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Let’s Move 35 Arcade Games



Shopping for an arcade…uh, a home

We have lived in the greater Seattle area for about six years from Texas. We rented a large but poorly maintained house (due to the landlord’s lack of care), which has been less than ideal. The house did have a nice sized area for a workshop but the space for the arcade soon outgrew our collection causing about 35% of the games to never make it out of the workshop.


This time was right this spring to buy our own place in the PNW. A walk-out basement was on the priority list of features so the entire collection could be in one place (along with other non-arcade factors). Basements are not as common in the Seattle area as other places around the USA, and with other factors we desired in a house added to this (a nice kitchen, around 2600 square feet) we had a feeling that we would have to make some sacrifices from our “ideal dream home” or even, gasp, downsize the collection of games in the arcade.


No arcade games on this floor, sad really...

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the Seattle area, real estate is crazy expensive here with little sign of slowing down. The average home price is around 900k and most homes stay on the market less than a week. Thanks to a really great realtor and a bit of luck we found a great place that checked all the boxes. Our new home is a recent build with all the features and things we hoped for and a great location to boot. Since our new home was only about ten minutes from our old place we elected to move ourselves in a decision right up there with Napoleon invading Russia or letting William Shatner write and direct Star Trek V.


Why does every U-Haul van drive like a potato on LSD?

Challenges moving out

The game collection was split between those hanging out in the workshop on the bottom floor (piece of cake to get out), and the rest being upstairs which is technically the 2nd floor. Due to the world’s worst home layout, the only way to remove the 2nd floor games easily was going out a set of dutch doors near the upstairs kitchen, out a deck, and down an unpaved driveway. Now this would be no big deal if it wasn’t for that landlord I spoke of earlier refusing to do even a minimum of maintenance to the deck which is best described as “dodgy”. Every panel squeezed and moaned as I rolled game after game out to it, hoping that this wouldn’t be the one that fell through some old plank.


The biggest mistake was moving the games ourselves along with everything else ourselves. I admit this decision was a knee jerk one to save money after the sticker shock of our new home. Although we did bulk move some games from the old house to the new home with a U-Haul rental box truck, most of them we transported one game at a time with my van. Adding to the trouble was that the new home had it’s own challenges with getting the games down to the new spiffy walk-out basement.

“Nerds live here, please steal our lunch money"

Challenges with the move in

Despite the almost perfect layout of the new house for arcade shenanigans there was a slight issue. Since our three level home is build on a sloped lot to allow for the walk out basement, this makes the path from the garage to the backyard basement entry a fairly narrow and semi steep hill. Added to the fun, it rains a lot in Seattle so the path often become a Woodstock ’99 like mud pile during the month we moved forcing us to play a waiting game for warm and drier days.


A few of my games are heavier than the average cabinet. Some Atari tiles seem to be made of lead (Looking at you Star Wars) others are heavy due to larger monitors (Smash TV) or due to their unique design (Robot Monsters). About half way into moving the games from the old home to the new I stopped playing the hero and starting taking the monitors out (and sometimes other heavy items like the control panels or back doors), and reassembling them once in their new spot.


I don’t particularly care for taking out monitors from cabinets due to the fragile nature of the necks and difficult nature of finding good replacement CRT monitors but the weight savings while rolling them down the Hill of Doom (TM) was dramatic. For example: Crystal Castles comes in around 290 pounds (pretty heavy for an upright), the monitor is about 50 pounds, the back door about 20, and the front glass about 15. Removing the coin door is pretty easy and will save you another 30 pounds. These items are pretty easy to put back together and much easier than going to the hospital for a back surgery.


More POWER!

Having a few arcade games on a normal home power circuit is not a big deal from a maximum load perspective. Plugging 35 or so games at about 2-3 amps a pop is a different story if you plan on running all of the games at once from time to time. Our basement had a meager amount of amperage so I hired a cool electrician company (recommended by a good friend) to get more amps downstairs.



The arcade is in two large rooms (originally meant to be a den and an extra bedroom) so I had several dedicated 20 amp lines added into each room, allowing for 140 amps of dedicated power  just for the games in addition to the normal load already installed in the basement. This not only allows for every game to run at the same time with zero issues, but expansion to other things if I get a wild hair to add a jukebox, pinball machine, or additional cabinets. The aftermath of this did require a bit of drywall repair that we elected to do ourselves which wasn’t a huge deal to manage (although as of writing this we still need to repaint).

Thank you random You Tube videos

Arranging the arcade

My wife often teases me about the frequency of how often I shuffle the games around which is easier thanks to using oversized furniture sliders on the bottoms of the cabinets. The original desire was to group games by manufacturer, and keeping bronze age games together. I have more Atari branded titles than any other, and a decent mix of other “brands”. Only two of my cabinets are oversized compared to the average upright, we have one sit-down cabinet, two cocktails, and six smaller cabaret sized games. The final arrangement (for now anyway) I think works pretty well between the two rooms. I also ran down to Ikea for some shelving to store my various home gaming items I have collected over the years.




Open for business

Sometime in the near future we will surely have a small party to dedicate the new arcade properly, For now, however, I am beyond excited to finally have all the games in such a nice space. I never thought I would own so many arcade games at once, and I have no doubt that a few more may squeak into the arcade in the future. For now I will concentrate on fine tuning the ones I have and continuing restoration efforts on a few others that need TLC.

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3 Comments


John T
John T
Jul 11

Look forward to your blog posts - great read as always. And pleased to hear you got all your amazing collection set up in their new home without any major problems. I'm UK based or I'd be pestering you for an invite round :-) Enjoy your new home and look forward to further posts.

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I'm so glad you found a place. From your pictures it looks truly great and spacious. I hope to one day to live that same dream but it's nice to admire the achievement of someone who is enjoying a personal slice of paradise.

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Great move! I remember when we moved from an 8000 square foot house to a 4000 square foot house! We had 83 working games in a 2500 square foot basement, and the basement flooded. We ended up selling off over half of the collection, and we profited greatly from the selloff. We also sold the house at the same time in the peak of the real estate market, profiting greatly from that as well, so it worked out for us all the way around, and we ended up keeping about 23 of the games that we really liked, which were also in the nicest condition unaffected by the flood.


All in all, we have brought our arcade game collection back…


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