When people find out that I own arcade games, they almost always ask me if I have Galaga. It’s definitely one of the more iconic arcade games of the 80’s. I remember playing a cocktail version at the Pizza Hut by my house when I was a kid. That was back when Pizza Hut would give you a personal pan pizza for reading a certain number of books. Maybe that’s why I always want to play video games and eat pizza after reading…
Galaga is kind of like Ms. Pac-Man in that they’re not hard to find – they made approximately a gazillion of them – but seemingly every person who has one thinks it’s worth a goldmine because it’s a classic.
So imagine my surprise when after over a decade of collecting and passing on many a $2000 Galaga, a broken one popped up on Craigslist for $275. When the guy sent me his address, he was just a few blocks from my childhood home, which I affectionately refer to now as “alternate 1985.” The guy’s house was packed full of stuff, so I had to carefully navigate the game through his backyard, which was overrun with weeds and piles of both fresh and petrified dog crap. It was kind of like playing Frogger, but smellier.
One thing that’s awesome about buying games that are completely dead is that it’s often something very simple. This machine was no exception. The interlock switch was loose and wasn’t making a connection with the coin door. The game was up-and-running in about 30 seconds, but was absolutely filthy. Along with needing a good cleaning, it also needed Galaga kickplate art, which I actually already had in my garage, and a Galaga bezel (this one had a Galaxian bezel on it).
Pro tip: don’t use Simple Green to clean arcade marquees. I took the paint right off the marquee, and had to order a new one. Thankfully, the ones that Phoenix Arcade makes are gorgeous, so I grabbed one of those, along with the bezel that I needed.
I also ordered a high score save kit from Arcade Shop, which on top of saving high scores, adds Free Play, attract sounds, and gives you the option of choosing slow or fast shooting (it’s all about fast).
Below are a couple photos of my Galaga. The marquee on this sucker is so bright that I had a very hard time getting a clean photo of the whole machine, as the brightness of the marquee would either wash everything out, or it would make everything else in the photo pitch black. So the game isn’t turned on in one of the pics, but rest assured, it works just fine!