Keen readers of Nintendo Life may remember our report on the Sky Skipper project, an ambitious quest by UK-based Alex Crowley and US-based Whitney Roberts to save an almost lost piece of Nintendo arcade history.
That piece of history is Sky Skipper, one of a number of arcades planned to arrive after the DK success story. It was play-tested and marketed in the US but ultimately dropped in 1982, making it immediately fascinating to retro arcade enthusiasts. Though ROMS have found their way online and the game actually has an Atari 2600 iteration, no complete cabinets are known to exist along with only a very small number of PCBs.
Whitney gained access to the only Sky Skipper arcade ever made, which is hidden away in the vaults of Nintendo of America. The Sky Skipper Project team were able to spend several hours taking scans and photos of this prototype cabinet.
Then it was a simple case of locating one of the only four known arcade circuit boards (PCBs) in existence, which were converted to run Popeye instead. Alex managed to get two of these, one found in the UK and another in Sweden. The serial numbers confirmed that these were the real deal and with support of the retro arcade enthusiast community it was possible to convert them back to play Sky Skipper once again.
Using these detailed photos and scans the dynamic duo managed to reproduce the arcade marquee artwork and convert a Popeye cabinet into a Sky Skipper cabinet that was 100% faithful to the prototype in the vaults at NOA.
The grand unveiling happened this weekend at Southern-Fried Gameroom Expo in Atlanta, GA, where the restored Sky Skipper arcade cabinet was on show to attendees. Alex and Whitney got to meet a whole host of retro gaming alumni including none other than Walter Day and Billy Mitchell. It looks like a great time was had by all.
We have to say it's a truly impressive feat that Alex and Whitney were able to achieve this restoration, along with support from lots of people in the arcade enthusiast community. Let us know what you think about this epic achievement with a comment below.