Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Add to Cart"

Don't you just wish it was that easy at times when looking for rare and obscure arcade games and parts ? I guess in some instances for a price it can be. But in doing so, you lose out on one of the most thrilling aspects of the hobby, that being "The Hunt". I have been on some crazy adventures over the past 15+ years. They have taken me from dark barns and warehouses and factories to airplane hangars and houses that reminded me of movie scenes that I really never care to be a part of. I can remember a road trip returning from Socal back in the day with a pickup truck bed so full of motherboards that I am sure some were left scattered along the highway like pieces of fruit from a tractor trailer on it's way to the cannery. We got pulled over on a lonely stretch of highway near San Luis Obispo just before midnight. I can only imagine what the officer was thinking seeing a load of motherboards under a tarp in a pickup truck. I am surprised he wasn't holding one in his hand that he had picked up along the road asking if it belonged to us.

You just never know where your next find might come from. If you put enough feelers out there you are liable to find a game almost anywhere. Empty houses, along the curb, a tractor trailer behind a house , the possibilities are endless. Endless to the point that when people ask me where I get all my games I really don't even know how to answer them. I prefer the vague approach and with a grin just say "Oh you know, here and there...".

One thing is for sure, when you find an obscure game it will be in an obscure place. That probably explains why no one else has found it. I remember back about 8 or 10 years ago meeting an old-timer along the side of the road in Lake Tahoe and sliding an I-Robot and Zaxxon from the back of his truck to the back of mine. I forget how I even found out he had the Zaxxon, but when I asked if he had anything else, he came back with "just some old game called I-Robot". He had rat-holed these games on his property on the edge of somewhere-next-to-the-middle-of-nowhere and decided it was time to get rid of them. Apparently he didn't think anyone would care about the I-Robot. Obscure games in obscure places is a strange phenomenon. Who would ever imagine finding a Vectorbeam Warrior and a Hercules pinball in a barn in rural Idaho ? Not me until I did.

I have spent many years chasing down games. Occasionally a game falls in your lap and that's ok, but I find it a lot more rewarding to go out and hunt them down. There have been many times where my imagination would run wild on my way to a storage unit or warehouse only to come up empty. It happens, either the games or the prices are just all wrong and it's back to the drawing board. Either that or pay the premium and go the "add to cart" route and buy things from fellow collectors and retailers. It's not the route to games and parts I have taken too often or that I am very familiar with. I prefer the route that leads me through rolling countrysides and down back roads and alleys and towns and places unknown. Leave a light on for me and don't wait up.


ifkz said...

So what happened to the I robot? It is not in your list of games, and I know it is not your style to 'part-out' any arcade game.

Dave said...

It was sold to another collector who wanted to restore it.