Weekend Project – Buy an arcade machine

We've all thought about buying an arcade game before, so here are some tips...

  • Think of a game that you want, www.klov.com  is a great place to find titles you may be interested in
  • Decide how much you're willing to pay, games can range from free - multiple thousands of dollars.arcade game
  • Keep the classifieds open, you can find plenty of machines on craigslist.org and ebay.com

In our case, we purchased a game for $75 dollars, which included the original cabinet and system, without the monitor.

While this seems like a really good deal, keep in mind, monitors for such systems are older and may be hard to find.  The game we purchased required a 25 inch monitor.  Actually they no longer make 25 inch monitors, 24.8 inch monitors are available, but they are now flat screens and cost about $350+.  There are places that repair old monitors and resell them, this is your best bet.  Finding a arcade machine reseller can really help out a lot with this process.

After purchasing an older monitor for about $175 dollars, the fun is not over yet as you cannot just plug the monitor in to direct AC, you must use a isolation transformer to keep the monitor from burning out.  These can be purchased through an arcade machine reseller and normally cost about $10.00

In conclusion, if you find a machine you want - make sure that they can test it for you or assume there will be some problems.  Be sure to make friends with the local businesses that deal with arcade machines.

Some arcade machine lingo:

  • Jamma:   Japanese Amusement Machine Manufacturers' Association, this is the name of the boards that were used in the mid 1980's to help standardize the way machines were put together and reduce costs when swapping game boards.  Before this manufacturers would put machines together however they saw fit.
  • PCB: Printed Circuit board, this is the main board in an arcade machine.
  •  MVS:  Multi-Video System, this is a reference to arcade machines that offer more than one game
  •  Isolation Transformer: Used for older monitors to prevent them from burning out prematurely