"Vive le camping gameroom!"
Ever since I was a small version of my current me, my parents used to take me and my older brother out camping. A frequent destination for these summer trips was France, a country that always seemed to have pins in every location! Back then, almost every camping had one or more of 'em, often in excellent playing condition. To cut a long story short, I was hooked to the game as soon as my little fingers could reach the flipper buttons.
Some years later, say around 1995, as I started going out to the local bars in my hometown, I quickly found out the places that had good pins. Now maybe I was born too late, but it wasn't long after this renewed interest in the silverball game that the local operators found out how touchscreen games ("photoplay") brought in steady cash while, unlike the pinball machines, requiring next to no maintenance. Pinball machines quickly disappeared from all the places where I enjoyed playing them and my new hobby seemed doomed.
The first machine
Then came 1998. A friend of mine, who at the time worked for a moving company, rang me up to ask wether I wanted to store his pinball machine. Did I ever! Apparently he got it for free from a very happy client (actually some bar that went out of business) but lacked space in his house. The machine was a 1992 Doctor Who and was in pretty good shape.
Access to a -real- pinball machine really got the ball rolling. After carefully studying every inner detail of the machine (mind you, I had been wondering for years what, for example, a tilt mechanism would look like) I needed more info from outside sources. Enter the internet. I quickly found a whole world of information and -even more important- a world of machine trading. It wasn't much later that I went looking to buy my first machine.
I got my brother enthousiastic at the idea of buying a machine together and soon went to Delft to look at "our first pin". Boy, I still remember standing there in this garden shed, next to a perfect Twilight Zone contemplating wether to spend so many of my hard earned guilders (It later turned out to be a steal at approx 450 Euros) on this big toy. Haha! Those days.
Next up for buying was my friends Doctor Who, he needed the cash and sold it for a nice price. After that came Whirlwind, Theatre of Magic, Earthshaker and ... well, check my collection for the whole list.
Start of the Koog Gamerooms
After a while, playing with friends and relatives, my brother and I decided that we wanted to share the collection with everyone else who loved the game. Egbert, another Pinhead from the Alkmaar area, liked that idea and we joined forces (and collections) and soon we had two rooms filled with 21 machines. The moment the Koog Gamerooms came to be!