I played my first pinball machine when I was 7 years old. I had no idea I was going to, it just kinda happened that way...
I used to live in Columbus, Ohio back in the 70's. Twice a year, I'd get the wonderful ride in the car to the dentist office for a checkup. We would drive down High Street and pass a place called 'The Golden 8 ball'. Now I know from the outside it was probably a place to play pool, but I had no idea what else was waiting for me inside.
I told my parents that for my 7th birthday I wanted to go to the Golden 8 Ball. Given the possible seediness of the pool hall scene, only my dad and I went. I got a birthday card from my grandmother that had those little pockets in it with about $2.00 in dimes. It also reads 'Have fun at the pinballs!' I still have that card. Anyways, from what I do remember, we went in on a Sat morning, and it was pretty empty patron wise, but it was filled with pinball machines. I'm guessing it had 20-30, but I really have no idea. So my dad and I spent several hours playing pinball that day.
Fast forward about 7 years, I had become hooked on video games. I used to go to an arcade on High street again near OSU campus called Touchdown. They always seemed to have 2-3 pins there, and I can remember playing High Speed, Black Knight, Pinbot amoug others. I went there to really play video games, but I still enjoyed playing a few games of pinball.
Fast forward about another 13 years or so. I had finally bought my first house which had come with a nice finished pool table. I knew I needed something more, so after a bit of searching, I found a local pinball dealer and picked up my first game, a Williams High Speed (Thanks to John Yates of Mclean, Illinois). I loved that game when I was a teen, I still really enjoy it. And yes, I still have that game.
As many of you know, pinballs mulitply like bunnies. One became two, became 15. I even threw a shuffle alley or two into the mix. I had filled my space up with out making it too cramped and congested. At that point I started to buy and sell the games to help support the habit, as well as being able to play a variety of games.
Over the years, *I* seem to come accross more Williams games then other manfacturers, and hence the name 'Wmsfan' or Williams Fan.
Now that I have 3 children to watch after, I don't currently have as much time as I used to for pinball, but I still enjoy the hobby. I still go through several pins a year that I work on, the kids play untill they say its time to get rid of them. I have been to many Pinball Expo shows over the years-Many thanks to Josh Sharp and his pinball league that got me going in the first place!- and my kids have been to several as well. Keeping the flame going.
Some of the games I've owned inlclude-
Pinbot, Magic City, Comet, Cyclone, Lucky Seven, Big Ben, Tucson, Wild Wild West, Screwball, Matahari, Swinger, Fire, Firepower, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Cabaret, Grand Lizard, Theater of Magic, Star Pool, Triple Strike, Miss America, Travel Time, Beat The Clock, Space Mission, Sea Island, amongst many others, and several other EM games- shuffle alleys, Gun games, etc.