After spinning my wheels for the past several weeks, yesterday I sold five arcade games … and the funny part was, three of them didn’t even work.
One of the most important parts of sales and marketing is knowing your audience, and that’s something I’m definitely encountering in my efforts to sell these machines.
There are lots of reasons why people buy arcade games. Most regular people might think that the only reason to buy an arcade machine would be to play it, but there are actually several other reasons. Sometimes, arcade enthusiasts will buy a machine just for the parts. I just sold my old Robocop machine for $150. Even though it’s not a very desirable game to own, the buyer got a working monitor ($100), the Robocop board ($50), plus a Midway cabinet ($50) and all the other parts (joysticks, buttons, a power supply, coin door, etc.) For someone who needs and can use the parts, it was a good deal — and I made my money back on that one, so everybody’s happy.
Other reason someone might buy a game would be for the cabinet itself. Take for example my Rampart machine:
As you can tell by the marquee, this was originally a Gauntlet II cabinet. For comparison, here’s a picture of another Gauntlet II machine (that I used to own):
Back to knowing your market; if I advertise this machine to a “non-collector”, I would advertise it as a working Rampart machine, and leave it at that. If I were to advertise it to a group of collectors, I would refer to it as a working and complete Gauntlet II cabinet that currently has Rampart installed in it. A collector is much more likely to convert this machine back to play Gauntlet II than they would be to leave it as a Rampart machine. A non-collector most likely wouldn’t care about the cabinet.
And that explains how I was able to sell three games yesterday that didn’t even work. One of them was an empty Donkey Kong, Jr. cabinet. Even with no innards, the cabinet was worth something to someone who will likely turn it back into a dedicated Nintendo machine. I also sold an old gutted Atari Gravitar/Black Widow cabinet and my non-working Rampage World Tour. I don’t know what the buyer plans on doing with the former, but the latter will most likely be converted into a Multicade of some sort, with its existing parts either being sold or re-used on another project.
I’m just starting to figure out this business while trying to get out of it at the same time.