Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rockman Collector Panic!

With the wonders of game console emulation and near limitless accessibility to files via the interwebs, almost any old generation game is playable by the masses. However, when it comes to Rockman, there is at least one game in this franchise that no amount of emulation or digital piracy will allow you to experience.


It was around '05, after discovering the wonders of surfing Yahoo Auctions Japan (YAJ), that I first laid eyes on a Panic Shot! Rockman cabinet. At the time, my Rockman collection was not quite as mature as it is at present, but I knew I could truly enjoy one such machine adorning my home.
I contacted the proxy bidding service I was using at the time, and my heart broke a little when they notified me that they were not set up to ship such large items. It was a shame, being as I would have gladly paid many times the asking price of the machine just in shipping costs alone. In the 7 or so years I've been using YAJ, I've only seen Panic Shot! Rockman for sale twice. Oddly, the listings were within about 6 months of each other (different sellers) and as I recall, the machines were listed for only 20,000JPY and 15,000JPY. Neither one sold.
As I continued in my Rockman/arcade collecting, I came across a promotional flyer for the game. I figured, if I couldn't get the machine, it would at least be nice to have the sales flyer. I saw the flyer pop up multiple times in my auction surfing, but one day I noticed one that looked a little different. I picked that one up, too. After some studying, it appeared there were two different machines, one of which was ready for production (stock photo), the other a concept sketch.
In '09 I donated scans of my flyers to The Arcade Flyer Archive (TAFA) in lieu of writing this article. While my writing was still in draft form, I came across yet another flyer for this machine.

I put the article on hold until I could get the latest flyer in hand, scanned, and donated to TAFA. Well, you know how laziness/business works (got married, finally settled into a house, etc., etc.). Two years later, the flyer has been scanned, and here's your article.


Comparing the 3 flyers shows that there are still only two designs (the 3rd flyer merely replaces the concept sketch flyer). The playfields have totally different artwork, as do the main scoreboard areas.
Also, the hit cards behind Dr. Wily have changed from robot masters to Metalls.
One discrepancy I did notice between the flyers and one of the units I came across on YAJ, is that there is no redemption card dispenser on the auction unit. So, either Capcom made this feature optional, or the YAJ seller decided to remove it from their machine (if you look closely at the photo at the top of the article, there is a line with red print in the instruction box on the header of the machine. This is not stock).


The ultimate goal of the game is simple enough: get as many points as possible in order to win a prize. Points are made by hitting either the target hanging below Dr. Wily's UFO or the cards behind him. The rear cards are worth 100 points each, while Wily's UFO target is worth 1000 points. The UFO moves back and forth across the play field, so you can't just keep hitting the same angled shot over and over to rack up those 1000 pointers.
The flyers mention that when the Wily target is hit, the figure features "comical action" and the UFO and back panel lights flash brightly. I imagine some of that "comical action" involves Wily's voice, as the flyers claim that both Wily and Rockman's voices are featured in the game.

After the game is over, the computer calculates the player's total score and, if the "win" light flashes, a prize card is dispensed. I suppose the game center could put in whatever sort of cards they desire, but what is advertised on the machine itself is cards from the Super Barcode Wars Rockman Series. The image above the dispenser shows Blues and Rockman (cards #2 and #1 in the series).

(Top: "Card is gonna come out!", Bottom: "Card Exit")


To my knowledge, pinball tables are a rarity in Japan, let alone Japanese manufactured ones. That leads me to believe that inspiration for Capcom's mini pinball table came from abroad, namely the US. Certainly one of the most memorable mini pinball machines ever created was Bally's Baby Pac-Man. Bally tried to combine both the video game and pinball table experiences into one machine. Panic Shot! Rockman's similarities to the mini pinball aspect of Baby Pacman are fairly blatant. The play fields are similarly sized, the Ghost cards have been replaced by robots, and some of the other scoring gimmicks are consolidated into Wily's UFO.


Greg Bower - for his superb JP translation help!
Dan @ The Arcade Flyer Archive - for the wonderful service he provides the arcade community!


  1. UD, great article. I've never heard of this thing, or know anyone who has.

  2. Wowww so cool! The close up images are fantastic!

    You're so right about this being something really special, not being accessible by means of piracy etc. While I'm jealous, I'm also happy that there's still cool things out there you can't find just sitting on a computer!

  3. This looks awesome. I'm positive I'll never have a chance to try it but would love to do so given the opportunity. Great read, I would have known such a thing existed otherwise.