Another arcade raid to share this week on the blog. We’ve met collector Jay before here on Arcade Blogger in a previous raid article here.
This time round, Jay was given a lead about a warehouse in Bastrop, Louisiana. Stored within, he was told, were around 30 classic arcade machines. After significant research, he drew a blank in trying to establish ownership. The only thing he could do was drop by the location whenever he could, to see if there were signs of life.
After a few months, he got lucky. The shutters were up, and he saw someone milling around inside the property. After introducing himself, Jay enquired about the machines.
Jay was led in and shown around:
The immediate thing that struck Jay was the variety of cabinets stored here. Not just popular titles like Pac-Man and Space Invaders, but more obscure titles like Space Zap.
The owner it turns out, used to be an operator. He had a small arcade that he ran as a side business to his main operation – a motorbike dealership, some 30 miles south of the warehouse in the city of Monroe.
After a few months of success with the arcade, a serious crime took place in the arcade (the details of which aren’t relevant here). Suffice to say, it was bad enough for the owner to decide to close the place down and put all his games into storage. What this meant, was that all the machines were stored in remarkable condition, having been played for only a short period of time.
Jay’s timing couldn’t have been better. The owner wanted the space back, and a deal was struck for all 30 cabinets. He started to document and itemize what was there. Lucky for us, he took pictures! Here’s some of the highlights:
Jay needed help to clear everything out, so returned with a collector friend and two trailers:
So with everything dragged out, it was time to load up and head home.
The guys bid farewell, and drove away with their incredible haul of over 30 machines:
But the work didn’t stop there. Jay decided to sell most of the cabinets. The Cosmic Chasm alone paid for the whole raid (and them some), and the rest of the cabinets were cleaned up and sold onto other collectors all over the country.
This was a very satisfying rescue. With over 30 classic arcade titles saved and passed on to the community, Jay can be proud of this great Arcade Raid.
Although this raid happened 15 years ago, Jay is still collecting. He stopped for many years but kept a few cocktails and cabarets, and is back to collecting minis. He owns around 20 games in various states of working and non working condition. With all but two driving games, most are cabarets or cocktails. I asked Jay about his thoughts on “raids” today become fewer and fewer:
What has hurt the warehouse raids more than anything is the Internet and Ebay. I know an operator with two full warehouses with 100’s of games that have been sitting for many years. He prices things by going to eBay and doubling the price of anything he finds.
So there you go – what a great raid, with a great variety of cabinets too. A nice mix of popular and less-known titles. Many thanks to Jay for sharing these pictures and background info with me.
More arcade raids soon!
See you next time.