Pursuit of Happiness

By Pinnacle82

March 23, 2022

This story got featured & frontpaged on April 01, 2022

56 days ago

Comet was the first pin I remember playing as a kid.  I started indoor soccer at Concord Sports Club in St. Louis, MO when I was 6 or 7.  They had a small arcade with the usual suspects (Pac Man, Galaga, and a Claw Machine with penny candy) but I remember the pinball machine being larger than life.  Parents would gather for a beer or two after the games and the kids would run a muck pumping quarters into machines.  The more beers the parents drank, the more $1.00 bills we received – the ratio was predictable… I realized the Million shot was largely the goal of Comet, but my fascination was hitting the drop target and hearing the “Hey Turkey, hit me” over, and over, and over again… 

Years passed and the arcade advanced with the times.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Street Fighter, Mortal Combat and the new pinball was a Data East Simpsons.  Simpsons were gaining steam on TV and I enjoyed the ramps, call outs and bright colors so I viewed this as an improvement and continued my focus on pinball.  I saw some guy do a post pass and it blew my mind there were other facets I’d yet to learn.  I was now about 9 and thought I knew everything – didn’t we all.

Then, it happened… As Forrest Gump said, “I may not be a smart man, but I know what Love is” could never be more true the weekend Fun House arrived.  Fun House sealed the deal for me.  The obvious animatronics of Rudy was awesome – eyes following the ball, taunts, the light show, sounds, midnight rush, bright blue cabinet and on and on.  I was now 12 or 13 - my piggy bank was largely a product of birthday money and capitalistic ventures around the neighborhood.  I started mowing lawns in the summer and shoveling snow in the winter to supply my own cache of quarters.  I was bummed the weekend we showed up for a soccer game to find the glass was shattered - Fun House was down for the count and replaced with something else from the route operator.   It was years before I saw one again – pinball only existed for me at indoor soccer and a local pizza place.

Fast forward - I’m married with two little girls and finally have a small area to accommodate a couple of pins in the basement.  I’ve been an aspiring pinball owner for ~15 years, but the stars never aligned (home ownership, school, kids, space etc.).  Yes – I’m “one of those” that entered the pinball ownership world the past few years, but I’m not one to plunk crazy money on a beat up jalopy so I continue to be patient.  I prefer games that bring me back me back in time and/or give me an opportunity to save something from the dump and preserve a piece of history for someone else.  My hunt has produced more days of defeat than I can count but not many things beat the happiness of finding and bringing home a new addition to the family.  I enjoy working on the three pins I have and appreciate the camaraderie of the pinball community just as much as playing.  There are some fantastic people out there with diverse backgrounds and shared interests in the silverball.

I did recently find a beat up Comet that I’m bringing back to life.  Now I can be called Turkey whenever I want, but Fun House remains my grail pin.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be lucky enough to own one in my lifetime, but I’ll try to stay positive on the hunt and enjoy the journey – one day…

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45 days ago

good luck with getting your fun house pin! If have had the pleasure of playing it once, and it is absolutely desirable! :)

42 days ago

Great write up. I love the visuals, from back in the day. Fascinating to know that we all wished we had a machine (of any kind)..almost like winning the lottery. Well, time does give a lot of us an opportunity to complete that ‘mission’. I’m sure you’ll find that fun house, one way or the other! I remember asking my mom if I could buy (or see if it was for sale), a Spy Hunter sitdown cockpit-I was 12 lol. He said it would be $2500 (back in ‘86). Well, obviously that didn’t happen but years later, I have 12 pins and a gob of vids. Except Spy Hunter cockpit . Regardless, I’m a full-on pin convert!

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