I wanted to tell my story real quick. Long story made short, I owned LW3 in 2003, sold it, moved on and thought pinball was over. VPinMame got me hooked again, and I thought I would leave it at emulators - no need to get a REAL pinball machine. Well, got through school - both college and AF officers school - and I decided it was time to treat myself and get something I wanted from my childhood - a pinball machine! So I start asking around about machines in the Dayton area, and of course, I deal with retailers and dealers first. So I deal with a certain business out in Huber Heights trying to get a Jurassic Park, and wow, WHAT a nightmare.
Guy charges me $2200 for a JP that has NO hex wrench, no game manual, no topper, and once I brought it home - found out there were 3-4 bulbs in the playfield completely missing, no tilt pendulum, dirty playfield, GI lights that don't work, some ball scoop lights that don't work, some TREX lights on the side that don't work, and worst of all - the TREX assembly itself sometimes picks up the ball and sometimes doesn't even try to pick up the ball (and believe me, I know when it SHOULD and when it shouldn't). Unfortunately, I was green to the hobby, and man, did he try to milk it for all it was worth.
So I have some users here help me and come to my rescue, and I could tell Pinside was definitely a safe-haven. Talked with a couple people here, and I realized I needed to get a refund - which thank goodness - I was able to accomplish. So then I go to another retailer in Dayton with MANY promises that I will absolutely love the Getaway and JP he has. I get there, and let's start with Getaway. There are GI lights that stay on while the rest of the lights in the main circle of the playfield flash on and off (like 4 lights out of 20 or so stay on while ALL the others blink on and off). There's dust and dirt all over the playfield to where I can wipe my fingers through it and see lines in the dust where I just wiped. Most of the lights are dim and dark, indicating to me the playfield underside has not been inspected in a long time. Wrong size rubbers are installed to where the ball got STUCK in the in lanes right before the flippers. Playglass had scratches in it deep enough that they stopped my fingernail when I ran my fingernail across them. How much does he want ...? $2995.00
So then I go to JP. Ball shoots out of the shooting lane in a very lazy manner. Left flipper is SO WEAK that I could not even get it to the one ramp the game has. There was also no topper. Price on this one: $2795.00.
Or I could get both for $5600.00 - right ...
So, nearly burned out, I call Snurdley here from Pinside. He tells me he's got a Johnny Mnemonic in REALLY great shape that he is ready to sell, and man, I almost feel like I stole that game from him. I drove up to his place on 31 March, and finally, finally, finally, FINALLY - F-I-N-A-L-L-Y - I had a great pin at home. And man, he included extra ramps, bulbs, tools, cleaning supplies, manual, and framed profile page of the machine - all for less than $1500. Just - man - the answer to my prayers. And we found things that needed to be addressed - mainly a couple burned out bulbs - and he didn't even hesitate to change them out. We did some very minor repairs like replacing those bulbs, and man, that got my confidence booming. He walked me through how to scroll through the test menus, and he did not leave until I was 100% comfortable with my new JM. To say the least, just a great testimony to the pinball community.
Bottom line I wanted to get at with this thread - THIS is what Pinside is all about - people helping each other and coming to each other's rescue. I was just about ready to walk away from pinball, but Snurdley said "I don't think so..." and kept me alive and strong in the hobby. In fact, I'm already shopping for pin #2 (Jurassic Park), and I'm hoping to snag one from a couple people here. This is no new news to these people because we've already been talking about it!
Thank you, Robin, for this community. Thank you to the honest owners and those who came to my aid, and to those that will come to help and others here and don't even know it yet. This is a great place, and I really look forward to making more friends and getting to know people here more and more. Thank you taking the time to read all of this - now GO PLAY SOME PINBALL!!!!
12y 127K 9,419 2 10
Glad Snudley brought you back!
13y 89,300 989 27
I'm very lucky to live in chicagoland and to have become aquainted with experienced collectors, engineers and Terry at Pinballlife for parts picked up at his shop, designers and developers and some of the best players. Many have helped me fix, diagnose or track down other help with mechanical, electronic, playfield care and restoration, and modification expertise. Also Chicago expo has expanded that group to personally meet folks from all over with collector interests, players, mechanics and engineers, and those that can source machines and parts alike. The pinside community is a great next step for one-stop stories, messages, markets, fix-it help, and connections. Thanks for the efforts to keep this web community up and running. Time for me to make a contribution.