Dear Pinball, where have you been all my life?

By ryanwanger

August 30, 2013

10 years ago

In April of 2013, I bought my first arcade game. A few months later, I suddenly had 6! As a software engineer who had been wanting to do something with hardware, nursing old games back to health sounded like the perfect hobby.

I told everyone I could about my new obsession. Unexpectedly, the most common response was "do you have any pinball machines?". They didn't know anyone else who had arcade machines, but no less than 4 people told me they knew people who owned several pins.

Had I missed the boat?

Outside of a Terminator 2 set on freeplay from a family vacation when I was 13, I had not played much pinball. When you die in a video game, it's your fault. In pinball, sometimes the ball just drains and there is nothing you can do about it. Or so I thought...

All signs were pointing to pinball.

When you suck at pinball, you play a game, lose, and then move to the next machine. Your money drains faster, and you give up quicker. And you don't get any better.

My local arcade has free pinball on Tuesdays, so I started going. Months ago, I had seen some guys there really shaking the Metallica around. Was that okay? What about tilt? Their balls were lasting a really long time.

Turns out, pinball is a game of skill. I didn't get the memo.

Now I'm obsessed. Pretty soon my arcade games are going to start being replaced with pins.

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