I think like most people on Pinside, I played a lot of games as a kid. I grew up with Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Galaga, Black Knight and Eight Ball Deluxe. When I was young, there was an arcade right next to my mom and dad’s shop. I spent a lot of their hard-earned money in that place. Fast forward a couple decades, and my wife brought home a Missile Command and a Centipede that needed some love for my birthday. That was the beginning of the beginning.
I started tinkering around with them and learned how to work on the games. I bought a defender, rebuilt it and made it look pretty. Soon after, I refurbished my first Donkey Kong and it looked like a Smurf blew up in my garage. The first pin I refurbished was a Comet. It was a mess and probably should have gone to the dump but I made it beautiful. I have a great picture of my 90-year-old dad playing that game. That was so much fun, that I bought a Tales From the Crypt pin that was in horrid shape. I took it down to nothing, repainted and hand created the art on it. Soon people started wanting me to redo games for them, which I loved. I have redone games with rats in them, chunks missing, bad cabinets and have saved them from the dump and have put them in homes that play them every day.
Ten years, and a lot of games later I have blown a lot of boards, necked a lot of tubes and made a lot of mistakes. I have gone from repainting Donkey Kong in my garage, to a full-service shop rebuilding games and making pinball mods. Compared to many others I am a noob at this, but I love it. I'm a super nerd with a background in electronics, computers and have found that I am pretty darn good at the work on the outside of the game as well. About a week ago I decided to go all in, and I put up a Kickstarter campaign to try and expand my shop, 59 days to go on that little adventure.
What is going on right now with pinball and arcade games is amazing, and anything that I can do to keep that alive I want to do. Both my parents are gone now. I lost my mom about 4 years ago and my dad this year to COVID. Had it not been for their entrepreneurial spirit and that arcade shop next door I wouldn’t be doing this right now. I guess I should also thank my wife for buying me those two ratty games. I love doing this, I wish I would have started a long time ago. Now it is time to teach my son.