Another arcade “find and rescue” adventure to report on the blog this week!
This raid came out of the blue. I got word of it early 2019, but it took many months to finally execute. A collector in Ireland got a lead that a local arcade was closing down, and the operator was looking to sell off the remaining inventory. The good (and surprising!) news was that there were a lot of classic machines floating around.
An early visit was made by one of us, and the cabinets were filmed, and we got together to decide who wanted what, and an offer was made to take everything away. we discovered that this was to be an ‘all or nothing’ deal – we couldn’t just pick the good stuff. If we wanted to buy cabinets, everything on offer had to be taken away. This created something of a challenge, as many of the cabinets were generic “Goliath” Jamma cabinets. Whilst these are versatile machines to own, they aren’t very desirable to the collector community – we were more interested in the dedicated cabinets that were there.
The answer lay with Andy Palmer who owns Arcade Club over here in the UK – with a new location about to be announced and opened, he was looking for cabinets to populate his new arcade space and these we figured, would be ideal. Sure enough, Andy was on board to take all 30 of these cabinets away, which meant the raid was still on! There was a little more back and forth with final prices, but we got there in the end.
So a date was set in November – we figured that flying over would be the best route to take so that we could supervise the removal of the cabinets, hand over our cash in person and of course take a look to see if anything else was there worth grabbing. We decided to rent two HGV trucks in order to lift everything away and bring everything back over the Irish Sea to the UK.
With everything organised, we all booked flights and agreed to meet on the day.
There were plenty of cabinets to pick through. Although we’d seen pictures of what was available, there were still a few surprises, and some cabinets had mysteriously appeared from other locations following our initial visit. Here’s some of the highlights of what we took away:
One of the biggest arcade cabinets I’ve ever come across is this Atari TX1. Another rare cabinet, that we were able to take away and load onto the trucks:
There were two floors to the arcade, and upstairs was where the Goliath Jamma cabinets were located. Getting them downstairs was backbreaking work (ask me how I know). Four of us worked in tandem to lug each down ready for loading.
I did a quick walk-around video of the ground floor to give you an idea of the environment, and just how many cabs there were:
I mentioned that we were keen to hunt around for parts and spares. There was plenty scattered throughout the building, and deals were made on the day for some of this additional stuff:
So we spent the morning checking that the cabinets we’d agreed to take away were present and looking through the mountain of art, parts and PCBs and making deals as we went. The trucks arrived at lunchtime, and we spent the next four hours lugging cabinets outside ready to get loaded up. This is where the hard work started:
It look a while as each cab had to be loaded individually. Here’s a quick vid (sorry it’s vertical!) of the process:
So with everything loaded up, we said our goodbyes, and had enough time to grab a pint of Guinness and a decent meal before heading back to the airport for our flights home.
I didn’t take an exact inventory of what we took, but it must have been at least 40-50 complete cabinets and a good clutch of spare parts, marquees and PCBs. A highly successful raid!
This was a great raid to be involved with – although it was cold, wet and windy and required a lot of heavy lifting, we had a fun experience. It also goes to show that even today, those classic arcade cabinets are still out there to be found! So big thanks go out to the small team of collectors who made this happen, and especially to Andy from Arcade Club, whose participation in picking up the Jamma cabinets, meant we were all able to secure the cabinets that we wanted and more on the day.
More arcade raids soon, and I’ll be sharing more details on that Red Tent here on the blog next time.