“Arcade away from home” Part 3 – HUO Pengo!

Trust me, I’ve been itching to talk about this for over two months. A Home Use Only Pengo in awesome condition that plays blind. By the end of the trip, things certainly didn’t turn out the best, but the Pengo did make it back regardless.

The HUO Pengo in St. Louis

Let’s see, what would be the best way to talk about part three of the trip? I guess I should probably give the back story on the Pengo in St. Louis.

Back up to the week or so after my son was born. The day we headed home from the hospital, I had bid and won the white character sideart Mr. Do! in Chicago. Then five days later the Mad Planets on Craigslist pops up, which Chris quickly snatches up. That was Friday. On that next Wednesday Chris calls me right before I get into class.

Turns out that Pat C. out in St. Louis had someone find him and tell him that they had a Pengo that might be HUO. Pat asked Chris if he knew anyone who was interested, and Chris told Pat that I was a Pengo freak – guilty as charged. Chris asked if I was interested. Wow.

All I could think was, ok, I’ve got two games in Chicago that I don’t know when I’ll be able to pick up and now there is this Pengo? I am not the type of guy to store games until the end of time, I don’t leave people hanging. Well, nothing was definite. Pat had to make the drive to check the game out and get the full story, so we’ll just sit tight until we hear back if it is indeed a HUO Pengo. We tell Pat I’m interested and let’s find out more.

The next day that is exactly what happens. Pat comes back and says, “The owner won the Pengo out of a cereal box contest (another Quaker Oats prize Pengo? How many prizes were there?) and has had it sitting in his basement ever since.” Holy cow. We knew about the two to three Pengo’s that were given away in Pepsi promotions. Richard F. snagged the last one, and Mike Doyle had one a number of years back that he sold to Ron in Texas that I understand has now suffered severe water damage. Here are a couple of photos Pat sent me from the pickup;

Pickup of the HUO Pengo - Photo 1Pickup of the HUO Pengo - Photo 2Pickup of the HUO Pengo - Photo 3

Things keep moving forward. Pat basically gives me an offer on the game I can’t refuse and as the three of us shoot emails back and forth Chris suggests going down to St. Louis on the Chicago trip to pick it up. What the heck, why not. This is too crazy to stop the insanity now, right? Pat agrees to store it, wrapping it in shrink wrap and sticking it in the back of the garage and we make a solid date to come and get it so he knows what to expect. In the span of 10 days I’ve doubled my arcade game collection with some pretty tremendous pieces.

Three arcades in Chicago needing transportation

As more emails were exchanged I found out Pat was looking for a Rip Off, which hadn’t come up between Chris and Pat. Chris had a Rip Off sitting in his garage and after finding out that Pat wanted it, Chris was like – he can take it, we’ll bring it down when we make the pickup.

Arrangements were made for the truck from a buddy here in Indianapolis, and I picked a weekend with Chris that worked best for him to come up. We figured we’d make the drive in one day, leaving really early on Sunday morning and making it back around dinner, a 10 hour drive total.

As luck would have it, later in May I picked up those three pinballs for $50 each. I knew before hand that I didn’t want to store my good Pengo in my garage trying to sell it, if I could help it. I knew a friend looking to pick one up, so I offered it up to him at a great price, but it was just too far of a drive. It didn’t take long to sell. Joe S. (Jackie Paper on Coinopspace) prepaid and a month later on May 16th, came to pick up my Pengo – in the rain. Foreshadowing? I certainly didn’t think so at the time 🙁

Selling the Pengo I bought in Nashville three years ago
Back to the Chicago trip

7:00 am came early, as expected. We both grabbed some toast, loaded up the Rip Off into the truck, packed some snack items and hit the road.

Rip Off Loaded in Truck

We made good time down to St. Louis, I think we got there in under 5 hours, traffic was really great on La Grange before 8:00 am on a Sunday. Pat is pretty easily accessible right off the highway, but man does he live on a cliff. It’s not that bad I guess, but coming from Indiana, it seems like a pretty steep climb up to his place, a 1/2 mile up a slope.

Quick introductions took place, and we cut right to the chase. We pulled out the Pengo and unwrapped it so I could take a look at it. As breathtaking as I had hoped. There was a tiny drop of drywall putty on the control panel, and a little bit of swelling on the wood just below said cpanel, but that was it.

Inside HUO PengoInside HUO Pengo

T-molding was what struck me most, and the crisp edges of the cabinet all the way around. Plus looking inside, the cabinet was spotless, no dirt, barely any dust, like it truly just came from the factory.

Inside HUO Pengo

It was all about the timing. Pat said the guy told him that he didn’t think the Pengo was worth anything, and was planning on dismantling it and cutting it up the next day. All about the timing baby.

Now, Pat mentioned that it sounded like it powered up blind, but he wasn’t sure because he wasn’t familiar with the sounds. We powered it on, and sure enough, nothing on the monitor but with a coin up Pengo certainly sounded like it was working fine to me.

Pat had already picked this game up and stored it for two months. But as we were standing there he continued to display he generosity by offering to do a quick cap kit on the chassis if we had the time. Knowing that I would love to head home with a working game, and what my day to day schedule is like I was all for it.

At that point, Pat remembered he had some goodies for Chris as well. He went to his car and pulled out a 3′ x 2′ box full of ‘paper’. Pat had picked up the box full of schematics, fliers, tech journals and other information from an operator who was closing up shop.

Box of operator's papers and manuals

While Pat worked Chris and I had a blast looking through some of the stuff. I know he’ll be posting information on his own arcade blog, kicking things off with his ‘Video Outpost Discovered‘ which is a flyer showing off an outside lock and key arcade storage unit that protects the games from weather and users. Pretty bizarre. One of my most favorite discoveries (new to me) was the flyer for Williams Star Rider. Take a look at this cabinet, it looks like a motorcycle out of Robocop crashed right into a wooden cabinet. I have to play this game at some point, my next quest 😉

Cap Kit on the G07 didn’t work

Pat finished up the kit, we plugged it in but still nothing. He tested the HOT, which seemed to be fine. Pat had found that someone else had done some work on the chassis in the past. It looked so clean on the top, no dust, but the owner must have had paid for a repair, had a working Pengo for awhile and then it went out again and he gave up. We determined that surely it must be the flyback and there was some talk that we’d try replacing that as well.

Somehow, over two hours had passed, it’s now after 2pm. Since we were only running on toast, I was starting to get dizzy – I needed to eat. We decided that since we had a long drive, we’d get on the road and do the flyback at home in Chicago. So we hit the road. After a stop for gas and a bite, we finally arrived back in Palos Park after what seemed and eternity around 8:30.

Both Chris and I were wiped. We had some dinner, and did some sorting and scanning of the materials that were in the box, but we called it a night soon after. It was a good thing that I got some solid sleep, little did I know that tomorrow would be the day from hell.

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That toast was delicious. It sure is amazing how all of these pieces fit together to make this happen. Pengo, pins, paper, oh my.

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Very nice looking Pengo. Now I know what my restored Pengo needs to look like. Oh and jeff, I heard Rich from this old game is doing CPO’s for Pengo so you might be in luck. 😉

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My Pengo stolen right out from under my nose!

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Yeah yeah…You are always more than welcome to pop over with the four hour drive and play….that is, when I get the monitor chassis back. I still haven’t played one game of Pengo myself.

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Yeah yeah…You are always more than welcome to pop over with the four hour drive and play….that is, when I get the monitor chassis back. I still haven't played one game of Pengo myself.

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Hello; can you tell me how many inches have the original monitor Pengo? Thank you

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