So you wanna buy an arcade game. Are you crazy ?!!! Good. Because someone besides me has to save these important little pieces of electronic nostalgia that are still out there. I can't do this alone. Luckily there are actually quite a few of you out there saving these precious treasures. But what about the people on the fence ? The people that are thinking about it but haven't taken the plunge yet ? I am here to help and I will be happy to unleash this coin-op curse upon you . Until now I have sorta steered clear from doing tutorials and how-to's and once this madness takes over and your house is infested with arcade games and parts, you will wish you never even read this. You have been warned.
First things first. You can't get a game without cash. And I say cash because forget about Ebay. You are picking this game up in person. There is no other way. Repeat after me, " I promise I will not buy my first game from Ebay " . There is one exception to that and one only. If the game is local and you can actually go see it and play it first then that's fine. Before you start your search on the web or in the paper, you need to search your memories for the game that really puts a smile on your face as you take that trip down memory lane. There must be a specific game or even 2 or 3 that really bring back the memories for you. Keep your list short for your first game. Make sure it is really something you want. Once you have that list of 2-3 games or maybe 5 at the most then it's time to do some homework.
So you have a list of 5 games let's say. What do you know about them besides the fact you dumped a ton of quarters into them as a kid ? You really need to research what parts are and aren't available for them. You need to know exactly what can and can't be had and for what price. When you look at a game you need to know exactly what the reproduced artwork will cost. Or how much it will cost to get the monitor fixed if needed. Or who can repair that motherboard if needed. Know what you are getting yourself into before you buy the game.
If you want to eliminate some of the headaches you can buy a game that is restored but your pockets will have to be a little deeper. Buying a restored game your first time out isn't a bad idea as long as the seller is reputable. Do your homework on the seller. Ask for a reference or two. If the seller gets offended then move on. Whatever you do, never let emotions take over and dictate your actions. It's easy and dangerous to get caught up in a deal and let childhood memories take control . Don't be afraid to walk away from a game and keep looking. Every time I think that a certain game will never come around again locally, I am proven wrong. Have the discipline to walk away from a deal that just doesn't feel right.
So now you are armed and dangerous with some cash and a little knowledge about the games you want to own. You can begin your search. Craigslist is always a good place to look. Arcade related message boards are good. Local operators are hit and miss and can be hard to deal with. An arcade game auction is a possibility but can be a tricky place for a novice to make a good decision due to the nature of the situation and fast pace . The classifieds of your local paper are an option. The bottom line is this though : when an opportunity comes , and the machine is worth buying, you have to be ready to pull the trigger. You might not and probably will not get a second chance to buy that game if the deal is that good. I keep a blanket, shrink wrap, a piece of cardboard, and some straps behind the seat of my truck at all times. You really never know when and where you might have a chance to pick up a game. Be prepared ! Don't show up to look at a game and have no game-plan for getting it home. You need to know exactly how to transport it and how you are going to transport it and be ready to execute said plan. " I can call my brother-in-law and see if I can borrow his truck next Tuesday " doesn't cut it.
So there it is. I may not have covered everything but hopefully this helps. At least now you will have some kind of plan of attack to get your first arcade game.
So let's review. Make a list of games. Do some research. Get some cash. Decide how you will get the thing home. Start looking. Enjoy being cursed forever. Sounds like a solid plan to me. Now get going.