Every collection has a beginning. Although my arcade obsession began in the 80's as a young boy, it wasn't until the internet started taking off in the mid 90's that I realized I could actually own my own arcade machine. I happened to be reading through some online newsgroups (something like rec.games.video.arcade.collecting) and seen people selling these games. So my collection started with Mr. Do's Wildride and a Contra.

I later found out the Mr. Do's Wildride was a converted and extremely rare Cliffhanger cabinet. The Contra game was non-working in a converted Centipede cab which I bought for $50. I was able to easily fix it with some basic soldering skills. The picture to the right was taken in 1997 of the 2 games shortly after I bought them. The long haired guy in the picture is of a fellow collector named Todd. Apparently after playing these games it spurned him into starting a decent sized collection over the years. Now for myself these were the only 2 games I had until 2005. It was Todd who convinced me into expanding my collection. By convincing I mean that he would invite me over to his home and let me play his games. He also helped me to pick up my 3rd arcade game, a STUN Runner which gave me the collecting bug again. Now that many years have passed, the collection has grown to 39 games in the arcade. Although I have since sold the Contra and Mr. Do's Wildride, I still have fond memories of them being my first games. Without owning those 2 games, the Vintage Vault Arcade and Gameroom might never have existed. Thank you Contra, thank you Mr. Do's Wildride. Here's to 15 years of collecting, and a lifetime left to go!

Occasionally I hit up the garage sales for vintage signs and games. So last weekend I happened upon a Sega Genesis with 5 game cartridges. I have never seen one at a garage sale before. The games were Sonic 2, Sonic 3D Blast, Toy Story, The Lion King and WWF Raw. As you may know, Sega was an innovator in arcade and video games in general. I cut my teeth on both kinds of Sega games as a teenager. Recently I sold a Sega Outrun and Afterburner, but in the arcade I still have a Sega Crazy Taxi, Sega Emergency Call Ambulance and Sega Rally Championship.

So I asked the guy about this Genesis. He said it worked a few years ago but he didn't know its condition anymore. Of course the next question out of my mouth was "How much?" You'll never guess what his reply was.

Free. You can take it. In my head I started to do the Napolean Dynamite dance. I was ecstatic. I took the console home and plugged it in. I couldn't wait to play some Sonic the Hedgehog after all these years. I turned on the power switch.... and nothing. Nada. That's OK, I remember how the connectors on these things would always cause problems with time. I whipped out the q-tips and alcohol, and set about cleaning all the connectors. Within 15 minutes I was up and running and playing me some Sonic. Best thing is my 3 year old knows who Sonic is from the Xbox games. He wanted to play. I put Sonic 2 in and handed him the controller and wouldn't you know it, he can get to the 3rd level or stage on his first try. That's my boy. Sega Genesis, I welcome you to the Vintage Vault Arcade and Gameroom.

I have taken various video of people enjoying my arcade, so I decided to create my first arcade music video. The guy in the video spent his birthday in my arcade and as you will find out he was really happy to be there. The music is set appropriately to Pac-Man Fever by Buckner & Garcia. Youtube. Without further ado, enjoy the music video!

So I just had a graduation party where these games got a good 9 hour workout. One of the favorites was Road Burners, which some young lady can be seen playing in the left hand side of the picture below. The game never gave up the goods all day, but the next day when I went to turn it on all the colors on the monitor were wrong. Now this game uses a newer monitor which has an on screen menu for setting the color levels. They couldn't make this easy with nice little rotating pots in the back of the monitor, no this had to be all digital. So I change the colors back, turn off the game, turn it back on again, and they were messed up all over again. After doing some research this particular monitor uses a small EEPROM for saving these color settings. The word EEPROM stands for electrically eraseable programmable read only memory. The name of the EEPROM in question was IC103, better known as 24C02.

Well you guessed it, this little 8 pin EEPROM was toast. It couldn't take the heat... literally... and burnt up. Now this was one hard bugger to get the monitor chassis out, just to replace this little 8 pin chip. After unsoldering the chip I made sure to put in a dip socket in case this ever happens again. What that means is I can pull the old one out with desoldering it, then pop a new chip in there. Well after putting in the dip socket and the new IC chip I powered up the game. Now this time the game was saving the color settings in its brand new EEPROM. What can I say, I'm good. Problem fixed, time to play some more Road Burners. YAH!

My son and daughter just graduated from high school. It is tradition to throw a graduation party for graduating seniors. Some people rent out pavillions, others get party rooms at game centers, but me, that's the benefit of having your own personal arcade. We brought in a 12 ft smoker on wheels and smoked ribs, pulled pork and turkeys. Between family and friends we had over 60 people show up. The arcade got a good 9 hour workout with no breakdowns whatsoever. A good time was had by everyone.

Some interesting years here. Some of my games date back to 1980. Myself, I graduated high school in 1990. Now its 2011, and my oldest kids have graduated. With 30 years under their belt, these games are still going strong. The next generation enjoys them all the same. Thank you Vintage Vault Arcade, you keep serving up the memories. Oh yah...pics or it didn't happen.

And the new game is... If you guessed Hydro Thunder, you were right! There were 2 of these up for auction. I bid and won on the one with the nicer monitor. To me, a nice, sharp working monitor is worth the money, minus the hassle and headache of fixing them up.

I have seen several of these on location over the last many years earning money. I have seen them at Red Robin restaurants, Walmart arcades and movie theater arcades to name a few. The combination of raw gameplay, sleek graphics and awesome powerups kept this one at the top of the earning chain.

Because of this, I thought this game would be out of reach for many years until it stopped earning money. But here they were, 2 of them up for auction and one of them was calling my name.

Check out the description of this game:
The player drives a turbo jet-powered speed boat in a wild water race filled with ramps, jumps and some treacherous areas of water. There are many secret shortcuts in this game. The easiest way to find some of them is to aim your boat at any waterfall and drive through to the secret shortcuts. The 3-D-FX and Omega 3-D powered graphics are spectacular with water spray and lens-flare effects, as well as superb water physics and effects. The great controls and varied race courses, which from an island in the pacific to the arctic to a ship graveyard, help keep the racing interesting. How can you say no to that kind of gameplay? Click here to read more about this game and the arcade auction.

It was a bit of a shock to the collecting community when the premiere arcade auction company had went belly up at the end of last year. It was just as much of a shock when we all found out they got rid of a lot of personnel, restructured and resurfaced again in St. Louis with a new auction. Super Auctions was back. Was I there? Of course!

Now for a cliff hanger. Somewhere in the pictures shown below is the new game I just got. Can you guess which one? Find out next week!

I have been wanting a monster neon sign for the arcade now for awhile. Neons and Arcades go together like bread and butter. Plus, I love to drink monster energy drinks. So I bid on a monster neon sign on ebay and win it. This neon was being shipped from Japan. I don't know about you, but that's a long trip and neons are fragile, so pack it right. Well, someone packed it wrong. They took the styrofoam box it came in and put a shipping tag on it. No additional padding, no cardbox box, just a styrofoam box. Amazingly enough this neon made it mostly intact... mostly. That being said, the center leg was cracked. That crack cause the whole neon not to light up because the neon gas leaked out.

Oh boy, I thought. Here we go. Seller is in Japan, will probably have to fight a paypal claim. I sent the seller pictures and requested a replacement or refund. To my surprise, they didn't fight it. They refunded my money in full, including shipping cost. Free is always good. So here I have this broken monster neon. I have never messed with neons before, but it appears there is a main transformer with 2 power wires going to a different leg. A wire would come out of another leg, then enter the next one. It completed a circuit, much like a train. Wire, tube, wire, tube, wire, tube, wire. I thought to myself if I could bypass the broken tube, maybe the rest would light up. I cut the wire to the broken tube and wired it to the next one. The wiring now had a completed circuit and fired right up! Much to my surprise, since there are 6 legs in total it really didn't look that bad with one not lit. You can judge for yourself below. I thought it was fitting to hang the sign right above the Rampage arcade, where you play 1 of 3 monsters. Classic!