The one that almost got away

By NetherFredo

August 05, 2021

42 days ago

I have always loved pinball since I was young. Bring a child of the early 80s much of my youth was spent in arcades. There were exciting new arcade games Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter and that is what most of my friends pumped countless quarters into. I would of course join them, but wasn't into the games and I would inevitably drift towards the back of the arcade where most young teens wouldn't want to be seen, for there lie the pinball machines. 

I hadn't considered owning a pinball machine until we moved to a lake home and between the big windows facing the lakeside was this gap. It wasn't big enough for a comfy chair, modern televisions and their tremendous girth's would encroach on the windows. Then, one day it struck me, a Fish Tales machine would be perfect for that spot so I spent months checking Craigslist daily for one. I struck out and was too late for a handful of machines. I would set up times to see a machine only to have it pulled out from under me by someone offering full asking price sight unseen. I checked out a machine that was priced near the top of the market and it had chunks missing from the cabinet and the owner wasn't budging on price. Dejected on the way home I stopped by a Stern dealer to see what they had. I almost pulled the trigger that day and bought a Jurassic Park Pro, it wasn't much more than a 30 year old Fish Tales after all and the wife liked the idea of new over used anyhow. I decided to more seriously consider buying a NIB table.

I went to another dealer that was also a few hours away because I wanted to check out a Stranger Things and their website said they had one on display, I showed up and they didn't, oh well, I'll play what they have. I played the usual 2020 Stern offerings, once again convinced JP was the best. I was excited to try Led Zeppelin, having always been a fan(first tape I owned). It was terrible. At the end of the row there were machines that had a little different shape. What were these? The Wizard of Oz had a sold sign on it but next to that was a Guns n Roses. I played it and got into a multiball quickly, the music was loud, the light show was like nothing I even imagined a pinball machine could have. Balls were raining down faster than anything I had ever seen, I was in Love. After that game I had to catch my breath. It was so fun. I had to look deep inside, was a music pin right for me? Was it just the multiballs and lights or was it actually that fun? Did I really care if Guns N Roses made it to the stage and played a song?  I decided it was the machine for me and the wife would just need to be ok with me spending $1800 more than I thought I would spend on a Stern Pro which was already $2500 more than I thought I would need to spend to get a Fish Tales. I told the dealer pack it up and broke out a wad of cash that even made a pinball dealer blush and we loaded it up and I took it home. 

To be continued. . . A fish may bite after all 

Story photos

No photos are attached to this story.


28 days ago

Cool story, and a cautionary tale for anyone thinking they will get just one inexpensive machine.

28 days ago

Thats right, these little boogers run in packs. Im sure the Fish Tales will be shortly behind.

28 days ago

I am extremely fortunate to own both a Fish Tales and GNR! I hope you eventually find Fish Tales too, it's such a great classic. White Water is my favorite from that era, so that may interest you as well. Fish Tales has skyrocketed in price recently, which is a little bit nuts. I bought a restored high end quality one for $3650 two years ago, and could probably sell it for double that today! Might as well get a NIB Stern which makes sense why you were comparison shopping those.

But damn you've got a taste for brutal games. If that's intentional, check out AC/DC and Star Wars too!

If you're ever in Ohio, hit me up.

23 days ago

great story, that's how you get addicted.

15 days ago

LZ terrible... wow? Must have been the Pro version.

Anyway, congrat's on the GnR

12 days ago

Sadly some of these classic tables like Fish Takes cost almost as much as a new Stern machine now.

Hobby is very expensive now but like you I'm late to the party.

Add a comment

Wanna make a comment? Click here to sign in or register.