Classic Arcade Graveyards

Discovering abandoned arcade cabinets is always a rush. 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:

Crap Centipede 2
This machine was found outside a closed down bar. On the surface if it, things don’t look too pear-shaped, but the base is likely swimming with water ingress
Crap Centipede Napa Valley Pinball
And this is what happens to a cabinet when it’s left outdoors. The cumulative effect of rain and sunshine….
At least this one has some company
Crap Centipede
This Centipede proves anything can be rescued. Dear Lord

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:

I wouldn’t know where to start
Rubber gloves, gas mask, scraper maybe?

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:

Crap space_duel
Baton Rouge gives up a Space Duel. Looks salvageable to me
dead zaxxon
This Zaxxon was spotted in Iowa last year. It was actually saved and restored
No info on this Missile Command I’m afraid
Hmm. It’s a brave man who takes this on.

Another roadside Missile Command here. I don’t think its the same one:

Sad Missile Command
I don’t think there’s any coming back from this. Good for parts maybe

Here’s what water can do to a cabinet:

Crap MC
This Missile Command has clearly been sitting in water for some time. Notice the base has simply come away. Believe it or not it will be restorable
Crap Pac-Man
Water damaged Pac-Man
Crap Taito
This looks like a rotted out Taito Qix. Good for parts
Cut Down Ms Pac-Man
One way to fix a cabinet is to just cut off the base, thus removing the water issue. Man alive!
Zonophobe Water Damage creidt Andys-Arcade
Xenophobe suffering a slow death (Credit: Andy Welburn)

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:

Saskatchewan thousand dollars 1
The guy was asking $1,000 for everything. Brrr!
Saskatchewan thousand dollars 2
Arcade madness. Just bring a shovel yeah?

Another example of a poorly cared for cabinet is this Food Fight:

Crap Food Fight
Where to start? Water ingress everywhere

Only one thing for it:

Crap Food Fight 2
Atari Food Fight. RIP

Sometimes there is little choice left when a cabinet is just too far gone. Choose your weapon – chainsaw, fire or lump-hammer:

Burning Robotron
A moment’s silence for this Robotron
Burning Tempest - Andys-Arcade
No coming back for this Tempest
Dead Universal Cab
So far gone was this Universal, the owner decided to turn it into firewood with a saw
Smashed up cabs. Credit Andys-Arcade
Crystal Castles and Bagman found in a state. Both had to be destroyed (Credit: Andy Welburn)

A far more environmentally sound use of a damaged cabinet would be to repurpose it into something else useful:

Crystal Castles Skateboard Ramp
How about a skateboard ramp fashioned out of an Atari Crystal Castles?

A few more sad sights here:

Stacked up arcade machines. At least the dog looks happy
Dumpster Find Jan 2018 credit Andys-Arcade
Recently spotted in a dumpster Atari Asteroids
Half Atari Pinball
Less than half of an Atari pinball. Big job here for someone..
Hospital 2
Exidy Crossbow found in an abandoned hospital of all places
Pac-Man Burn credit Andys-Arcade
Guess the game?
Sad Quantum 2
One of the rarest cabs around. This Atari Quantum has been left out to wither away in the open

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.


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6 Comments Add yours

  1. _Spr_Drnk says:

    Press ‘F’ to pay respect.. 😥

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Faust says:

    Poor Xenophobe. One of my favorite games!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ringadingding says:

    i actually gasped out loud in dismay at the sight of that Tempest machine on fire. OH THE HUMANITY

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Arcade cabinets were so beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Enough to bring a tear to the eye and a lump to the throat, especially the sight of that poor Quantum. Truly tragic.

    Liked by 1 person

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