Saturday, August 30, 2008

Collectors.... in Boise ? !!!

Sometimes I feel like I need help.Maybe a support group or something to get me through this coin-op collecting addiction. “Hi, I’m Dave, and I have a 3 game a week habit”.
Addiction, affliction, curse, call it what you will, I am just glad I am not the only one suffering from it. I decided that instead of forming a group to rid myself of this indulgence, I would form a group to promote it. It’s become quite evident to me over the past few years that Boise has a pretty strong contingent of pinball and arcade game collectors. It was time to bring them together, throw them all into the gameroom, and see what would happen.

I had met several but not all of our local collectors here. In a town like Boise we just don’t have the opportunity to cross paths like collectors in the bigger cities. No auction. No expos. We just have a bunch of collectors wandering the streets aimlessly snatching up machines and doing their own thing. I called and emailed the collectors I did know and got the ball rolling. I had no idea what to expect. I formed an email group and set a date. I found out that Brett Davis from PinScore lives about 2 miles from me and Marc Mandeltort of Marco Specialties and his family were going to be in town and were interested in coming. The stars were aligning just right in the coin-op collecting universe.

Some collectors were out of town for the 3 day weekend yet we still had a solid showing. After collecting for 15 years you can get a little jaded at times. This was just the thing I needed to make me realize that there are still some really good new collecting- related experiences waiting to be had. For myself, this experience was more about the people that collect than the machines themselves. If there is one thing that collectors have in common, it’s great stories about playing the games as kids and finding and owning the games as adults. I listened to many of these stories over the course of the evening. I listened to a story about getting a Tempest for a dollar at a Boy Scout sale. A story about finding games at a garage sale and a story about getting a game for free. There were a lot of stories about playing games at the arcades as kids. There were pin guys with a couple arcades and arcade guys with a couple pins. There were collectors with giant collections, collectors with small collections, and even a future collector. Poor guy doesn’t realize what he is in for.

I talked to Brett Davis about his company PinScore. It is pretty exciting to think about what he is offering to the pinball community. He saw a need and decided to take a chance. His products have caught the attention of the pin collectors and have been very well received so far. It is obvious he will be making a tremendous contribution to the preservation of pinball machines. I also had the privilege to talk to Marc and Nancy Mandeltort and their son Paul about Marco Specialties. Back in the 1980’s Marc had been accumulating a few pins and parts in the garage and came home one day to find it all out on the drive way . Nancy had decided enough was enough and it was time to do something with Marcs stash.It was one of those " do or die" moments. Marc decided he wanted to enter the coin-op business and with Nancy’s blessing it began, a 20 year odyssey that would take them from operating machines locally to being the largest supplier of pinball parts on the planet. “Behind every great man is a great woman”, and let me tell you, Nancy is extremely passionate about pinball and arcade games. As a 7th grader, Paul developed their first internet bulletin board in the 90’s and Marco Specialties became a household name amongst pinball collectors. Listening to them talk about their early days and some of the history of pinball machines was a real treat. We as collectors are fortunate to have people like Marc, Nancy and Brett , people willing to take risks so we can preserve our machines. It was an honor to have them here for our get-together

The night proved to be a success. I want to thank everyone who participated.
It was very satisfying to meet not just collectors, but people in the business making it possible to restore and preserve the machines we loved as kids and probably love even more as adults . This morning I poured a cup of coffee and walked into my gameroom. I stood there and just stared at the machines for a few minutes. How is it that these things are able to instill so much passion in us ? Enough passion to drive hundreds of miles to pick up a game. Enough passion to start a business for something that most people would never even think about . Enough passion to spend countless hours restoring a game to original condition. Enough passion to make an arcade in your home. I don’t know and I don’t care. All I want to know right now is when the next meeting is.

Boise area collectors got together with Marc,Nancy,and son Paul of Marco Specialties and Brett Davis of PinScore for a very unique experience.


mrslo said...

Hey Dave,

Glad to hear this was a success. If I were closer, you know I would have been there.

peek said...

Its nice to see this did happen many years ago. Just wondering if there's any chance collectors are getting together in current times. I can't consider myself a collector with a whole Centipede under my belt but I gotta start somewhere.