Oct 18 2007
One of my hobbies is collecting and restoring classic arcade games. It all started with an Asteroids game I bought from a Round Table Pizza way back in the late 80’s. Since then I’ve gone through dozens of games. Many have been resold to make room for new games or gone to friends who wanted a particular game.
Here is a shot of my game room and some of the collection.
All my games have been bought locally in the Seattle area with the exception of Berzerk which I bought on ebay and had shipped to my house. Sources for games include local classified ads, internet sites, fellow collectors at Microsoft, and people like Marcus O’Farrell of Space Age Amusement.
The games in my current collection include:
Donkey Kong Jr.
The majority of my games were manufactured between 1980 and 1982 which is considered the “golden years” of classic arcade games.
There are many aspects to restoring classic arcade games. When I get a game, it may need electrical, mechanical, or cabinet work done (sometimes all of the above).
Electrical work involves things like rebuilding monitor assemblies, fixing solder joints, replacing PCBs, and reseating ICs that have come loose from their sockets. My skills diagnosing electronic problems only go so far and so it can be trickly determining what is wrong with some games.
Mechanical work is typically things like fixing or replacing buttons and joysticks. Fortunately replacement parts are available thanks to part dealers online. Mechanical repairs are typically fast and easy to make.
Cabinet restoration can sometimes be the most difficult because it involves touching up or replacing artwork, fixing damage, replacing control panel overlays, or repainting parts of the cabinet.
There is always the chance that trying to fix something will make it worse. There is also the trade-off between keeping something original and replacing it with a reproduction that is in better condition. In general, I try to stick with original equipment whenever possible.
For blog entries on classic arcade gaming check out the Classic Arcade Games category at the top of this page.