For the love of the silver ball

By merccat

October 10, 2016

4 years ago

I have been thinking for some time, trying to pinpoint exactly what it was for me that made Pinball so attractive.  To that end I have been thinking about my earliest exposure to pinball (that I can remember) along with some early childhood interests.

Here is what I can recall from my early childhood.

1. I was always facinated with how things worked.   Not much of one to play with my toys, I took them apart and examined all the little parts at how they worked together.   I can clearly remember disassembling a tape deck and discovering exactly where the sound was being read from  (i want to say I was in or about to go into Kindergarten).

2. My Uncle who was a bit of a junk collector had amongst his "junk" a pinball machine.  I have no memory of what the game was as it was gone long before I was old enough to remember such things.  All i remember was being amazed peering into the coin door and being told to not put my hands in there.

3. While I never really got to go to the arcades as a kid, my dad did on several occasions take me to the local roller rink where they had Pinball games!  This is where I first remember playing pinball and although there were plenty of arcade games around, pinball Is what had my eye.  I can clearly remeber barely being able to see over the glass and watching that ball.  I don't remember what the linup was but the games that caught my eye had ramps and I loved it when the ball would come back along the ramp.

Fast forward to the late 90's (like 1998) and I was discovering MAME, followed soon after by my first purcase of actual arcade games (centepede and dig dug)... the progression continued and a friend at work hooked me up with his family who ran video stores in the area... next thing I knew I had arcade games in video stores across three cities, one of them I had the whole back room which I filled with 20 or so games and oh yeah... a few pinballs too!

So stepping back a few years to just after I got Centepede and Dig Dug.  It didn't take me long to realize that these were actually pretty simple devices.  I craved wires that needed tracing, mechanical mechinisims, lights, phicicality... I craved pinball!  Game one was F-14 Tomcat and it was glorious!  I held onto that game until i had to sell it along with all of my other games to pay for a number of ex related issues.  There was no pinball in my life for 2-3 years after that.

Today, I'm back baby!  Over the last 4 years I have been loving restoring and repairing my way back to a fun sized collection.

My current pin-goals are (beyond continuing to collect and restore)  to do three things:  Reproduce a playfield, program a game (My profession is programming), and to spread the love of pinball in my area.

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