Pinball Whats to love?

By Ven

December 04, 2015

5 years ago

I was lucky enough to grow up in the heyday of Arcades "late 70's and 80's", and it seemed like every Bowling Alley, Restraunt, Bar and Laundramat had Pins, Bowlers and Video games to dump my allowance into. It was also a time when a kid could get on his bike and take off for the day without checking in every 10 min, and walk into a Bar and play some pinball and nobody batted an eye.

While I loved Video Arcade games if I had a choice of dumping quarters into an Video game or a Pin the Pin won every time. I guess it was the magic of the mechanics and watching the ball make its way through the playfield, dissapearing here and reappearing there. Looking through the glass into the outhole to see where the ball went when I lost it.

When I was in Jr High the Nintendo hit the market and sadly that seemed to be the start of the downfall of coin op games. Once I got a Nintendo for Christmas I was saving my quarters to buy another game for the Nintendo, and I guess like all the other kids my age didn't stop by the Arcade, Bar, Bowling Alley or Laudramat all that often and the pins and other coinop games started to dissapear and the Arcade closed down. By the time I finished Highschool you couldn't find a pin anywhere in my area, a few of the larger towns still had Arcades with only one or two pins in them and within a few more years they were gone too. So over the period of 6 or 7 years the console games seemed to kill pinball.

Fast forward a few decades and my Daughter started to get the video game bug like all kids so we bought a console for her and after watching play them for a while I decided She needed to play a "real" game, pinball. The search began and within a month or so I found a Hollywood Heat that I picked up for a reasonable price, like all used pins it needed work. I have an engineering/electronics background so it was right up my alley. So I got it all fixed up and working and it was odd to come to the realization that she had never even seen a pinball machine before let alone play one. We played the heck out of Hollywood Heat and everytime She would have friends over they all wanted to play pinball. So it was nice to introduce some other kids to pinball even if it was an old Gottlieb.

Fast forward another few years and we have eight pins in the house, I found Pinside and come across Chuck over at CP pinball. The oldest Daugther "11 yrs old" and I play league at Chucks place with a bunch of others who refuse to give up on the mechanical marvel that is pinball.

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5 years ago

Now, your 11 year old is kicking her divisions tail at CP's.

5 years ago

This is a great story. I grew up in this exact era, and saw the exact same thing. Pinball just DIED. What a delight it was to find that the hobby was still alive via the smallish base of remaining machines and the people who (mostly) cared for them. I too introduced my kids to pinball, and like yours, they had no idea what they were missing. We have two now, Firepower and Xenon. Looking for a third, depends on the mood of my wife..... Thanks for the story, really enjoyed reading it!!!!

5 years ago

@ TechnicalSteam: Yes She had a great time in League and it was the icing on the cake when she won 1st place in her division.

I was telling her all season not to expect to win because there were a lot of good players on league. She would come home from School every day, eat a snack do her homework then practice pinball. It was funny that she wouldn't play TWD at all until I told her it would make her a better player then that was the first pin she would fire up followed next by Genesis, another rough one. I think she may have taken her Trophy to bed with her..

5 years ago

@ Keetur: Glad you enjoyed it, good luck with the Wife :O)

5 years ago

Still on my "first" pin but I've caught myself scoping out places for the next ones! Great read Ven!

5 years ago

Great story! Love to hear about the love of pinball being passed on to the next gens!

5 years ago

This is the era that shook up pinball. Games that talked was an amazing innovation for pinball. I have two, Eight ball deluxe and Flash Gordon. I was a floor guy as a summer job for an amusement park arcade and people would lay quarters down for their turn on some of those games. One of my games ( Flash Gordon) I purchased after it was there 3 seasons and I have had it ever since.

5 years ago

Is it just me or does it seem like Pinball is coming back in a major way? Friggin awesome!!
Liked your story mate, sounds very similar to my Dad except he never got any pins for our house, really wish that he did. Like you said, it's amazing how many people like pinball and how competive they get when they just give it a chance.
When myself and my wife went to NYC two years ago we went to a Skate shop with 8 pins in Manhattan ( dunno if it's still there now but the owner co-owns Jackbar in Brooklyn I think)
and it was the first time she had actually played one.
I was jamming away on WCS, WOZ, The Getaway for almost an hour and my wife was kinda just on her phone and not enjoying herself. Anyways, I finally said " are you gonna play or what?" And she did, and loved it!!! Everyone needs to take a family member or friend to play pinball and spread the love of the game :)

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