There is one main thing that we have in common. The passion for pinball. This is why we are on Pinside. This is what brings us together. A universal commonality. Everyone has their unique story. Mine is as follows:
I have always enjoyed passing time jamming out on virtually every form of pinball. This even includes small toy pinball machines that I played with when I was a child. For me the addiction started with Video Pinball released in 1977 on the Atari 2600, the first digital pinball that I encountered. Technology advanced dramatically during the 1980's and 1990's. The digital versions of games on PC's and consoles became a lot more challenging and fun. It is impossible for me to count the total number of games made by Pro Pinball that I have accumulatively played. The Web was okay, Timeshock was a blast, along with Fantastic Journey, and Big Race USA. These games were intricate, but not overly complicated. Everyone should be encouraged to try these games if you have not. They look great on a current up-to-date laptop computer. They are even better to play on a BIG flat screen. Silvercastle has been working on a real version of Timeshock. It would be really cool to see a real version of the other games as well. Then there is Visual Pinball. This has entertained me on almost every game before hunting for the "real deal".
The very first full sized pinball that I played was Williams "Gorgar". I will never forget hearing it talk. It was just so evil sounding/looking. I have little experience with EM's as they were before my time. The local arcades had a number of games from the late 1970's to the early 1980's. My brothers and I somehow convinced our parents to purchase a full sized pinball machine. It was that one huge combined X-mas gift for that year... A Gottlieb Gold Wings! A couple of years later, this was exchanged for a Bally Dungeons&Dragons. I still have appreciation for D&D's music and backglass art. I remember playing Black Knight, Space Invaders, Comet and Sorcerer back then. As time went on pinball machines become a whole lot cooler and evolved with more personality. Cyclone, High Speed, Pinbot, and Taxi were my favorites in the late 1980's.
Later, during the early 1990's there were some decent local arcades, billiard places, and a bowling alley with a nice selection of good playing machines. I spent a lot of time at these places and got a chance to play most of the games in the Pinside top 10. I would seek out these games no matter where I lived. Even the Military base where I was stationed had a good amount of games in the PX. Much more fun than fighting wars!
It was not until recently that I started to have a real obsession with pinball machines. All of the familiar arcades were disappearing. "They took our pinball machines"-- MM. A little over five years ago it seemed that the only places with pinball machines were local movie theaters and bars. There was only one way to reconnect with these games. I had to start buying them. After recovering from a major surgery and having lots of free time on my hands, it was time to start shopping. The first machine that I purchased was Street Fighter 2. This was less than three years ago and was a Craigslist purchase. A total of 105 hours were invested in shopping/learning about this machine inside and out. I never had any training for this. Most of the information was absorbed from the internet, specifically Pinside. I still own this machine and have no interest in selling it. Street Fighter 2 was in fact my "gateway pin" towards gathering machines. From this point the collecting madness had started.
Pinside has always been there for me. Without Pinside, I would not have met so many people as invested in this hobby as myself. To a lesser degree I would have no records kept of the machines that have come my way. This has helped me to reflect on previous purchases and games that I have since parted with. I have also bought and sold a few games on Pinside market. Currently, I like to keep a sales flyer of every pinball machine that I have purchased. They make nice momentos. A total of over 50 machines in less than three years now. My only regrets are a few titles that I sold, but have since re-purchased. I'm into the hobby knee deep at this time and have no interest in slowing down. Well thats it, I have to conclude my story. Somewhere out there someone is posting an ad for a pinball machine that I want.