Another arcade raid to report this week. This one occurred just a few months back.
Despite what many might think, there are still classic arcade machines being found every month. In America, there are plenty of cabinets hidden away in various locations. Stored years ago in warehouses, barns and storage units, these gems are just waiting to be discovered. And therein lies the challenge: it’s just a case of finding them, tracking down the owner of the building, and persuading them to part with their stash.
Groundwork is required to make these discoveries. Making sure you’re out there known as the guy who is interested in these machines is key – that (coupled with a bit of luck) will get you the nice scores.
One collector willing to put the hours in is Jon Jamshid from the USA. Jon makes a point of being prepared to travel thousands of miles to score cabinets. He puts himself out there, and literally makes his own luck. So when a pinball collector friend of his gave him a lead on a bunch of games waiting to be cleared from a warehouse in the state of Nebraska, he pounced on the opportunity.
As far as Jon could ascertain, the machines belonged to a guy who was an operator back in the day. He had since passed away, and the machines and three storage units they were housed in, were passed down to his son.
The guy had plans to redevelop the site, and as is often the case, didn’t have much of an opinion about the machines, other than he wanted shot of them so he could start demolishing the units. As the location was five hours away, Jon started some negotiations on one or two cabinets by phone and text message, before committing himself to traveling to view what the guy actually had.
Luckily for Jon, the seller was very motivated to sell – time was of the essence, and he was keen to secure some cash for them, rather than smashing them up. Judging by the pictures, I’d say he did the right thing, as here were some real gems:
Immediately, Jon could see that the games had good age to them. Nothing too modern – most seemed to be from the Golden Age of the early 80s. To the left here, you can see two Rock-Ola Eyes cabinets – both in very nice shape:
Then further down the line, a Taito Lock ‘N Chase and a Gremlin/Sega Moon Cresta upright:
Notice the thick layer of dust on everything. According to the seller, nothing had been touched or moved since 1987 – almost 30 years sitting in the dark next to a railroad track!
Couple more nice titles here. Sega’s Carnival and a Midway Blue Print. The latter is very rare. I’ve never come across one in the flesh. Interesting game too:
Not often you see a Midway Phantom II in its original dedicated housing. That control panel looks magnificent:
It’s always interesting to see some of the random conversions that appear from these raids, and this one is no exception. What was once clearly a Midway Rally-X upright, received this treatment at some point in its life:
Ouch. Converted to a quiz machine. Wonder if the original side art is under there somewhere?
Better news for these Midway Space Invaders Deluxe cabinets though. They both look original and in decent condition:
Spot the Battlezone upright in the back there on the second picture. Lovely stuff.
Another original Midway cab, a Space Invaders:
Couple of newer titles here. Interesting Centuri (possibly Track & Field?) converted to a Sega Shinobi, and behind it an SNK Guerrilla:
Centuri cabs are very desirable, so worth saving that one for sure. More Midway gold here. An original Galaxian to the right and a Pac-Man on the left, this time converted to a Driving Force:
As mentioned before, notice everything is caked in a thick, black dust. This is good to see, as it almost certainly means that the cabs really haven’t been moved in a very long time. We can deduce from this that the cabs haven’t been cannibalized for parts over the years. The seller’s story certainly appears to stack up.
Another Taito Lock ‘N Chase and Atari Asteroids upright here:
A stack of cocktail tables were found too, and underneath the pile was an original Atari Football!
Confession time: I have no idea what this is. Looks cool though!
Let us know in the comments section if you can shed any light on it.
This on the other hand is something we can all recognise; an Atari Asteroids Deluxe. Looks cool with the dust on the screen and control panel:
Aside from the distance Jon had to travel to view the games, he reports that there were no logistical issues at all. Everything was at ground level, and moving things out was super easy. Pretty unusual that. We usually hear about stairs, games buried under mounds of junk, water ingress and rats nests on these raids. Not so here!
Here’s another rare one. Atari’s Le Mans:
The most unusual find of the day was this old Nintendo Shooting Trainer machine:
Jon was able to pass this one on to an Arcade Museum. It looks pretty big – most private collectors would pass this one up, so it’s great to hear it was saved along with everything else.
Here’s something you won’t see every day, a Midway Robby Roto!
And finally, an amazing piece of history. A Nutting Associates Space Ball, from all the way back in 1972. This might be a Pong clone, but what a great looking fiberglass cab – cleaned up nice too:
And two trips later, Jon secured everything he wanted, including 2 Eyes uprights, a Bosconian Mini, Nintendo Shooting Trainer, Circus Charlie, Battlezone, a Warlords cocktail(!) and several others. Anything he didn’t intend keeping he was able to pass onto other collectors.
So all in all this was a very successful raid – a bunch of games got saved from almost certain destruction, and the seller was very happy to be paid a bundle of cash and have them all removed to boot.
Happy days all round, and interesting to see the emphasis on Midway titles, rather than a plethora of Atari stuff, typical of most raids these days. I guess the local distributor had a strong relationship with Midway back in the day.
Many thanks to Jon for sharing these pictures and allowing me to write the raid up here on Arcade Blogger – cheers Jon!
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Lots more raid write ups to come!