In this post we take a look at some of the discoveries of abandoned arcades made around the world. It’s unfortunate but you have to love the eerie sadness of an arcade graveyard whether it’s an abandoned mall arcade, abandoned arcades at a theme park or just an abandoned arcade room. However, it’s not all bad!
Arcade machines left in existence
It’s hard to speculate on how many original arcade cabinets are still in existence. At one stage there would have been tens, if not hundreds of thousands of these things around the world. I mean, where I grew up my local town had 3 arcades ranging from 20 to 50 machines – excluding slot machines. Multiply this up for each town and that’s a lot of arcade machines.
So, where have they all gone? A quick browse through the likes of eBay, Craigslist and Gumtree brings up one or two here and there. Bearing in mind the number of years these go back when thinking of the golden era of the arcades, it’s hardly surprising considering they were cumbersome beasts mostly made out of chipboard. Who is going to want to hang onto these?
Spreepark – Berlin
Originally opening in 1969 as Kulturpark Plänterworld, it was sold to a private investor in 1989 after reunification and renamed Spreepark, located next to the river Spree.
The park closed in 2002 after some shady movement of 6 of the main rides to Peru… along with the owner and some family and co-workers. The attempt to run ‘Lunapark’ in Lima failed and the owner was jailed for drug smuggling.
Abandoned School Cottage
Not a lot of information on this one. The urban explorer Abandoned Steve lists it as ‘Campbell cottage’ which belonged to an abandoned school which closed its doors in 2001. The school started up in the early 1900s as an all-girls school for juvenile delinquents, later becoming a mixed school in the 70s, but closed in 2001 due to financial issues. Here Steve discovered a small abandoned video arcade.
With a scattering of pool balls on the floor, there was a Sega ESWAT and a Leland All American Football…
… and a Data East Robocop , Nichibutsu UFO Dangar and Midway’s Arch Rivals. All of which have water damage and have slowly rotted away at the base. They have also been vandalised by whoever got into the cottage before. Such a shame to see them in this state when there would have been many good homes for these to go to.
Plus a sorry looking Atari Tetris which looks like it was raided for any remaining quarters.
It wouldn’t be a school property without table football. Even the legs on this are starting to give up.
Abandoned Arcade Hotel – Japan
Nara Dreamland is an abandoned amusement park which was inspired by Disneyland. Opening in 1961, it closed its doors in 2006. Urban explorer site Abandoned Kansai has been around the park numerous times since closure, but the following photos are from 2014 and the place is in a pretty poor state. Another one of many abandoned arcades fallen foul to vandalism.
The Disneyland style entrance of Nara Dreamland with promises of excitement and adventure. An abandoned castle arcade perhaps…
A sorry looking cocktail table.
A Super Monaco GP sit-down cabinet. Who knows how this room got into such a state!
Taito Space Invaders cabinet in pretty good condition… from this angle.
A couple of more modern Sega Astro City cabinets.
You can just about hear the echos of the fun had of these Konami DDR machines.
Last night I dreamt that somebody loved me
Well, you know it isn’t going to be a happy ending when you’re quoting The Smiths as the title for a photo set. This series is all about an abandoned Star Wars cabinet, a holy grails for many arcade collectors. He has many pictures of arcades that have been left to rot, but this one conjures up the emotions.
From what I can gather, this discovery was made in a small town in Arizona. Thomas Schultz stumbled across a garage containing a few old arcade cabinets. Symbols of a long-gone era when arcades were the gathering point of all the youngsters in the area.
A pair of abandoned arcade machines. Thankfully the Star Wars cabinet wasn’t alone for all those years, with the faithful Bandido cab to keep it company.
There are plenty of enthusiasts that would give their right arm for a genuine Star Wars yoke – though that wouldn’t help when it comes to getting that proton torpedo down the exhaust port.
The side art looks to be in good shape considering the heat it has had to endure. Though it didn’t stop the T-moulding from trying to jump ship.
The whole machine looks to be in relatively good shape. Sure, someone has had the star wars marquee away, as well as any remaining quarters. The base looks to have some water damage too which is a real problem when you want to restore an arcade machine.
Abandoned Arcade UK – Operation Lancaster
It’s not all bad, though a rarity these days to find a cache of abandoned arcade machines in salvageable condition. But over here in the UK, it’s almost unheard of. In 2009 a member of the UKVac.com forums interest was piqued by the discovery of some pictures taken by urban explorers who had found their way into the abandoned Duke Of Lancaster cruise ship in North Wales where it had been resting since 1979. 30 YEARS!!!!
There were huge plans to convert this ship into the Fun Ship, which initially opened as just an arcade with plans for more such as hotel conversion and restaurant which never materialised. It was unfortunately short-lived and closed soon after.
UKVac member, Oliver Moazzezi managed to track down the owner of the vessel after some detective work and was given 10 days to remove the machines as there was some impending maintenance work. Oh, and he was told he needed a fill size crane!
So in 2012 after a mammoth effort, around 15 collectors and enthusiasts gathered in a small town in NW Wales with a crane and vans to save the abandoned arcades which had lied dormant in The Duke Of Lancaster for so many years. They saved around 50 machines.
Look at the condition of these abandoned arcades and pinball machines!
This was a serious operation.
A fine array or original arcade machines layed out in front of the old Duke Of Lancaster cruise ship.
Trafford Park arcade machines stash
This one is another UK find and also another (mostly) happy ending. From what information I can find, this all started with a UK arcade collector purchasing a couple of arcade machines on ebay. During the transaction, as you would expect from an enthusiast, they asked if there were more available. This led him to the owner of a stash of machines located in Manchester which he had locked up in storage for which the rent was way overdue. He had made numerous attempts to reach the owner who had emigrated, with no luck. This cache of abandoned arcade machines owed the guy and he was starting to recoup his losses. Negotiations took place, a price to clear the whole lot was settled and a date was set to clear the whole lot… whatever that was!
The treasures were spread over a few storage locations and the first was a little upsetting. The usual water damage due to the unit not being particularly weatherproof, had got the better of some of the arcade machines from the ground up. With the only way to initially inspect the find, the guy climbs in for a closer look.
Just look at all those titles! Road Blasters, Tapper, Indiana Jones, PAPERBOY!!!! Still, nothing was lost. Whatever couldn’t be restored out of these would have been stripped for spare parts to help keep other arcade machines alive and kicking.
So there were a few more rooms to explore and extract, which must have been a hefty task. After all, arcade machines are neither light nor particularly maneuverable! Here’s a bunch of arcade pictures showing some of the finds in a better condition.
Some really great condition original arcade cabinets here. A lot of them appear to be film-wrapped making this an exceptional find. Though this would only protect the sides and not the bases of abandoned arcade machines as if there’s water around, it will always find a way in.
Indiana Jones, Dodgem and another holy grail for a lot of people – Paperboy! Definitely a couple from my childhood in there.
Not all abandoned arcade cabinets end up going to the grave. Some of these are in great condition.
It’s no surprise that the condition of some of these abandoned arcade machines is so good. There was clearly an intention for the previous owner. Lunar Lander, Fast Freddie, Video Pinball…
Just look at the condition of the Asteroids arcade machine? APB absorbed a lot of my pocket money as a kid.
I’ve not heard of Dominos, but I love the design and colours of this arcade cabinet with simple sweeping lines.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an original Tapper arcade machine, only conversions. Looks like it was found in amazing condition. Extremely lucky if it’s the one in the arcade machine stash photo at the start of the Trafford Park raid.
Saving the best until last, I imagine there were a few takers for this one – Star Wars sit down arcade machine. Again, this looks to be in incredible condition.
Other artefacts of the golden era of arcade gaming
To finish off here’s a few more cool photos I found whilst looking into abandoned arcades. It’s sad, but we’ve all gotta go some time.
A row Centipede arcade cabinets which look like they have been through numerous wet/dry cycles.
A Chase HQ cabinet slumped from a rotten base.
Fire-damaged cocktail cabinets.
A lonely Williams Make Trax arcade cabinet.
An overturned Millipede cabinet and Mr Do covered in graffiti.
The remains of a Taito arcade cabinet. The shape of this was the inspiration for our Retrograde machine.
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