Thursday, 28 February 2019

Arcade Operator Retirement Raid

There is a lot to love about Raids – the satisfaction of following up leads and seeing investigative work pay off, hearing Ops tell stories from back in the day, the potential for great prices and saving old arcade gear from the scrap heap.  I also love the fact that each Raid is completely different, and you never really know what you’re going to find until you get there.  This was certainly the case recently.  You soon learn though that there is a fine line between showing interest and behaving like an excitable kid at Christmas, inevitably signalling pound signs in the Operator’s eyes.  However when a most wanted cab or PCB turns up, it can be tough keeping a poker face.  Admittedly on this occasion I nearly lost it, veering towards being the kid at Christmas!

I visited the Op not really knowing what to expect.  On previous Raids, it has been a case of literally falling over parts and spares, whilst rummaging round disorganised workshops and storage areas for arcade treasures.  This however was the polar opposite. 

The Op had gathered all his arcade boards and parts together, laying it all out for me on a table ready for when I arrived.

The first thing that struck me was the quantity of boards and MVS titles.  I was told that it was a mixture of working and non-working boards, and that the person who used to repair them had sadly passed away several years ago.  I had a quick glance over them and could see that there were some awesome titles. 

This particular board caught my eye straight away.

Looking at the MVS carts, I was really pleased to see Shock Troopers, Soccer Brawl, Spin Master, Waku Waku 7 and Windjammers in the haul.  It makes a nice change from the usual Super Sidekicks and Puzzle Bobble!

I asked how much he wanted for the lot, and a price was quickly agreed.  I don’t normally talk about pricing in these write ups, but let’s just say I was keen on running to the nearest bank, getting some cash and loading this lot in the car before he changed his mind!  It turns out the Op is retiring next year, and he really just wanted to get rid of it.  In fact had I not intervened, it wouldn’t surprise me if he had just scrapped the lot.

Once the boards were loaded in the boot, I randomly turned over a tag attached to one of them. 

It’s only Nemesis, my most wanted PCB!

Overspill from the boot.

There are some fantastic titles, including Mystic Riders, Shadow Dancer and Sunset Riders.  There are also a couple of obscure titles I haven’t played before, namely Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams, a cute horizontal shooter and Arabian Fight, a scrolling beat-em-up, running on Sega System 16 and System 32 hardware respectively.  Nice surprises you really don’t see very often!

A couple of days later I went back for the arcade cabs.

The Op manufactured his own generic Jamma cabs back in the day and some were sited in pubs.  We had a chat about how pubs used to have games rooms, where kids were relegated with a bottle of coke, a packet of crisps and some ten pence pieces, whilst the parents enjoyed a drink in peace.  Indeed I was one of those kids!

The Op told me he still has a couple of these machines on site.  There were four up for grabs, two fully working and two with monitor faults.  He switched on the two working machines to reveal two awesome games, Pang! 3 and Dragon Breed.  The cabinets are a nice size, extremely well built and look in great condition for their age.  “This is a posh one”, he said as he wheeled one out to the van.  “It has an on/off switch”.

I also picked up Pole Position II and Turbo OutRun.

The Atari Ireland made Pole Position II looks nice and solid, but is missing the original monitor.  That’s another great thing about Raids.  You end up with cool games you wouldn’t have normally gone for, discovering new games and making new favourites.

I love the side art on this.  

Despite looking a bit rough round the edges, the Turbo OutRun was working, but has a sound fault.

The pinball machines were being refurbished and going back on site.

This eighties jukebox looked pretty cool.

The Op was well stocked with spare monitors and chassis.  I managed to grab a couple, as well as power supplies, and a few other random parts he had.

A few pick ups in the front of the van.

As I was strapping the cabs in the van, wondering which games I’ll put in the machines, the Op handed me this control panel, which I thought was pretty awesome.

He said he made it years ago and that there should be an Arkanoid PCB amongst the boards. The controller still spins nice and smoothly.  One of these cabs will definitely become a dedicated Arkanoid in the near future!

I really like the look of these Mirage cabinets.  With some custom marquees, I think they will look great lined up.

Cabs secured and ready to go.

I mentioned earlier that Nemesis was my most wanted PCB.  I’m pleased to report that it’s now up and running thanks to the awesome service provided by VectorGlow. 

Extensive repair work was carried out, and a large number of chips were identified as faulty and subsequently replaced.  Also the board has cleaned up really well, especially considering the dusty condition it was in when I received it. 

The game plays perfectly, and I’m really pleased to add it to my collection.