A short and sweet Arcade Raid to report this week.
Eastern Europe is not a place you’d associate with classic arcade gaming. But the area was sporadically served by arcade distributors back in the day. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned from these arcade raid tales, Golden Age arcade cabinets can turn up in the most unlikely of places….
Like Pribram which sits 60km southwest of Prague in the Czech Republic. This quaint small town is known for its silver mines dating back to the 1500s. Hardly a hot bed of arcade activity you would think. So when Prague native and owner of the Arcade Museum Europe website, Jan Orna, got a call from someone with a lead on a stash of old cabinets supposedly sitting idle in the town, he was rather sceptical.
Jan was contacted by someone who had bought an old property in Pribram, that was once owned by an arcade operator who had stored cabinets in the building many years ago. The lead came with a warning: the site had been plundered by vandals and thieves, looking for precious metals. But there were arcade cabs still there.
The new owner of the property realised there was some value in classic arcade cabinets, but once he saw the state the machines were in, he wanted them to go to someone who could make use of what he had. Jan was that man. So a date was set, and Jan, along with a team of four people, arrived at the property to take everything away. Here’s what they found:
These were all found in an out-building away from the main property. What I find interesting about these pictures is that most of the cabinets appear to be original mainstream titles. Given the location, one would expect a flurry of bootleg titles?
Even more amazing was just how many Nintendo cabinets there appeared to be:
Sure enough, dragging everything out into the open revealed the extent of the Nintendo haul:
You’ve got to wonder how those dedicated Nintendos got there. Very unusual. But Jan wasn’t complaining! But this was just the start of the haul:
So time to load everything up.
So a solid haul – most of the cabinets were missing PCBs, but as shells, they were a great starting point and definitely worth saving.
Jan tells me that many of these cabinets were passed onto other collectors in Europe which is great news. A handful have been kept by Jan for restoration and display at his museum, Arcadehry, the largest retro arcade game room and museum in Central Europe. It looks to be a great place, and Jan and his team are doing some excellent work:
Check out the website here (you can view in English from the menu button – top right of the page. It looks excellent, and I’ll be visiting if I ever get to the Prague area for sure. Watch out for a review sometime here on the blog.
So the moral of the story is, keep your ear to the ground – these cabinets are still turning up!
Thanks for reading as always. See you next week.