I am lucky to have been a child of the early eighties. Video games and arcades everywhere. Pac-Man was as big as Michael Jackson. Some of my fondest early memories were running around the very large, multi-roomed Chuck-E-Cheese that my parents would take my sister and me to. This was back when Chuck-E-Cheese had those terrifying large pneumatic animatronic animals playing music. Of course, The King (a giant lion dressed as Elvis) was the greatest.
I was always more attracted to arcade machines as a kid. I never caught on to the fact that pinball had rules and sometimes an actual story. Actually, I never gave pinball much thought. It cost more than the video games and I always found it annoying that a large part of the local mall arcade floor space was wasted on Pinball. I remember distinctly the first time a pinball machine caught my eye. It was a factory fresh High Speed at a mall arcade near my cousin's house in Kentucky. I remember watching my cousin push the start button and seeing the flashers light up the exhaust on the Lamborghini on the backglass. Absolutely stunning! I put my quarters in next and was quickly out $0.50. Back to video games.
I've still always loved pinball and I played plenty of it on my laptop computer in the hotel during long out-of-town work trips with Microsoft's Pinball Arcade that came out in 1998. Actually, Farsight's Pinball Arcade is what prompted me to start looking for my first home pinball machine. I downloaded Pinball Arcade on my PS3 and played through the trials on every single table available. Black Knight 2000 really got my heart pumping. The lights, the music, and that Black Knight jerk taunting me at every flip. It was fantastic. I googled the machine and found one on eBay. I bugged my wife relentlessly until she finally gave me the green light to start bidding. I had no idea that there were other ways to acquire pinball machines. I got my machine and drive an 18-hour round trip to pick it up. That was it. I'm hooked.
My most recent project is an F-14 Tomcat restoration. It's my second machine and I'm enjoying the work of breathing new life into what was a near-dead parts machine. It just so happens that the rules are very similar to that High Speed that caught my eye so many years ago.