It’s been a while since I’ve reported on any arcade raids here on the blog. What’s more, it’s been even longer since a decent one occurred here on UK shores. But I was able to buck that trend back in January this year, by being involved in this three-man warehouse raid. So, here we go:
To set this one up for you briefly; we were aware of a long-established operator located in a coastal town here in the UK. A fellow collector made contact and established that the guy had been running his arcade business since the early 80s, siting all kind of arcade machines in arcades, clubs and pubs right along the West Coast of the UK. What’s more, he discovered that the operator didn’t really know what he had in storage at his premises, but was pretty certain that he had some older equipment, and was happy for us to come along and pick through it.
We agreed a date, and met at the location. For me this was a brisk 3 hour drive – but it was more than worth it.
Arriving at the premises, it was pretty clear that the business had changed significantly over the years. The good news was we were pretty much left to our own devices and allowed to forage around unaccompanied. On first impressions, there was very little immediate evidence of the glory days of early 80s video arcade cabinets.
It was obvious viewing things forensically, that the deeper back we went, the more interesting the finds were. Clearly, machines had been stored long ago, and then more things were stored in front of those old cabinets – you could see how easy it would be to lose track of so much inventory, placed into this building over many years. The challenge was actually getting way back to view the interesting machines that were tucked away from view.
We searched hard, and found a few gems hidden towards the back of the room:
Diving further into the building, we came across a room with cocktail cabinets stacked up on top of each other:
Opening up some of the generic tables revealed the ravages of time:
With that room checked through and declared ‘clear’ we ventured further to the back of the warehouse and climbed some old stairs up into a loft area. More discoveries:
So we’d grabbed a few useful bits from these rooms, but the best was to come. We moved back into the main warehouse and climbed the stairs up to the raised area we’d spotted when we first walked in:
The key to this area, was to pick through thoroughly, and look beyond what we could visibly see. What was obvious in this place, was that so much had been stored over the years (and badly too) – we figured there were sure to be things worth saving if we looked deep and hard enough. As you can see, we had our work cut out:
We quickly realised that we were going to have to get ourselves dirty and clamber through the junk to find the jewels that we were sure were there. Here’s some of our more interesting finds:
What was clear, was that we were onto something in this area of the warehouse.
We started pulling out what became literally mountains of old arcade PCBs from deep inside the shelves:
I could post another 50 pictures of what we found, but lets cut to the chase with what we ended up with. Bear in mind we only had so much space in our cars. But we still came away with a very decent haul between the three of us:
So as you can see, this was a significant raid. Some great finds that required a lot of work and a change of clothes to get to. But we did well and everyone went home tired but very happy with what we managed to save.
We do have plans to go back at some point, as we all felt there was definitely more to be found and rescued from the depths of those shelving units. I’ll keep you updated…
Previous arcade raids can be found in the archives at the top of this page!