Thursday, April 17, 2008

Another member added to the family - A Craigslist Story

Wow - I'm so far behind. Time for some catching up! On March 29, I got an email from my friend Brian. Brian has a great collection of games, but he's really got the bug for finding and adding games to his great collection. He spotted on Craigslist that morning a Indy 500 game... local... for only $1000. Normally a solid sample of this game would demand $1800-$2200. Brian already has a Indy 500 and knows I love it because I go straight for it when I play at his house. I've always liked the game since it was first on location and I'd play it at the shopping plaza in Greenbelt in the arcade there. It's a great balance of the humor that was popular in pins at the time and toys in the game. However, probably more because of the time of its release near the end of pinball for Williams.. it wasn't a big seller only 2,249 units according to IPDB. Historically samples are plagued by bad cabinet fade and broken LED targets (a unique design for this game). So when a deal pops up for only $1000 and its local... this is big news. It's listed as only have a broken display. A few problems though
  1. I have no real room for another pinball machine
  2. The wife has her eyes on a house before more pinball machines
  3. Its 11:30am and I'm getting on a plane in a few hours for international flight that I have yet to finish packing for
  4. The wife is leaving soon with the van to goto a family function - so I have no suitable transport
So I tell him thanks, but I'm screwed and can't do anything about it. After mulling about it for a bit, the wife comes through and I mention it to her. She stuns me by saying 'at that price, go for it' and even offers suggestions on ways she could help get it some way. I go into action mode, and call the lister. Yes, the game is still available (!!). Realize classified ads for pins are notorious for vultures swooping in before you get there and offering more money to get the person to sell regardless of what they've told anyone prior. So - beating all competition to site is a huge factor. But I still don't have any way of getting the game.. I don't have the cash.. and I still need to pack and get to the airport on time! I call up a neighbor I know he has a truck... strike out - he's not around. I call neighbor #2 and his wife answers. He's in the shower, he'll call back. Now I rush and go throw my bag together... hoping I'm not missing anything. Buddy calls back... I give him the scoop, I need him and his truck to help go pick-up a game. He says 'when?' I say 'as soon as you can be ready'. He agrees!!! He needs to finish getting ready and he'll call back. I finish getting ready... but am getting nervous due to time. I head over to his house.. still not ready! So I rush to the bank, get some cash (thank god for banks in grocery stores now!! great Saturday hours), head back and he's ready. It's been awhile since I originally called the seller, so once on the road I call again to apologize for running late and want to be sure no vultures have shown up yet. We're still in the clear and on our way. It's about 25-30mins away. We get there, the seller is nice and shows us the machine. It's in the basement (but there is a walkout without steps), fires up but the DMD is out. I inspect the machine a bit, opening the backbox, looking under the playfield, etc... looking for any significant problems or hacks. Game looks great, no discernable fade, no significant wear, all major components seem in place. Playfield is a little dirty, but not significant. Play a ball or two, and things appear to be fine, but the DMD is out and the game is reporting errors, but without the DMD I can't see what they are. But since the major components are there, and with no significant problems.. at $1000 it's a steal! A few hundred dollars in parts and I'm still above water. So we agree - pay the cash - and we haul it out of there. I've been in a real rush the entire time basically just wanting to get out of there before any competition gets in the way. We manage to load it up without issue and get it back to the house. Now the issue is I can drop it off at the house.. but I still have to get to the airport and I'll be gone for a week! So we don't even set the game up, I prepare for the trip, and manage to have about 1hr before I have to really leave... which I use to ensure I'm not missing anything for the trip. While away, I did some online shopping to get the usual specects of parts I will need to get the machine up to snuff and ponder if I'll strip the playfield to clean it up. It has mylar in most of the wear places which have protected the game well - but it needs a cleaning to be a home game. Without knowing the true fault in the display, I also hunt and watch auctions while gone to try to find a cheap replacement or one to test with. No joy. I'll just have to figure it out when I get home. More to come in the next installment!

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