I have been playing pinball off and on since I was very young. The first pin I remember playing was a Joker Poker EM imy uncle had in his basement bar/gameroom. I must have been 6 or 7 and hogged that machine when I was over at his house. Unfortunately he sold that a couple of years ago while I was overseas.
My father was also a big pinballer. Whenever it was his turn to watch me he would take me to the arcade. I would bounce between Seawolf,Donkey Kong and others while he played pins. When "my money" ran out, I would go over and jump in on the machine with Dad. Eventually, I started to play pins more and more as I was getting better at controlling the ball and I learned that you could get free games playing pins. He was the kind of guy who believed that sweet talking to the machine would influence the ball and make the game last longer. I'm sure there is a name for this kind of player, like Tommy Talker or something. People would stare at him but he didn't care. I remember playing some of the pins from that time such as Black Knight and Space Invaders but I also know there are a bunch that I can't recall.
When I was a teenager, my best friend's father ended up being a huge pinball and billiards fan. When we would go to the beach, we would spend at least one night at the pool hall and another at an arcade. There was a Gold Wings at a local Deli which we both liked to play. There were a lot of times when I would walk in and find him terrorizing that machine. He was pretty good and taught me a lot. We used to both take a dollar and play that game for hours it was so easy, which also made it fun for broke 15 year old.
I played a lot of games during my teen age years as there were quite a lot of them around. Elvira at the 7-11, High Speed at a restaurant down the street, Pinbot and BK2000 at Shakey's Pizza and a bunch at the Mall Arcade. Pinbot was my favorite and probably still is. I can't wait to own one. I used to run to Shakey's after school to be the first on the machine as there was always a line. Luckily there was one at the mall too so I never had trouble getting my fix. As many pins as there were, I think Pinbot took most of my attention and I don't remember a lot of the others.
During my early Army years in Germany, it was difficult to find pins, at least in the Nurnburg area. There was a Star Wars Trilogy at the PX and I played a lot of that while it was there. I also found an Attack from Mars in Munich once and played that for about an hour. I didn't get into that one, as much, likely because the rules were in German and I wasn't fully sure what all the shots were. I would like to try that one again. This was pretty much the end of my hobby for about eight years or so until my buddy gave me a Meteor he found in the basement of his new house in 2005. It needed a new power control board and rubber to get it working. That sparked my interest in pinball again but I had to deploy to Germany again and couldn't take it with me, so it sat in storage for about 4 years. I didn't see or play any pins during my tour in Europe. When I returned I couldn't wait to play my Meteor. The boards needed repaired after sitting in storage for so long, and after finding out how much it cost I decided I would learn to do it myself.
I purchased a new LOTR SE with my Iraq money. I also got a real good deal on a non-working Future Spa. I had to repair all the circuit boards on this machine to get it working but it was a great learning experience. So here I am now searching the classifieds for more pins to rescue and add to my collection. I also travel alot and search for pins to play wherever I go.