SunKing's Pinball Story

By SunKing

April 19, 2011

This story got featured on April 19, 2011


11 years ago

I was born in 1964, and started playing pinball as a kid. My father also liked to play, so any time we were on vacation, or passing by an arcade we would stop and drop in a few quarters. As I entered my teenage years, my pinball addition started in full force.

I can still remember very clearly back in 1979 when I played a Williams Flash for the first time. I was used to playing EM's - so I was completely blown away by sounds and lights of Flash. It made a HUGE impression on me. During my days in junior high and high school, I would ride my bike up to the local arcade to hand out with friends. I remember the first time I got multi-ball playing Firepower. I was like - OMG!! Other games that I can still remember playing like it was yesterday are Black Knight, Eight Ball Deluxe, Flight 2000, Paragon, Kiss, etc. If I wasn't playing pinball, I would sketch out my own playfields - even do fake wiring diagrams.

I hated it when video games started to push out pinball machines. I never took to playing video games - always preferred the pin tables.

During this time I also started playing guitar. In high shool, my friends and I started a band, so I had less time for pinball. I graduated high school in 1983, and went off to college. As you can imagine, playing pinball took a back seat to all of the other college activites. ...and eventually - pinball became a thing of the past.

Fast forward to a few years ago, when I was visiting my parents house. They had given me a pachinko machine when I was around 11 or 12 (a cheap alternative to pinball). Well, it was still in the attic, and they told me "either take it home or throw it away". So of course, I took it home a cleaned it up. My kids loved it. For me, it took me back in time...and before long I found the IPDB. Talk about a blast from the past! Seeing Flash, Black Knight, Paragon and all the machines from my childhood brough back a FLOOD of memories. I was instantly addicted again.

While trolling the web, I stumbled across http://www.joystixamusements.com/. I work in downtown Houston, so I stopped by on my lunch hour....and that evening I was trying to talk my wife into letting me buy a machine. I have a wonderful wife, and she said ok. A couple months later I was the proud owner of a 1979 WIlliams Flash. My first pinball.

When I bought it, I didn't know the first thing about pinball repair. The machine really didn't need any repair, but I still tweaked this and that. I'm pretty mechanically inclined, so it was a real joy to be able to (finally) work on my own machine. I'm sure most anyone reading this will know what comes next. Once you ge that first machine, you start thinking about #2.

I kept my eyes on ebay and Craig's list, and evenually saw a '77 Bally Blackjack for less that $200. I talked the guy down to $140, and brought it home to repair. Once I was able to sdrill the locks and get it opem, I could see it had really bad battery corrosion. To make a long story short, I eventually spent much more in parts to get it working that it was worth (New MPU, power rectifier and solinoid driver boards, new connectors, etc). Regardless, I was really proud that I saved that poor old machine from certain death - and we put it upstairs in our gameroom.

Did I mention that I have a wonderful wife? Well, she says "we should get a newer machine - with multiball and ramps". You don't have to tell me twice. I had my eyes on a High Speed that Joystix was selling. We got an annul bonus - and I spent almost every penny of it on the High Speed. The kids, wife, and I LOVED it. Because it came out in '86 - it wasn't one that I had played as a kid - so it seemed brand new to me!

With three machines, our house was full (and my pinball budget was blown)....but that didn't keep me from watching CL and Ebay. When I saw a Paragon come up for sale locally, I REALLY wanted it. Did I mention I have a wonderful wife? Despite the somwhat racy artwork, she gave me the OK to get it. Honestly, the artwork isn't worse that what the kids see on the Disney chanel.

So today, I'm putting the finishing touches on the Paragaon. I already have a couple buyers interested in the Blackjack - so when Paragon is ready, I will move it upstairs, and sell the BlackJack.

...and that's my story - hope you enjoyed it~!

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Comments

11 years ago

Great story SunKing great to find a game you remembered from back in the day like flash. Welcome to the Pinside

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