I wanted to share my pinball story with you because I am your listener and I love your podcast. I am a Taiwanese, grew up in Taiwan, came to USA for my PhD degree on 2011 but I quit the program, found a job, moved to Bay Area on 2014. I am not a native English speaker so if my grammar is wrong or I use d wrong words please correct me.
Last year I got a big promo, so I decided to get my first pinball machine because owning a pinball machine is one of my childhood dream. At the beginning, I joined Pinside to do a lot of research and try to find a good family theme pinball. I am mid-30 years old. My daughter is 7 and my son is 3. My father loves arcade place so I remembered while I was young, we always went to arcade place to play whole day on Holidays. Jurassic Park was the first Pinball machine I played and it is my big dream machine because of the movie and the theme. Dinasour is always a popular theme for kids. But I am a newbie of Pinball. I am afraid the old machine will have a lot of trouble and I can’t handle it, so I prefer to get a new in box machine.
One of a pinhead @fnosm on Pinside was selling Dialed In and he lives near my place (5 mins drive). He invited me to his play room and see the Dialed In. I brought my daughter with me and oh my god….. He had WOZRR, Dialed In, The Hobbit, Twilight Zone, The Simpsons Pinball Party, LOTR, Full Throttle at the moment. We quickly become Pinball buddy and we go to Bobcat battery to play Pinball almost every Thursday. We went to Pinball shows in North California together, played pinball at his place sometimes. He is also introduce Kenada's Pinball Podcast to me. So I started to listen some pinball podcasts durning commute (you know the commute in Bay area is crazy). I really enjoy it. When I was young, I don't understand english, so I played pinball was tried to hit what I want, and kept the ball live. But now I understand the callout, the rule, it is another level for me. The Pinball hobby is a truly American Culture for me. I enjoyed play with my friends and kids (but my wife still doesn't get the point. She doesn't like to play pinball).
By the way, when I was looking for a pinball machine, The theme is the most important factor. If I don’t like the theme, I won’t let it sit in my house. After doing couple months research on Pinside, JJP is my first choice, Stern is the second. So when the first I went to my friend's place to see Dailed In, I still don’t like it. But my daughter played WOZ all the time while we were talking about Pinball and other things. She said "Dad, I love WOZ, can you get it?". This is my first time to see the JJP game in person. I have never watched WOZ movie before but of course I know the story. After visiting his place, I went home, bought the WOZ 75th blu-ray and watched with my daughter. My wife said WOZ is a good theme for family and she approved me to get the NIB game on last April. Happy wife, Happy family. (But she didn’t know the real price, I told her it is $5000).
No doubt, I am a JJP fan. I love to go the my buddy’s place to play Dialed In (now I like to play it because of the flow and layout, but I still don’t like the theme) and the Hobbit (the layout, shot, and toys are really bad but I still enjoy play it because the theme, movie, sound, call out and animation on the screen is the best integration).
WOZ has a good story teller. First, you need to visit OZ (Emerald City multi balls), Spin the house, let winged monkey to capture Dorothy and rescue her, witch fire ball frenzy. Then you can play the mini wizard mode to fight the witch and tried to melt her. WOZ has a good story line. I was so excited while I melt the witch. Same as The Hobbit, but not for JJP POTC. I do love the movies. I watch many youtube video of JJP games. Last year in the Golden State Pinball Festival, I played with Butch (that is my first time played POTC) and I knew to press the button to collect the gold. He was surprised and ask how do I know it. I told him I watch every JJP live on twitch).I played it about 20 times in the shows. I like you can select one captain from 22 characters, rocking ship, maelstrom ramp, inner loop. But the theme integration is a totally mess. No story teller, the 5 mini wizard modes are not exciting me (I watch many pinball stream). Animation is bad (Compared to WOZ, the Hobbit and Dialed In). I hate plunder this feature. Because for me and my friend, we play Pinball to against the machine, not other people. I am looking forward the Toy story (I don’t know Willy Wonka and Gun & Rose maybe because I am not born during the era).
For the Stern games, while I played their game in the show or some other location, I just feel cheap. That is it. So unless there is a theme I must get, then I will consider to buy a stern game. If they are going to release Jurassic World this summer, I might get one. Because I just got a JP three weeks ago. JP is my childhood’s dream and I finally make it come true. My friend knows how to check a preowned game, went with me to see the game and haul it back to my house. I spent two weeks to fix some switches, resoldering bad wire connections, replace to LED and titan rubber. I got the PinSound plus with original OST mixer, speakers upgrade and it came with Color LED already. The PinSound plus and Color LED (I prefer Color LED not LCD because I like the old style dot matrix) are the huge upgrades, because I hate crappy sound (I played Piano and Violin from 1st grade so I hate bad sound quality). My JP still has some minor problems such as bad EOS of flippers and some broken plastic parts. But overall, I enjoyed wokring on the pinball project and people on Pinside are really helpful for fixing any problems.
I put the pinball machines in the living room. So I can play it every morning before I coming to office ( and the kids are in the school :p so they won't bother me).
I shared this story is just wanted to thank my pinball buddy @fnosm, Bobcat battery, and everyone on the Pinside. I love this hobby and will keep playing it.