Opening Games with No Keys Last Updated on: 6/19/2013

I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information provided here. It is "AS IS" and you are warned to use this information "At your own Risk"

This information is provided to help you restore or convert your video games. The Tips & Tricks are what have worked for other people to some degree. Your mileage will vary depending on your situation.

I really do appreciate the fact that these individuals have spent the time and effort to share their knowledge with us.

If you have a Tip or Trick that you would like to add to my site, please drop me an email.

I reserve the right to edit for content, and formatting.

I decided to hit Deja News and get a sampling of Tips and Tricks on Opening Games with No Keys after Douglas Avella sent me an email tip. A lot of games will not come with keys so it is necessary to find a way into the game. Some methods are destructive, some not. I prefer the less destructive methods.

TIP: If you have an original Nintendo Key, it will get you into ANY Nintendo game.

Here are the Tips & Tricks in no specific order:

There are literally 100's of messages on this subject, this is only the tip of the Ice berg (no pun intended ), to find more information, go to and do a power search on the usenet group and search for "open locks".

We start with the Email I received...

A tip to prevent having to drill out locks on back doors of certain games. when I picked up my Ms. pac man it had no keys. And as usual this monitor was in bad need of adjustments and wanted to get back door off looked at the drill and said wait a second. knowing most cams are screwed on to the back of the cylinder I figured maybe I could just unscrew it. well sure enough after taking out the plastic handle inserts I was able to squeeze my hand it with a stub screw driver feel around and unscrew cam from back of lock no drilling required and probably took a whole lot less time.


Re: How to get the back off a machine without the keys?

Author: Andrew Wilson
Date: 1998/06/29

I had *exactly* this problem with my JAMMA cabinet. I got the usual array of solutions (pick the lock, drill the lock, use locking pliers on the lock, etc), until Bob Roberts came to my rescue with the following tips that worked like a charm (of course): Take the marquee off, reach in through the hole (you might have to remove the bulb), and unscrew the lock that holds the back on. This was a little tricky (I ended up buying a new stubby screwdriver), but took about 5 minutes with no damage to the cabinet. Now, here's the cool part. Once you have the back off, you have access to the machine. You might find the keys on the inside of the machine somewhere. If not, you can disassemble the lock, take all the pins out but one, and you'll be able to open the lock with any similarly-sized key at all. I did this to my JAMMA cab, and I can open the door with a key from one of my other cabinets.

Good Luck!


Author: Bob Roberts
Date: 1998/04/27

On 90% of the games, all you have to do is remove the marquee & light,if it's in your way, stand on a chair and look at the back of the back door lock. If it is a slotted screw holding the cam in place...then screwdriver will work...if a nut, then a wrench or pliers. Oh, and once you remove the retainer have someone catching the back door as it falls open. To go further with this, you can now find an old key and make your lock fit it or visa versa, and just reinstall it. You won't need more than a couple key pins for home use...for that matter, one will stop the lock from turning.

-- Big Real Bob Roberts

Re: How do I remove a 'Barrel Lock'?

Author: Carwarr2
Date: 1998/04/28

There is a drill designed to cut out only the outside lip of the Ace style round locks, and then you just hit the lock until all the pins fall out and then open it with any ace key you might have. This "drill" has saved me much drilling but most locksmith places will not sell it you you unless you are a locksmith. Just drill it out with a 1/4" or larger drill. I always start at where the key notch is and then try to drill at an angle into the center of the lock. Wiggling and moving the drill around all over the place till you either make the lock fall apart or the cam fall off. Don't move it too far as to cut into the door itself, you are trying to get the lock to fall off, not destroy the coin door. Makes much of a mess.

Good Lock... I mean Good Luck!

Mitch Schleis
Betson West Distributing
Las Vegas, NV

Author: Tom Cloud
Date: 1998/04/28

I take my trusty vice-grips and clamp that puppy on the outer ring of the lock, flush with the door, and turn it a quarter turn. The lock will usually just spin in the hole under the force of the vice-grip and not damage a thing. The door just falls open then.


Tom Cloud

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