I was born in the late 60’s and remember my first game of pinball in a place called the Dew Drop Inn, a small town café with a EM game. My dad always played pinball and introduced my brother and me to the game when we were young. At an early age we would play by standing in a chair. My dad would normally start off by racking up some free credits with his game play then it was our turns. My dad was also famous for his you play one flipper and he would play the other. Try it with a friend some time.
As kids pre teenagers most of my game play was in restaurants and bars, yes these were the days when you could take your kids into a bar as long as they severed food. Or that’s what we were told, we would eat in the eating area and then off to some pinball, we were never allowed to go into the bars without our parents even as teens. And never allowed to go up to the actual bar.
I became an official teenager in 1980 by this time or probably even a little before then we were introduced to what we all (kids) called the “BA” (bowling alley). They had a great game room and even better it was in the corner kind off out of site from the adults (bowlers) and the people that ran the BA. The only time they saw us was for change or to buy something to drink or eat, but most money went into the games. This is where we learned to stop up the pockets on the pool table or grab the ball before it drained to play longer, the same for foosball. Also introduced to games like Asteroids, Donkey Kong, Pac-man and so on all of those great 80’s games. But to me since introduced to it at a younger age I really remember the “BA” for having pinball like Gorgar oh ya baby "Me got you." And I can remember Black night. I’m really drawn to those Williams 80’s games now as they seem to be what our local operator was routing when I was a kid. I can also remember going to a house as a teenager and they had a pinball machine in their basement the game was an EM baseball themed. I remember playing the crap out of that game and racking up credits. One thing my father did teach me was to leave some credits on a machine whenever I could for someone new to pinball to have a chance to play. Video games were on the rise, but I remember pinball from this area, could find it at game rooms in the Mall’s, restaurants, bars, bowling alleys and so on.
1985 Hit high school Graduation and the Army don’t remember much pinball at this point in my life I would play it when I saw it but wasn’t really searching it out. Marriage came next and then a family, not a lot of pinball at this point in my life as it just wasn’t around to be found. When I did see it I would play.
Then in 2009 it happened, listening to a local radio program called the swap shop, some one local had a pinball machine for sale. I called the number and I was on my way to my new Hobby I just didn’t know it at the time. I went to an old house and there it was a Williams Space Odyssey as I was looking it over another local person came to see it to. Luckily since I was there first I had official first chance at it. Turned out the seller was the son of the local repair man from back in the day for the games in this area. He opened up the game pointed at a coil and said this one needs to be replaced. But then he showed me how to start the game without replacing it. So a few hundred bucks and the game was on its way to its new home. We played the game until we totally burnt up that already bad coil; I think it was the 25 cent coil. A new one was ordered from PBR and then I learned about cleaning the game. Next thing you know I’m running a add for another game and 2 more are found. From this find I learn about the Lone Star Pinball Museum the seller told me he called a guy at the LSPA and he had told the seller what he thought the games were worth. With some negotiation 2 more games came home and I was up to three.
Over the years games have came and went, I like to visit pinball places when I travel, I have been to places such as the Lone Star Pinball museum more times than I can count, The Seattle Pinball Museum a few times, SS Billiards (LTG:) a few times and have been going to the HAAG expo since about 2010 I have missed a few years but not by Choice.
When my dad visits he always has to look at the score card and see what it takes to get a credit, even though most of my games are set to free play or a add the max amount of credits I can to them before he gets here he has to beat the game and earn a credit. I can credit him for my pinball addiction as he introduced my brother and me to the game at an early age. I still have that first game I bought and there’s just something when I hear an 80’s Williams game that just takes me back and I’m just drawn to play it.