First Pinball Memory

First Pinball Memory

By Pinball_Blizzard

January 03, 2018

3 months ago

My first memory of ever seeing a pinball machine was in the game room at the Don CeSar hotel in St. Petersburg Florida. My family was on vacation, it was 1981 and I was ten years old. They had a Black Knight and Gorgar machine along with a few other video games. The backglass on the Gorgar and Black Knight machines called to me like Iron Maiden albums called to me in the record store. Then I heard the voices emanating from those machines! WUT?! Was it Satan? Was it a robot? Was it Satan’s robot? In comparison to video games, pinball machines seemed dangerous. If video games were a car, then pinball would be a motorcycle. Video games had bright and cheery colors and the objectives were usually obvious and linear. Pinball had dark imagery with a heavy steel ball bearing that slammed about the playfield in a chaotic manner. The prospect for success was intimidating since scoring and objectives were hard to decipher. The method of how to control the shiny chrome ball with precision and how to capitalize on this precision was such an elusive talent, that to truly know this, one would be bestowed an elevated mystical name such as…….WIZARD! Video games were safe and contained within the hum of a CRT monitor. Once you engage a pinball machine, it violently comes to life as it slams the steel ball into the shooter lane. It dares you to take the plunge. You must defy the resistance of the spring. Pull back. Release. Now try to contain what you have unleashed. Pinball is the perfect mash up of art and engineering. It’s where the paint brush meets physics, electronics, popping solenoids, ingenious sound design and glowing lights. It’s tactile. It’s physical. It’s a fusion of man and machine. No two games will be the same…..and no person will ever be the same once they pop that first quarter in the coin slot and hear that sweet KAAACHUNCK!!

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3 months ago
Nice. Well written. :)
3 months ago
Same games. Same thoughts. Christmas 1981. I was 9. Family vacation. Olympia Hotel lobby Collins Ave. Hallindale Florida.
3 months ago
You nailed it bro!! Black Knight-Gorgar-Maiden-Priest, the danger vs safe with style points! I'm a few years older (EM guy) but close in age and loved all things metal and that's how I felt when video games replaced my pins! Loved reading this clever story, write some more. Aces High!!
3 months ago
That about captures it for me too. Very well written!!
My first viewing of a machine was in a mall arcade in my home town of Dubuque, Iowa. I was pretty little (maybe 7), but think it was black knight machine. I wasn’t even tall enough to see the full playfield and knew I had no chance despite being nearly hypnotized by the lights and sound.
3 months ago
I love every bit of this. Well done!
3 months ago
I know I played others before it, but the first I specifically remember was Black Knight at the Amer. Legion in Bastrop, TX.
86 days ago
Excellent writeup. I had the same experience but 10 years or so later in the first half of the 90s.

Arcade games were colorful, fun and easy to understand.

Pinball machines were big, scary, loud things with a tactile feeling and were often put in dim dark environments where a 8 year old did not belong.
85 days ago
I fell in love with pinball while watching my older brother and his friends play the original Black Knight back in the mid 80's. When I started to play video games in the late 80's, I fell in love with pinball machines. My first being Time Machine by Data East. Eventually, I got to play Black Knight 2000, the sequel to the Black Knight. Now that I am about to reach 40, I want to play again. I am currently looking for one of the Black Knight pinball machines to purchase.
69 days ago
very well written.
58 days ago
Dude, you rocked this article and captured what we celebrate as metal electrified in free form! No game is ever the same and we all aspire to challenge the next contestant or ourselves for Wizard mastery!

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