If there’s one thing that’ll really make you feel your age today, it’s bringing up memories of nights spent throwing 20 cent pieces into an arcade machine, playing some Pac-Man or The Punisher, games that were plentiful outside of cafes and bars back then. You’d be hard-pressed to find those devices these days though, as they’ve all been replaced with claw machines instead. So what actually happens to such devices?
You’d think that those devices would be gathering dust, or sold off en masse to collectors, but the sad fact is, in the USA at least, is that they’re being straight out demolished harder the KZN budget whenever Swaziland comes a’knockin’, looking for a new castle.
Scott Patterson took a hard look at what happened to arcade machines from yesteryear, how vendors got rid of surplus cabinet stock after the arcade market fell through the roof, which resulted in a tough choice being made regarding the storage hogs:
Many machines were gutted for useful parts such as monitors and coin doors then had their cabinets smashed, burned or taken to a landfill. Others were left to rot in abandoned warehouses, sheds or fields.
This practice actually still continues today. Me and a friend came across an antique store a few years ago that had obtained a few trailers of early eighties machines. Thinking they had no value they left the open trailers outside and smashed up entire machines until they’d filled their dumpsters. By the time we got there, we found pieces of games such as Donkey Kong Junior and Centipede in the trash and the machines still in tact had been rained on so much they were falling apart.
While there are hobbyists who restore classic machines scattered across the country, it is commonplace for them to use several machines to complete one full restoration, trashing the rest.
And while those of us with some cash to spare can invest in our custom-designed arcade cabinets, it’s sad to see such nostalgia get destroyed at the end of the day, something that most likely happened to our own aging video game cabinets. The rest of the article is well worth a read, so if you feel like saddening up your nostalgia bones, check out the full read.
Last Updated: September 6, 2012