Classicarcadeprojects.com is a site I started to track my progress on my reproduction Track & Field cocktail cabinet. As I’m doing the build out for this project, I thought it would be both fun and interesting to share my experiences with the community.
Where it all began
When I was probably around six or seven years old, I had my first arcade experience. My dad took me to the Sears in our local mall, back when malls (and Sears) were still fashionable. The Sears actually had an arcade in it. I remember playing games like Donkey Kong and Wizard of Wor there. I was hooked.
Pretty much up through college, I would go to the arcade anytime I was at a mall. When I could drive, I would go to the mall just to go to the arcade. I would even drive to other malls to play the different games they had in their arcades.
I could own one myself?
I probably would have continued playing arcade games in college, but by the mid-90’s arcades had started to fizzle out. There also weren’t really any arcades to speak of; it was a small town. There were some classics in the local Pizza Shop basement, but they weren’t in great shape.
This also happened to be the time where the internet started to take off. Raise your hand if you browsed the web with Mosaic. Anyway, I got hooked on reading the rec.games.video.arcade.collecting newsgroup on usenet. I learned there was a whole sub-culture of people who were buying up old games and fixing them up. I was super jealous.
As it turns out, that pizza shop I mentioned earlier started selling off some of their stock. Games were going for the low, low prices of $200-300. I badly wanted to buy their Donkey Kong, but I was broke and I didn’t have any way to move or store the game. Once I graduated and obtained full-time employment I had some cash, but still no real place to put games like that and my dream faded away.
I say renewed, but I don’t think my interest ever went away, I just had different priorities for a while: marriage, house, kids. One night early in 2015, I was searching YouTube for videos of classic arcade games that I never had the opportunity to play and I came across TNT Amusements’ channel.
If you’re not familiar with TNT, it’s all about Todd N. Tuckey and his business. He used to vend arcade machines, but smartly realized there was a home market. Over the years his business has transformed into refurbishing classic arcade games and pins and reselling them.
TNT’s videos dusted the cobwebs off my old dream.
Own your own game round two
As it turns out, there’s enough demand for these old games that ones in decent condition sell for upwards of $1,200 these days. A far cry from the good ol’ days in college. If you haunt Craigslist, you can turn up some deals occasionally, but there are a lot of buyers on there who might fix up the games, but are more likely to gut them and turn them into MAME cabinets. I still mostly have a space issue – I live in a 900 sq ft. house. But I have a hard time spending that much money on a game.
While looking up various other video game footage on YouTube, I ran across Scr33n’s channel who built a few of his own games. I immediately thought, “I can do that!” After doing a little more digging, it seems that there are quite a few people who have built replica cabinets, so I myself embarked on a quest to build a replica Track & Field cocktail.