I was 19 years old, and just out of high school. For a summer job that year I started working at a small arcade near my house. It was 1993, and the arcade craze had just about run it's course, and the place I was working at was dying a slow death.
However, there was hope, in the form of an Adam Family pinball machine that I played *alot*. There was a small band of regulars who made the pilgrimage nearly daily to play that machine. I began to take notice of it, and play it myself when it was slow in the arcade. It didn't take long until I was hooked.
So I started wondering about a pinball machine for myself. That lead me to start cold calling local game operators and asking if they had old machines they wanted to sell. Most never returned my call, but one guy did. He was the owner of Royal amusement, and he told me he had a few old machines he might part with.
What he described as a few old machines turned out to be a treasure trove of mid 1980s Bally and Williams machines in different states of disrepair. I made a deal with the guy to fix a few of them so he could sell them, and I would get to buy an old Pinbot machine at a discount.
I learned a lot that summer wrenching and soldering on those machines. I put together a Williams Cyclone, and spent forever getting the displays to work. Soon there was a High Speed that was just about dead that I brought back to life.
There were countless other machines that I never got to work on, like the Goliath machine that had a cue ball for a pinball, or the old Atari Superman that wouldn't power up.
After that summer I went back to college, and later that year sold my Pinbot to pay some bills. In hind site, I should have kept the machine. I could never have imagined what the internet would do to the price of pinball machines. These days machines that sold for $400 in the 1990s now get upward to $1200 today.