The History Of A Game


Like many collectors, I often wondered about the history behind each of my games. Where was the game originally located and who had the pleasure of playing it? The clues are often cryptic, from the “Potts Inn 1986″ penned on the bottom of my Donkey Kong coin box in black Sharpie to the names etched in the sides of my Track & Field game. The best clues I’ve found for any game came as I was thumbing through the documentation included with my Elevator Action.

As mentioned previously, I know that my Elevator Action started life as a Jungle Hunt cabinet and at some point was converted with a factory Taito conversion Kit. The documentation included a Jungle Hunt manual, with game serial number of 148070, which matches the number on the back of my cabinet. A Taito America Corporation Conversion Kit, Jungle Hunt to Elevator Action manual was present with a serial number of 504609. That serial number does not match the serial number on the conversion card stapled to the back door of my cabinet, which is 503510. Maybe this was just an operator mix up, or perhaps the manuals got switched somewhere along the way. I also know that my cabinet was at one time located in the Mobile, Alabama area as indicated by the operator sticker on the front of the coin door, which reads “Top Music & Amusement Company, Mobile, Alabama, Phone (205)661-2020, Mobile Alabama, Nick M. Stratas – Owner”.

I got just a bit more history as I was thumbing through the manuals. At the back of the Elevator Action manual, I located three “service call” tickets, one from 1983 and two from 1986. The service call tickets are all identical and appear to be from the same operator, although the handwriting is different on each. The first ticket was from August 4th, 1983 with a location of “Washington Bro. Grd.”. The game serviced was Jungle Hunt and the slam switch was too close to the front door, causing the game to tilt. Sometime between August of 1983 and April of 1986, the game was converted to Elevator Action. The next service ticket is dated April 5th, 1986 with a location of “Bayside Grd.” and the control panel was loose on Elevator Action. The clamp was repaired and the control panel clamped into place. The last service call ticket was dated August 15th, 1986 with a location of “Hayes Bayside, Fairhope” with a blown 10 amp fuse. What I find interesting is the location of each service ticket has a portion of the previous service ticket in it, “grd” in the first ticket and second ticket and “bayside” in the second ticket and third ticket. Was the location the same each time and different operators just called it by a different name? I know on the third ticket, the location is in Fairhope, Alabama.

What happened between 1986 and the time the machine reached my hands is anyone’s guess. Over the course of 22 years, the cabinet has made its way from Alabama to Illinois. Hopefully, someone familiar with the area can provide me some information on the locations provided in the service tickets. I’ve already tried to send and e-mail to Top Music, but their form is not working and I suspect their records on the game are long gone.

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