It wasn’t too long ago that every shopping mall, bar, and beach boardwalk had a gaming arcade filled with adolescents (and sometimes, adults) pumping quarters into their favorite machines. Traditional pinball machines, Skee-Ball, Whack-A-Mole and others sat side-by-side with newer video game consoles. The arcades were filled with flashing lights, ringing bells, and sirens.
Then, along came Playstation and X-Box in the 90s and the crowds at the arcades tapered off; gamers preferred to stay at home and play. Eventually, video arcades were no longer a viable business (at least at the malls; they’re still popular at the beaches). These days, it’s hard to find some of the old arcade games; they have been relegated to suburban rec rooms, “man caves” and county landfills.
Like any collectible, arcade games are subject to wide swings in value depending on the current demand and what the existing supply is for the game.
Executors, if your estate has a collection (or even one) of these old arcade games, and it is in working order and good cosmetic condition, it can be worth anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 at retail, and about a third to half of that to a dealer or at auction.
Machines that don’t work are worth between $25 and $100. Fixing them is expensive; parts are hard to find and schematics are even harder to find.
If you have any kind of old arcade game, Google the name of the game to see who buys and sells them; sometimes dealers will buy non-working games and fix them up for resale. Also check collectors websites and forums; they often have a classified ad section or “buy, sell, trade listings”.
Check eBay as well; see my post How to Use eBay for a Price Check.
Originally posted 2013-03-08 17:38:00.