Classic Arcade Machines Climb in Value After Twitch Fuels Comeback
Peter Donnell / 2 weeks ago
I’m a big fan of both modern and classic arcade gaming. I’m a child of the ’80s, so rocking up to Jolly Giant Toy Store to play the Donkey Kong machine, or rattling some change into a Mortal Kombat and Time Crisis machines down at the bowling alley are some of my fondest memories. Memories I now share with my kid’s thanks to our own custom arcade machine, and hopefully, we’ll share that with friends too once all this Covid crap is out of the way.
However, lockdown has had a big impact on the arcade world. Many arcade museums and arcades around the world have had to close permanently due to the global pandemic. While the #SavingTheArcadeWorld campaign has helped raise awareness, it seems that a lot of the current resurgence is coming from Twitch. People are flocking to streams and racking up millions of views to see many classic arcade games, and more so, the machines.
Antique marketplace, LoveAntiques.com, decided to research arcade game cabinets. A Williams’ Blast Cockpit from 1983 is currently worth £8,600, while an original Sinistar duramold is worth £7,200 and a 1979 cabinet of Cosmic Chasm is valued at £6,500. They also discovered the most popular arcade game in each country around the world, with Pac-Man taking the overall top spot, followed by Space Invaders and Donkey Kong.
Personally, I have heard of them going for more, but that may be for limited-edition units in near perfect condition, however, they’re the exception, not the rule.
Most Valuable Arcade Cabinets:
1. Blaster – Williams’ cockpit – £8,600
Released in 1983, only five units of this cockpit cabinet were ever made and in 2010 it took the Guinness World Record for the most expensive arcade game of all time, and still hasn’t been surpassed.
2. Sinistar – Dedicated duramold – £7,200
Only a handful of these were made when it was released in 1982, so collectors will be willing to pay up to $10,000 to get their hands on this bespoke duramold machine.
3. Asteroids – original 1979 cabinet – £6,750
One of the most iconic arcade games of all time, and originally released in 1979, these are highly sought after, with a perfect condition machine commanding a price of £6,750
4. Defender – original 1981 cabinet – £6,750
Another icon from the golden age of arcade games, an original Defender cabinet in mint condition is also worth £6,750
5. Cosmic Chasm – original 1982 cabinet – £6,500
The first game to be originally released for a home system and then released in an arcade version was Cosmic Chasm (1982), this arcade cabinet is now worth around £6,500
6. Discs of Tron – original 1983 cabinet – £6,100
In the movie of Tron, the main character gets transported into the virtual world of an arcade game, the spin off arcade game inspired by the movie was released a year later in 1983, and a dedicated arcade cabinet of Discs of Tron can be worth as much as £6,100 if in mint condition.
7. Major Havoc – original 1983 cabinet – £5,800
Released by Atari in 1983 as an upright arcade cabinet, Major Havoc is still very much in demand within the arcade collectible world.
8. Death Race – original 1976 cabinet – £5,800
The oldest game to feature on our top 10 list, Death Race was released in 1976 and was one of the first video games to garner controversy due to its in-game violence. An original machine can now be worth as much £5,800.
9. Pac-Man – original 1980 cabinet – £4,750
Despite being the most popular arcade game of all time, it only makes it to number nine on our list – mainly due to the fact that it was so popular, and so many machines were manufactured.
10. Space Invaders – original 1978 cabinet – £4,750
The second most popular arcade game of all time is also worth a pretty penny with generations of gamers still enjoying the simple alien killing premise of the original released in 1978.
“While the golden age of arcade gaming may have died a death by the end of the 1980s due to the emergence of home video game consoles, it appears that they had more than one extra life saved up and their story is far from over. It’s now been 40 years since the first children went crazy for Pac-Man and Space Invaders, and as we have seen with other popular culture collectables, those kids have now grown up with a nostalgic yearning for their past. It has been fascinating to take a dive and find out that these machines, originally fuelled with quarters and change, are now going for thousands.” – Will Thomas, Managing Director at LoveAntiques.com
How many of you would love the original cabinets in their gaming room? I know I would. However, if you want to build your own, check out the one I made last year!