I’ve got to know many UK-based arcade collectors over the years. It’s fair to say that each approaches the hobby in a different way. Some take a technical approach to arcade games – delving deep into the repair side of things in a quest to understand how cabinets work and figuring out ways to maintain and preserve the old electronic components. Others literally hoard parts and machines, (with or without an end game), and there are a group of us who will manage a collection of machines and develop a gamesroom or mancave to reproduce the arcade environment at home. I guess I fall into the latter camp.
So it’s always interesting to visit other cabinet owners to see what they’ve got and how they display their collection. Some time ago I got talking to fellow collector Les Potts, who gave me an open invite to visit his place and take a look around. Life of course got in the way, and I had to be reminded several times by Les that the invitation still stood! Well last month I finally got round to making time to jump in the car and take the four-hour drive up north to pay him a visit, along with my buddy Alex, who was going to shoot some video.
Like most of us, Les was a keen arcade goer from back in the day – he remembers well the transition from electromechanical machines to video games in the late 70s, citing Space Invaders as the game that got him hooked. He started his collection in the late 90s with a pinball machine and things grew from there.
Les is fortunate enough to have a basement in his house and figured early on that it would be an ideal environment to house a collection of classic arcade and pinball machines.
He wasn’t wrong either. After arriving at Les’ place, he led Alex and myself to a door under his staircase:
We wandered down the stairs:
And this is the initial view from the foot of the staircase:
As you can see, Les has a great collection. These machines have been acquired over the years, and have been curated into a gaggle of machines that provide a great variety of styles and game types. Here’s a full panoramic view of everything:
The first thing you’ll notice is how well maintained everything is. Every machine is close to mint condition and everything is in perfect working order. No mean feat this – keeping well over 20 machines fully operational requires dedication and deep pockets. Here’s the highlights from Les’ collection:
As well as video games, the room played host to a nice selection of 90s pinball machines. All classics:
Great to have a change of pace from the video games. Each pinball provides a suitably different play experience ensuring they all get played.
Always popular in Les’ room are the driving games. He has three in total:
Getting the huge F355 Challenge cabinet into the basement was a challenge in itself. Here’s the steps Les had to go through to get it inside. One part even had to be sawed in half to get it through the window!
The details are what makes this games room – every available wall space is filled with framed arcade flyers:
Here’s a few more shots taken on the day:
And here is Alex’s video tour of our afternoon with Les:
Many thanks to Les for the tour of his very impressive games room – probably the nicest I’ve seen on these shores. Les has more cabinets on the way – can’t wait to see his new additions next time round!
So there you have it. I’m really looking forward to my second visit already!
See you next week.
Many thanks to Les for being the perfect host, and Alex for making it a memorable afternoon. The better pictures in this article were provided by Les himself!