Coin op industry comes together to source game for autistic fan
Nolan Kertis is an autistic 17-year-old who loves playing the arcade game Deal or No Deal. His love affair with the game began when he was four years old and first played it at a local Chuck E. Cheese restaurant. From then on, every time his family passed an arcade they would stop in so that Nolan could play the game.
From there, Nolan discovered the hit show and watched it routinely. He went on to play the Deal or No Deal board games and Wii game. As he got older, Nolan kept being drawn back to the arcade. He would use Google Earth to scour the country for arcades where he could play the game. Nolan and his family made treks to Detroit, Virginia Beach and more to do so.
When the pandemic and lockdowns hit the US, Nolan could no longer play his favourite game. Nolan’s mother Amy sprang into action to see how she could help out her son. Jumping on Google, she searched for the game and emailed any company she could find online that might have the game. Marty Smith from Sega saw the email and decided that he had to help. Since the game was no longer in production, he would have to find a used game.
Connecting with his friends in the industry, Marty found the help that he needed. Mike Springman from Betson located a used Deal or No Deal game. Dan Coppola at ICE Games, the manufacturer of the game, supplied free parts at no charge to help. The Betson service team then reconditioned the unit to look like new and delivered the game to Nolan’s house this fall.
“When I first read the email from Nolan’s mother it tugged hard on my heart,” said Marty. “I knew I had to try and help. I reached out to Mike Springman and with the help from all those involved we were able to make something wonderful happen for this family.”
“We were happy to help out to make this happen,” said Mike Springman. “With everything going on with our industry right now it’s a great feeling when you can help bring someone so much joy.”
“We at ICE are excited that one of our games will provide great entertainment for Nolan, his family and his friends. We appreciate Marty and Mike Springman spearheading this terrific project and including us,” said Dan Coppola.
Nolan was so excited to receive the game he wouldn’t leave its side for the first week. The family even set up a picnic table next to it so he could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner during breaks from his favourite game. He continues to play it every day and checks on it every day to make sure it’s still there.
“I’m so grateful to everyone who was involved in finding this game,” said Nolan’s mother Amy. “Nolan was so excited when he received it and it has become the centre of his daily activities.”