I'll skip the 'early years' of pinball love and shoot the the fun ones. I met my (to be) wife playing sports a few years after college. As we started dating and got to know each other, we shared more and more stories. One of those stories involved ealry college. Freshman year - I was roommates with a friend from high school. We were on the geeky side of the coin, and very proud of it (he is a professional toy designer these days). Among important debates that take place in college like 'I only have enough time to get something to eat, or to take a nap but not both - what should I choose?' and 'when does <insert sport here> game start?'. Im sure you understand - important decisions in life. One such topic was our love of arcades and games. So...what to do between classes for an hour at 9:00AM on Monday and Wednesday? Heaven forbid we study or do homework.
Well, it turns out that in the student center, among video games (curse you bubble shooter 2!!!), there was a pinball game!!! Specifically - Cyclone, by Williams. What joy! Still one of my favorites...and probably one of the best multiballless games ever. My roommate and I had an 8:00AM physics class, an hour break then spplit for the rest of the day. Just enough time for a game or two (that would not interfere with a nap or meal time). "HAY YOU, WITH THE FACE!!!!!" (best attract phrase EVER). The only problem was that on Mondays and Wednesdays, there were these two girls on our machine! The nerve. Eventually, it became a race to be the first there. Otherwise, we were relagated to shooting bubbles, or a 1v1 game of Joust.
Fast forward a few years. Out on a date (with said to be wife) a few years after school, my date and I ran into a Cyclone game and both simply had to play. From there, we each had basically the same story from the same college - we wanted to play but these other two obnoxious people beat us to it. We put two and two together (being college educated and all) and realized that we corssed paths many times years ago!
Eventually, we got engaged. Keep in mind, this is the late 90's. We went out and bought one of those giant Coke Bottle banks. Each day, when we got home, we would empty all of our pocket change into the bank. When we had enough, we would go find a pinball machine and buy it! Our very own. I know - very forward thinking in 1998. So...along comes the wedding. Some of our friends discovered out pocket change Coke Bottle bank habit. I will forever love my friends for this - as a wedding gift, a whole bunch of them got together and emptied their respective 'Coke Bottle Banks' into a giant bin. When we got back from our honeymoon, we discovered the gift. We opened a bottle of wine, put in a movie, and started rolling what seemed like a hundred pounds of pocket change. We finally had enough for something that seemed both totally necessary and completely frivilous at the same time.
We still have that machine (along with both Simpsons, a Star Wars, and Godzilla on order). I'll wrap up, but have to mention - it keeps getting better. My grade school daughter and I opened up the old Cyclone machine. She got to replace all the old lamps with LEDs. I will never complain about her getting her hands dirty. We dont necessarily play every day, but a week doesnt go by without a game. Thank you, pinball!