My first pinball experience was - well, with a software pinball simulation named "David's Midnight Magic" in the year 1985. My father showed it to me on our home game computer "C64" and he teached me how to play that game. It was developed in 1982 and is an emulation of the real Williams pinball machine "Black Knight". I liked it very much but until around 2015 i had no idea that there was a real model where "David's Midnight Magic" came from. Until today i've never played the original real "Black Knight" from 1980.
Then from 1987 on my father took me to the arcade "Top Ten" (adress: Prater 110B, 1020 Wien) in the funfair "Wiener Prater". We visited it on many sundays, sometimes i also played pinball in the arcades "Flipperzentrale" and "Fortuna". The first machines i got familiar with were "Fire!", "Bad Cats", "Cyclone", "Space Station", "Swords of Fury" and "Black Knight 2000".
From these 3 arcades only the "Top Ten" survived until today (at least one room of its former 2 rooms). One employee there still remembers me (since 1987) if i get there.
I always admired the very high level skilled players in the arcades and finally (not until 2016!) i got a lot of very valuable hints from one of them how to improve my playing technique. Soon i developed my preference for pinball machines with ramps on the playfield what i never changed until today.
And it's a good feeling that new pinball machines are still developed until today.