One Game Started it All...

By Nemesis041

June 04, 2013

This story got featured on June 05, 2013

8 years ago

Back in September 2009, my grandmother had passed away from lung cancer. It was a hard loss, but it had some beneficial results for me. Because he no longer needed to tend to my grandmother, my grandfather decided to take me and my younger brother out to a Red Robin in Redmond Town Center. When I decided to look in the small arcade they had (and all locations usually have) my window into the world of pinball presented itself to me.

In the arcade was a Junk Yard. This was way before I knew a lot about pinball, so I only thought of it as another game. It seemed to lure me in, with its fairly simple ruleset, and addictive gameplay. I would play three games (plus any replays I earned), eat lunch, and play five more games (plus replays). If I remember correctly, the game seemed to be very well-maintained. The only problem that really came up was the fridge kickout may not kick a ball out for some reason. Maybe the optos goofed sometimes...

We kept returning to the restaurant at least once a week. I could collect all 10 pieces of junk at least once every visit and have my initials put in for this. Having my initials on Spike's collar at the start of each video mode was a good enough achievement for me. Even though I could earn replays, I never achieved any high scores.

About May 2010, when we went back again, the game was no longer there. I'd grown so attached to the game, it seems like I lost another family member. We still went there, however, just with fewer quarters. I had asked my grandfather to see if we can look in other locations for other pinball machines, and even find Junk Yard again if we got lucky. He agreed and on his own, over the months, started looking. The search for pinball was on.

In June 2011, my brother told me Junk Yard was at a restaurant called Blake's Pizzeria and Ice Cream (currently on the Pinside map). I immediately asked my grandfather if we could go there sometime, and he agreed. When we arrived, there it was. This machine was also in great shape, better than the other one. As soon as I put coins in the game and pushed "Start", I felt like it never left in the first place. What was also nice is that Junk Yard was right next to a Spider-Man machine, so I could switch to that one if I wanted to (which I rarely did). Spider-Man was later replaced by a Tron LE. I was able to achieve high scores and other titles on all three of these games at the time. That was when my skills for pinball began to emerge.

In August 2012, Junk Yard was removed from Blake's, replaced by an NBA Fastbreak. I thought wasn't a really good game to me, it seemed to house ball me a lot, so I never really enjoyed it. About a week later, Tron was replaced by Spider-Man. Since I never really enjoyed NBAF, I mostly played Spider-Man.

In November 2012, we got in touch with the operator that maintains the pinballs at Blake's. We asked him if he was selling his Junk Yard. Lightning normally wouldn't strike thrice, so we probably can't find JY on location once again. He said he was selling it, but he needed to restore it in working order first. We agreed and waited.

In the meantime, in the same month, NBAF was replaced the The Simpsons Pinball Party. I had played it once before, and I was glad I can play it again. However, Spider-Man began to wear down on me a little bit at this point. Mainly because there was another game I can enjoy.

It seemed like an endless wait, but in December 2012, the operator invited us over to look at the game, and see if it's in good working order for us to buy. When we got there, the game was turned on, on a pinball moving dolly, and on free play. When I pushed "Start", I got the same rush I got at Blake's. After a few games, and a lookover on how to maintain it (lifting the playfield, tests, removing the glass, etc.), we were ready to make the purchase. The following evening, he brought the game to our place, and got it set up. The cash exchanged hands while my brother and I were playing Junk Yard for the rest of the night.

In Feburary 2013, we recieved a text from the operator about TSPP has been replaced with Terminator 3. He had also sold TSPP (he actually had two of them). I wasn't pleased with it, but T3 wasn't a game I played before, and I thought I would enjoy it. At this point, Spider-Man was still there, and I was barely playing it. T3 was something new there now, and we also own Junk Yard, so Spider-Man was being left in the dust.

In April 2013, Spider-Man was finally removed and replaced with No Good Gofers. This game I never played before as well, but I heard really good things about it, and I really enjoyed it. Now, T3 is starting to be left in the dust.

These are the machines currently at Blake's as I type this, so I ponder what will come and replace T3. I'll probably find out soon enough.

To sum up, Junk Yard was the game that really got me into thinking about pinball as something more than just an arcade game. It was, for me, a passion. A passion that will never fade. And Junk Yard is a game that will never leave my hands. And hpoefully, I can add more games to my collection, hopefully being TSPP and NGG. Pinball, I feel, is the best entertainment there is...

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8 years ago

For what it's worth, I now own that TSPP and will likely be operating it in Seattle at Full Tilt Ice Cream in Ballard. I also sold Jon (the operator) that Junk Yard that you enjoyed so much. Glad you liked it! It's a small world! :)

8 years ago

Well, thanks, Bobby! It's good to see your on the Pinside! Hope to see TSPP at Full Tilt, I really want to play a working one again! :)

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