How I got involved with Pinball

By WayneZ0207

June 11, 2022

This story got featured & frontpaged on June 13, 2022

23 days ago

I remember playing pinball when I was little. My mom and dad stood me up on a chair and taught me to use both buttons. However, I didn't play often as I was often interested in other arcade games such as Time Crisis II or Tekken 3. That would all change when I met someone who would change my life forever. I will be referring to him as TickleFeather369. He was the manager of the Klamath Fish Hatchery at the time that I wrote this.

His current employment status remains secretive out of respect for him. Getting back on topic, at first, we were rivals, always pulling pranks on each other and having lightsaber duels. But one of the many things where our rivalry truly showed was at the pinball matches I challenged him to. One Christmas day, I got an Xbox One S, and eventually, we wound up downloading a game on the Xbox called "Stern Pinball Arcade." It was a collection of 11 pinball machines that you could play on.

Frankenstein was free, but you have to purchase the rest. After purchasing the machines, we had plenty of choices on what machine we should play for our matches. We most commonly played on the Xbox for entertainment, but because the console was always out at the hatchery, whenever we were actually in town, we went to an arcade from across my mom's house and we would play there during the pre-pandemic era. Playing these machines all the time allowed me to develop my skills. (Mostly on the virtual machines on my Xbox) And eventually, I could execute wizard modes, and Harley Davidson was the machine that helped me build my skills.

I tried to improve my rival's skills, but he never did improve. We were always rivals regardless, always going at it trying to prove to each other that one of us was better. But one fateful day, I had begun going through many personal struggles as I grew up and became more and more mature. One of those struggles was a condition called Autism Spectrum Disorder, which impairs the ability to communicate and forge meaningful connections. When I was little, I ignored that because I always had my grandmother around.

However, when she passed, things came from bad to worse, leading to where I was at the time. Because of that, I formed an alliance with TickleFeather369, and we banded together to form a charity organization called Hurst Entertainment. We did charity livestreams to fundraise for Autism Awareness and Research because I didn't want those like me to end up in the same kind of place I did. I then realized there was more to playing pinball and video games in general than just having fun or having a hobby. There was a purpose behind it.

It could be used to entertain an audience, and it inspired many to help out in their community. So that was when I started playing pinball for charity through content creation. At first, it was just a few of us on a team doing charity livestreams, but then one person tuned in, and that person turned into five, and then ten. And our fanbase evolved into a small community, where everyone could tune in and watch me and TickleFeather369 compete in pinball and other video games. Not only did this help my skills tremendously, but I also found success in doing so. I had raised thousands of dollars to help individuals and their families affected by the condition and after struggling in distance learning when the pandemic first hit, I wound up getting a 4.0 GPA and maintaining it throughout my junior and senior years of high school.

I eventually got to a point where I would become nearly unstoppable. I then improved my skills to unrealistic capabilities and wound up getting world records on the Ghostbusters and Mustang pinball machines. I had become inspirational, and it helped me forge the many dreams I want to accomplish. At the time I finished writing this, I had graduated from high school, and had been admitted to a four-year university. On June 18th, 2022, I will have finished my fundraising campaign and pinball and streaming will have become a mere hobby for me.

But along with scholarships that I am looking to apply to while studying for nine years in school, I am looking into starting a bit of a professional career on Twitch during my 2022 winter term in college if the fall term goes well and use that as a means to help earn money to pay for tuitions and other expenses, and expand my arsenal of equipment and pinball skills. And five years following the campaign's conclusion, I am also going to resume my charity work fundraising for the same cause under a bigger organization, where four of my friends are going to form their own charity organizations and we will fundraise for many charitable causes as I finish my Ph.D. and look to start a career as an astronaut and become the first person on Mars. Pinball and school transformed me into a better person and I couldn't have done what I had done without the help from my family and friends.

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6 days ago

Very interesting and inspirational story. Keep up the hard work. You’re going places!!!

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