I Got My Start In Pinball

I Got My Start In Pinball

By Darren_Sisco

February 03, 2017

1 year ago

My dad bought me my first pinball machine in 1987.  It was Jet Spin from 1977.  He had bought it from a collector for $100 dollars.  He then got the bulbs replaced and switches cleaned for another $100 and I had a fully working machine to play with at 12 years old.  I learned about electricity from this machine, because it shocked me often while I poked around inside.  Eventually I got bored with it and was interested in things that interest a 17 year old, so I sold it for $200 dollars.

My dad passed away from cancer in 2004 and it was hard on me.  Fast-forward to 2016 and my mother passed away also from cancer.  I inherited the home I once lived in as a teenager.  After finally settling in I took up residence in my basement hobby room where my pinball used to be.  It started to nag me that I couldn't remember its name and I was ashamed for selling something like that, that my father cared that I had.  I can remember the look on his face when I sold it and I know that face now as an adult.  I did a lot of research looking at pinball machines starting in 1960, then I started seeing familiar designs in the late 70s and eventually I put the name with the machine, it was a 1977 Jet Spin. 

I did a quick search on the internet for ones that were for sale.  I couldn't believe it, but I found my exact machine for sale 50 miles away.  I knew it was mine from a scratch on the head that I put there (and my dad got mad about it then).  I offered immediately to purchase it, but the guy backed out.  I was mortified that I found my pinball but lost it again.  I offered more money and he still refused.  Thankfully a few weeks later he came around and accepted my offer to purchase it at his original list price.  I couldn't pick it up fast enough. 

I got it home and it is for sure mine from back in 1992.  It had seen many plays since I had it.  Even though it had been 'shopped', I could tell that it needs more love than usual.  I noticed all the inserts are bowled in and the paint is just beginning to bear witness of this.  It also has some sticking/ dirty contacts and some of the functions don't work.  I will honor my father by restoring this machine and updating it with warm LED so that my children (7 and 9) can enjoy it as I once did.

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1 year ago
That's a great story, Jet Spin is a fun game. I remember it from when I was a kid in the 70's. I will play it if I see it in an arcade/show. Passing the pinball torch to your children is a great way to honor your folks. Makes your Dad proud I am sure. Take care.
1 year ago
That's amazing to have found your old game and to get it back
1 year ago
Thank you for the wonderful story. We had just purchased our 1st and 2nd machine in a span of 2 weeks, and both my 18 month old and 3 year old love playing them. After I pick them up for daycare, my little girl asks, "Daddy, can we go play pinball?" and I've never told her "no" once. I hope my kids learn to appreciate the hobby as much as I've grown to love and embrace it.
1 year ago
Very cool story! I've always liked the art on that machine.
1 year ago
That is just a lovely story reinforced by memories of your Dad & the values & integrity which are now part of you. Quite incredible to locate your actual machine & sustain the memory.
1 year ago
Great Story.
12 months ago
Jet Spin is the first pinball machine I remember loving as a kid and I also own one today.

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