Quoted from ForceFlow:
Personally, I value intact artwork, plastics, and ramps more than mechs and electronics. I can fix mechs and electronics either by repairing or replacing them without spending a whole lot. For me, artwork is much more difficult and expensive to repair or replace.
I would much rather repair a board than do a playfield swap or re-do a cab.
But, some people have minimal ability to troubleshoot or repair mechs and electronics, so they value any game that boots over a nicer looking game that doesn't. To each their own.
I don't think the original question is what you've distilled it to though. Everyone has some innate ability to judge things like appearance and whether a game boots, so no one is asking how to value those things against each other. It's about two machines that seem to be approximately the same, one being an import, another domestic, is there a difference in value?