I became excited about pinball when I was 6 years old. I couldn't reall play at all, but always loved the mechanical (rather than programmed) nature of pinball over video games. By the time I was about 11 or 12, I could play well enough to enjoy myself more; I vividly remember playing games like PinBot and Grand Lizard in boardwalk arcades at Virginia Beach. (Flipper McCoy's!)
I fondly remember the early '90s, and its flood of amazing pins, many of which seemed to be aimed specifically at my goofy interests. When I walked into the arcade and saw 2 Star Trek machines, Elvira, and Twilight Zone(!), along with Jurassic Park and (of course) Addams Family, I felt like I had come home.
Over the years, pinball quietly faded from view, and I almost forgot about it. I was psyched when I moved to Greenfield MA and realized there was an arcade with pins up front! Sadly, it folded, and there was no longer anyplace to play.
Or so I thought. In December '09, I heard a piece on NPR's "Marketplace" that told of the supposed "death of pinball". My jaw hit the floor, and I started feverishly looking for info online. Very quickly I discovered the IPDB, pinball podcasts, forums like this one, and through diligent investigation of dive bars and movie theaters, I was able to find a number of machines in my area. Before long, I started meeting other pinheads, going to shows, and even convinced a friend to go in on a Pinbot machine.
Now I've got an F-14 Tomcat taking up space in my shop alongside Pinbot. I think there's room for one more. One browser window on my computer usually is running up a tab on Pinball Life or Marco Specialties. This may be getting out of hand.