I was actually much more into computer games than pinball. This is not surprising, considering that I was always interested in everything digital. At the age of 8, I was already writing some computer code for the Commodore 64. Today, I am an ethical hacker, so I am still very interested in everything digital.
When I was 14 years old (in 1992), I skipped a few classes at school to hang out at an arcade called "Magical City" in Sneek, a city in the north of the Netherlands. As teenagers, we had fake IDs because the arcade was only open to people 16 and older (this was later changed to 18).
At first, we played a lot of arcade games like "Mortal Kombat". One guilder was enough for us to beat the game. We would also see these pinball machines, but I was never really interested in them. What could be fun about playing a game where you know you will lose no matter what you do with the ball? I was so wrong.
A friend of mine convinced me to give pinball a try. One of the major advantages of pinball is that you can actually win a free game! When you are a teenager, you don't have a lot of money, so 2 (or even more!) games for the price of one is a no-brainer. After playing a few games, I actually started to like it and I became better as well. It did not take long before I was able to have multiple games with a single guilder. It is -to a certain extend- something that I miss today. When you have your own pinball machines a bad game has no real impact. You just start a new one. I can recall the stress when the first 2 balls would drain quickly on my last guilder. Only 1 ball left to get to the 200 million that is needed. Taking your time, thinking about every shot. Slowly building your score, oh no! last ball drain! YES YES YES. bonus is just enough to get that free game.
Some notable games in a random order that I played when I was a teenager:
- Lethal Weapon, just a great simple game -> what Leo wants, Leo gets!
- Streetfighter 2 -> hated by many people, loved by me. It is relatively easy to get a special on this machine, so we could really play for a long time :-)
- Whirlwind -> I really like the fan on top of the machine when playing in summer
- White Water -> Getting multiball while having 5 times the playfield was one of the goals
- Taxi -> Jo taxi! Do I need to say more?
- Dr. Who -> I just love the sounds, I still don't get all these advantages that you can get from selecting a certain doctor when starting the ball...
- DE Jurassic Park -> sure, we now have a lot of Jurassic Park games, this was the first one that started it all and who does not like the smart missile button?
- Dracula -> I only found out a couple of years ago that the space in between the flippers is actually wider than usual.
- Apollo 13 -> yeah, I know 13 balls is way too much and not possible to keep in the game, don't care -> just love it
Obviously I played way more titles, but these definitely pop up when thinking about that era. When I grew older all the arcades started to close down and it became hard to even find a pinball machine. And if you would find one, you would be really lucky if it was properly maintained. The pinball hobby slowly disappeared to the background. I would still play any time I would see a machine, but it had less focus.
Forward some years and I got the opportunity to own a Roller Games. 1+1 still equals 2, so no need to tell the outcome. I obviously loved the game, so you could find me very often behind my first pinball. When I decided to live in New Zealand for a while (planned 1 year, turned out to be 8 years in total...) I also wanted to experience some pinball pleasure in NZ, so I obtained a DE Jurassic Park that had some nasty sound problem. That machine is still in my collection, needless to say -> the sound works now. I did not have my own mancave at that point in time, so when I went back to The Netherlands, I got rid of my Rollergames and I played on my Jurassic Park.
When I moved houses I finally was able to confiscate a room for my man cave. Finally I got some space (i.e. the wife does not seem to want pinball machines all over the place in our house for some unknown reason...), so I started extending my collection. I currently own 7 pinball machines in total, which seems to be a lot if you are a non pinball person. For the typical Pinside forum user, I guess that I am still a beginner. I got some very rare machines, some of them you potentially never heard about before. I've got a Sleic IO Moon (a Spanish DMD title that not a lot of people have ever played on), a Gottlieb Super Mario Mushroom World (this is the small yellow machine, not the more common blue one) and an Alvin G. Mystery Castle (highly underrated machine with a haunted castle theme) to name some of my machines. People consider me to be the "rare games" collector. This was not my original plan, but I do tend to have a weak spot for machines that are very hard to find. My main reasoning is that you can play the more common titles at any pinball event, while the rare machines are kind of impossible to find.
I have 2 children, 1 girl from 10 years old and 1 boy who is going to be 6 years old very soon. They do like pinball as well, so you can find them playing a game quite often. Apart from playing pinball, I do like to hike, I like to hack into anything digital and I work in a foodtruck a couple of times a year on one of the larger music festivals in The Netherlands.