I always loved pinball.
Played with my friends as often as I could, which was a lot! TAF was the machine that sucked me in. I could have bought several machines for the coin I put through my local machine as a teenager! But I don't regret a cent of it.
My weekends of pinball were all too few, and soon enough I was employed, home owning and family starting. A decade or two went by but I never forgot how much fun I had with my great friends at the arcade, and I never forgot how I promised myself that one day, I'd own a machine of my own, and I knew exactly which one I wanted.
By the time I reached the period of life whereby I could genuinely afford to buy a pinball machine, I naively thought The Addams Family machine was a relatively obscure machine that was not particularly special to anyone other than me and my few mates. In my mind, we had "discovered" this machine all by ourselves as youngsters, and I thought perhaps I was one of a handful of people who had a targeted love for that specific machine in particular.
I presumed I would easily stumble across that machine for sale online or elsewhere for a comparable price to all the other machines. So I was embarrassed to discover it was actually a mega-popular machine, highest selling, topping many of the hot 100 lists and accordingly, really collectable, expensive and difficult to find.
Reality bites. I was no pinball genius, in fact, quite the opposite. The machine I thought I'd "organically stumbled upon" was basically considered a masterpiece of its era. This lead to a period of disappointment, because... if I couldn't have TAF, I felt like I didn't really want anything else... that was the dream machine and it was out of reach again.
But then a friend bought WH20 and I as I helped him with the purchase, I remembered it sitting alongside TAF back in that arcade. I remembered playing it, (when having a break from TAF) and I remembered we all really enjoyed it... not quite as much as TAF, but a lot more than many of the other machines that were around us... After some research, I started to recall several other machines we enjoyed too, names that I'd completely forgotten about. I realised there was an era "sweet spot" where Williams Bally made machine after machine that I really did like... But I had to be cautious, because other manufacturers were making machines in that era that I didn't gravitate towards at all.
It was obviously, what I really wanted was a quality Williams Bally Machine from the 90's. I recently purchased the first in my collection... a machine that I can barely remember seeing back in the 90's called "Junkyard". As soon as I played it, I realised it was the one. I couldn't remember it but it felt "right".
Just the other day I was introduced to a stranger and the topic of pinball came up. She said "Oh there's this one machine I'd love to own" and I automatically said... "Let me guess. The Addams Family?" "Yes!!!" she responded, "how did you know?".
Now, I'm interested in playing, maintaining, appreciating and customising all kinds of machines. I'm interested in chatting with others who are like minded and I read and watch as much as I can to stay up to date. I'm interested in a broader range of machines than before and I'm keen to know more about the history of manufacturers, machines and players. And one day, maybe I will "tour the mansion" on one of the 40,000 famed purple and black machines. One of them has my name on it.
Let the games begin... "It's Showtime".