Started playing pinball when I delivered papers as a boy... With 2 pinball-housing-deli's on my way home, you could be certain the quarter cylinder on my belt-change-holder-thing would be a little lighter each week!
I STILL vividly recall my Dad renting out an arcade for my 10th birthday party (owner was a golf buddly).... It was probably only a few hours, but I was in heaven.... probably 50 pins in the smoky old joint....
Fast forward MANY years (school, work, marriage, etc) and we moved to NC. In my travels, I found a guy who ran a amusement route. He had just decided he wanted OUT of pinball (too much trouble) and wanted to liquidate his pins to buy video poker machines (all the rage at the time). This was about 1998.
I susequently bought about 20 machines from him, the most expensive being a SUPER clean TZ for about $1000.... all the rest (IJ, ST:NG, FH, RS, PB, BR, etc) went for about $750-800.
I was in heaven. My garage was packed with games. I learned that with a little elbow grease, I could also turn these $900 investments into about double! So I bought amother 10-15 machines from the guy and started shopping them and flipping them on ebay.
About that time, we were surprised with the birth of our 2nd daughter (well- not COMPLETELY- but you know what I mean). It was time to move to a bigger house. My wife also wanted to be able to stay home with our new daughter for a more than the standard 8 weeks.
So, among other things, I decided to liquidate my pins. I thought I was a genius... I was selling TZ's for nearly $3000! *facepalm* Anyways, I sold every machine I had.... and was "OK" with it at the time... I mean- heck- I could always just buy them back, right?
Years later, I regretted selling it all off and just recently decided I wanted to start buildign back up a small collection. And here I am....wishing I didnt vividly recall everyone of those games I sold back then....
However, I recently bought (back) my first pin, one of my previously owned favorites, NGG. Now I've got another generation learning to love pinball. My 12yr old daughter played with me for like 3 hours the other night.... I didnt tell her the story of that pinball machine- that Id sold it once before to "fund" her as a baby... :-)