Growing up in Burnsville Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, there were not many places for me to play pins. My grandparents lived in a small town about an hour south of LaCrosse called Soldiers Grove. There was a pool hall downtown. That is where I started playing pinball. On old mechanical pins.
In high school, I started playing pins at the Burnsvillle Bowl and the arcade at Burnsville Center. When a buddy of mine started working at the arcade, I went there all the time. My favorite pins were Space Invaders, Genie, Gorgar and Centaur. When my buddy would get off work, we would stay after hours and play late into the night. The most memorable for me was Space Invaders. it is a double wide so we would each play a flipper. I'm not sure why but I alwasy played left, he played right.
I went to college at Saint Cloud State. They had an 8-Ball Deluxe in one of the dorms. There was a Black Knight at a grocery store across the river. I played both those games often.
I got the itch to buy a machine about 15 years ago. I saw an ad in the Star Tribune for some games. It was winter and the snow was coming down. I didn't care. I jumped in my truck and headed for Saint Cloud from my house in Burnsville. They guy I met there had an awesome game room in his basement. I picked up a Black Knight and a Centaur from his collection. The playfield on the Centaur was really worn. The Black Knight was in better shape. Both played well so I loaded them up in my truck and headed home. Odd that I don't remember making two trips but I owned a Toyota Tacomma at the time and there is no way both of them fit in the truck so it must have taken two trips.
My next pin was a Space Invaders. I picked it up from a guy named John who lived in a small town called Luverne, near the South Dakota boarder, off 90 in Minnesota. He was a well know pin guy at the time. Maybe he still is. He had lot's of games but I was focused on Space Invaders. I wanted the machine shopped and 100% so I made down payment and came back weeks later to pick it up. He had lot's of spare parts. Seems to me I also bought a used playfield from him for Paragon as something to hang on the wall in my future game room.
A few months later, I became obsessed with some Capcom pins. Break Shot and Big Bang Bar. My game room was going to have a pool table so somewhere along the way I found someone that wanted my Paragon playfield, which I traded for a NOS Breakshot playfield. I also found a NOS backglass plastic for Big Bang Bar.
I sold the pins when I got married. Wife hated the pins, we needed space and we needed the money. The game room has yet to be finished and the playfield and backglass plastic remain tucked away in storage.
So yesterday I'm surfing the web and stumble onto a bluetooth gizmo that adds flipper control to an iPad. I start surfing and find Pinnesota followed by Pinside. So here I am telling my story. It's not much but it is what it is. Found a Breakshot on CL not far from work. Maybe I can start my pin collection again now that the kids are 6 and 9? Here's hoping.