The Golden Gates !

Now I realise there are a lot of ‘Purists’ out there who will think what I’ve done is sacrilege – none more so than my good friend and colleague David, who likens me to Frankenstein – but hopefully there will also be a few people out there that will look on this as a fantastic new machine. A new upgraded Golden Gate – a ‘GOLDEN GATES’ !!


The original Golden Gate was truly an iconic machine, so I didn’t want to alter it too dramatically – just ‘modernise’ it and add the futurity feature from the Lido/Bikini. However, unlike the Lido, Bikini and other screen games, the Golden Gate had TWO major features: The OK game as on the Lido etc., and the fabulous Gate Game feature. On the Lido and Bikini, the futurity feature let you ‘bank’ the OK wins and build them up enabling the play of one ‘supergame’. So I decided that the new machine must also have a futurity feature on the Gate Game, enabling the Gate Game to also be ‘banked’ and built up for a ‘super gate game’.


The one other feature from the Golden Gate that I thought needed improvement, was the Gold Stripe feature, which itself is part of the Gate Game. The play of this feature on the original Golden Gate machine was quite rare and was, like many other features, just a dangling carrot to make you put more money in and chase the Gate Game.


If you managed to get the Gold Stripe indicator arrow lit, you could then only light the ‘2 in striped gold’ section if you managed to get the Gate Game feature lit and then played the game and got 3 balls in the purple section to win the chance of playing the Golden Game. Only on playing the Golden Game would the ‘2 in striped gold’ feature light. However, if you did manage to get it lit, it was a big payout for just 2 balls in the striped section, but you still had to do it !


The Gold Stripe indicator arrow would light randomly through the spotting disc, as would the Gate Game, but would reset at the start of the next game whether or not you were able to use or win with it – usually NOT ! I decided that there was little point in having the feature if it was going to be that difficult to use, but also I didn’t want it to be that easy either, especially if there was going to be a futurity system on the Gate Game. So I decided to do a few alterations to it. For those of you that may be interested, the following is how the Gold Stripe feature now works:


On the new Golden Gates machine, the Gold Stripe relay is energised through the Spotting Disc, but now also has a proportioning feature attached (and possibly and adjustment plug too). This will make the feature progressively harder to get the higher the banked winnings are. Energising the Gold Stripe relay will light the Gold Stripe Indicator Arrow, which will stay lit until the next time the Gate Game feature is tripped. The Gold Stripe feature will reset on the next spin cycle after the Gate Game is tripped ! Therefore you cannot continue putting coins/credits in to increase the odds once the Gate Game is tripped, or you will forfeit the Gold Stripe feature. If you want high odds you need to play for these first and then risk not being able to get the Gate Game to come up. It also means that if you need to play extra balls to get 3 in the purple section, you will lose the Gold Stripe feature !


If the Gate Game feature is won (i.e. achieving the 3 in purple section) when the Gold Stripe Indicator Arrow is lit, winning the Gold Stripe feature will be ‘banked’ and the ‘2 in striped gold’ section will light. This will then stay lit until either a Golden Game is played, or the machine is switched off (not tilted). When the Golden Game is played the ‘2 in striped gold’ section will be active and wins can be registered.


Therefore, if you have ‘won’ a Gate Game with the Gold Stripe indicator lit, banked the win and lit the ‘2 in striped gold’ section, you may then continue playing and try to bank further wins on the Gate Game to increase the payout amount, before you finally play the Golden Game with the ‘2 in striped gold’ section.


The replay amounts banked will not be affected by turning the power off the machine. They will remain the same when the machine is subsequently turned back on again. The ‘2 in striped gold’ section will NOT stay banked and will reset if the machine is turned off. Therefore if you have this feature lit and you do not wish to lose it, a Golden Game MUST be played before the machine is turned off. If you decide not to play the Golden Game, the ‘2 in striped gold’ feature will be forfeited when the machine is turned off. You can re-win this feature on future plays, but remember there are proportioning circuits to this feature which make it increasingly harder to get the higher the banked Golden Game.


Lastly, if you get the Gold Stripe relay energised and the indicator arrow lit, it will have no effect whatsoever on the proportioning of subsequently obtaining the Gate Game. However, the reverse is not true. If you light the Gate Game feature before the Gold Stripe feature, the Gold Stripe feature will not be able to be obtained during that game.


So, That’s what I set out to achieve – not really knowing if it was at all possible !


The first thing I had to do was re-write the schematic and manual to include all the new circuits and see if, in theory, it was going to be possible. Just this alone took well over 12 months and I still wasn’t certain if anything would work, or even if it could actually, physically be done. By the time I’d finished the machine both the manual and schematic were re-written dozens of times and I would guess there are still plenty of mistakes in them !


I soon realised what I was letting myself in for. There were many new relays and units to go into the machine and no room to put them. The only option I could come up with was to mount all the new units and relays onto a board and put them in the bottom of the cabinet. Designing and building this unit alone took months as I had to completely rewire new stepper units, relays and switches and figure out how to fit new Jones’ plugs into the back of an already crowded head.



Anyway, to cut a long story short, it took another 18 months to complete the project mechanically – including a total rebuild of the head and cabinet woodwork.


Much of this time was spent re-modelling the front panel and re-designing the backglass. For this I needed the expertise of my good friend Chris Dade. His help in setting out the backglass and making lots of adjustments for me was invaluable and I will be forever grateful for all his help. Thank you Chris !

Finally I had to look at the artwork and decide how to modernise it without losing the iconic Bally styling of the original.

The head was first ! The San Francisco street scene with cable car now had one obvious fault. Missing from the San Francisco skyline was the Transamerica Pyramid building. This was not built when Bally produced the Golden Gate in 1962, so now had to be included. I also decide to change the style of the cable car – there was a reason for this (if my research is correct) - and also add a little more colour to the scene.

It took me ages to decide what to do with the cabinet artwork. Once again I wanted to do something to update it, but not alter it significantly. The problem was that nothing much had really changed in the scene over the years. The Golden Gate bridge was the same as ever, as was the background land and I was at a loss to know what to do. I was almost at a point of deciding to stick with the original when I happened to look over some photos of the bridge. I then realised that the original artwork of the bridge, on the cabinet, showed the two main supports structures in a very simplistic fashion and made them look like ladders – not at all what the bridge actually looked like ! So I decided just to make the bridge look a little more realistic than the original. I also added a little more colour to match the head and I had exactly what I wanted.

So now, after about 3 years, the machine is complete !

It looks exactly as I hoped it would, but the best bit – it plays superbly and the new features make it really home friendly and a very playable machine. Certainly the best machine in my collection – by a long way !!!!

Chris Howard