Kee Games Quiz Show
I recently picked up a Kee Games Quiz Show. Quiz Show was a somewhat troubled game as the question
data is stored on an 8-track tape. It shouldn't come as much of a suprise to learn that the
tapes wear out. The game also has no graphics, just text, with a static attract mode screen. So I
guess it also shouldn't come as much of a suprise that the game didn't do very well.. This one had 4111
clicks on the meter before it broke, which is fortunate because the tape is still in good shape.
After replacing a flip-flop in the clock circuit it came right up. The PCB is pretty simple, there
are only about 40 ICs on it.
When a game is started the 8-track
starts rolling and the category is selected with the button on the control panel. There are 4 available
categories, one on each of the 4 programs on the tape. The game uses an off the shelf Motorola 8-track
tape deck which was modified so that the 4 program
indicator lamps are wired to the main PCB. The wires going to the lamps were cut and wired into a
harness going to the PCB so the game can know which category is selected. The category select
switch is just the program select button for the tape deck. This is another design flaw of the game...
If the category button is pressed in fast sucession the tape deck can get stuck inbetween
program tracks. The only way to get it working again is to manually turn the motor backwards a
turn or two, which is probably why the deck's cover wasn't in place when I got the game. I can
imagine this game could really only be operated in a staffed arcade.
The tape is obviously quite old and I'm going to have to reproduce it soon, but after playing the
game a handful of times it produces very few read errors. Occasionally the data coming from the tape
will be corrupted, in which case it will simply fill the screen with random stuff it is reading off
the tape. When this happens the game timer wont count down and the game must be power cycled. Some
of the time the data will be formatted into the 4 questions correctly and the timer will start to count down,
but the text is partly or completely gibberish. When this occurs, just guess until you get it right and the next
question will usually present correctly. The tape always runs, when you answer a question the game just
grabs the next question it sees on the tape.
The category can be selected anytime there are credits on the machine, or in the middle of gameplay.
Besides the poor integration of the tape deck, the questions seem like they were too "classic"
for the typically younger player to know, or at the least, find interesting. I can't imagine
anybody under the age of 25 ever gave this "game" a second play. The tape that was in this machine
holds 2000 questions. I'm not sure it is the original tape as the manual only mentions 1000 question
tapes.. At any rate I doubt there was more than a couple tapes released for the game.
Gameplay is simple, see pic 4 for complete instructions :)
There are 2 operator slectable modes of play, timed or question count. The game can be set for a 50 to 140 duration
(in 10 sec increments), or 5 to 14 questions. If the bonus score level is reached the game will ask another 0 to 9 questions.
I'm unsure of factory settings, the manual does not state them. This machine was set for 12 questions & 7 bonus questions.
The question timer starts at 500 pts and counts down in 50 pt increments every sec or so.