My start to modern pinball

By Keylime

June 12, 2020


25 days ago

It is a Minnesota winter in 2018. I work a rotating shift in a manufacturing setting and pickup as much overtime as I can. I have a young son (2 years old). Free time is very limited. I have  been a lifelong video gamer but lately had been  feeling disenchanted by the current state of video gaming both console and PC. The pay dlc and lack of imagination, creativity effort and polished had wore me down.

 My crew and I get off work late Friday night (11PM) and the plant is closed for the weekend. It's suggested that since none of us will have work tomorrow that we go down the road to a local bar for a few brews and some well deserved laughs. I oblige and follow them into a quiet dive bar. The usual stuff is there, sports on old tvs, couple beat up pool tables, dart boards and one bubble hockey. Cool, I havent played or even seen bubble hockey in a while. Looks like this could maybe be our regular spot! Then I see the Ecto 1 plastered on the side of a pinball machine.  I stop in my tracks across the bar to examine and appreciate the artwork. Ghostbusters was one of my favorite franchises as a kid all through high school. I even have a few comic books. Really neat! I approach the machine and begin to attempt to soak it all in. The detail blew me away. There's the firehouse! Slimer is there too! He looks like he might fly around. Neat! I want to try! ( I used to play Charlies Angels, a very simple and early solid state at my uncles house when I was a kid. I loved that however we moved away and when i came across pinball again it had progressed to Attack from Mars and Addams Family and while I was partial to Addams family, I never got anywhere and felt overwhelmed by all of the modes and the difficulty of the shots from only really having experience on Charlie's Angels. I never really saw or played pinball since the bowling alley scrapped them all later in the early 2000s) 

So here I am, tired from a long week of work, beer in my hand, coworkers starting a game of pool and even though I am overwhelmed and intimidated by all of the text and lights on the playfield, I start a game of Ghostbusters anyway. Immediately I hear Winston Zeddmore welcoming me aboard to the Ghostbusters team. I'm in disbelief they got one of the original cast to do a voiceover. "How cool!?" I thought to myself.  I plunge the ball and overshoot and come out of the Firehouse and the Ecto-1 siren whines. I hit the ball with the left flipper to the right orbit and the ball shoots all the way around to hit the Ecto-1 spinner a second time. The Ecto-1 siren whines again. Pure audio bliss. Skill shot comes up on the DMD 1,000,000 points! Incredible!  After a few flips the Scoleri brothers pop out of the playfield. "Oh my goodness!" I exclaimed.  "They've incorporated the second movie into this game as well! WOW. I'm really impressed. " I thought to myself.

I get down to my last ball (Ball 3)  and I'm still wondering what Slimer does if anything at this point. All of a sudden the ghost trap on the back wall starts strobing bright lights and Slimer lights up and begins to lower down to the playfield. I hit him off the ricochet right away! YOUVE BEEN SLIMED plasters the DMD. Exhilarating. I was hooked ever since.

I went home and researched the best digital pinball and found Zen pinball on Pinball FX3 for PC. I downloaded the Medieval Madness pack as that was recommended by seemingly everyone. The castle toy was unbelievable! This is a real mechanism in a real game? I couldln't believe it. The trolls were great, the music and callouts were so great at immersing me into the game. Ghostbusters is definitely not a one off I think to myself as I fire up another game. After a few rounds of Medieval Madness I check out High Speed II: The Getaway. Another game that came included in the Medieval Madness pack. I fire up The Geatway and right away I notice that  ZZ Top midi version of La Grange is playing and holy smokes how did they get that for a song!? After a few quick games with quick drains I'm beginning to wonder what's so great about this game. Maybe Ghostbusters and Medieval Madness are just the best out there and by crazy chance just have come across the best. Eventually I hit the supercharger and make 4 million in one shot (one million for every revolution around the magnetic supercharger) WOW and this game is OLD. They were THIS creative with pinball even back then?  I WONDER WHAT ELSE COULD BE OUT THERE!?

In a span of about 3 days I went from knowing virtually nothing about pinball to being hooked completely. Haven't stopped reading, checking marketplaces and playing at least digital if not real every day. I love this game. I've saved up now for a TMNT and cannot wait to own and work on my own pin. Feeling very proud of my progress and the fact that I will soon have my own pin.  Thanks for reading, everyone!

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Comments

13 days ago
Awesome story! And congratulations on getting your first pin!!
12 days ago
I'll have to go check out some Ghostbusters videos now. I've only played it a few times and can't remember some of those details, or maybe I didn't have a good game on it. I really like the emulators, too. Great way to learn how to play a table.
10 days ago
Great story. I’m pretty excited to check out the new Hot Wheels and tmnt.
10 days ago
Great story! I still haven't seen a Ghostbusters machine in the wild; I need to find one once the plague subsides.
8 days ago
Yeah that’s Awsome !! I started finishing my basement when covid hit and was looking for arcade games or whatever for entertainment .Came across the WOZ trailer on YouTube and away we go!! Purchased a Ruby Red in April then just brought home a IM prem last week .Im highly motivated doing side work to buy 2-3 more .Best of luck to you!!
7 days ago
Great story. I also fell in love with pinball back to in the old days when there were pins in every convenience store including the one I worked at while in college. I pumped many quarters into The Addams Family and The Getaway while I was "working" and Getaway has been on my shortlist of pins to own until I recently got one for my small home collection.

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