As long as I can remember, I was always fascinated by pinball machines. I wanted to like them, so I'd drop a few quarters into a machine whenever I saw one, but it just never really clicked for me. I wasn't quite sure what I was doing, and never had anyone to show me the ropes, so I'd just flip the ball back up whenever it came down and hoped something interesting would happen... and then moved on to whatever video games caught my eye at the arcade.
Growing up, the only "pinball" experience that really kept my attention was the Sonic Spinball video game for the Sega Genesis. I remember having a lot of fun playing that, and I guess it was kind of pinball, but that's about it. About a year ago, I played the demo for Yoku's Island Express on the Nintendo Switch, and liked it so much that I ended up picking up & playing through the full version. That game is also pinball-like, in that it mixes pinball physics with platforming mechanics in a charming adventure game. Then, in September, I found myself at the Providence, RI airport with my 7-year-old son and some time to kill. After grabbing a bite to eat, we hit the arcade game room at the terminal. I played all of the pins there... Star Wars, Aerosmith... but as soon as I played The Munsters for the first time, something immediately clicked with me. I felt like I actually knew what I was supposed to do, and goals I was prompted to hit were actually achievable. I'm sure the LCD screen helped, big time. My son was totally enamored by it too, so much so that he kept asking me to watch old YouTube clips of The Munsters classic TV show at the hotel all weekend.
For weeks afterwards, he kept asking me about it, wanting to play it again and wondering if people could buy pinball machines to play at home. After collecting console games for over 15 years, I had started building a modest home arcade last year. First came Centipede, followed Donkey Kong Junior, then a handful of others, and it seemed like a natural thing to add a pin to round things out. I knew The Munsters had a mixed reputation, but it was fun to me and my son, and the first pinball game that truly clicked with me after playing them off-and-on for 30+ years. After that, other pinball machines in general starting making a lot more sense to me -- the mechanics, the objectives, the little tricks here & there -- but I couldn't stop thinking about The Munsters, so I made the decision to add one to the home game room.
The machine I played at the airport was a Pro model, and I later learned that there were also Premium and Limited Edition models featuring lower playfields. I was intrigued by this, so my son and I ventured down to GKG Amusements at the Valley Mall about 90 minutes from home to try out a Premium model. I didn't love the feel of the lower playfield, as it reminded me of cheap plastic tabletop pinball toys of my childhood, and figured the novelty definitely wasn't worth the additional cost for the Premium model, so I settled on picking up a Pro.
After speaking with numerous dealers around the country, I found a great deal close to home (if you're reading this -- thanks!), and took possession of my machine just before Halloween last year (perfect timing!). It was an instant hit at home, and between me and my 3 oldest kids (ages 7, 5, and 3 -- the baby can't play yet), we've put hundreds and hundreds of games onto the machine already and look forward to many more. I know it's not perfect, but to me, The Munsters is very enjoyable, approachable, and hasn't gotten old yet.
But I also know it won't be the last pin in my home arcade. I'm a big Star Trek fan, especially The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, and I'm thinking a nice Star Trek: The Next Generation pin would make a terrific centerpiece for my game room. So, please let me know if you have one for sale!
Quick update: my fledgling pinball collection has now doubled in size to two machines! I just added a photo to this post showing my new-to-me STTNG at home next to The Munsters. This could get addicting...