For those of you that currently own or previously owned an arcade cabinet, tell us about your first time!
I bought my first arcade cabinet when I was 21 or 22. I was checking the classified ads for computer and ran across an ad for an Elevator Action arcade game for $200. I didn't know anything about owning, fixing, or moving arcade games, but it sounded like a good deal to me. When I called the owner, he said he would take $150. I told a friend of mine about it and he said he would pay half and that we could store the game at my house. I borrowed my dad's pickup, and headed out.
The man's house was about 45 minutes away. When I got there, he showed me his game room. I had never seen a game room in anyone's home before. He had converted his garage and left one garage door functioning, to easily move the game out. I was so unprepared; I hadn't even brought a dolly or ropes or anything. When the guy asked me how I was going to secure it I said just throw it down in the bed. He was not crazy about the idea but we did it and it turned out okay.
At the time I was living in a trailer home. When I got to the house, I moved our front steps, backed the truck up to the front door, and simply tilted the game into the house. I then put the game on a skateboard and rolled it into the kitchen, where it stayed for two more years until we finally got a house.
That Elevator Action was the centerpiece of my collection for several years. In 1996, I ended up moving and had to sell all my games quickly. Pre-eBay days, that was pretty hard to do. I sold Championship Streetfighter II and Shinobi for $25 each. I gave away a Star Wars upright that had a bad power supply. I think I got $50 out of that Elevator Action.
Man what I wouldn't give to have that cabinet again. Now it would probably cost me $500. It was so mint. Anyway, that was the first game I ever bought, and what turned me on to the bug. With the last game I bought, I now have 25 cabinets.