that the single ball out roll out if the crane was unable to remove it.
A vendor sells a replacement rim that has the original holes (which don't let the balls roll out). If this is installed, alone with the first version of the ROM, Judge Dredd will play as originally designed. Unfortunately, there were several revisions to the software made after the virtual ball lock was added. This means you miss the changes that were made if you decide to run Deadworld as it was originally intended. Some have said the updates are minor and it's worth running the old code.
I'm interested in trying out Deadworld as originally designed, but haven't purchased the replacement rim yet.
Below are some pictures of Deadworld.
I purchased the Deadworld modification from Pinbits. As mentioned above, this mod restores the original functionality of the Deadworld mechanism. The virtual lock is gone. Rather, the balls lock in the Deadworld ring and circle around the center planetoid. This is extremely cool to watch and see. It's a shame this functionality was removed from the original game.
Installation is fairly straight forward (although the kit comes with no printed directions). First I removed the decorative Deadworld piece. It is attached with 3 screws. With this removed, the orange ring is completely visible. This orange ring is a key part of restoring the Deadworld lock functionality. Notice the ring in the game has slots for the pinball, but they are not "closed". Since they are not "closed", they allow the ball to roll out.
Below is a picture of the replacement ring. I picked the fluorescent orange version thinking it would match the original as closely as possible. Notice the ball holes. Unlike the one I'm removing, these will hold the ball in place rather than allowing the ball to roll out.
The original orange piece is easily removed by unscrewing 3 screws. When this piece comes out, I noticed there are 3 small standoff that also need to be replaced and then placed on the new fluorescent orange piece. Below is a picture of the new Deadworld piece installed in Judge Dredd. This is followed by a picture showing the decorative Deadworld piece attached.
Once the Deadworld piece is installed, I needed to replace the ROM with the special L1AT version provided with the kit. Since Bally stopped supporting the Deadworld lock in ROM L2, it is unfortunately necessarily to go back to L1. The last ROM release of L7, but the changes between L1 and L7 appear to be fairly minor. At this point in time, moving back to L1 is worth it to enable the extremely cool Deadworld lock.
Finally, the crane needed to be adjusted. This is because the new orange piece holds the balls higher than the original.
My Judge Dredd didn't come with the eagle topper. The topper is static and performs no purpose other than looking cool. I knew the toppers were hard to find and expensive. As I write this, they were going for around $300 (up to $500). I would never pay that much for one.
I lucked out. Even though the typical pinball parts suppliers didn't have the topper in stock, I sent emails to ask. I was pleasantly surprised when one wrote back that they had one in stock! The price was quite reasonable.
The backbox even has cutouts for the eagle's talons. See the picture below.
Here is a picture of the eagle on the backbox.
I didn't want to spend $30 for a reproduction Eagle topper mounting bracket (cost + shipping). Using commonly available parts, I came up with a straightforward way to make my own. Specifically:
For the 2 weeks I've had Judge Dredd, the game lost a ball once or twice. I'd open up the playfield and eventually find the ball in the read of the playfield. I figured it was stuck in a VUK and fell out when I raised the playfield, but I didn't know which one.
It because apparent which VUK was causing trouble when the Sniper VUK stopper working altogether. I opened up the playfield and looked at this VUK. The problem was pretty apparent. See the pictures below.
The repair was straightforward at least. I cut the wire and removed the crushed portion, spliced in a new wire, put heat shrink tubing on the splice, and soldered the wire back to the coil. I also positioned the wire so this shouldn't happen again.
Here is a picture of the side art on Judge Dredd.
Original 7/17/2016 Updated 7/18/2016
When I got Judge Dredd setup, I quickly realized something wasn't right with the ball trough. The game would occasionally put 2 balls into the shooter lane. Also, there was some weird ball behavior. Judge Dredd is from the same generation as Indiana Jones and years ago I learned about the common ball trough problems. Specifically, the PCBs are mounted directly to the trough and the vibrations often cause the legs on the resistors to break. Luckily, it's a simple fix if (when) it occurs.
I took the emitted trough board off Judge Dredd and fairly quickly identified the problem. It was the classic problem described above. See the picture below.
Not only had someone previously replaced the top left resistor, but the replacement resistor's leg had cracked right where it exits from casing. This part is a 2 Watt 270 Ohm resistor. I dug through my parts, but I didn't have any spares. While I've ordered 20 of these resistors (they are 13 cents each), I decided to hack a solution in the mean time.
Using my dremmel, I carefully cut away about 1/16" of the casing around the broken leg --- but I didn't cut the leg. This left 1/16" of the leg exposed and I soldered it to the other part. This is not a good long term solution, but I expect it should be fine until the 2 Watt 270 Ohm resistors arrive. This temporary repair is shown in the image below.
The resistors arrived. I ordered metal oxide resistors which have better tolerance, age better, and hold their resistance across different temperature ranges better. They do look different, however. Below is a strip of 20.
The first picture below shows the original resistor removed from the PCB. As you might have noticed from an earlier picture, some previous tech was a little hard on the PCB with the soldering. The second picture shows the metal oxide resistor installed.
I didn't realize Supergame with 3 balls was incorrect at first. Running the L-7 ROM, at the start of Supergame my Judge Dredd would kick 3 balls into play. It wasn't until I took a look at the instruction card and noticed it said Supergame should have 2 balls.
After some unfortunate wrong paths, I eventually noticed that the "up" (or "jam") LED emitter on Judge Dredd's ball trough was not working. I had previously checked out the ball trough, but had overlooked the "up" / "jam" optos.
There are two parts to these opto switches: the emitter and the receiver. The emitter LED generates IR light and the receiver detects IR light. If the receiver detects IR, it means there is no ball (since nothing is blocking the light). If the receiver does not detect IR, that means a ball is present (since it is blocking the emitted IR).
When looking at the emitter LED, it was clear a previous owner had replaced this LED. It was a different color and I could tell soldering had been performed. Unfortunately their repair had not been successful (or it had broke again?). It's far more common for the emitter LED to break than the receiver. Using an incandescent flashlight, I verified that the receiver was operational. The problem was likely with the "repaired" emitter.
I ended up replacing this emitter LED with a spare I had on hand. But it still didn't work! Then I realized I had installed it with reverse polarity. After removing it and installing it properly, the trough now correctly registered the "up" / "jam". Many digital cameras will show IR light. Below is a picture of the working LED.
Fixing the "up" / "jam" opto fixed the Supergame problem. Now Judge Dredd no longer starts Supergame with 3 balls but, instead, correctly starts Supergame with only 2 balls.
I mentioned that I ended up installing the emitter LED with the wrong polarity. This puzzled me when it happened because I thought I was being careful and specifically checked the right orientation. I've now determined that the RadioShack specification for the 276-0143 High-Output Infrared LED is, at best, confusing. At worst, it is wrong. Below is the picture from the 276-0143 emitter specifications followed by the LED emitter itself.
What's confusing about the diagram?
Original 7/24/2016My Judge Dredd came with an original instruction card and a terrible quality "custom" price card. I'm not a fan of the pimped out pricing cards, I prefer the classic "Free Play". I also printed out a new instruction card since the original was a bit grubby. As a side note, the instruction card 16-20020-2 goes with the original L-1 ROM (with Deadworld lock) and 16-20020-3 goes with the L-2 and later ROMs.
While this Judge Dredd has clearly been back in the USA for quite some time, it was originally exported out of the country. Some people don't like to get "reimport" games, but I think that's simply crazy. Condition is the only important criteria and a game that has lived in the USA its life may be in no better condition than an import.
There are several ways to tell a re-import, but the most obvious is the coin door and the inserts within the coin door. My coin door had inserts that said "5s" and "10s". I replaced these with "25 cent" inserts that I created many years ago.
Changing the inserts is fairly simple. For each coin entry there are 3 screws that must be removed. This allows the coin slot to be pulled off from the inside. The "reject" button, that has the insert, falls right out. Note that there is a spring attached. With the reject button removed, a small flathead can be used to pop off the top, exposing the insert.
Some miscellaneous pictures
Have any comments, questions, or just want to say "Hi"? Drop me a note using "pins at this website". I'm being vague because of spam but you should be able to figure it out.