I don't know if many of you know this, but 15 months ago I moved to Boquete, Panama. I sold my house, all my games, all my tools, everything and moved. It was difficult because of my love for playing, fixing, and restoring Arcade machines and pinball machines.
Well fast forward 15 months. Life here in Panama has been wonderful. I love being retired and I love this beautiful country. But I do miss the arcade games and pinball machines. I was starting to get a bit bored. Then what do you know, right down the street the Boquete Panama Barcade opened up. Watch my walkthrough video here:
So I offered my services and I've been helping Kevin, the owner, with his arcade games. Well one day when working there I was contacted by the woman who sells me coffee. She wanted to meet to give me my newest batch of coffee. So I told her I was working at the Barcade. She asked what I did there and I explained. So she asks "Do they have Pinballs?" I replied they did not because they are hard to find in Panama and very expensive right now. She then told me she knew of one in the area and she would place a Facebook ad and try to find some. Great I said, go ahead. Thinking the whole time that there was no way she would find anything.
4 days later she calls to tell me that she found 7 of them with a family in Colon, Panama, 7 hours away. I got the sellers info and contacted them. Apparently their father lived in the Canal Zone in1999 when the United States decided to turn the Canal back over to Panama. The US government had set up Rec Centers for the Americans living in the Canal Zone and they were auctioning off all the games from those Centers. Well her dad bought them all and started restoring them. Sadly he died 7 years later. The family sold off a bunch of them but there were 7 left that had been sitting for 15 years.
I asked for pictures and then made an offer. She accepted and 2 days later I headed out to get them. Here is the pic I received:
Now she does not live in Panama so all the pictures and info were sent by her Spanish speaking caretaker. And I don't speak Spanish. So I didn't have a lot of information to go on. I could see by the pics that they were not in great condition so my offer was $2k. Well I arrived this morning and sadly things were not as I would have hoped. The video shows the sad story:
Yep all of them were destroyed with termite damage.
Such a sad thing! I salvaged the electronics, dmd's, and Translites. I probably should have stripped everything. But it was extremely hot in there. And what would I do with it in Panama. There are no pinball machines here and no-one that needs parts. And shipping them to the USA is EXTREMELY expensive.
So there's my story. I am home now and depressed. I would have loved to have saved and restored these 7 beauties.