Discovering abandoned arcade cabinets is always a thrill. The research, the hunt, following up on leads, the thrill of the chase, is what most collectors are in the hobby for. And that will work out especially well when the cabinets you rescue are salvageable.
But any serious collector/hunter of cabinets from the Golden Age of arcade collecting will tell you that things don’t always work out this way. There are countless instances where arcade cabinets are just too far gone to rescue. The biggest enemy of any restorer is water – look in the rule book of arcade cabinet collecting, and somewhere in there it will tell you that water is the mortal enemy of any person who owns a collection.
Water will get into your cabinet, get soaked up by the particle board and swelling/rotting will start. This is particularly true of cabinets left out in the elements.
So this week, just for laughs (although you might not be laughing by the end of this article) I thought I’d share some arcade discoveries, where the cabinets were, well let’s just say “too far gone”.
Let’s start with a few Atari Centipedes. To be fair these aren’t in short supply (Over 45,000 were built), but these poor souls are now well and truly beyond redemption:
It’s not just mother nature that can destroy a cabinet. Bird shit does a good job too. This Mortal Kombat was found languishing in a barn in Ohio a couple years back:
Roadside finds are not uncommon in the USA. Homeowners will sometimes just place a cabinet out in the street, in the hope that someone will pick it up. Great during the summer maybe, but add a little rain, and the find becomes worthless:
Another roadside Missile Command here. I don’t think its the same one:
Here’s what water can do to a cabinet:
I might be wrong, but I’d say adding snow into the arcade cabinet mix probably won’t work out well either. I have no further info on these pics, other than to say they were used to advertise a collection of cabinets, somewhere in Saskatchewan, Canada. Quite how the seller thought these outdoor shots would help his sale is beyond me:
Another example of a poorly cared for cabinet is this Food Fight:
Only one thing for it:
Sometimes there is little choice left when a cabinet is just too far gone. Choose your weapon – chainsaw, fire or lump-hammer:
A far more environmentally sound use of a damaged cabinet would be to repurpose it into something else useful:
A few more sad sights here:
I’ll leave you with a couple of videos. First, some footage shot by David Hernly. On a recent arcade rescue, he came across a set of trailers left in the wild for 20 years. The trailers leaked badly, and you can see the sad results in this video:
And not much I can add to this second video. Candy cabs in Japan left out to rot:
So there you have it. If you can stomach them, there’s plenty more pics like this over at BrentRadio’s Hellcade page.
Not a very cheery post this week! But hopefully we can pay a homage of sorts to these cabinets that for the most part, simply could not be rescued.
Thanks for visiting this week.