Sighting of the First Interchangable Arcade System - Data East DECO

While working on the pictures from the rest of the places that Rob and I visited on our recent Wisconsin arcade trip, I came across these picture that I took at the cool Aftershock Classic Arcade and decided that this game is unique enough that it warrants its own post.

At the location, they have one of my favorite classic arcade games, BurgerTime, running on a Data East DECO cassette-driven interchangable arcade machine. Data East launched the DECO system back in Japan in 1980 and in North America in 1981. DECO was the first arcade system that enabled arcade owners to easily change games. Arcade owners could purchase a DECO cabinet and swap out the game that was playing on it using audio cassettes. The process of copying the games that were stored on the cassettes to the machine's RAM chips took about three minutes.


The groundbreaking DECO system paved the way for other future interchangable arcade systems, including the popular Nintendo Versus arcade system and in a way even multi-game cabinets like Neo Geos. Ultimately, the DECO system was discontinued because of reliability issues with the tapes, which supposedly could become unmagnetised.


Below is a picture of the DECO BurgerTime that was on location at Madison, Wisconsin's Aftershock Classic Arcade. It's the first working DECO that I ever recall seeing in a current arcade. There was a ton of other neat stuff at Aftershock. I recently finished going through all of the pics from there and hope to get a write-up of it up on the site soon.


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