This crazy hobby

By koji

January 07, 2020

51 days ago

Growing up in the 70s - 80s, I feel like I had every opportunity to love pinball, but for whatever reason, I never got into it.

Being a heavy video arcade player, I was certainly exposed to enough, and I recall my uncle and father showing me some pinball, but nobody in our family ever talked about rules, or strategies to keep the ball in play.  All I recall was some random flipping, quick drains, and game over.

With that kind of introduction, I pretty much avoided pinball through my 20s and 30s.

The Player

Looking back through photos, still trying to figure out how exactly it happened.

Fast forward, it's June 14, 2014 and a fellow Scout troop councellor invites us over to play Pinball at Nitro Amusements (A local pinball vendor).
I can't find any photos of this, but I am thinking that perhaps this was cancelled and we ended up at his place.

We play a variety of games, and all have fun.  Getting an inkling of pinball here.

I then realize that two other good friends since high school are collectors as well [mind blown]

We start to play more pinball.  No real direction, but an amazing collections to just mess around with.  Titles such as TCP, FT, IM, STTNG, ToM.  

Between friends, I am invited to some local events at Nitro Amusements and the VRPA where we get to play an amazing variety of pins.

My friend 'Vonclod' really takes the time to explain what being a player is about.  What the shots do, how to nudge the table, how to advance through modes and so forth.  

At some point around here, my kids and I began to play regularly at some of the local events.  Specifically Nito Amusements has always held an open even for everyone to compete and play.  At that time, Nitro was stuffed with an amazing selection of old and new games.  It was such a pleasure to be able to try so many classics that many would otherwise never experience at a casual drop-in such as this.

Fast forward to Feb 23rd, 2016

Another invte to the Scouters place, He has a wonderful collection from Jack's Open to the latest (of the time) Metallica!

Through Metallica, I really begin to appreciate the shots and flow.  Obviously, the effects are amazing.  World continues to open up, this is kind of fun.

Onward, I keep playing.  I'm not a regular to drive to the city for all of the events, but I am a proud member of the VRPA and my kids and I have done well in local events.

The Collector

Nov 13, 2017, my friend sends me photos.  He has found a reasonably priced pinball for me to have as a first (Finally!).  It's a Cheetah, I'm like.. uhm.. yeah, well it's a pinball.  Seems like people say it's a decent player [I would look back and this and say understatement of my life], Spend some time trying to bargain with the seller, who wants what they paid for it. It's a bit rough, 3rd flipper issue, 1 display issue, rubbers are falling off.  I go for it, $750, needs a little repair.

With the help of my friend I get it cleaned up and playing well.  Loveing the game, and as I continue to appreciate pinball art, everything grows on me.

I continue to build up my collection when decent deals become available.  My kids enjoy it, so it's an easy hobby in the sense that I spend good time with them as well.  We are now at 13 machines, and finding more space is definitely the priority :)

The fixer-upper

As I seek reasonably priced machines, this pretty much means there are typically some issues to resolve.  The first basket case for me was 'Williams 64 Soccer'.  It did power up and flip, and didn't seem like it would be too much trouble.  2 months later, I have learned how to quickly work my way through schematics, and have a decent understanding of what to look for, and tracing complex switches and so forth on most EMs :)

Moving forward, I'm never afraid of a project, but definitely understand the work involved.

Thanks for the read, this is my pinball story-


Story photos

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