In mid-October of 2016, I got an email from a collector in New Mexico, who noticed from my VAPS page, that I have a Monster Bash pinball machine. He wanted to know if anyone in AZ has ever asked me if I’d sell mine, because he had one in his collection that he was looking to sell. He also mentioned that he had a bunch of games, and that he was hoping to sell them as one lot. I replied, and told him that I have had some people ask about my Monster Bash, and that if he’d be willing to email me a list of his games and how much he’s looking to get for the lot, I’d reach out to my fellow AZ collectors and see if anyone’s interested in doing a group buy.
After that, I never heard back from him, and between prepping for Halloween, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Ghostbusters machine, and having a full game room that already includes a Monster Bash, I forgot all about it.
On December 11th, however, he wrote me back and said that his original email to me was from an old address that he hardly ever checks. He told me that he was still looking to sell off his entire collection of about 50 games (plus parts, boards, signage, jukeboxes, and a couple other odds and ends), and when he told me the dollar amount that he was looking to get for all of it, it was just too sweet of a deal to pass up. Regardless of whether or not anyone was interested in going in on the deal with me, I told him I’d be there on Saturday with cash in hand.
Realizing that a haul of this kind was going to be too big of an undertaking for one person, I immediately reached out to my friend, Jawhn, who has gone in with me on a few other transactions. We struck a deal (I got to keep the Monster Bash machine as my finder’s fee, and we’d split the proceeds from everything else 50/50). We rented a couple of 26′ trucks with lift gates, and we were off:
It was about a four-hour drive to Rodeo, NM, which is just on the other side of the AZ border. There, we were greeted by Chris Talbot, owner of The Lost Arcade (this photo is actually from the middle of the day – hence my very dirty right hand).
Chris gave us the grand tour (a mix of old EM games, 80’s classics, 90’s fighters, and modern era games), and shared some great stories about how he came into possession of some of them. You could tell that owning and operating The Lost Arcade was a labor of love that he cherished, and that this was going to be a difficult day for him, emotionally. We also met his wife, Kathleen, along with a few friends of the family. One of my favorite things about this hobby is the wonderful people that you get to meet and the stories they tell. These could not have been nicer people.
Jawhn and I were in a race against the sun (it was a race that we would ultimately lose), so we loaded up the games as fast as we could. Fortunately for us, Chris had a few of his friends over to help us out. Monster Bash, the crown jewel of the collection, proved to be the most difficult to move. Unable to fit it through the doorway, we very carefully took it out through a window. There were a couple of other games that couldn’t fit, and unfortunately, we had to leave those behind for someone with a bit more time on their hands, and a few more tricks up their sleeve.
After loading up the first truck, Jawhn and I followed Chris and Kathleen down a series of dirt roads to their house, where Chris had a couple more games tucked away: a Star Castle and a Dog Fight EM machine. We loaded those up, along with some boards and parts, and upon leaving the Talbots’ house, we got lost trying to navigate ourselves back to the highway from the dirt roads. Jawhn’s cell phone was completely dead, and mine only had about 10% left, but fortunately, Chris picked up when I called him, and he talked us through getting back to the highway. Whew!
We headed back to The Lost Arcade to fill up the 2nd truck with the last remaining games, boards, parts, and signs that we wanted, before heading to a covered area in the back, where more games were waiting. Unfortunately, these machines had been in the elements for a while and had fallen victim to water and rodents, so we left them behind for the next collector to pick.
We bid The Lost Arcade farewell, and after a very long but fruitful day that almost spanned a full 24 hours, I was back home and in my bed at around 4am. I needed to get at least 4-5 hours of sleep before even thinking about the unloading process.
My parents have a pretty big house, and my dad has a shop in the back, where he works on cars. They were kind enough to allow us to store the games there, until we can find good homes for everything. Alright, time to unload:
Here’s the Monster Bash, which is in pretty good shape:
After getting all of the games unloaded, I just had to get up on the lift gate and take a picture of the haul:
In total, I believe the final count was 1 pinball machine, 31 arcade games, 3 EM machines, and 1 jukebox. Oh, and 2 very tired and sore arcade collectors.
So what’s next? Well, a handful of the games have already been sold, including Monster Bash. I’m planning to use some of the money from that sale to add an Addams Family to my collection. If you’ve read my Monster Bash write-up, you may recall that I sold my original Addams Family machine in order to buy a Monster Bash. Wouldn’t it be weird* if a Monster Bash wound up being what brings The Addams Family back to Zombies Ate My Arcade?
You never know where this hobby is going to take you.
*edit: it happened!