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.