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Galaga Restoration March 29, 2010

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Galaga has been called "the most popular arcade game of all time". There probably isn't a way to quantify this, but there is no doubt that this second arcade game hit from Midway that entered the market in 1981 is--or was--enormously popular. With the Pac-Man craze in full swing, Midway sure was on a roll.

The Galaga Restoration Project (
Everybody loves Galaga, especially my wife. As I collected more games than we had room...well, she's been very understanding and Galaga helped a lot in that regard. We obviously needed Galaga. When I posted on my facebook page that I had acquired one and was restoring it, there were a number of enthusiastic replies-- "Galaga? I LOVE Galaga!".

For what it's worth, my theory on the popularity of Pac-Man and Galaga is that neither requires a lot of experience to play. The goals of the games and the controls are very easy to grasp from the first time you drop in a quarter. Whereas Pac-Man taps into the "eat or be eaten" primal tension to which we can all relate, Galaga is more about "shoot or be shot". Move and shoot, move and shoot. Kill those bugs before they get you. Sometimes the simplest things are the most appealing in games.

Then there's the audio! Some games have very infectious music and sound effects but few can match the sheer drawing power of this game. Galaga presents insidious tone progressions that worm their way into your very soul. And when you hear it while out somewhere, it captures you with its tractor beam and draws you in. Of course, you're here, so you are already acutely aware of this and still have those tunes burned deeply into your subconscious. And there they shall reside for the rest of your life in perfect clarity and awaiting the next encounter with...Galaga!

So what the heck, let's restore this one:

I found this Galaga on Craig's List. I drove five hours to get it--'nuff said. I paid $450 and figure the drive and hotel room added another $200. But this one was in really nice shape externally and worked great.

Galaga needs a friend.

You can see some gouges and frayed edges on the applied decal side art--no big deal. I have them on order as I'm writing this. PS: shop around--the prices vary wildy on the cabinet art decals. I wound up paying just $75.00 for the full set. What's more of a problem are the damaged edges. Galaga has laminate covering and it'll be a challenge to restore this to original appearance.

As always, my first concern beyond the cabinet is the monitor as these are in very short supply and will soon be gone. Did I ever have a great surprise coming!

YES!!! It has (as advertised) a brand new monitor. Not just a new one either--but a nice Vision Pro with the remote monitor adjustment board. This machine has real potential!

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