Jared, keeping the games running is in everyone's best interest. Fun will sell more (and for more) if they are running closer to 100%. Why wouldn't every Fun tech be at TPF with as big as that weekend has to be for them?
How about this: if it's a project machine stick a huge PROJECT sign on it and group them all together. Otherwise I assume it's turned off to protect it from play.
All I know is that I didn't have to look for the Auction signs to know I was in Fun territory. I just had to look for the dim playfields. Yes, other machines were out but not at that rate, IMHO. If keeping them running on free play is not a priority for them like it is for everyone else maybe they should get their own room.
I'm glad to hear the overall experience with the auction seems to have been better this year so maybe I'd actually consider one next year, but it certainly better be playable.