The single most frustrating part of collecting arcade games has been the amount of maintenance it takes to keep them running. As a kid I had no idea how much time and effort was spent in keeping these machines running — then again back then when these machines were new, I suspect they weren’t quite so fragile.
Sometimes it’s the cold of winter that does them in; sometimes, the heat of summer. Moving them always makes me nervous. I can’t tell you how many machines I’ve bought in working condition in other states, only to have them arrive in Oklahoma, non-working. Sometimes it’s simply the aging process that does them in. That seems to have been Shinobi’s fate.
I paid somewhere around $200 for this machine, maybe 10 years ago. This is the third Shinobi machine I have owned. Shinobi boards have what is known as a suicide battery on them. You can read more about them here if you want, but all you really need to know is that when the battery dies, the game dies. With the first Shinobi machine I owned, the battery had leaked battery acid all over the PCB, killing the sound. The second (and nicest) of the three machines I own still works find, but I was so nervous about it dying that while at an auction, I picked up this machine. I’ve always referred to this one as my “spare” Shinobi.
Collectors are weird, I get it.
Because we moved and I don’t have the space, recently I put all of my games up for sale, including both Shinobi machines. I’m trying to get $250 for the nicer one and $200 for this one. Last night I went over to check on the machine and, wouldn’t you know it … it’s dead. Death by suicide battery, I think.
The drop dead date to be out of my storage unit is February 14th. With no time left for troubleshooting or working on machines, Shinobi had a hand in its own fate. I removed the remaining working parts (the monitor, the power supply, the control panel, and the coin door) and then … this happened.
This is me, smashing $200 and throwing it away.
So anyway, a funny thing happened last night. Before I could move this machine into the garage overnight for storage, I had to clean out a spot. One of the things in that spot was an old laptop case. I was just about to throw it away when I decided to check all the pockets. Inside the pockets I found three birthday/anniversary cards from 2003. That was the year Susan and I went to Vegas for our anniversary. One of the cards had $160 in cash inside it. A second card had $20 inside. A third one had a Target gift card with another $20 on it.
$200, the same amount as the cabinet I destroyed.
I took this as a sign from the universe that everything’s going to be okay.
Universe, don’t let me down.