Arcade Auction

So sometimes you have to wake up at 6:30 on a Saturday morning. Other times, you have to wake up at 6:30 on a Saturday morning, drive to Winston-Salem, and storm the fucker. We at The Pinhook are very conscientious about storming the fucker.

The fucker in question was a massive arcade game and entertainment auction that our friend Kyle (of Churchkey Records) hipped us to. We were standing around in the bar one day, and somebody said, “Doggs, we don’t have any arcade games in here, and furthermore we don’t have a pinball machine, and that is a sad tragedy.” Nobody actually said this, but that was the main sentence of the situation. So we rolled out there hard and just destroyed.

By the way, Kyle also woke up at 6:30 and drove out there with us, which was an extremely solid thing to do. Kyle you are a living god.

Some observations:

1. The auction was held in a massive building the size of an airplane hanger. It was packed to bursting with arcade games, pinball machines, those creepy plastic “rides” that very stupid children sit on outside of grocery stores, those horribly frustrating claw machines filled with cheap crap, and other various amusements. There was a photobooth that we really wanted until we realized it had been gutted. There was a cigarette machine that sold for $10 – with cigarettes. I was not going to pay $10 for a useless box filled with 25 year-old Virginia Slims. Somebody threw themselves a goddamn lung party with that purchase.

I would guess that there were over 1000 items on auction, and by the end of the day EVERY SINGLE THING HAD BEEN SOLD.

2. Auctions are exciting! The auctioneers actually practice that precise speed-talking like in the movies. This one guy, who confused and angered me, just muttered a string of nonsense syllables at all times, only breaking to call out a price. He was like “Zeebabadeedeedledoobledabdabdeeba FIFTY zibbazibbaheydeeberdoober SEVENTY FIVE dabaladab…”

I got heavily into the auction process, just following the auctioneer around (he sat on a kind of royal bier, pushed around by an army of subordinates) and watching people bid on shit. The price fluctuations are totally inscrutable. Those Photo Hunt machines that sit on bar tops were selling in the range of $150 to $2700. Why?

Once you arrive at an item that you want, your heart starts thumping and shit gets seriously intense. You don’t call out your bid, you just give a nigh-imperceptible signal like a wink or a subtle nod. My proudest moment came when I wanted to bid $500 dollars on this beautiful old Galaga machine from 1981. The bidding went to $450, and after an appropriate wait, I just flashed the dude the back of my hand, fingers extended in universal sign-language for the number five. I cold won that bid. That Galaga machine is here now, blinking away happily, and my high score is 175,000, which I’m pretty sure is a world record.

The people at this thing were fucking awesome. A heady melange of corpulent gaming impresarios in electric wheelchairs and greyhound-thin carnies on amphetamines. Everybody was smoking, inside, although there were clearly marked outdoor smoking areas. We were definitely fish-out-of-water. “City-folk”, if you will.

3. So what was our take? Besides the Galaga machine, we got Ms. Pac-Man (hell of classic and necessary), and Kym like a stone-cold champion won the bidding on a pinball machine that has to be seen to be believed. It has a Roller Derby theme, it is extremely fun, and it is a loud, gaudy monument to the late 80s. The graphics depict a woman with an unbelievable ass. This ass is so well-rendered and conveyed. Everybody who sees it agrees that it is some perfect azzz.

4. The whole process took TEN FUCKING HOURS.

Anyway, that’s how it went down in that scene, and those are the fruits of our labors. Much thanks to this random guy we met named Chaz who drove our pinball machine back to Durham for us, just out of the kindness of his heart and some gas money. Dude was a saint. He will probably never read this.

Nick W.

P.S. – On the way there, Kyle and I got turned around and had to backtrack, and we accidentally stumbled upon a strip club that also has an “exotic carwash.” We both agreed that this was hilarious. I wonder if it is like Shangri-La or Brigadoon, only appearing to travelers who have lost their way. I’ll find out soon and “blog” about it.


3 Responses to “Arcade Auction”

  1. 1 DRR
    September 2, 2008 at 12:15 am

    Looks interesting…

    Have you published the exact location of your bar-to-be, or is it all secret like?

  2. 2 Matt
    September 9, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    This is one of the best blog posts I’ve ever read. Keep up the passion…

  3. 3 James
    November 2, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    Thanks for the pinball. I ask one favor, please have it serviced every once in a while. Nothing sucks more than trying to play a pinball machine with weak flippers or targets that don’t work.

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