[Originally posted to rec.games.video.classic.]
The short version:
Today, out of the blue, I got a working Missile Command coin-op in good condition! For free!!!
The long version:
A friend of mine sent me e-mail saying a coworker of his was getting rid of a Missile Command arcade game. I just happened to be checking my personal e-mail when his note arrived. (Thank goodness!) The guy was going to trash it if no one wanted it. My friend works very close by, so he said I could drive over and take a look. His coworker had it in the back of his truck.
Upon arrival, I found the Missile Command to be in good shape. The owner, who had had it dumped on him by his mother-in-law, said it worked, so I quickly agreed to take it. We transferred it to my friend's truck. At lunch, he drove it to my house and helped me get it situated.
I turned it on and it came up just fine. Of course, the text was in French, but I knew from the quick research I had done that it was just a switch setting. It was already in free play mode, so I tried a game. Everything worked, except the sound was barely audible and the trackball squeaked.
I managed to open it despite not having keys. (Thank God for DejaNews!) There was a pair of keys inside. After going to the trouble of printing out the switch settings, I discovered upon putting the back cover back in place there was a sheet with the switch setting stapled to the inside. D'oh!
It also showed me where the volume control is. Cranking it up revealed one speaker doesn't work, but I'm sure I can fix that later. I still can't believe I finally get to join VAPS! 8)
[Sadly, I was forced to sell the Missile Command about six years later when money was tight. VAPS is the Video Arcade Preservation Society. It was a group of people owning arcade video games at home. They established a web site in the early days of the Internet. Being able to join it seemed like a big and unattainable honor at the time. —11 June 2009]