As a life-long KISS fan and 'kollector', the Holy Grail had always been a KISS pinball machine. I knew that at some point in my life I would own one and would occasionally search eBay to see how much they were. Usually they were located very far away or way too expensive. A year ago today, I happened to stumbled across a beautiful KISS pinball online and just my luck –it was located less than 2 hours from my house and the price was in my budget! The stars finally seemed to align and I knew I must try to win the auction. Long story short, I was the high bidder and messaged the seller that I’d drive up the next day to pay and pick it up. I made the drive up north out of Minneapolis to a remote area of the State, near the small town of Moose Lake. I was happy to discover that the machine was even more beautiful in person and in amazing condition. Four hours later, I’m back in my house with the machine set up. It was glorious. I couldn't believe I actually owned my very own KISS pinball machine.
And so my pinball obsession began…. I soon discovered there were all kinds of machines listed on the Minneapolis Craig’s List. I started checking the site every few hours to see what new machine would pop up. A couple months after bringing the KISS home, I came across a Space Invaders. It was located about 15 minutes from my house, so I called the seller and said I’d come over to check it out. I walked into a small commercial building that I later learned was the video production business of the guy I was about to buy it from. My jaw hit the ground when I walked in and saw not only the Space Invaders, but about 30 more pinball machines. It turns out the guy collects and sells them on the side. Now I had two machines in my house and thought it was the coolest thing. It was like having my own arcade. Friends that came over thought it was so cool to play. Most of them hadn't played a game in 20+ years.
And the obsession continued… If two games were great, then three must be better? I love football, so I searched to see if there were any football themed machines. Sure enough, I discovered the Data East Monday Night Football. The videos online looked really cool and I can remember the old pinball promo video that would play each week as the show’s intro on TV. I knew I must have it. I finally found one on eBay, but it was located in Pennsylvania. Not to be deterred, I spent the next couple months gathering unwanted stuff from my house and selling it on eBay. I was going to justify the price + the $300 shipping by paying for it with my eBay profits. I bought the machine and a few days later a little white delivery truck showed up to my house. Two nice guys unloaded and carried it in. I fired it up and the full LED conversion looked like Times Square. It was beautiful.
Now that I had three games, I was happy. But wait… someone is selling a Terminator 2 on Craig’s List? And they live 10 minutes from me? You can guess how this story goes from here. Now my house is really starting to look like an arcade. It’s beautiful. I must stop. This is becoming an expensive addiction…
A couple weeks ago I was watching Back to the Future with my son for the first time. He’s 10 and I was the same age when my parents took me to see it in the theater. I always loved that movie. My son asked me afterwards, “Did they ever make a Back to the Future pinball machine?” Good question. I didn't know myself, so I looked it up here on Pinside and there it was. Wow –cool looking machine. Wait a second… According to the Pinside Marketplace, there’s one for sale and it’s located 10 minutes from me. So last weekend I went to check it out. I was amazed to find it in near mint condition and totally shopped out by the previous owner. Again, I met a really nice guy and he helped me get it home and set up.
So that makes five pinball machines in the first year of my new love and obsession. I still can’t believe it when I look at them all lit up. I love having friends over to play and see the sparkle in their eyes as they re-live their childhood. In addition to the home collection, I’ve discovered some great spots in Minneapolis to play. There’s Blainebrook bowl with their 40+ machines. That place is heaven. And then there is the world famous S.S. Billiards with L.T.G.!
I’m so glad to have discovered this new hobby and passion. And I've met some of the nicest people the past year in my dealings.