July 29, 2021

60 days ago

Back in 1980 my father had to visit a pinball supplier to get parts for our Lucky Seven Pinball Machine.  He had told me that he saw this very nice machine called Blackout.  I really wanted to see one of these because I was hooked on Williams pinball but none of the arcades near me had one to play.  Finally in 1981 a local Pizza Parlor near me got one.  I loved this game.  The artwork was excellent, the sounds and speech was amazing.  The game play was fast and fun.  The Blackout feature was  fun to achieve.  I did not get to play the game as much as I wanted since it was replaced with another game after a few months.  I never got to play another Blackout again.  When I started to collect pinball and video games in the late 80's I was on the hunt for a Blackout.  It was not until 2004 I finally got one.  The condition was not perfect but better then most.  I instantly loved playing this game again.  After not playing one for 23 years Blackout was still a game that held up for me.  Once I built my long waited game room on 2006 Blackout finally found it's home between my Firepower and Black Knight.  The item I really wanted to upgrade on this Blackout was to get a new backglass.  The one I had, had some flaking and touch up but it still looked good.  In 2014 I went to pick up a game from a friend that was a fellow pinball collector .  In his storage unit he showed me this HUO Blackout he had just purchased.  He said the game would not boot and was not playable because some of the arrow inserts were starting to lift.  Because of this he was thinking about selling it.  Normally I would not believe that a pinball from this era would be a HUO since most of them were routed, but when I saw the overall condition of this Blackout I knew it was a HUO.  The cabinet paint looked new, the playfield had no wear or paint cracking, the Blackglass had zero flaking and looked excellent.  There was no dirt build up anywhere in the common places to be found on this machine.  When my friend picked up this game he was told buy the seller that they were the original owner and that they won the game on the Price Is Right back many years ago.  When I heard this story it made perfect since why this Blackout was a HUO, but I was not a 100% believer that this was true.  I have been told these type of game show stories before when I purchased games in the past but I never was able to get any proof  that it was true.  I really wanted this machine but was concerned that it it never play as good as my current one due to the insert issues.  I did want the game anyway for the Backglass since no reproductions were out at that time.  The bummer part my friend was on the fence about selling this because of it being a HUO.  In the process of waiting to get my hands on this game I ran into a dilemma.  Planetary Pinball had just released a new reproduction Blackout Backglass.  I really wanted this but I would not need it if I was able to get the HUO Blackout machine.  I did decide to purchase the new Backglass since I was not sure if my friend would ever sell the HUO machine at all.  The new backglass was a dead on perfect reproduction.  Now three months later my friend decided to sell the HUO Blackout.  I did purchase it, but took it straight to storage since I was too involved in other pinball projects at the time.  As years passed the Blackout saga was always on my mind because I wanted to keep the HUO but was afraid it would not play as good due to the insert issues.  Now here is where the HUO Blackout story gets amazing.  In 2020 I was watching old The Price is Right episodes on You Tube.  Not to look for the Blackout; just because I love to watch old shows from my childhood.  There was not too many complete episodes to find or that were watchable since the overall quality was bad due to being originally recorded onto a VCR tape.  I did stumble onto a very good recording of one that was from a September 24, 1981 episode.  So I am watching this episode and when it came to the Showcase Showdown I could not believe what I saw.  There was the Blackout Pinball Machine on The Price Is Right.  Now I am getting closer to believing that this is the game.  Now that I had some info to go after I started doing some research and was finally able to put all of the pieces together to confirm that my Blackout did come from The Price Is Right.  Finally in early 2021 I pulled the HUO Blackout out of storage.  After adding a remote battery holder the game fired up and played.  All the boards where clean and untouched.  Zero acid damage as well.  Everything worked perfect other than a few drop target contact boards needed to be cleaned.  Luckily all the Arrow Inserts I was able to remove from the play field with no problems.  With a Heat Gun I was able to get them straight again.  The biggest problem was getting the multiplier inserts near the flippers flat since they were cupping.  I was able to get them a little bit better but not perfect.  After getting the game all shopped out it played better then expected. Since it played just as good as my original Blackout out machine I decided to keep the HUO one.  The only other repairs I did was to replace the decals on the stand up targets since one was missing.  This was a bummer since the original decals were in excellent condition but I replaced them all so they matched.  I did keep the old ones.  I replaced the flipper buttons and the barrel spring on the shooter rod.  The weird part with this game was the legs and the coin door entry face plate was completely rusted and was not salvageable.  I did not understand why this happened since the game was kept indoors and rest of the game was perfect but when I found out the county the game was sitting all of it's life it was now understandable.  Both items I swapped out from old parts games i used to have.  The backglass was the hard decision on what to do.  In the end I decided to box up the HUO glass and keep it as a back up.  I installed the new Backglass on the HUO machine.  I also installed a new playfield glass.  The rest of the game is all original.  One of the cool parts of collecting old games is finding out a full or part history of the journey these games go through.  I do not know the history on most of the games I have come arcoss over the many years but I do have a few like my Lucky Seven, Black Knight, Flash and a few others that have a neat story behind it.  It does not necessarily make the game better than others but it does add more fun to the hunt and to appreciate  how these games survived it's long journey so far.  It's sad that there are a lot of games out there that did not survive from being abused in it's routing days, being passed on from owner to owner, or the worst being thrown outside to let mother nature take care of the game instead.  I am so glad to add this Blackout to my personal collection and its amazing to see a 41 year old game became a time capsule of what these games looked like when they where brand new.  Here is my You Tube video link to see the game in my collection, it's game play, and a video clip of it shown on The Price Is Right.


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33 days ago

Very cool story, sir. Thanks for sharing. It's cool that you found the PiR episode!!

12 days ago

Awesome story! What are the odds of you stumbling onto that Price is Right episode!? So cool!

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