That is so profoundly untrue. You never get back the money you've spent in renovation AND the real purpose is passion, to bring back that sense of NEW to something retro, and having it play like it came out of factory.
Now days the equivalent might be a really shiny controller, or letters worn of of a keyboard.
I don't believe this ever happened. Let's make the conservative assumption that a cabinet was in continuous operation 8 hours a day, and each game lasted 2 minutes. That's only 240 games a day, which means it would take nearly 23 years of such extremely heavy use to reach 2 million games (the lowest number to qualify as millions plural). The Pac-Man craze did not last 23 years, and such heavy use is only plausible at the peak of the craze.
You know what Pac stands for? PAC. Program and Control. He’s Program and Control Man. The whole thing’s a metaphor. All he can do is consume. He’s pursued by demons that are probably just in his own head. And even if he does manage to escape by slipping out one side of the maze, what happens? He comes right back in the other side. People think it’s a happy game. It’s not a happy game. It’s a fucking nightmare world. And the worst thing is? It’s real and we live in it.
You don’t play pinball with just your hands, you play it with the
groin too. The pinball problem is not to stop the ball before it’s
swallowed by the mouth at the bottom, or to kick it back to
midfield like a halfback. The problem is to make it stay up where
the lighted targets are more numerous and have it bounce from one
to another, wandering, confused, delirious, but still a free agent.
And you achieve this not by jolting the ball but by transmitting
vibrations to the case, the frame, but gently, so the machine won’t
catch on and say Tilt. You can only do it with the groin, or with a
play of the hips that makes the groin not so much bump, as slither,
keeping you on this side of an orgasm. And if the hips move
according to nature, it’s the buttocks that supply the forward
thrust, but gracefully, so that when the thrust reaches the pelvic
area, it is softened, as in homeopathy, where the more you shake a
solution and the more the drug dissolves in the water added
gradually, until the drug has almost entirely disappeared, the more
medically effective and potent it is. Thus from the groin an
infinitesimal pulse is transmitted to the case, and the machine
obeys, the ball moves against nature, against inertia, against
gravity, against the laws of dynamics, and against the cleverness
of its constructor, who wanted it disobedient. The ball is
intoxicated with vis movendi, remaining in play for memorable and
immemorial lengths of time. But a female groin is required, one
that interposes no spongy body between the ileum and the machine,
and there must be no erectile matter in between, only skin, nerves,
padded bone sheathed in a pair of jeans, and a sublimated erotic
fury, a sly frigidity, a disinterested adaptability to the
partner’s response, a taste for arousing desire without suffering
the excess of one’s own: the Amazon must drive the pinball crazy
and savor the thought that she will then abandon it.
Also, I wonder if I should go re-read that book. I think I have better faded memories of it than my actual enjoyment at the time when I read it. It seemed dense and I don't think I understood much of anything. But everyone remembers this passage I quoted above.