It’s high time we featured another arcade raid tale here on the blog. My buddy Steve is a collector we’ve featured previously – he was responsible for the NOS artwork raid I featured some time back.
This particular haul was discovered earlier this year, but not by Steve initially. He received a call from a collector friend who told him that he’d been made aware of some classic arcade cabinets holed up in a back room at a flea market. Steve was rather surprised as he’d been visiting the Ramona Blvd Flea Market in Jacksonville since he was a kid and didn’t recall ever seeing any sort of arcade on the property.
The other guy had already been to check the place out, but he didn’t have very good news for Steve. Everything he saw was in pretty bad shape. So bad in fact, that the only thing he thought worth taking was a rare Nichibutsu Crazy Climber – everything else was trashed. Badly.
Not one to miss out on an opportunity, and as a big fan of the game, Steve immediately made an offer for the Crazy Climber and bought it on the spot.
Hoping there might be an opportunity to pull more rare games, Steve got the contact details of the property owner, arranged access and wound up making a total of two trips out to the flea market. As he puts it, when it comes to arcade raids, “you have to beat the bushes to see what flies out!” – sound advice!
The first trip was an eye opener – the plan was to grab any cabinets remaining:
It was clear that water had creeped into the buildings over time, and there was a great deal of mold and water damage on most of the cabinets. But worse, some vandals had broken into the property at some point and smashed almost every marquee, almost every tube, and almost every bezel on the machines. Whoever these vandals were, they were a very angry group of people.
But somehow, whoever these people were, they had left the Crazy Climber unmolested. As Steve put it, he wasn’t sure if they had a soft spot for the game, or if it was hidden away in a closet somewhere. But whatever – somehow the Crazy Climber had survived the destruction, and was now safe and part of Steve’s collection.
So the first trip resulted in a rescued Tempest cabinet (with boards, which was a bonus), a Galaxian cabinet, a Kickman cabinet, and a Bimbo the Clown game (missing almost everything, but the cabinet was in good enough condition to make it worth grabbing).
Several carcasses were left behind, because what was left was simply too far gone to justify further outlay:
But a few days later Steve received a call from the seller suggesting that he could come back and take anything else he wanted for 100 bucks. Steve discussed it with a friend and they decided it was worth it to make one more trip.
So second time around, they grabbed the Space Invaders Deluxe cabinet and a bunch of spare parts from the trashed remaining games. This resulted in a great haul of control panels. Being metal, they didn’t succumb to the vandals or elements over the years:
The seller was kind enough to throw in a Galaga control panel, a Ms Pac-Man control panel, and a Ms Pac-Man PCB that he had previously pulled from machines thinking they might sell in his flea market booth. I guess no one was interested in them, but Steve was happy to take them with away. but Again, Most of the stuff was just too far gone – for example, they found a GPI Kaos dedicated cabinet that would have been great to save, but it simply wasn’t in the cards. It was beyond trashed:
And while not directly arcade related, Steve discovered a couple of other cool items. The seller had some old Pepsi-branded menu boards rotting in the mold. The seller said that he had a bunch more in another building – Steve bought nine from him, including two that were still new in the original boxes:
And, finally, as Steve was driving away with his second haul, he spotted an Icee sign on the side of one of the old snack bar buildings. The seller told him if he could get it down, he could take it. Suffice to say, that is now also hanging in Steve’s arcade!
So there you have it. Not a huge haul of arcade goodies, but a great condition Crazy Climber isn’t something to turn your nose up at. Whilst the rest of the cabinets were trashed, Steve was able to rescue some handy parts and signs from the Flea Market.
Many thanks to Steve for sharing pics and allowing me to tell the story here on the blog. You can follow his arcade adventures on his Facebook page here.
if you want to read up on previous raids featured here on the blog, check out the archive here.
See you next time!