A Month of Pinball Fever

By T1lt3dR0ll3r

February 15, 2023

This story got featured & frontpaged on March 06, 2023

36 days ago

What's a good combination to not have much pinball around? How about being born in the mid 2000s in a rural area? The nearest big city is about an hour and a half away at most, but every time we've to a major city, we didn't exactly have any time for an arcade pitstop. The only time I can remember actually playing a physical pinball table was somewhere between 2011-2013, where the campground my family stays at had a table in the game room. I vividly remember hearing the machine shout "Come on, add a coin!" when you pressed a flipper. (If I remember correctly, and I think I am, it was Wipe Out by Gottileb, but I think the call outs came from a much more aggressive man than the actual callouts.)

That wasn't to say I didn't enjoy it. Even though I don't think I played that table, I remember I enjoyed this Bumper Ball (pinball, but instead of hitting with flippers, you move a bumper around) minigame on some casual minigame compilation for the DS. Plus, I spent many hours on Annoying Orange Pinball on Catoon Network's website, even fighting to make it on the leaderboard (when that was a thing), and for those weekends at camp where I couldn't get internet (which was most weekends), The Pinball Arcade was there for me.

Now here's something I only feel comfortable about talking anonymously: I am autistic. One of the many quirks of being autistic is having strong special interests, where we sometimes develop strong fixations on certain topics. At the end of 2022 and going into 2023, I developed one for pinball. If I had to summarize why, I figured I needed to start using my Switch again for something, and since I didn't need to worry about my brother having both chargers, I knew there was no beating around the bush. When I went back in to see what was on the Switch, I was greeted to ony of my options being the Pinball Arcade. While I initilaly favored some Monopoly, that soon faded, and to the Pinball Arcade I went. I was looking to expand my pinball collection because while I very much enjoyed Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, I wanted to try out some tables that I heard people talk highly about.

Thus, with some leftover gift card money, I bought my first table pack so I could play Black Hole. (It also came with Rescue 911, (which I had some experience with on The Pinball Arcade's iOS version,) Wipe Out, Bone Busters Inc., El Dorado: City of Gold, & the Goin' Nuts prototype.) I also downloaded Zaccaria's collection & Pinball FX3, which gave me some more wiggle room. Plus, I had an extra dollar to spare for the seeming mega pack of retro tables. However, I did not realize that by retro, the devs meant 1950s, and it felt like they were more of novelty tables than anything. Ah, well, at least I had some other tables to play.

However, here we are, and I just bagged myself two more Gottileb packs last night (specifically the 3rd & EM Gottileb packs). It's not until you truly spend time with this hobby that you realize it's not just crossing your fingers and hoping for the ball to hit bell-ringing bumpers. I've also grown much more appreciative of EM tables than before, because helps me to realize what makes pinball so special.

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17 days ago

Love it. I play pinball on my Switch a TON, especially after upgrading to an OLED version and picking up a 3D printed grip on Etsy that lets me play vertically. I love the pinball arcade machines- Gottlieb, Stern etc. I think my favorites are Tee'd Off, Big Shot and Genie. I was having some strange nostalgia feelings playing them recently and couldn't figure it out. Eventually I realized I played all of those on the PSP back in the early 2000's!!

In regards to your Autism, there's nothing to feel sorry or bad about!!! Be you, do you, no worries. Embrace the challenges and enjoy the ride

16 days ago

Great story, I have ADHD and am always in pursuit of harnessing is values and looking past its obstacles. Pinball has allowed me to be as active and competitive as I would like at any given time. Thanks again for the story…. Love it!

13 days ago

This story really resonates with me. For you it was Wipe Out at a campground, for me it was Cactus Canyon at a bowling alley. Funny how us neurodivergent folk gravitate towards pinball!

As a 90s kid growing up in pinball desert, Farsight's Williams Collection and later The Pinball Arcade were my gateway to real pinball. It's a shame the Williams/Bally pins were pulled from The Pinball Arcade in 2018. I managed to snag all the DLC before the end and five years later I'm still playing them daily on my Steam Deck. Hopefully Pinball FX (the current holder of the Williams/Bally video game license) will continue releasing their versions these classic pins for future generations to enjoy.

Shout-out to Black Hole, my favorite Gottlieb!

9 days ago

Awesome story! Farsight’s games were also my gateway to this hobby. I’ll never forget when it hit me. The “Extras” tab in the game menu for each table on Williams Collection had history and it mentioned designers and stuff, especially for the dmd games. That triggered my brain to just devour everything about it (history is my other passion). That was around 2010. Now 13 years later I went from playing the simulation on xbox 360 to finding locations, then collectors, then discovering shows, to eventually owning the real machines I was playing digitally. I’ve gone through over 10 in total but am down to 5 currently. If you start owning it becomes a sickness. You can’t stop with one Funny enough, about 2 years ago I got the chance to chat with Bobby King the producer of Pinball Arcade and the other Farsight games and I told him my story and that IT WAS HID FAULT! He just laughed.

6 days ago

What are we listening to....

Delicate Steve.

Delicate Steve? ...I like it!

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