I remember the days when it seemed there was an arcade in every shopping centre. I grew up in the eighties; for me a time of innocence, when all I had to worry about was whether I had enough pocket money to spend on junk food. I fondly remember when I was eleven years old, riding my pushie (bicycle) down to my local fish & chip shop. They had a pinball machine and an old space invaders cocktail cab. For the life of me, I can't remember the name of the Pin. What I do remember is the feel of playing. I didn't realise back then that there were rules to Pinball. I simply loved the blinking lights, the callouts and the sounds. It was the tangibility, the tactile response of the machine. It felt alive between my hands. Right through the nineties, whenever I would enter an arcade, I would gravitate to the pins. It was as if they called to me.
Somewhere along the way, Pinball Machines vanished from the fish & chip shops and convenience stores. After High School, I stopped going to the arcades, and even they were vanishing into the ether. Pinball eluded my consciousness. That was until three years ago when I stumbled into an arcade near my new home. It was a vibrant place, bustling with kids and their parents, but standing alone, unplayed in the corner, stood a Star Trek Pro and a Transformers Pro. It had been years since I had played, but when I inserted that coin and pressed the start button, the memories and feelings came flooding back. From that day forward, I found myself making excuses to drive to the Esplanade for a game or two... or four... or ten.
Sadly, a year ago, the arcade closed. It became an ice creamery and for a while the Pins stayed. Then not long after that, they were removed altogether. My access to Pinball was severed.
Nowadays, it's like winning a lucky door prize to find a pinball machine on site in my area. At present, I need to drive 45 minutes to find a machine. I make the trip as often as I can, but it's proving difficult. Yes, some resorts nearby have a Pin, but you need to book a room to play them. I would give an arm and a leg to have one of those 'Arcade Bars' open in my area.
Despite my current limited access to pinball, I joined Pinside because I couldn't shake the feeling we are heading toward a shift in the pinball landscape; another Pinball renaissance. It's an exciting time for the industry, with more manufactures coming onto the scene. This will hopefully put downward pressure on prices for 'New In Box' games. Perhaps pinball will remain a collector's hobby, but I still hope that one day we might see more sited pins.
I look forward to owning my very own machine one day. I have made my wish list and will no doubt continue adding to it as time goes on. I'll never be able to own them all, but I can always dream.
The Pinside community seems to be a great place for people to share their love of Pinball. I enjoy reading other members stories and I will continue to enjoy the Pinball commentary in the forums. Who knows, maybe one day I'll be the proud owner of my very own Medieval Madness or Cactus Canyon. When that day comes, I will cherish the advice I receive from this Pinside community.
Thanks for reading and keep on flipping!