To give a bit of background on me. I was born in 1973 so I grew up with pinball. My parents moved to La Mirada in 1979 and back then there was a huge arcade called Noah's Arcade inside the La Mirada mall. it had a bunch of coin-ops on the ground floor and a tiered platform filled with pins from end to end. While most of my friends would stick to coin ops I would be drawn to the sounds and excitement of the pinball machines. The first time I played the original Black Knight was here. I also remember playing Evel Knievel, Gorgar, KISS and others. A few years later my dad would pick up an old Gottlieb pin from a garage sale and set it up at our house. I don't remember the name of it but I remember spending countless hours on it. In my teens and twenties I would always carry quarters with me for whenever I'd go to a Pizza Parlor or anywhere with a pin I would play it no matter what it was.
But I had never been to the Museum of Pinball in Banning until last weekend. Boy what I have been missing out on! I couldn't believe the shear number of pins...rows and rows and rows of them. Old ones, new ones, in between ones...you name it. They also have a room with coin ops as well but I didn't even go there. I stayed the entire time in the pinball room, and my time spent there was part nostalgic...playing pins I hadn't played in forever and part refreshing, checking out machines I cannot afford. I do own Black Knight Sword of Rage Pro and I play it nearly daily. But I almost had purchased Alice Cooper's Nightmare Castle because I am a huge Alice Cooper fan. Well, playing the Spooky pinball machine made me so relieved that I opted for Black Knight. Spooky had dissappointed me with thier Rob Zombie pin. Alice, tragically, isn't much better. At the end of the day there is no one that compares to or competes with Stern.
Out of all the newer pins I played a few that surprised me with how much I enjoyed them was the Primus pin by Stern and the Thunderbirds pin by Homepin. I also really enjoyed Houdini by American. Sterns new Elvira was impressive although it felt too similar in playfield layout and flow to Black Knight. Jurassic Park, Batman '66 and Munsters were all great but I had played all those already. New Star Wars pin was pretty killer as well. Big Lebowski was good but the playfield looked a bit ugly with the lower level looking more like a giant hole in the wood and the lcd screen super pixelated. I'm not sure if that's what Dutch was going for or not.
A special shout out and kudos to Homepin for making their first machine such a solid experience that almost brought tears to my eyes.
I will definately be going back to Pinball Madness regularly. Again, don't know why I have been missing them but no more will I.