Old Arcade Machines On The Factory Floor

Illustration for article titled Old Arcade Machines On The Factory Floor

Every dusty old arcade cabinet sitting in the corner of a pub or rotting in a warehouse somewhere was once shiny and brand new, assembled by workers on factory floors just like these.

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The Arcade Blogger has compiled a collection of old photos and videos of these production runs, showing how companies like Nintendo, Atari and Williams put their games together then shipped them out.

Here are Donkey Kong Junior cabinets at Nintendo:

Illustration for article titled Old Arcade Machines On The Factory Floor
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Illustration for article titled Old Arcade Machines On The Factory Floor

Here’s Defender being put together at Williams:

Illustration for article titled Old Arcade Machines On The Factory Floor
Illustration for article titled Old Arcade Machines On The Factory Floor

Here’s Ms. Pac-Man at Bally/Midway’s factory:

And here’s a shot from Atari’s European factory at Tipperary, making cabinets that could be used on games like Asteroid and Missile Command.

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Photo: Jim Riordan
Photo: Jim Riordan

That last shot is accompanied by one hell of a story, which former Atari exec Jim Riordan recounts as:

When we arrived at the plant, fresh off the plane , I was greeted by a room full of English engineers who, before even introducing themselves, asked sarcastically, “What makes you think you can do this any better than we are?” I said , “Because gentlemen, I am making 500 arcade machines a day in the United States and my boss told me to either make this place perform or turn it into a badminton court, so I expect you gentlemen to either work with me or go buy some badminton racquets and I’ll be on the next plane back”. Let’s just say they had an immediate change of attitude.

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You can see more shots from more companies and factories at The Arcade Blogger.


Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

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DISCUSSION

I have the privlege of being within driving distance of a place called Yestercade. It’s a true-to-form arcade combined with modern console couch gaming. They carry a whole slew of original and restored arcade machines along with too many pinball machines, including all the games mentioned here in Luke’s piece.

I feel pretty bad that a LOT of gamers out there have a place like that. Even to this day, there is something genuinely different about being in an arcade and playing games at home.