As a long-time game collector, I've had my share of good finds, but one of my two best is the discovery of my Atari 2600 Surf's Up prototype. Long story short, about two years ago I purchased a bunch of Atari games at a used game store in Baton Rouge. The carts were 3 for $10, and I got about nine or ten. When I got home, I began checking them using the rarity database at the Atari 2600 Nexus (now www.atariage.com ). One of them, an Amiga-style cart with "Surf's Up" typed on a plain white label, wasn't listed. I checked the prototype list, and sure enough, there it was. Only 3 known to exist. WTF?! I checked the cart against the ROM image, and it was legit. So, for a mere $3.33, I became the owner of Surf's Up #4. About a month later, another one was discovered somewhere (a guy showed it on his webpage); to the best of my knowledge, these five are the only Surf's Up carts extant. I don't plan on selling it, since it's such a great "gloat item". (You collectors know what I'm talking about! ;-) You can see my scan of it at:
As if that wasn't cool enough, issue #102 of Game Informer actually shows my cartridge on page 118. (They got the scans from Atari Age.)
Several weeks ago I found a Pengo arcade machine at a local Salvation Army for $50. It was discounted because the monitor is just about shot. However, everything else is in very good condition. These are some minor scratches on the sides and around the edges, but overall the unit is clean and very nice-looking. In fact, everything works perfectly except for the aforementioned monitor. Only half of the screen apears, and the other half is squeezed into a bright vertical line in the middle. It looks like the CRT is going bad, similar to an old television. Understandable, since the inspection sticker is dated June of 1982. (If anyone knows how to repair this, or where I can get a replacement monitor, please let me know. Thanks!) The coin counter was on 10586, so the machine has defintely seen some usage in its day. This machine is significant for me because it's my first arcade unit; I've wanted to get into arcade collecting for a long time (too long!), but not until recently did I even have the space for them. (Still don't really have the money, barring an exceptional find like this one.) Next on my list are Pac-Man, Joust, and Zaxxon, followed my countless other titles I used to play back in the day... Looks like the classics are back for the next wave!
> This is all in Milwaukee, Wi. BTW!
> I was driving my Nathan Hale bus route, at 9:30 in the morning. I was going
> up Lincoln and noticed a huge sign that said Moving Sale, everything for
> sale. Then my eyes caught sight of something wonderful.
> I saw a Ms. Pac Man and a Asteroids, just sitting out in the open
> amongst the chairs and tables. I couldn't stop cause I was on route to pick
> up kids. Man, that sucked!! Well maybe no one will get them while I drive.
> Halfway through my route I decided not to go. Then at the end while going
> down Howard I decided to go. So I went back to the Sale to check them out.
> Even if I go, it probobly would cost to much anyways. I pulled up and saw
> some guy nosing around the Ms. Pac! Oh NO!
> So I ran the rest of the way(I really did!), and tried to find a guy in
> charge of the sale. I found a guy and chatted with him about the Ms. Pac. He
> said that it turned on and came up with a error(Board Fix!), and that he
> wanted to see if he could fix it first. I said ok, what about Asteroids...
> "Asteroids doesn't work at all." he says. Then I said, "You mean the
> machine is DEAD?". "Yeah, I guess it's DEAD." Stressing the dead part. I
> went out and looked at it. It was a dedicated machine with full side art(few
> scratches nothing major), bezel, marquee, and fully painted control panel!!.
> Even dead it might be worth getting. It was alittle dirty, nothing alittle
> elbow grease wouldn't cure. So I go back to the guy and ask.
> "So what do you want for it since it's DEAD."
> "Make me an offer?"
> "How about $50?" I asked very nervously.
> "Sure! $50 bucks it is!!" he replied.
> So I just scored a mint Asteroids with a near perfect artwork! I'm sure
> I can get it to function again. So he put a sold sign on it and I went to
> drop my bus off. I got my Dads Pickup and paid the guy. In the hour I was
> gone he said he had at least 5 people asking about it. Lucky I got there
> when I did it seems. So I got it home and looked inside, theres the power
> cord.. hey wait, it's not attached to the power supply!! Could be why it wasn't
> working. Later that night I plug in the cord and turned it on. Sure enough
> everthing powered up and played, cept the monitor didn't work. I fiddled with
> the buttons and all the righ tsounds came out. i did notice when I hit fire that
> faint shots were on the screen. So I turned up the brightness and contrast.
> Perfect!! It all works!
> Oh, by the way I got the Asteroids for $50, some lucky guy got the Ms. Pac
> to work, and got it for $75. Now I wanna know why my asteroids has white
> sides and not black?