Yard Finds - VI
-David, webmaster DVGI
It had been awhile since I went on a serious hunt at the Sales Yard for old gaming items so I headed out last Tuesday to see what I could find. The skies were going to open up for the rest of the week with uncertainty for the next so there were plenty of sellers and lots of items on display. I really wasn't looking for anything in particular, with my finances the way things are I haven't been spend crazy as of late. However there are still tons of NES games that I want but sticking with my "as long as it's cheap" criteria for many years concerning common games, I didn't stumble across any NES titles I really needed. Granted if there's a rare game I'll usually pick it up. I came across a few unlicensed Color Dreams games but nothing that I can't get online for the same or less. The only NES game (aside from rarities) that I was really looking for was Arkanoid since I still have to test out the vaus Arkanoid paddle controller I picked up on an earlier visit to the Sales Yard. The Arkanoid cartridge itself isn't all that rare or valuable but I simply haven't gotten around to picking up a copy yet and after this trip I'm still without one.
Continuing on I went through the stuff from the Chinese miscellaneous junk dealer of infamy where I picked up my JVC X'Eye last year and Atari 2600 bundle last time out. He had a book on Soviet aircraft and I was thinking of buying it but it was mostly early era aircraft and nothing on the MiG-25 Foxbat, MiG-29 Fulcrum, or Su-27 so I left it. Aside from that he really simply had junk this time. To get the good stuff from him you either just have to be there at the right time (as with my X'Eye - well that and no one knew what it was) or be there selling and go through his stuff throughout the day as more becomes available.
Next I went to a seller that's there almost every week. It's like these two total hick guys that just have rows of boxes of junk. Every item is coated in dirt, nothing is displayed, and the crap stuff they want big money for. I've gotten some decent stuff from them toward the end of the day when I'm out there selling, since they slash prices once they realize they haven't been making any money. Half the time you want to buy something from these guys they'll say it's not for sale and put it back in the truck. For instance there was a Mario's Cement Factory tabletop mini arcade game a few weeks ago and they said it wasn't for sale and back in the truck it went. Most of the time you can't get them to give you a price anyway, they just aren't paying attention, they're screwing around with each other. So this time I was going through a couple boxes and found on of the smaller later released top loading NES units. No cables, no dogbone controller, but the console looked fine - although it was coated in dirt as is everything else they have. It had a like a "call 911 for emergency services" sticker on it (I'll never understand why people put stickers on their consoles) but that comes off easy enough. After yelling at the guys from across the spot for a couple minutes one finally acknowledged me as I held up the top loading NES. I asked how much, he asked what it was. So I used my reseller knowledge and replied "I don't know, video game or something, how much?" The idiot again said he didn't know and asked what it was. I again replied "It's some kind of game, says Nintendo on it, how much do you want?" He finally said five dollars. That's dirt cheap, top loading NES consoles usually go for about $50 and they can be modified to work with the Famicom Disk System drive. (although I'm still after a Twin Famicom) I held onto it and continued to look through the other boxes. When I went up to him I asked if he'd take three bucks for it, of course he replied "no, five" like a smartass hick so I paid and left. Just the same I totally ripped them off once again, there's a guy that goes around and buys tons of games every week but it looks like I beat him to the prize of the day. After a full disassembly and cleanup the top loading NES works fine.
With the top loading NES under my arm I was well pleased enough with finding games at the Sales Yard for this time out. I came upon a few other NES games but nothing really valuable. Also found a few PlayStation games for good prices but again nothing I really need. Then I came across a pachinko machine. Now pachinko is kind of like a mix between a pinball machine and a slot machine. You shoot small metal balls up into a downward maze of pins attempting to get them to fall into win targets so the machine will pay out more balls. The balls are then traded in for money or prizes. Pachinko is still Japan's number one form of gambling to this day. In the 1960's - 1970's many pachinko arcades exported their machines to the USA for private home usage. However the power supplies were not included as at the time Japan was still using a different power rating. The machines of this era run fine without power but a battery can be rigged up to run the lights or a native power adapter can be installed. Just the same no one wanted to repair or service these mechanical marvels, even arcade companies, so they fell out of popularity. However recently they've begun to be popular again, especially the earlier machines. I've wanted a pachinko machine for awhile but the ones I find are always in horrible condition and people want $40 - $60 for them. This particular one looked to be in really good condition and complete except for a few missing covers on the back, which is common. The seller didn't have the key to the case lock nor any pachinko balls and the plexiglass was cracked and would need to be replaced. There was dirt and rust on the machine but over all it really looked pretty good. The shooter mechanism was all there and functioning properly and the playfield was complete and the action features were all there. There's a bit of fading on the background an a tiny amount of water damage from age and rust, but it's really not that bad at all and looks good. However the price is what really got me, the seller said he wanted $30 or best offer. This means that he hasn't been able to sell it and is tired of hauling it back and forth as they are very heavy. I offered him $20, he said $25 and after trying $22 I finally just settled on $25.
If I'm properly reading the how the dating is listed, the machine is from 1972. It's manufactured by Nishijin and is one of their Sophia series. Everything looks to be there and it seems all the mechanisms work properly. However it is missing the four light bulbs and the wiring harness. The bulbs are standard 10V low wattage bulbs and are easy to find and I can rebuild the wiring harness myself. I spent a few days disassembling parts on the front and cleaning it up and have some pachinko balls on order so I can test the backside, see how everything works, and attempt to fix anything that doesn't. The balls are more expensive than the machine! It's about $10 per 100 and the average machine needs at least 500. Since this is going to take some time I've added a new section to DVGI called Special. There you will soon find a project chronicle for the pachinko machine as well as my MAME cocktail table I'm working on. They'll probably be something there within the next week.
NES - Console only (top loading version)
Written on 04-08-05 by David, email@example.com
BACK to the Editorials