Q: What is Dexter?
A: Dexter is a modern hardware replacement for laserdisc players used in arcade games during the 1980s and 1990s. It *only* replaces the laserdisc player and disc; the rest of the game continues to run on the original hardware.
Q: Whom is Dexter for?
A: Dexter is for laserdisc arcade game owners that are hindered by dead/dying laserdisc players and/or discs.
Q: How does it work?
A: The laserdisc player is removed from the arcade cabinet and a custom-made circuit board (the "Dexter" board) is installed in its place. The circuit board has the same connectors as the original player, including video and audio outputs.
Q: What games and laserdisc players are known to work with Dexter?
A: See the status page: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhY7dPUjdbFkdGRCMFc2LXdCNnNzOWZVZWV4NnNsQWc&usp=sharing
Q: Will Dexter transform my single laserdisc game into a multi-game like Daphne or MAME?
A: Usually, no.
Dexter replaces just the laserdisc player (and laserdisc). You wouldn't be able to convert a Star Rider game into a Cliff Hanger game (for example) by simply replacing the laserdisc player and laserdisc. Similarly, you can't just load Dexter with any type of laserdisc image and expect to convert one game to another.
The one exception is that Shaun Wood has devised a multi-game solution for Dragon's Lair 1 hardware which he calls Merlin ( http://wood1st.com/LaserCon/Dx/ ). If you replace the original Dragon's Lair ROM board with a Merlin board, then you can play multiple games on Dragon's Lair 1 hardware. Check out the Merlin website for a current list of supported games. NOTE that Merlin is a separate product from Dexter.
NOTE that Merlin only works on Dragon's Lair 1 hardware.
Q: How is this different from the Daphne laserdisc game emulator?
A: Daphne emulates the entire machine and therefore requires no original hardware. Dexter only emulates the laserdisc player; you will still need an original machine (minus the laserdisc player and disc) to use Dexter.
Q: How is this different from "conversion cards" such as LaserCon, LaserAce, or Hi-Tech Card?
A: These devices allow use of newer, more reliable laserdisc players, while keeping the rest of the original game hardware intact. They are only moderately difficult to install, and provide a high degree of accuracy and authenticity. However, even the newest players are over 15 years old, and the laserdiscs themselves are prone to "laser rot", eventually making them unusable. Some of the conversion cards were made 10 years ago, and are only available used at high prices.
Dexter functions similarly, but goes further by eliminating failure-prone laserdisc players and discs entirely, replacing them with solid-state memory. It is intended to be easier to install, require no maintenance, and can be permanently mounted for easy moving and transportation of the game cabinet. Performance will be at least as accurate, or perhaps even better, since having no player at all allows the timing and behavior to be more closely matched to the original player.
Q: Will the original speed of the laserdisc player be mimicked (ie 1-2 second seek times, slow spin-up times)?
Q: How are you handling distribution of the laserdisc video/audio content?
A: We will try to license the video/audio content if the copyright holder is known. If the copyright holder is unknown, we will remain neutral (we will not distribute any content ourselves but we will not discourage users from sharing with each other).
Q: What do I need to build a Dragon's Lair arcade game from scratch?
A: In addition to Dexter, you will need:
- An empty Dragon's Lair cabinet
- The Dragon's Lair main logic PCB and ROM board. (If you don't have this, the best current option is to buy an Arthur board at http://wood1st.com/LaserCon/Arthur/ which meets this requirement)
- A Dragon's Lair scoreboard ( see http://wood1st.com/LaserCon/Extras/ )
- Wiring harness (see https://goldenagearcadeparts.com/reproduction-dragons-lair-wiring-harness-set/ )
- Power supply (see http://d-l-p.com/tech/docs/PSadaptor.asp )
- 19" RGB monitor and NTSC decoder card (or TV that can remember its settings)
- Control panel (including joystick and buttons)
Support for building a Dragon's Lair cab from scratch is beyond the scope of the support that the Dexter team offers. To get help, please visit laserdisc game collector communities such as http://www.d-l-p.com/community/forums/board ).