What a summer it was! This story is as hard to believe as it is to write so try and follow along!
In the Winter / Spring of 2003, I moved from New Jersey to Georgia. It was a big event for my family. I also had made myself a large part of the video game collecting community in the NorthEast. My friends are my friends, no matter where we are. And the truth of the matter is that we still talk a LOT on IRC chat.
So the story goes like this...
Mark Davidson (NJ) told me that he was looking for a Black Hole Pinball. A guy I met down here, Carl Hamilton, had one for sale at a good price. Mark asked me to buy it and he would pick it up. No Problem.
Diane Sauer (NJ) asked me if I would pick up a pinball she wanted in Atlanta if she got it on eBay. I said sure. She did. I picked it up and put it in my garage with the Black Hole
Mark decided that he would come down in early August to pick up his game and he asked Diane if she wanted him to bring back hers as well. She did.
Steve Zeuner (NJ) had sold two games to two people down here in the south. A Mappy was going to Brian Jones in Florida, and a Track and Field was going to Matt Calvert in Mississippi. Mark was at Steve's house in mid-July and I asked him if he would mind bringing the two games with him. He was building a new trailer and said that he would.
The reason I asked him to do it was that I was planning on buying a Berzerk from Matt and I could take his game to him. My friend and co-worker Jake Terrell, was looking for a Donkey Kong Jr. Brian had one for sale and again the price was right. The plan was made...
Mark picked up the games at Steve's. He started his trip, taking his family to Florida, it was raining buckets and the tractor trailer in front of him stopped, the tractor trailer behind him stopped, but the one behind him did not. The tractor trailer drove up on to Mark's trailer and smashed a large portion of it. The games didn't get hit but they got wet. Mark's son's bikes did, however get a bit smushed. When particle board gets very wet it swells and is virtually worthless. Track and field didn't see much water, but unfortunately, Happy did. Mark wasn't sure what the condition was, but he did his best to recover the games and although there was a big hole in the trailer, he was able to get it back on the road with the games lying down. He called me on the cell phone and was pretty mad about what happened. I called Brian, Matt, and Steve to tell them the bad news. Everyone was upset. Nobody was hurt, that was good. It was an unfortunate incident. The night that Mark got to the house, we took the following pictures of the games:
The following morning, we got some pics of the trailer. One is below. In addition, most of the side rails were wiped out. Mark just finished building this trailer before making trip down to Florida/Georgia.
Mark decided that since he had to pick up his family in Florida, that he would deliver the Mappy to Brian as it was on the way. Brian started working on the game immediately and was able to build a new Marquee box in one night! Here is the new one next to the old one:
My trips to Mississippi and Florida were pretty uneventful. I met Matt for the first time and my Daughter played with his Daughter while we did game stuff. We drove for like 100 miles to look at a Zoo Keeper that he eventually bought. Matt put us up for a night. It was a fun weekend, but a long drive. The following weekend, I took Jake down to Florida to meet Brian and buy his game. We also took a trip to see Jon Jamshid (aka eXidy) in Lakeland. Other than Jake being paranoid that I would fall asleep behind the wheel and kill us both, and my terrible snoring, it was a great trip. Brian put us up for the night and we had a lot of fun playing and working on games at his house and eX's. They both have awesome collections. Pictures follow of the two trips and the various collections. It was truely the "Summer of Arcade Love".
Some of the games in Brian's collection.
Brian and Mappy