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How I acquired the raddest arcade cab of ALL TIME

4:00 PM on 04.16.2011 // Caitlin Cooke

[Ever wanted to own a really awesome arcade cabinet? Caiters did, and she made that dream a reality by picking up an X-men cab. Want to see your own writing on the front page? Write something awesome and put it in the C Blogs. -- Kauza]

A few weekends back I decided to indulge in a childhood dream of mine: I bought a six player X-men cab off of craigslist. 

The guy was selling it for $750 and lived 5 minutes away from me – and I am certainly not one to pass up a fantastic deal. However, didn’t just have $750 laying around so I first offered him a trade for my broken Galaga cab. This did not work (as he is not a complete idiot) so I low-balled him at $500 bucks -- he said he’d think about it and get back to me in a few days, but I didn’t want him to get away that easily so I asked if I could see it in person, and he agreed. 

I almost went into nerd shock when I walked into this guy’s basement. His house is huge, first off (as you can see in the pics below) and his basement, oh god his basement was filled with all kinds of rare stuff like Baby Pac-man and Pong cabs. He had this cheesy (but awesome) strip poker game from the 80’s: it would show you a video of a woman slowly taking her clothes off the more hands you played correctly. If you lost, her clothes were quickly put back on by essentially rewinding the tape. I’d show a pic here but I’d prefer not to be flagged at work for searching “80’s strip poker”. ;] 

Anyway, back to the X-men cab. He told me that he tried to turn it on to make sure everything was in order, but it wasn’t starting up correctly. Apparently a few months ago it was fine but it had been sitting there unused for quite some time so he wasn’t sure what was wrong. He apologized and said he’d take $375 for it. Um, SOLD. 

I learned via my boyfriend that cabs made in the 90’s basically have three components: a Jamma board, a monitor (or monitors), and wires that connect it all together. We figured that even if every single thing inside of this cabinet was broken, to replace it all would only be around $800. And obviously everything couldn’t have broken if it just worked a few months prior. In fact, it made crackling noises when it started up so it’s most likely a wire or connection issue. 

Using the magic of the internet, we found out that the cab weighed approx 350 pounds total and came apart into three pieces: The front part (with the 6 joysticks), the side monitor, and the main part of the cab (including the other monitor and mirror). We figured we’d need a few friends, a huge ass dolly, and a U-Haul truck to take it back to our place. It’d probably only take an hour or two at the most from our calculations. 

I mean, just glance at this look of pure joy on my friend Lisa’s face. It was an easy and painless process for sure! Right? 

The day we came to pick it up it was raining, cold, and generally hellish. I also had a terrible feeling that nothing would go right. My boyfriend and I were there, plus four friends and the guy selling the cab to us. As I sat there biting my nails in anticipation, I watched as my more hands-on (aka not tool retarded like me) friends took apart the front joystick part and detached the monitor from the back. After about an hour we were ready to take it up piece by piece through the rain and into the truck. The monitor and front piece got up the basement stairs and into the truck just fine with just three people lifting – but then came the beast: the cab itself. 

Once we loaded it onto the dolly, we quickly realized that the internet had lied to us. There was no way in hell this thing weighed 350 pounds altogether – the main piece must have been about 400 pounds by itself. I began to think that one of us may not make it out alive. In fact, one of us almost didn’t (ME). It took almost two hours of backbreaking hell to get it up 8 stairs despite the fact that we had 7 people (and not all of them weenies like me) pulling or pushing it up the stairs. At one point I almost told the guy to keep the money and the cab and let us go on our merry way. 

But we plowed through and got it done, somehow. I’d like to think that the thought of free plays on this cab made my friends work harder to get it up – but in reality I’m pretty sure they just wanted to get the eff out of there as quickly as possible. But they put on a smile and helped us out anyway, because that’s what true friends are for (also we offered free pizza afterwards). 

Our original plan included bringing the cab into our house, but seeing as it took four hours to get it up 8 stairs we gave it a rest and stuck it in the garage. We’ll be moving in June anyway so I figured I’d let the professionals handle it then. Right now our car can barely fit into the garage, but it’s so worth it just to pull up to this every day: 

Hit count: Ed: 2, Cait: ZERO! 

And that’s the story of how Cait has not one but TWO broken arcade cabinets. Hooray!

Caitlin Cooke, bzzt clck whrr
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Dtoid's sporadic review, preview, and events writer. "Without the looming consequence of death, is this even science?"  more   |   staff directory

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