For a long time, arcade machines were a gateway to getting your hands on cutting edge/latest technology without having to drop thousands of dollars on the experience. That could be the display, the sound system or the internal storage media. One of the most notable examples of that was the Laserdisc, which for a time was expected to be the next ‘big thing’ in video gaming. The problem was that the games had an extra cost, the games were hampered by technological limitations and they were not very reliable. Thus we got a handful of laserdisc-based video games but the fad was over in no time flat.
The Laserdisc Solution – DEXTER
Apart from the issues in reliability with the players came normal ‘rot’ in the media. This means that playing games like Dragon’s Lair in their original arcade forms has become more difficult over time and it isn’t going to get any easier as parts become more scarce. But thanks to a new enthusiast project by the name of DEXTER, the days of trying to keep your LD player working are coming to an end. Thanks to the minds behind the Daphne emulator (the emulator of choice for playing LD arcade games), they have developed this new hardware solution to completely replace both the player and the discs with a modern, solid-state solution:
What is Dexter?
Dexter is a replacement for the laserdisc players used in arcade machines. It is a solid state device, so there are no mechanical parts to wear out. The laserdiscs themselves will be replaced with thumbdrives or internet downloads. Dexter is compatible with many laserdisc games and the primary intent of Dexter is to preserve these laserdisc games even when the original players and laserdiscs have failed. Dexter does not alter the way the game plays at all. From the player’s point of view, there is no way of knowing that the game is running on a Dexter instead of the original disc player.
What do I need to use Dexter?
A complete, original, arcade laserdisc game.
Dexter has been in development for “many years” and the creators are taking pre-orders for it through the end of this month (Feb. 2016), with the expected deliveries to take place in the beginning of April. They need 100 pre-orders to make it worth the trouble and as of this writing, they are sitting at 74. The primary board developer is actually in my neck-of-the-woods in Utah which was a surprise…while I know some collectors around here I haven’t met anyone with a laserdisc game in their collection (I have an LD-like game: The Act: An Interactive Comedy, but it isn’t technically an LD game, just plays like one; it has had as many technical issues as one though! Currently it’s dead). There are a couple of the classic LD games I’ve been interested in for my arcade but I always avoided getting one due to the technical problems. With Dexter, that might be a moot point! What are your thoughts on this technology?