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Georgia or Bust! Part One

The annual arcade road trip was in jeopardy! Jeff had scored a fantastic new full time job and I was in school trying to finish up my RN degree. It was already October of 2011 and we hadn’t been on the road yet, time was slipping away and with the holidays quickly approaching, I didn’t think we’d pull off a trip this year. Never fear, the bulk deal would save us! Jeff had been working on securing a bulk deal somewhere near the east coast of Georgia, of all places, and was having some trouble. With a little help from our friend Steve, a collector in Georgia, the deal was secured and Jeff ended up with a nice Food Fight. He just had to pick it up or have it shipped. It was then that I remembered the trade offer I got from that same collector. Steve wanted a Tron and I just happened to have a nice working Tron. I wanted a Black Hole pinball and Steve just happened to have a nice working Black Hole pinball. Shipping wasn’t an option for me, so I’d have to drive there to pick it up. It hadn’t made sense before, but for some reason it did now.

Map

What a drive it would be, at just over 17 hours and about 1000 miles one way. Ouch. But now there were two games to pick up and the annual arcade road trip was starting to take shape. I was on winter break from school and Jeff took some vacation time. The trip to Georgia and back again was on!. The idea was to take our time on the way down and visit a few collectors in route. We’d meet up with Steve to grab the games and check out his collection, and then take a few short detours to see collectors on the way back, just to make it interesting. I was excited to squeeze in the trip before the year was up and this time we’d be bringing back some cool games. With the trailer secured I was ready to go.

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My first stop would be in Indianapolis to pick up Jeff, finalize our plans, and get ready for the trip. Some of the stops weren’t confirmed so we’d be adjusting our plans along the way. Since we were heading through Kentucky, it made sense to stop in Louisville to visit Edward Lutz (ELutz on the forums). Edward does great work on MCR and Midway card style pcbs such as Gorf and Space Zap. He had a stack of MCR and midway pcbs repaired and ready for me to pickup which would save me a bunch on shipping costs. Plus it would be great to meet Edward in person and check out his repair shop. Whoa! What’s the first thing I’m greeted with? A beautiful condition Taito Space Dungeon, and that was just the beginning. His shop was packed with some amazing games!

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Space Dungeon and a GDI Slither, two games you don’t see very often. Edward mentioned that he might even have an NOS cpo for that Slither, wow! We wandered around the first floor trying to take it all in. There were a lot of games packed into the space in various states of repair and condition. Some games would be fixed up and sold, some were part of his collection. The Space Dungeon and Slither were not for sale, believe me we asked. Multiple times 🙂

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Then we see Vanguard, Pleiades, Dark Planet and a Reactor! Great stuff. Dark Planet is a bizarre Stern game where you look through the narrow plexi and the game is projected over a 3-D moonscape type surface. Interesting to look at, but I’ve heard the game play is lacking. Edward told us that he keeps a lot of the games around for his repair work. Instant test cab right there on the floor, all you need to do is play a little Tetris to maneuver the cabinet you need out into the open. Once that game is pulled out he likes to repair a stack of the same or similar boards to maximize his effort.

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There was a nice looking Atari Subs, Atari Avalanche, Stern Frenzy, Mouse Trap, Space Encounters and a Stern Moon War. Moon War, what’s that? A game with a cool left right roller controller (think major havok) and arguably the best arcade flyer ever printed (think moon shot). Lots of Stern titles in his lineup which was nice to see. The part room on the main floor was stocked with commonly used repair parts, lots of electronic parts, and miscellaneous hardware. Easy access as it was right across from his primary work space. Of course I took more pictures of the Slither, just because I think its a great game. We kept going, there was plenty more to see.

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When have you ever seen a Tora Tora by Game Plan? Amazing artwork, would have liked to play it. That was one thing about Edwards place, there were a ton of really amazing games but I don’t think many of them were fully working. Edward spends a lot of time fixing other peoples stuff and not a whole lot on his own. Too many projects and not enough time, the curse of the arcade collector! I’m not complaining, he did a great job fixing my stuff. He also had a bunch of pinball machines in the mix, including a nice Flight 2000. We saw a Juno First, Eliminator, Break Out, Sinistar, and peaking out from behind some other games, Bazooka. So many amazing arcade pieces in one place, just waiting to be brought back to life. That wasn’t even the end of it, there was a second floor to see! Not only did Edward have games, he had parts, lots of parts. Including some super rare NOS stuff, like the slither cpo and universal joystick assemblies. Take a peek…

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We asked if the Dark Planet could be pulled out so better pics could be taken, and Edward graciously let us tetris some games to get a better look. There was so much to see I’m sure I missed something. I did go home with some cool bootleg artwork, but that’s for another post. We had spent a few hours hanging out in Edwards space, but it was time for lunch. The three of us were going to head over to Zanzabar to check the place out. The owner was also a fellow arcade collector and we knew he had games at the bar. Time for some food, beer and gaming before we continued our cross country quest. Stay tuned for part two.

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