Arcade Raid! Ireland, EU

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.

I flew up the night before ready for an early start
Once at the location, we were let into the arcade by the owner

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:

Two huge Electrocoin branded sit down jamma cabinets
A rare dedicated Stern Astro Invader. This was in excellent shape
Three Operation Wolf cabinets
A pair of Atari Stun Runners. Both were Irish cabinets, built just down the road at Atari’s European manufacturing plant in Tipperary
A Nintendo Red Tent cabinet. Supposedly running Vs Tennis. This was my pick up from the raid – I’ll write in more detail about this cabinet in a separate post
An Atari Space Duel with wood-grain sides – again an Irish cabinet. This one had been converted to Jamma at some point during its life
A row of linked Sega Scud Race cabinets
The Sega Out Run wasn’t for sale. It had issues from what we could see, so we probably dodged a bullet here
This Dodgem upright had also been converted to an Invaders. You can still make out the original artwork
Another view of the Electrocoin cabs
One of the better finds – Atari Champ Sprint cab.
Stern Bererk. There were two of these. This one was complete, but the other had been converted. We took both
An interesting looking Phoenix upright. Nice art on this one
Here’s one you don’t see often – a dedicated Sega Space Trek

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:

This is essentially a triple screen Pole Position with a seat. It is huge and very difficult to move around
Rear view of the TX1
After a lot of head scratching, we managed to take it apart, removing the seat and top marquee bracket. There was no way it was getting out of the building without being dismantled! The cabinet was complete but hadn’t worked for some time. Hopefully it can be made working again

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.

Goliath Jamma cabinets. Thankfully the guys from Arcade Club grabbed these, allowing the raid to go ahead. All will be refurbished and put out on their new location’s floor available for the public to play once more!

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:

Although it was great to see a lot of parts lying around, what we gathered was that the cabinets they once sat on had long since been destroyed many years ago.  There were some very rare dedicated cabinets destroyed over the years it seems. Them’s the breaks.
Much of the old artwork from previously destroyed machines was stored away however. Here a complete set of Spy Hunter cockpit artwork was found
Hunting through a pile of arcade art here. That’s a Space Invader bezel
A random pile of test equipment and PCBs here
A repair bench full of parts
Clearly evidence of monitor repairs going on here!
In the back office were shelves of PCBs that had been wrapped and stored. On the spot deals were done and we took a good chunk of this stuff away with us
The operator wanted top dollar for this. A new in box Phoenix cocktail table. Never used!
The walls of the top floor were full of marquees from long lost arcade games. We spotted some interesting and rare titles including Taito Defender marquees & Nintendo Space Launcher CPOs
Although we didn’t take it, this amazing cab was fully working. It’s a projector racing game that pre-dates the video age. Called ‘400 Miles’, I suspect this must be one of just a few left in the world. Awesome piece of arcade history and still working!

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:

Loading Up
Here’s the first truck ready for us to start loading up. That’s my Red Tent being placed onto a pallet ready to be lifted using the fork lift
Fork-lifting the Electrocoin
It was heavy work dragging the cabinets and securing them in place once lifted up to the trailer
Here’s the two Stun Runners in the queue ready to be loaded. The rain wasn’t helping matters
Stern Berzerk being wheeled out
Still don’t quite know how we got this out. But we managed it. The main body of the Atari TX-1. A heavy beast!
Loading up was a four hour operation
There were two of these. Fabulous looking Taito Grand Champion cockpit. The art really pops!
Here are those Grand Champions loaded up. Note the fish-eye bezel on the rear of both
Everything had to be strapped in and secured

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!

Here’s the team. A great experience and productive day saving these cabinets and into the hands of collectors ready for restoration!
A day later, the trucks arrived back in the UK with our spoils from the raid
Best get to work
Unloading the Goliaths
Here’s a sight for you. The Goliaths ready to be gone through and fully repaired ready to play again. Check out Arcade Club’s new location opening later this year

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.

Thanks as always for reading this week.


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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Barrie says:

    What a discovery! Amazing to be able to preserve a TX-1 Tasmania. Don’t suppose there’s any chance that will be going to Arcade Club or the like? Would love to play one again one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That 400 Miles game is interesting. It’s an Italian game like Speedway from Chicago Coin, which was supposedly based on Indy 500 from Kasco. However when I talked to Chuck Arnold at Chicago Coin (he came in 1971, past when they did Speedway), he said that Sam Gensburg had seen some kind of display in Italy which inspired him to do the Speedway game. He did say it wasn’t a game though and it on it’s face was a bit doubtful.

    I’d certainly love to see that thing in action. I hope somebody saved it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lappan says:

    A fine raid, fantastic write-up, but what most amazes me is that such an arcade still existed in 2019, looking, feeling, and I dare say smelling like my mis-spent youth 36 years ago. How the blazes had it hung in there, decades after all the ones I knew have vanished? Was the owner waiting for the wheel of fashion to turn favour upon him, or could he just not bear to let it all go?


  4. neil1637 says:

    Great write up Tony, as always. Who knew eh, all those cabs were actually there all along. Cap doffed.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Michael says:

    wow thats great. what a fun time that must of been, the nostalgia value must’ve been high, being in that place. i feel like we havent even begun to scratch the surface of what these games mean to us when we see them again in our older years.
    it must be a revival of some sort to see all these things come to light now in our minds eye, to see we need these things like games from our youth in our lives again.
    kinda like a restoring pastimes we didnt get our complete joy in.

    Liked by 1 person

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