vs. Unisystem with Excitebike

When I imported my first two Nintendo cabinets in 2016, they both came across the pond as converted vs. Unisystems. I bought both with the intention of returning them to factory releases (Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr etc.), but never thought about what I’d do with the conversion kits I ultimately removed from them.

The nicer of the two cabinets that I imported was a vs. Unisystem with vs. Excitebike installed:


The cabinet was in pretty nice shape so became the basis for a simple conversion back to the iconic Donkey Kong. I knew I wanted to restore both cabinets completely, but also wanted a “quick win” to allow me to have some arcade enjoyment with a cabinet whilst restoring another.

After removing the complete conversion kit and putting it back to Donkey Kong, I boxed up all of the removed parts and put them to one side until a decision on their fate was reached. One really nice thing I discovered was that all of the paperwork and stickers that were included with the conversion kits from Nintendo was sat in the bottom of the cabinet, in as-new condition:



Everything was there, and is perfect condition, all tucked away in a small brown envelope. I love little finds like this!

My initial thoughts behind what to do with the “kit” was to buy/build a cabinet and fit it inside to give me the ability to play the games, as getting hold of empty Nintendo cabinets is nigh on impossible in the UK (unlike stateside when they seem to be readily available!). As with all projects, this one hit the back burner and the kit sat in a dark place for nearly two years!

I know how sensitive this equipment can be, so after two years sat away, I decided I needed to hook the kits up that I removed all that time ago to ensure all was still well. Now fortunately for me (and unfortunately for HeliFire!) my HeliFire cocktail has been sat without a PCB for a few months now so was the ideal candidate to “help” me test the kits. I hooked up a spare switching PSU I had with a DK power adapter on it and wired the kit up:


On first boot up, all looked well, but no sound! As it turns out, I made the same mistake I made two years prior when putting the Donkey Kong kit back into one of the cabinets, I hadn’t connected the speaker! One speaker connected and all was well (I’ll apologise now for the terrible gameplay during the test, but the control panel is on it’s end resting against the cocktail):

So a successful test means I can pack up the kit again until an actual solution for it’s usage is reached. Considering everything that I have with each kit, a cabinet solution would be best as all I’m missing is a power supply and a monitor:


I have to admit I do like the idea of a Red Tent, but they are big money currently, and would ultimately only be a home for the PCB (leaving me with all of the rest of the kit). If anyone has an empty Nintendo cabinet hanging around, please feel free to get in touch 😉

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