I guess it all started back in the late "Bingo" machine days (Mid '70's). My dad worked as a mechanic just off of the interstate, and on my weekends that I stayed with him, I spent some time at "The Station". At 6 years old, I wasn't much help under a hood, so dad would give me a roll of coins for the bingo machine in the store front. Surprisingly, this kept me busy for a while. When the money ran out, I would ride cardboard boxes down the hill behind the station, but one Saturday, I played so long that my dad came in to check on me. My dad was one of those men who was nearly impossible to please. He asked me how I was doing, and I said "Ok." He then looked at the machine and promptly got the manager to cash it out. If I remember correctly, I had run up around $150 in credits. Dad was so pleased, that he gave me another roll of coins, and bought me something from the store after he got off. If I told this laying on a couch, someone could probably tell me what's wrong with me. :)
Fast forward through the arcade craze where I only played a few games of pinball here and there because of the quarter stealing Berzerks and Dig Dugs at the corner "Pantry". And in the mid '90's, I found an F-14 at a local truck stop. That thing was awesome, and I couldn't wait for lunch to go and drop a few dollars in. The F-14 was replaced with a Twilight Zone, and I was hooked. This went on with different machines until I moved from 3rd shift to 1st shift. At that time, pinball faded to almost black.
Warp speed until 2012, and I find that arcades can actually be affordable. I bought two. They must have gotten wet during the night, because they multiplied to twenty plus quickly. Those pesky things have topped out (I hope) at around forty. One of my buddies from high school was having a yard sale, so I stopped by. His garage door was open, and I saw a Creature From the Black Lagoon hiding behind a bunch of junk. I asked about it, and he said that he was going to "fix it up". I didn't think much about it until he showed interest in a 60in1 arcade that I had. He asked about trading the Creech for it. I told him that the Creech not working was worth much more than the 60in1, but he knew that I was interested. The deal was made, and the hook set deep. My none working CFTBL is now modded out, and he has three buddies to keep him company in the back bedroom. The arcades have made their way out to the garage, and they are slowly being traded off for pins.
Both of my kids love the hobby, and I hope it's a family affair for years to come.