Somewhere in Wales, a docked ocean liner has been rotting and rusting for over 35 years. Originally meant as an amusement center and tourist destination called “The Fun Ship,” the operation turned sour quickly and the boat was left to rot — with its amusements still inside.
No one knew this until a team of urban exploration enthusiasts broke into the abandoned vessel and started poking around. There within the main hall rested over fifty untouched arcade machines from 1980 and 1981 — authentic units like Space Invaders and Centipede, as well as rare bootlegs like “Star Fighter” (with a logo very reminiscent of the Star Wars font). They weren’t in perfect condition, of course, but they were about as good as abandoned arcade machines could possibly get. They had to be saved!
Easier said than done. After following a series of leads and hunting down the current owner of the vessel, Tony Temple was told he and his friends were welcome to buy the arcades from him — if they could get them out. This would require the use of a giant crane, which they had to track down — under a time limit! It just so happened that thieves had just stolen the brass window frames from the outside of the ship, which was letting water seep into the area. If the machines weren’t lifted out pronto, they would be ruined.
Fortunately, the team pulled it off and the buried treasure was divided evenly among the UK collector community, who is working on restoring them to mint status. You can read the entire story here, with pictures and video (and I recommend you do; it’s quite the tale).
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