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Shipwreck brings the Donkey Kong Arcade experience home

Posted by shipwreck, 08 April 2010 · 420 views

If you listened to last week's CAGcast, you'll remember that I was in the process of buying my first arcade cabinet - a baby blue Donkey Kong machine vintage 1981. Mrs. Shipwreck actually found this machine in our neighborhood classifieds which went a long way in bringing the arcade experience home. Rather than having to rent a truck or pay exhorbitant shipping costs, I simply gave my pick-up owning father a call and CAG Commish helped me lug her into the new Arcade Wing of the Shipwreck Mansion.

I ended up paying the full asking price of $400 for Donkey Kong and I really think it was a steal at that price. (Just for reference, fully refurbished units go for around the $2000 range.) Prior to living in my subdivision, this machine was owned by an arcade and it definitely has some cabinet wear to back up its lineage. There are a few scratches on the body of the cabinet, some sticker wear, missing molding, and some chipping of the pressed wood around the edges. To tell you the truth, though, I kind of dig the authenticity of knowing this nearly thirty-year-old legend has been out there kicking it around.

Most importantly though, Donkey Kong's guts are in top notch condition. The screen is amazingly vibrant and shows no signs of fading or wear. It's a thing of beauty. In addition to looking handsome, Jumpman (aka Mario) controls wonderfully while pursuing Pauline. The spot-on joystick allows for easy movement in all cardinal directions and never has a "Jump" button been more aptly named. The classic sound effects are in blaringly good order as well.

I am actually going to make a few initial upgrades to the machine. First, I'm going to replace the white molding along the edges of the machine. This'll run around $15 and will go a long way to making it look a little more polished. I'm also going to replace the sticker above the controls that explains how to play the game. That's going to set me back $6 - relatively inexpensive for such vital knowledge. Other than that, she's staying "as is" for the time being.

As felines are prone to do, iPod the Cat, curiously examined the machine as well. Having only been alive during the Xbox age, I think some of the retro charm was lost on him. He did however take on Donkey Kong's challenge of "How High Can You Get?". And as felines are prone to do, he took that way too literally and climbed atop the machine. Pleased with his new found position of King of Kong, he proceeded to take a well deserved bath. I'll be sure that the next arcade machine I buy is more of a challenge for him.




If you listened to last week's CAGcast, you'll remember that I was in the process of buying my first arcade cabinet - a baby blue Donkey Kong machine vintage 1981. Mrs. Shipwreck actually found this machine in our neighborhood classifieds which went a long way in bringing the arcade experience home. Rather than having to rent a truck or pay exhorbitant shipping costs, I simply gave my pick-up owning father a call and CAG Commish helped me lug her into the new Arcade Wing of the Shipwreck Mansion.

I ended up paying the full asking price of $400 for Donkey Kong and I really think it was a steal at that price. (Just for reference, fully refurbished units go for around the $2000 range.) Prior to living in my subdivision, this machine was owned by an arcade and it definitely has some cabinet wear to back up its lineage. There are a few scratches on the body of the cabinet, some sticker wear, missing molding, and some chipping of the pressed wood around the edges. To tell you the truth, though, I kind of dig the authenticity of knowing this nearly thirty-year-old legend has been out there kicking it around.

Most importantly though, Donkey Kong's guts are in top notch condition. The screen is amazingly vibrant and shows no signs of fading or wear. It's a thing of beauty. In addition to looking handsome, Jumpman (aka Mario) controls wonderfully while pursuing Pauline. The spot-on joystick allows for easy movement in all cardinal directions and never has a "Jump" button been more aptly named. The classic sound effects are in blaringly good order as well.

I am actually going to make a few initial upgrades to the machine. First, I'm going to replace the white molding along the edges of the machine. This'll run around $15 and will go a long way to making it look a little more polished. I'm also going to replace the sticker above the controls that explains how to play the game. That's going to set me back $6 - relatively inexpensive for such vital knowledge. Other than that, she's staying "as is" for the time being.

As felines are prone to do, iPod the Cat, curiously examined the machine as well. Having only been alive during the Xbox age, I think some of the retro charm was lost on him. He did however take on Donkey Kong's challenge of "How High Can You Get?". And as felines are prone to do, he took that way too literally and climbed atop the machine. Pleased with his new found position of King of Kong, he proceeded to take a well deserved bath. I'll be sure that the next arcade machine I buy is more of a challenge for him.
awesome find... congrats on the purchase!
i can only imagine the transportation process went something like this:
Congratulations! I'm glad iPod is not the only one who enjoys a good challenge.
Congrats! It looks like you dressed in an era appropriate shirt. Is that velour?
Congratulations Shipwreck!
Hope you have lots of fun with it!
If you get tired of Donkey Kong and want to play other nintendo arcade games from the same era you can buy the pcb and it should be a straight replacement for your Donkey Kong pcb. (Donkey Kong 3 is the only other Nintendo game I can think of that has vertical orientation, there may be more I can't think of at the moment.)
Man, last time I saw one of these was the daycare center I stayed at as a child. No idea how they got one, but I'd play it for free every chance I got.
Awesome find. I've been looking into Konami's Aliens (1990) and The Simpsons (1991), but Mrs. Stoic Person Eater would break my neck if I brought one home now. We need a bigger house first.
That will be a great place to put iPod's ashes when he dies. Oh Yeah, I went there.:drool:
Nice find for only $400! I would have snapped it up in a heartbeat too.
Great stuff. Mark my words, 30 years in the future Shipwreck's Mansion will be called Shipwreck's Museum of Gaming and attract visitors from all over the world.
Congrats Boatcrash. My lady is trying to make me get rid of my MAME cabnet :(
Is this just a ploy to steal Mrs. Shipwreck's quarters?
Congrats man. That's awesome
Congrats, how is the monitor? Is there any sign of image burn?
Wow! Great find Mrs. Shipwreck. What a steal for $400 and it looks like it is in great condition. What a perfect cabinet to start your collection in the arcade wing. Congratulations on your pickup.
few years back i found some sort of jet fighter game with cabnet they only wanted 100 bucks for and it worked perfect... THe thing moved when you moved the flight stick.. with no way to get it home i had to leave it behind .... someone got a hell of a nice deal that day.... a Friend back in 92 sold me asteroid game for 75 bucks and i had that for 7 years before it finally blew up :) very nice find and hopefully it last you for many years and many hours of fun
Wow...that's amazing!!! Such a great find and hope iPod manages to get atop those leaderboards.
Congratulations on the find and a great choice! If I ever get an arcade video game, it's pretty likely it would be a Donkey Kong. Great game!
awesome arcade. i wanted to buy one but the guy on craigslist wanted 900 with non-working monitor. i probably buy the simpsons arcade for 500