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How to convince an operator to sell you an arcade machine


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Hey Guys, I'm in a bit of a dilemma, you see I'm moving soon, and my local arcade has an original Ms. Pac-Man upright from 1981, I kinda wish I had it in my basement, and the game makes little to no tokens (it's in a ticket arcade) anyway, every time I'm there I'm literally the only person who puts tokens in it, and I'm usually there for an hour.


Here's The Machine In Question:


It's A bit beat up, but I don't mind


Any of you got an idea of

A) how I can convince the owner of the arcade to sell it

B) how much do you think it's worth?


Any help would be appreciated.

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I have 2 Ms. Pac uprights and a cocktail. I have maybe $600 in all 3 and they all work and are in really nice shape. Make the guy an offer and if it's not in your price range then pass. The key is patience. It took me 2 years to find a 4-Player Atari X/O Football for the price I felt was fair. If your moving you may want to hold off until you get settled to purchase a cab. I assure you (I have 82 full size cabs) they get to be a pain in the ass to move often. Good luck with your move!


(Also be aware of screen burn-in and consider that in your offer or purchase price).


Sent from my non beer holding hand.

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Here's the rub on trying to buy games directly from Operators.


Most Arcade operators are basically carnie folk. You know, the people that try to get you to play those rigged games at your local fair. If you come at them wanting a game they will smell blood in the water and the chances of you getting it for a reasonable price are fairly non-existent. There's a chance this guy may be different but probably not.


While most games don't really earn anymore Ms. Pac is one of the few classics people will still sometimes play which is why it's one of the few truly 'vintage' games you'll see on location. Operators do tend to value them over some random Jamma game picking up dust in a warehouse (which you might get at a good deal.. well at least before ebay).


No clue how the arcade scene is in your area but look around for collectors. It's generally easy to pick up a Ms. Pac around here for $300ish working in reasonable shape but of course that's a big YMMV depending on your area.

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You don't need to limit yourself to a game that's still doing hard time in an arcade after 35 years.


Check sites like Craigslist and be willing to travel several hundred miles each way. Eventually you'll find a nice low mileage example for the right price. And speaking of mileage...these machine do have counters in the coin door which look just like a car's odometer.

I bet the one you pictured has racked up a half million plays or more.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi everyone,


I was wondering about what people think about those companies that sell sit down arcade emulator cabinets. I remember seeing one at the Youth Fair last year and got to play several games which was fun but it seemed a bit expensive to me. If you are not sure what I am talking about, here is a link to a company that sells them:




Do you guys think it is worth getting? The company that was there at the fair included padded chairs that had the Pac-Man characters included in their price but I lost the link to that company and just found this one.

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Well yeh, I like them. They're built with modern electronics and modern displays. They use emulators, which people like to hate on because of the "authenticity" and the "not back in the day" aura. But consider, it will be much easier to upgrade and service them in this day and age because they are constructed of readily available parts compared to a 40 year old dedicated cabinet. And you won't feel bad modding this as you would a genuine mint & pristine classic game - if that's what you want to do.


You won't have to fart around with recalcitrant CRT displays, and you won't need to waste time and effort cleaning and rebuilding a ratbagged single-game cabinet. Which is, well, a single game! If you have a handful of favorite games you like to rotate through occasionally, this would be perfect. Because it's either gonna be 10 space consuming monsters hogging your basement or ONE of these multi-cades.


And you don't need to limit yourself to years of searching for used machines. Get an expensive quality bartop or full size cab and you'll be fine.


Whether that is the company you want to buy from or not I have no idea. Friends of mine have cabs from:

http://www.http://arcadeclassics.net/and https://www.gameroom-goodies.com/

..and they're happy with what they got. JUst plan on a premium price.

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  • 2 years later...

Update: The owner of the place came back to me unexpectedly and told me they were going out of business.

             They asked if I still wanted the machine and offered to do $600 if I could take it away asap.  I took it.













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Well that's how you do it - just make a good contact and don't burn a bridge :P Congrats on the [eventual] pick up


I get people asking to buy my Ms. Pac-man and DK machines all the time, but the problem is that those are two 40~ year games that earn and people expect to see. If it's still making it's keep (and the location owns it, as opposed to a route operator), then they won't want to sell. But if a place has some other more obscure classics, then you probably will have better luck in asking. Stuff like Zaxxon tends to be filler and is an easier sell

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