Having stumbled across the forum and with a long time affection of old arcade machines I had to join.
I grew up in a sea-side town with over ten arcades to keep me enthralled. Once my parents deemed me old enough to go out alone, I would take a pocket book along with my weekly pocket money and try to uncover the sequence to the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ but always returned home penny less.
The bug had got me and when as a young teenager on a pre-season trip to the beach I found a mountain of smashed up machines ready for the ‘Finance Act’ bonfires, I grabbed my handcart and to my parents horror brought home a collection of bits and pieces that looked salvageable.
About five years later I ended up working seasonally as a floor walker at that same arcade that had thrown out those machines. Luckily the engineer took me under his wing and I ended up working full time as his apprentice. Knowledge of relays, cleaning and setting contacts and mechanical cam programs was all you needed back then, mainly for one arm Bally’s, a wall of pin tables ‘Wheel-em-in’ ‘Double Falls’ and a ‘Penny Falls’ (that machine was heavy) and loads of other games and novelties such as ’Bandito’ . I remember the first ‘Pong’ video games coming in; the other engineer and me gave them a good amount of testing at quiet times, as I was a keen electronics enthusiast I kept pace with all the new technologies as they got introduced into all the newer machines.
I left after around six fantastic years to become the sole engineer on a caravan site that had three arcades to look after as well as a couple of club machines, and enjoyed another ten or so years there before another change of jobs moved me into looking after amusement rides, but still with strong ties to the world of arcades.
That’s my CV, I do have a few old bits and pieces that I have salvaged over the years, unfortunately a lot of old equipment I have saved over the years has been lost to leaking sheds and I have had to have a few bonfires myself as nothing was salvageable. Hopefully any knowledge I have I hope to pass on or provide whatever help I can, plus of course read about everyone else’s memories and projects.