The Nintendo Vs. Cabinet Story

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Flack
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The Nintendo Vs. Cabinet Story

Post by Flack »

This story recently came up in a conversation about "weird arcade purchase stories" so I thought I would retell it here. It's an oldie (I shared it in Invading Spaces) but a goodie... or at least an "oddie."

In the early 2000s, arcade games were incredibly cheap. Arcades had collapsed and operators were tired of storing these old machines that were no longer bringing in quarters. At auctions, I paid $50 for a working Zaxxon machine, and $25 for Mat Mania. Prices were crazy low.

In 2003 I found a Nintendo Vs. cabinet for sale on eBay. This was the big stand-up cabinet which was shaped like a letter "V" and was essentially two separate arcade machines in one big cabinet. Nintendo released a lot of Vs. games, and this one had two of my favorites: Super Mario Bros. and Excitebike. I ended up winning the auction for $200, and the seller was located an hour and a half away in rural Oklahoma.

The first sign this was going to be an adventure was that the seller informed me that his address would not show up on GPS devices or online maps. Any instructions I could find, he assured me, would be wrong. He was right. The house was located in the middle of nowhere -- I drove to a town, took another road "out of town" which led to a dirt road which eventually led to a driveway lined with trees that was a quarter mile long. I was towing my dad's 16' trailer, so the first decision was whether I would back down the driveway on the way in, or try to leave in reverse. I figured it would be easier to see out the rear of the truck before the cabinet was sitting there, so I decided to back into the driveway. The driveway was shaped like a crazy straw and was lined with trees. I had backed that trailer a hundred times and had gotten quite good at it, but even then it was quite a challenge to get the trailer all the way down the driveway.

When my buddy and I hopped out of my truck we were met by a husband and wife. Both of them had a look on their face that told me something was up. The couple's house was to the right and the man's workshop, which I had backed up to, was to the left. The game was located inside the workshop and so we all went inside.

The workshop was huge, with a large loft overhead. It was immediately obvious that someone was living inside the building. That person turned out to be "Bobby," the wife's "special-needs" brother.

When the man went to turn on the machine... it didn't come on. One of the monitors did not turn on at all and the other lit up but had no video. The wife explained to me that Bobby was very upset when he learned they were selling the arcade machine, and decided to break it by "opening the back door, grabbing a fistfull of wires, and pulling." While the woman explained this to us, the man (who knew nothing about arcade games) was sticking his arm into the rear of the cabinet, wiggling wires, and yelling "GODDAMMIT BOBBY" the entire time. I gently suggested that the guy might not want to be blindly sticking his arm inside the back of an arcade cabinet near the monitors while they were powered on, but that suggestion fell on deaf ears.

The woman then began to cry and said that Bobby had run off into the woods and was hiding. This started to sound like the setup to a horror movie, so my friend and I started to leave. The man began dropping the price. "$200? I'll take $150 -- no, I'll take $100!" While I thought about it, the man began offering me Bobby's possessions which were in the loft. "Hey, you like that TV? I'll throw in that TV. You need a desk or a recliner?" This made the woman cry even more. I did have my eye on a wall clock with a neon ring, but it never came up. I do remember him trying to toss a taxidermied deer's head into the deal, but I passed on that.

If I remember correctly, we agreed on $100. The whole time my friend and I were loading the machine I had one eye on the surrounding woods, watching for Bobby to come running out with a sharpened stick or something to attack us. We continued watching for Bobby as we made our way back up that long twisty driveway surrounded by trees.

The good news was once I got the machine home, it was relatively easy to fix. The harness to one of the PCBs had been pulled off, and the video board that connected to the monitor was loose on the other side. The bad news was... the massive machine would not fit through my doorway -- not no way, no how. The middle section of the cabinet was 36" wide and the door opening was 34". No about of wiggling would get that cabinet through the door. The cabinet stayed in my garage for about a year. I'd go out there and play Excitebike from time to time, and eventually resold it.

Sometimes, late at night when the wind blows just right, you can still hear the sound of Bobby dropping quarters into that machine...
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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Ice Cream Jonsey
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Re: The Nintendo Vs. Cabinet Story

Post by Ice Cream Jonsey »

Hahhaa, that's great. I had heard it before and enjoyed it and now it lives again!

I don't think I had any cabinet pickups where I felt in danger. Some of this is due to the fact that I started buying from the same people. Would anyone be interested if I started a thread talking about the pickups I did, their prices and when I sold the game and such?
the dark and gritty...Ice Cream Jonsey!

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Flack
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Re: The Nintendo Vs. Cabinet Story

Post by Flack »

I would love that thread!

I had a few weird experiences. I bought a Gauntlet cabinet from a gay couple who had broken up and were splitting up their possessions. I didn't feel in danger there, but it was definitely awkward. After a while I quit buying from randos and started getting my stuff from auctions and other collectors.
"Jack Flack always escapes." -Davey Osborne

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Tdarcos
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Re: The Nintendo Vs. Cabinet Story

Post by Tdarcos »

Flack wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:11 am I ended up winning the auction for $200, and the seller was located an hour and a half away in rural [nowhere]. The first sign this was going to be an adventure was that the seller informed me that his address would not show up on GPS devices or online maps. Any instructions I could find, he assured me, would be wrong. He was right. The house was located in the middle of nowhere -- I drove to a town, took another road "out of town" which led to a dirt road which eventually led to a driveway lined with trees that was a quarter mile long.
Much like a certain rented house in Bedly, Nevada, perhaps?
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Jizaboz
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Re: The Nintendo Vs. Cabinet Story

Post by Jizaboz »

Hahaha you told me that story once and it never gets old!

I don’t really have any crazy stories like this but that house I pulled 2 cabs for 100$ each from was like something out of Resident Evil. Well, the basement anyway where the games were. God awful smell and mold everywhere from a bad leak. People that were selling them had all of their possessions just piled into random piles on the lawn I had to drive around to load the game. (The home owner recently had bad health problems) Thank fuck I rented a furniture dolly because I had to roll them up a muddy hill and across garbage.

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