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Chicken Soup? No... Pinball is really good for the soul!

By NimblePin

March 17, 2011


9 years ago

I first started my pinball love affair in the 80's, at of course- my local arcade! With classic games like Gorgar, Black Knight, Comet, Paragon, Black Hole, Sorcerer, Pin*Bot, Cyclone, Taxi, and Space Shuttle, I was hooked! Later, as those great pins got pulled and swapped for the newer Funhouse, Whirlwind, etc... Pinball was clearly the better choice for spending my hard earned cash.

Then, 1992 hit...

Newer video games started to pour in, coaxing me ever so softly from my beloved incandescent row of old; warm familiar friends, eventually monopolizing what little cash I had left in my wallet. The game that finally severed the bond of the silver ball and pulled me away completely was, *insert drum roll here* "Street Fighter II"! I was so into SFII, that pinball didn't even have time to take a back seat- it was thrown completely out the window. (in the middle of the desert no less...) I do admit, once I got to play T2 and The Addams Family, I really enjoyed what the new DMD display brought to the table. But as soon as I was getting back into pinball, there- across the row...gently whsipering, was a sHiNy NEW version of SFII! (insert Snagglepuss voice) "With "TuRbO" even!!!" With a heavy heart I have to confess, I literally missed the "Golden Age" of pinball... *FACEPALM!!*

Oddly enough, (years later) while on vacation, I came across a Stern "Pirates of the Caribbean" nestled quietly in a dark corner of the hotel's arcade. Admittedly, it was one of the first new machines (due to the SFII-III gap) I encountered in the wild that magically "sailed" me back into the pinball fold. Since then, I have been spending a lot of my time catching up on what I've missed. I even made a pilgrimage to D.C. to visit the "National Pinball Museum"! It was in an actual mall- I was pretty confused... (temporary location, I think?) But they did have some lost proto Capcom games like, Big Bang Bar and Kingpin, which I thoroughly enjoyed. They also had a "Tilt" famed "Revenge from Mars" that was available to play. Twilight Zone was definitely one of my favorites from that trip because of the sheer number of TZ toys they crammed onto that game. "So many activities!!" (Will Ferrell SB). So now I am here waiting patiently for Jersey Jack and Stern to bring forth Pinball's 2nd renaissance. Cash/organs in hand no less!! Come on future..NO WHAMMY!

Story photos

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Comments

9 years ago

welcome back to pinball or back on our side :-)
the news of Jersey Jack is the 'BUZZ' this year - cant wait to see the finished product - HDC

9 years ago

The national pinball museum is hard to find. I had hoofed it from the metro station at Foggy Bottom and my sore feet needed a break(that would be standing at a pinball machine). Thankfully the Italian tailor across the street knew where it was!

9 years ago

Great Story.

9 years ago

Sadly we both have a lot in common on missing the "golden age of pinball". All the great pinball machines around me but my friends and I seemed to be playing Mortal Kombat, Tekken, any sports title, stupid redemption games. AHHHH the wasted time. Like you, I had my hands on a few sweet tables but always seemed to be distracted away quickly. Wizard of Oz should be sweet, great DON'T PRESS YOUR LUCK reference!

9 years ago

Welcome back!

9 years ago

Same here, Nimble. I was into pinball heavy in the 80's and basically missed out on pinball for the next 15 or so years. Great story, BTW.

8 years ago

Great story! I missed it too. But like you, hope for me is eternal! And you are on the boat for sure to that second golden age. Let us bask! =)

8 years ago

I was working at an arcade back when SFII hit. Between that machine & Mortal Kombat, it felt like the arcades would never die. I remember pinball picking up around that time too, but never to the levels that SFII & MK were pulling in the people. I'm glad that you were able to experience the old arcades, even if you missed out on the short lived, original pinball renaissance. To your point, let's look forward to & hold hope for a 2nd!

8 years ago

Great story NP. I too almost missed out on the best years of pinball. Good thing we can still enjoy all those wonderful pins. keep on flippin.

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