Has it only been a year? No, it's been one year, two months, and four days since that fateful day that I went from being a dude who enjoyed playing pinball to a dude bringing his first machine home. I remember encountering pinball in my childhood, but it wasn't until the days of my misspent youth at the bar during college that I discovered love of the silver ball in the form of a Medieval Madness.
Over the years since then, pinball has always been on my radar. The local watering hole had an ever rotating machine in the corner over the years: SWE1, Party Zone, T2, Taxi, NASCAR, CFTBL. I would see other pins out in the wild here and there and drop some quarters. Encountering a Junkyard at a campground or the a neglected pin in the corner of a theater lobby. Usually a single one or a pair, rarely more than that. In 2013, feeling the unrelenting gnawing of nostalgia, I picked up a Pinball Hall of Fame Williams Collection for the XBox on Amazon-specifically for Medieval Madness. I hadn't made that leap of faith or connected the dots quite yet though. Pinball was still just background noise in the daily grind of life.
Fast forward to 2015 when I had the opportunity and wherewithal to acquire a Model H Skeeball. The Skeeball was in remarkable shape, it was missing the actual skeeballs, had a few missing bulb sockets, and a broken scoring switch. This little project got me to thinking and the floodgates were opened. Acquiring the Skeeball altered my world view on coin-op. Weeks after picking up it up, I was visiting Louisville on a Sunday night and looking for stuff to do. I had heard about a place called Zanzabar having trivia and we decided to give it a try. Holy Toledo Batman! This place had pins and arcades out the ying yang for a country bumpkin like myself! Their lineup at the time was DESW, STTNG, TWD LE, TAF, WOZ, Dolly Parton, Star Trek 78, Six Million Dollar Man, and AFM. The highlight of the evening though, was encountering my beloved Medieval Madness. Trivia night was pretty fun too. Pinball fever had already set in, I just didn't realize how serious the case was. That Skeeball was getting lonely in the room by itself.
After that trip to Kentucky between Christmas and New Years, I started looking into pins and stumbled onto Pinside. At the time I was fixated and focused on B/W DMDs. This is what I'd come up with and generally played and was familiar with. By March, I found a Johnny Mnemonic within budget and a reasonable distance away. I contacted the seller and we came to an agreement and I was off to the races. Looking back now, I realize how lucky I was to find Pinside before buying a machine and my first pin transaction went smoothly. He took the time to go over the machine with me inside and out. Followed by hauling it to the truck from the basement and assisting with the loading. I had a pin that fit my budget, was functional, and had all the items on my checklist! No need for another.
Little did I know what I was getting into-these guys on Pinside talking about pinball machines multiplying like rabbits, talking about the sickness. Not two weeks later, my neighbor approached me-knowing that I had been on the hunt for machines and told me her brother had one that needed to be moved. Suffice it to say, a little over a year later I'm a few pins in and still crazy about pinball. After playing an EM on location I learned their allure. I've since expanded my horizons. Got a full top play field tear down/shop under the belt and learning so many new skills through this hobby. I attended my first pinball show (Allentown) this month and was greatly encouraged by what I saw and experienced. Working up the courage to tackle bigger pin projects. The sickness is there too, the hunt. Pinside has been a great asset throughout this time and I want to take this opportunity to thank Robin and all the Pinsiders who have helped me along the way. So, it's taken me a year and a half to add my story to Pinside-but I wouldn't have it any other way.