Since I was a young boy . . .

By rosh

October 30, 2013

8 years ago

My love of pinball started at a very early age, probably 8 or 9 when I played a pin and the ome of a family friend we were visiting in another cithy. Shortly after we were in hotel that had one, and my brother and I played for what seemed like hours. Then when I was around 11 or 12 I made a new friend whose dad was a pinball retailer and we would get to go to his store once and a while and play. He also had a couple of machine in his basement (including a fireball).

Played a ton during my Jr and Sr high school days at 'foosball world' which was just pins and foosball, until one day the brought in a space invaders -- a bad day indeed. Continued to play a ton in college, lots of Xenon and Centaur (still one of my all time favorites) on a daily basis. A local convience store had a coupon for two free games, with the centaur having a pretty low free game setting, those two freebies was more then enough for us to play as long as we wanted.

Throughout my working career I would seek out a local arcade or bar, so on my lunc breaks I could go play. AT one point there as an arcade just a couple of blocks away with TAF, TZ, WW, FH, ES and many more. When I first moved to the Chicago area in the late 90s I found a local arcade in the town and country mall, that I later learned was a Williams test site, needless to say it had one of the greatest 90s pin lineups you could image. When Williams shut down the pinball division, the arcade also closed (not saying they are related, but the timing was the same). I had alwasy talked about owning a pin, but at that point I became far more motivated.

Shortly after I was visiting my brother in NY and he has seen an ad for an arcade auction nearby, so we went. He ended up buying a Judge Dredd for $800, (all the pins were cheap like that <1200), wish I knew then what I know now -- at a later auction he got a STTNG for around $1200). We had no real clue about how to move one, set up one up, the auction guys showed us how to take it down, get inside, load in the minivan, etc -- which totally demystifed pinball ownership. At that point I was totally motivated to get a machine (heck, my brother now had one).

I started looking on ebay and came across a bk2k that was a few hours away. Bk2K was a machine with sentimental value (a story for another day). The reserve was higher then I was willing to play, but was able to reach the seller and agree on a price. So I drove to get it, and I'll say one of the greatest sounds I have ever heard, was hearing the tilt bop going back and forth in the back of my SUV as I was driving home. Needless to say, despite being 2AM by the time I got home, I set it up in my garage and started to play.

Well, it was not long before I had my second (RS), and then I bought two together (TZ and JY) that were not working, but was able to quickly fix them (I'm pretty good with electronics), and then another couple (STTNG and WCS), and then a trade of 1(JY) for 3 (centaur, ebd-le, and Derby Day) and before you know it, I was up to a dozen.

I have since done a re-theme of an EM (Grand Prix) and have finally fulfilled a life long dream of building a custom game from scratch.

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