As long as I can remember I have loved pinball. When I was a kid I had one of those plastic pinball "machines" that you'd plug in and had the dial score wheel, rubber bands for slingshots, mechanical flippers, etc. Later, I got a Wildfire electronic handheld pinball machine that I still have in storage somewhere.
My big exposure to pinball was in college. My freshman and sophomore year I spent a lot of money on pinball. Walking home from class I would walk through many of the dorms which had at least one Williams table. Whirlwind, High Speed, Jokerz, Pinbot, Fire!, were all available.
My junior year I moved into a house with 3 other guys. One roommate was the youngest son in his family. They had a Captain Fantastic and Silverball Mania in their basement at home. His Dad asked if we wanted to take them back to school with us to get them out of his basement. We took one of my roommates trucks and drove the 6 hours round trip and brought them back. They both worked, but needed work. The Silverball Mania playfield was worn down to the wood in the middle. The plunger had no rubber, many lights were out, but we still enjoyed playing it. We would take the ball out of the Captain fantastic so we could have multiball.
That one roommate was the only other one in the house that got into pinball. We would go to the bars and without fail we would end up at the pinball machines. We were both decent, and many a night would leave credits on the machine when we left to go to the next bar.
That year I started working at a bar/pizza place that had a Funhouse in the bar. I spent many nights after we'd closed drinking beer and playing Funhouse with the manager. It was the one game I really wanted when I got older.
Fast forward to 2011. I finished the basement in our house, and my wife surprised me by suggesting that I buy a pinball machine for the basement, since she knew I'd always enjoyed pinball. A little over 6 months later and I have 3 pins, one of them a Funhouse, and have sold 2 already. My goal is to restore the current three that I have, and then see what I want next. :)