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.