Some of my earliest memories were of hapily playing arcade and pinball machines in my parents arcade as a child. Yes, I was spoiled rotten as a kid as my parents ran an amusement park with minigolf, laser tag, an arcade, bumper boats, go-karts... etc. First and foremost they had a few pinball machines at the arcade that I always seemed to gravitate toward. Some of the earliest pins I remember seeing were Whirlwind and Addams, but at some point in time they switched over to Sega games and one of the last I remember seeing come in was South Park, which was just my skill level.
Year after year I'd spend my weekends at the arcade and while the video games came and went, the pinball machines always kept my interest. Even though there was a huge difference between "Outrun" and "San Francisco Rush", there seemed to be an even bigger difference between Whirlwind and Indiana Jones... although the technology was much closer.
Sadly, the home consoles killed the family business, but I always had fond memories of my parents arcade. I've always been able to get a close apporximation to the arcade experience on home consoles, but virtual pinball is just not the same. About 5 years ago I walked into a retro arcade with pinball machines by happenstance (Crabtowne USA) found a Star Trek TNG, and I was instantly transported back to 1993. It's been a love affair with pinball ever since, and after talking to a buddy that had some at home I just had to have my own. I started out with World Cup Soccer because the wife loves dogs and soccer, the kids love soccer, and its just about as family friendly as you could get. After beating Germany Twice in the World Cup in One game it was time for an upgrade. I proved that I could sell a pin for about what I paid for it and figured out I could rotate pins through my basement for alot of entertainment value for the dollar. Even better, I found a community that was overly generous with thier troubleshooting help (thanks guys!).
Since then, I've fallen off the deep end ahd have now rotated over 60 pins through my basement (my back hurts). I've gone back to the EMs, early Solid States, DMDs, LCDs, and even the odd balls. I have found that System 11s, Modern Sterns, and Classic 90s Williams games are where it is at for me. I've also fallen into pinball adjacent hobbies like pool, retro gaming, and at the top of my list... arcade decorations. Nothing like going downstairs for a quick game before work and being transported back to the 90s. I'm still not a good tournament player (but its fun) and have been pleased by the staying power of the hobby. I'm leaning more into temporary trades than buying and selling when I can get it. Temp trades people!
A few arcade configurations over the years.