Earlier this week we reported that Adelaide was going to have an impressive arcade and pinball sale on Saturday 20 February, and we were lucky enough to speak with the organisers to arrange access to take photos of the event, including getting the chance to jump in before the gates opened for a nosey.
Preparation was key. I was bringing along one of my brothers (my elder brother couldn’t make it as he had family commitments, but being a huge fan of arcade games he assured us he’d be in there in spirit), so a flurry of phone calls and messages teed up the starting time. With a fistful of dollars (cash-only sales), trailer and enthusiasm on board, we headed out to the old GameRoom Essentials site on Cavan Road in Pooraka. There were two other cars parked when we arrived around 8:30am, and by 8:45am when we went in to photograph the gear, the lineup of cars stretched up the road and a healthy number of pundits were arriving.
Arcades, pinballs and spare parts – on my!
Before going any further, it’s important to note I’m a bit of an arcade nerd. Seeing cabs in the wild, poring over pictures of PCBs, getting excited about beautiful routing of JAMMA looms – I love this stuff. If you’re not too fussed about this you can go straight to what happened after the gates opened.
In terms of the gear available, there was a fantastic mix of goodies on offer. There were some skill testers onsite with some merch still loaded, reminding me of how prolific these were in the 90s. What I liked about these is that the Plucka decal (of Hey-Hey fame) has survived what must be getting close to two decades out in the wild.
Joining the skill testers were some other odd pieces – two Namco redeption machines I couldn’t place, one of those matchmaking games I remember hearing about but never playing as well as what looked like an old pachinko board which was pretty awesome.
The star of the lineup was definitely this amazing Space Invaders dedicated cab. While I didn’t get around to popping it open, on the outside it was in extremely good condition consider its age and having travelled over to Australian from Japan at some stage in its life. The control panel has some wear and tear, but again considering it’s an original Japanese cab, it’s an impressive find.
Since it’s not every day you come across something like this, I ended up taking a number of shots of it – hopefully the above’s suitably indulgent! John let me know that this machine got snapped up later in the day, so kudos to the new owner – it’s a great piece of arcade history.
Going down the line there were more goodies. We had some project cabs, a few dedicated machines and I came across a great Digger upright cabinet with all the stickers, side art and well-loved control panel marks you’d expect of a cabinet of this vintage. Towards the end was a fantastic upright equipped with a pair of super-responsive rotary joysticks that would be perfect for Heavy Barrel or Midnight Resistance. The green’s a little unusual since I’m more used to seeing yellow joysticks, but if anything that makes it even more interesting to look at.
This “little” gem was tucked at the back of this first line of cabs. It’s a Taito dedicated sit-down and on the inside the pedals and wheel were still working nicely. No idea how it looked under the hood, but this would make for a great Chase HQ cab.
There were a small collection of pinball machines on display as well. They were in varying states of repair, and being more of an arcade cabinet guy than a pinball collector, I wasn’t sure how these stacked up in the grand scheme of things. Still, it was cool to see a few pinnies out for sale.
There were a few stations loaded with PCBs – longtime Adelaide operator Mark had piles of PCBs for parts (I was tempted to grab a Golden Axe, but as I don’t have a lot of spare time these days to repairs PCBs I decided to leave it for someone else) and a stack of tested PCBs, some CPS-II boards, a number of Neo Geo MVS carts and some other fun stuff behind the counter.
After that we had an assortment of control panels to suit various cabs, including some generic and Neo Geo-branded LAI panels. There was a pair of 3-button joysticks panels that would have been perfect to mod into a controller for a Mega Drive, Atari, Amiga or C64, but just like the Golden Axe PCB, I passed to avoid adding more projects to my pile of shame!
The final line of cabs featured some definite project cabs, including a Gauntlet 2 and NBA Jam that had some potential for someone with the skills or spares required to get them back up and running. The upright Super Hang On also looked really interesting, I remember seeing this and an upright Afterburner II at arcades when I was a kid, both of which were far more modest iterations on the amazing DX cabs.
There was also a great Pong clone that went home with a local collector who has a deserved reputation for restoring and repairing arcade gear and modding consoles in addition to hosting the occasional meet so fellow nerds can get excited at Playchoice-10 cabs and Vectrex setups. No pressure James, but we’re looking forward to you’re work on getting that cab functional again!
There were also some great overlays and headers, including this nostalgia-inducing TMNT overlay that adorned the LAI cabs we used to play when we were kids.
The gates opened promptly at 9am by a very excited John, and it wasn’t long before the crowds had flowed through the lines of cabinets and the tables full of PCBs and spares. That fun Digger upright in particular was quickly camped on by one of the attendees and was possibly the first machine to be sold, loaded onto a ute and then off it went with its new owner.
Over the course of our time in the morning we saw a number of gear shifted – by the time we left we’d seen skill testers, redemption machines, dedicated machines along with stacks of headers and PCBs exiting. What was great was the laid-back approach everyone took to the event – people were happy to walk about, admire the cabs, chat with the organisers and sellers, and just generally catch up. We ended up coming across a few others we knew active in the arcade scene (as well as people who work in the same industry as me, funnily enough!), and it proved a good chance to have a quick chat with Danny from GameRoom Essentials and other locals who have been active in the Adelaide arcade scene for years.
We ended up heading off after an hour or two since first arriving, but before we left I couldn’t resist having a look through some PCBs and ended up bringing home a few extras for myself. I’m now a proud owner of what looks like an original Double Dragon 2 PCB, an impressively compact Snow Brothers PCB, an ST-V set with the PCB and a Die Hard Arcade cart (which opens up more ST-V goodness for the future!) and to fill in a gap in my MVS collection, a very reasonably priced (though mislabelled) Samurai Shodown 2 cart.
Speaking with John the next day, everyone involved with running and selling at the event came away feeling really positive, with the organisers closing up the gates by around 1:30pm. The crowds were great considering it was only publicised via Gumtree and pushed through Facebook and other outlets. The interest and attendance has meant that there’s likely going to be another sale event later this year possibly on a larger scale, which John is earmarking for October.
Keep your eyes peeled to our website and Facebook pages as we’ll be looking forward to sharing any news we hear for future arcade events with John and his team.
The author would like to acknowledge the assistance of the organiser of the event, John, owner and manager of GameRoom Essentials, Danny Daly, as well as Mark, Simon and Andrew for photography access to this event.