Recently, as I have done more than 20 times now, I sold a game. No big deal right? This time, it was my absolutely stunning Last Action Hero. My example was so nice, and so well maintained, that it "changed peoples mind" about the game. People who had written off the game as trash learned to love it playing mine, often seeking out one to own themselves as a result.
The difference in this sale, is that the buyer was purchasing his first ever machine.
I learned through conversation that he had been quietly researching for many years, playing games on Pinball Arcade, watching youtube videos, reading pinside and lurking on ebay. He had set up notification alerts on Craigslist for PINBALL and his phone went off when my listing came up.
As is my practice, I listed my game at a fair market value, not too cheap and not crazy. This guy called me within 2 hours of it being listed.
When he came over to look at the game, we ended up talking for more than an hour, he shared his stories of arcades in the 80's, his profession, and his long time dream of owning a pinball. This was finally his big moment where it was about to happen. He is 52 years old.
Thats when it really hit me.
These next few moments... these next few days... he will never forget what is about to happen. Ever. Its the spark. This is the moment that someone really enters into this hobby... all of us did it once... and all of us remember our first game.
For me, Last Action Hero was my 2nd game. I have kept it for nearly 6 years because of how nice it was, but I had to make some room so out it went.
I realized that he didn't have tools, he didn't know how to take off legs, how to level a game, or even how to open a coin door. Here I was, Obi Wan looking at Luke on the Millennium Falcon. I had to teach him. It was my duty.
So I did what no seller ever did for me. I broke down the game, as he watched, explaining everything I was doing and how and why. I helped him load the game. Then I followed him across town to his house. I unloaded the game. I set up the game. I explained how the game worked and what to do. I showed him the smart missile. I explained modes. A few more hours passed.
You have never seen a 52 year old man so excited.
As I walked out the door and looked at my old game one last time, I was not sad. I felt like Andy at the end of Toy Story 3. It was time for a new owner to have his experience. Letting go, is how it grows.