One of the questions that we get asked a lot is where do we find our games. While every game has a unique story about where it came from, the arcade auctions can be a great source for finding good deals at fire sale prices. After an unbelievable 45 year run Mikey’s Funland in Lakewood WA has closed up shop. For years they entertained tourists, locals and lots of kids at their amusement center, but as time marched on, the games lost the appeal that they once had. Instead of trying to store all of their games, B&I Amusements (the operator of Mikey’s Funland) has chosen to go the mass liquidation route.
EHLI Auctions put together a nice video showing off what’s for sale. It really helps to show how massive of an event this is and is a good example of the challenges an operator faces when trying to exit the business. Rather then selling them all at once, we would have liked to see B&I take their time to get top dollar while storing them in our customer’s homes 😉 but we are happy that other collectors and operators will be able to score some pretty good deals on this one. The auction closed today, July 25 2013 at 7pm PST, so if you live nearby and see something you like, you should definitely check it out. In addition to the arcade games, they also have a collection of kiddie rides for sale including a huge tank that would look pretty awesome parked on my front lawn.
Some of the highs and lows for the auction reveal a little bit behind what type of buyers are interested in the games. On the high side, we’re shocked to see Pacman fetch an $825 bid. This is the most we’ve ever seen a Pacman go for, although I’m sure you’ll find higher prices on Ebay. On one hand the high bid makes sense because if you were a fan of the game and don’t really have a lot of technical skill when it comes to fixing them, we could see someone wanting to pay this much for a game they loved. Pacman was insanely popular so my guess is that two baby boomers are slugging it out for a game that they made thousands and thousands of copies of. We paid $100 locally for our Pacman game, but ours is a cocktail unit while the one for sale by B&I Amusements is a stand up version.
Another game that is pushing the highs on the auction is Midway’s racing game Hyrdo Thunder. Currently the bid is over $1,000 and this one looks like it could surge higher. We see a lot of the sit down racer games either go for top dollar or bargain basement prices, but rarely anything in between. Because the giant racing games are so difficult to move, you can often attend an auction in person and buy games for next to nothing once other bidders fill up their trucks and don’t have any more room. Sit down racers are one of the few games left that an operator can put into a commercial location and have it generate enough coinage to make it worth their while, so when you get two pros bidding against each other, you can see the value on these things run. It’s a fun game, but a little too rich for our blood.
Some of the better deals that are still available include the following; There are several broken games that are still under $100. Many of these will need repairs, but new power supplies can be purchased for as little as $20 and you can source monitors and jamma boards for around $50, so it doesn’t take a lot of money to take a broken game and turn it into an awesome working game, if you don’t mind swapping parts. If the Seattle collector market knew about this Seawolf at $50, it would be gone in a heartbeat. The monitor alone is worth 3 times that because Seawolf won’t take a standard raster monitor.
On the working side of things, we like the Maximum Force game at $90. Shooters are always popular on our service and Maximum Force is a pretty cool game. The Xmen vs. Street Fighter game is also interesting at a $150 bid. It’s not the 4 player version, but you still have two of the most popular arcade franchises melded into a single game. We also like the UN Squadron at $150. This may not have been a popular game with the public, but it’s exactly the type of game that our service was designed to rescue. Being able to play some of the games that are off the beaten path is always an adventure and the airplane games never fail to delight my senses.
On the unusual side of things, there are two pallets stacked with PC monitors available for $5 each. There aren’t enough details to know if you could swap these tubes into a CRT or if the operator was using computer monitors to power their games, but they look to be a 19″ size and getting tubes in bulk can be challenging, so if you have the space for them, it may be a profitable venture if you can get them to play nice with the games. The waffle maker at $35 could also be fun, if you like making your own waffle cones at home.
We hate to see another operator leaving the business, but do hope that this opens up opportunities for other operators in the Northwest region. If you can scoop up a bunch of cheap games and turn them into income on our website, it makes it a lot easier to free up space and to justify bidding on a few lowball games that you might not normally take a chance.