This year I really feel like I went back in time and relived my early days of collecting. I bought games, traded games, fixed games, restored games, road tripped for games, went to the California Extreme Show, went to an operators warehouse to pick up games, and emptied out an old barn full of games. I added a lot of games to my collection. I added a lot of games to other peoples collections. And I enjoyed every precious second of it. All of these experiences are still out there waiting to be had. There are still lots of opportunities for new collectors to enjoy the thrills of collecting that a lot of people thought were long gone, and you don't have to have a tricked out Delorean to make it happen. All we have to do is go back.
I remember when just about every collector was on the same page and the hobby was truly about preserving classics. Things have changed. A lot of the new collectors have no loyalty at all to the games and only care about them until they become bored and want something new. If the game can't be sold in a couple days then it gets parted out. The amount of collectors truly dedicated to preserving the classics seems to be dwindling. The fast buck wins out over the thrill and satisfaction of bringing a game back from the grave and giving it a second chance. My mission this year was to resurrect as many games as I could and get them back in circulation. I was able to save a Star Wars, Space Duel, Space Invaders,Asteroids Deluxe, 3 Battlezones, and a Star Castle to name a few. All of these games had been sitting for many, many years just waiting for their chance. I was happy to give it to them. Some of the other games I am still working on will have to roll over into next years bounty due to time and weather restraints. Some needed extensive work and some didn't, but all of them gave me a deep sense of satisfaction knowing that I was able to give them a second chance to remind us of how great an era that really was. There is just nothing better in this hobby than putting the finishing touches on a long restoration, then coining up the machine and playing a game.
My mission for next year will be more of the same, only this time, instead of just saving games from being parted out and dumped in the landfills, I hope to encourage as many collectors as possible to do the same. Forget the fast buck and do something really rewarding. Preserve a classic coin operated piece of history. There are so many resources available to help people repair games. There are fellow collectors giving repair advice on forums, fellow collectors making tons of reproduction parts and artwork, and fellow collectors always willing to lend a helping hand. Make it a New Year's resolution to learn how to repair a monitor, or rebuild a power supply, or fix a broken cabinet or repair one game and find it a home. You are selling yourself short in this hobby if you settle for anything less. It's not too late to go back and start over. I spent this past year doing exactly that. It was fun reliving my glory days of collecting and it was nothing less than an amazing year in the hobby for me. After well over a decade of being in this hobby I was a little jaded and thought I had seen it all. I was wrong and it has never felt so good to be wrong.
The collector community has gone soft. Too many of us sit there in silence as the games get parted out for sheer greed or lack of patience. Too many collectors buy these parts and encourage it. We should be encouraging the new collectors to preserve games, not take the easy way out. It just feels like we need to go back. We need to go back and start over and when we get to that point in time where it became acceptable to gut cabinets for no other reason than greed or a lack of patience, we need to grab the steering wheel and veer hard left, or hard right, it doesn't matter. As long as we end up on a different road from the one we are on now. The New Year is coming. Buy a broken game and bring it back. To the future...