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Moppet Tugboat arcade game steams into the garage!

I sold a few games to a California collector and in an effort to reduce shipping costs, agreed to accept another game for pickup by NAVL. The game would be dropped off by the seller, so all I had to do was park it in the garage for a couple days. Not knowing what to expect, you can imagine my surprise when the seller dropped off a Moppet Tugboat arcade game, in almost perfect original condition. I knew these games were pretty scarce, but an example this clean must be super rare. Having never seen one of these odd little games in person I figured this was the perfect opportunity to play a few games and see what all the fuss was about.

moppet tugboat arcade game

Moppet Video produced five titles in 1982 which included: Desert Race, Leprechaun, Noah’s Ark, Pirate Treasure, and Tug Boat. Moppet Video arcade games were tiny in comparison to their grown up relatives, and easy for kids to understand and play. All they had to do is walk right up, drop in a quarter and away they went. The games were designed with simple controls and game play, without the need for a step stool or help from an adult, attractive features for our pint sized gamers. You could call it their initiation to the world of arcade games. Hey, back in 1982 kids didn’t all carry Nintendo in their pockets!

This fine example of a Moppet Tugboat arcade game was discovered in Indiana after a collector spotted another game at a garage sale. A few quick questions revealed additional games in the owners basement, including this near perfect Moppet Tugboat. Not only is the game in superb condition, but it actually works! Finding one in this condition is truly amazing. The cpo is practically flawless, there is little if any burn in the original monitor, and the side art is intact. The only issue is a few minor scuffs at the bottom of the cabinet. This Moppet Tugboat arcade game is a true un-restored gem, take a look.

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The cabinet houses a 13 inch monitor, with white laminate on the exterior and uses a full size over-under coin door on the front. The side art is a little creepy in my opinion and supposedly depicts the likeness of the company owners kids or grand kids. Not my favorite, I think lollipops and gumdrops would have been better. The over-under coin door takes up almost the entire front panel of the cabinet leaving no room for artwork, with a full size coin box to collect full size profits (hopefully). The control panel overlay is very simple, with a depiction of the tugboat, horizontal lines and some wavy lines representing the river I guess. The horn button exists just for fun and to annoy the nearby adults, awesome. The idea is to steam the tugboat up the river and avoid the logs, collecting lighthouses as you go. Hitting the banks just sounds the horn, hitting the logs ends your life. I was surprised by the game. It is very simple but a whole lot of fun. It gets super hard real fast, almost impossible.

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The game was a little tough to play because I had to squat down to play it, but I enjoyed the opportunity and have a little more respect for this odd game genre from the 80′s. After a couple days playing the cab I sent it on its way along with a few other odd cabs. I’m sure the new owner will give them a happy home. Game on!

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If you have any information you’d like to share about Moppet Video, the Tugboat arcade game, or any of the other Moppet Video series of games; drop me a line I’d love to hear about it.

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