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How I Got Here and My First Dive into EM

By Zarklin

March 20, 2016

4 years ago

Please excuse the wall of text this ran on way more than intended

Just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. As the title say I'm new to the world of EM and pins in general aside from the hours spent playing as a kid. I grew up in the 90s and arcades were on the decline, I only remember one or two and they were small little rooms off in the corner of the local malls. I would always beg to go when my folks would be going to that area, lucky for me, mom loved pins. I spend every quarter I could plead out of her playing Addams Family, Fun House, Terminator... and many more I can't remember along with some light gun games for good measure lol. Things got dry in my area for a long time, no arcades shy of 4-5 games at the bowling alley or movie theater. Once places like Dave-n-Busters and Jillian's started popping up I finally got my fix again but it cost so much to play a broke HS kid couldn't spend much time there. Aside from the fact my games went quick... keep the ball in play was the goal, I had no idea what the rules or objectives were.

So why and how did I end up here? Well.... I would still get a bug to play now and then but never the opportunity. One of my hobbies is playing and collecting video games, ended up with a room in the basement dedicated to it. Lucky for me the whole family gets involved and has a great time. I've wanted to get some arcade games and a pin or two for the basement and I started remodeling to open the place up more so I started looking for pins. I could not believe some of prices 5k, 8k and up I gave up hope. Enter humble bundle they had a cheap package with a bunch of pinball fx2 tables (yes I know its computer but it tickled my itch) When I started looking into it I found the world of Virtual pins, in full size cabs with real buttons and launchers! My mind was blown how did I not know about this! I showed my wife and she got a childish smile and told me "new project, build one". That was a couple weeks ago. Off I went on my quest, finding cab plans, parts list etc. I starting hitting CL and EBay hard looking to catch a deal on a lock down bar, legs anything and one day up pops a Williams Fan-Tas-Tic in the next town over asking $487

My first thought was ohh it's one of those old ones, I never played these are they any fun, how do they even work naw don't bother. But it kept nagging at me every time I did a search on CL there it was. So I watched a youtube video of it, looks kinda interesting. Showed my wife she was mixed too. But I kept thinking about it, wanting to give it a try. After a couple days we decided wth why not can't hurt to look at it, wouldn't mind having one it's a piece of history and those chimes are iconic. So I did a few google searches that let me first to ipdb. One look inside of the cab and I was terrified and also completely intrigued. How does all this work? Switches, relays, motors and coils, this is amazing. I wanted it even more, the next search lead me here. Specifically to the look what's on CL thread, someone had posted the link to the very ad that drew me in. I joined up made my first post asking about the machine mentioned I wanted to go check it out but was hesitant. I was instantly welcomed with advise, pointers and more info I knew existed on the topic, even a very nice PM from someone in my state.

I've been lurking around for just over a week now and reading like crazy. There is so much info the soak in and I'll need it.

I'm happy to say after walking away the first time the seller and I came to an agreement. Turns out he also had a Bally Op-Pop-Pop in the barn both of which will be coming home to me this weekend along with a late 70s Kenwood stereo (yea love the vintage audio too lol) for less than he was asking for the Fan-Tas-Tic alone.

Seller didn't know much about them other than he was "told" they both worked. They came with the house pretty much. The Fan-Tas-Tic plays but has some problems, I'd say it's 90% on the mechanical side, one plastic was broke but lucky for me one was on ebay so I snagged it tonight. The play-field has some wear spots but for the game counter being at near 76k I understand BG is rough but mostly there. The Bally has a beautiful play-field aside from a small ball groove (25k plays on the counter) but the BG is pretty much shot imo. We plugged the Bally in tonight and nothing just the coin door lights came on. I noticed a wire was disconnected from the score motor and no ball in it. I hope it springs to life with that wire back on and a ball loaded. One of the zipper flippers is sagging a bit so I'm assuming a rebuild is in order or at least an adjustment. Both are missing the back box covers but it looks easy enough to make one. Time to order balls, new rubbers, novus, mill wax and I'm debating converting to leds. Have the manual and schematics for the Fan-Tas-Tic downloaded and ready to go. The Bally had all that inside the cab.

I'll be taking a deep dive and posting pictures of each once I bring them home, then bust out the multi meter and get to work. I'm sure it wasn't near the deal of the century but I'm excited and truly have the bug now.

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4 years ago

Great story! I'm glad you dived into the world of real pinball. The virtual stuff is fun but there is a lot of fun to be had tearing wires/solenoids/etc. apart and getting it to work correctly. Have fun!

4 years ago

Fun story - you are ceryainly going THE OLD SCHOOL ROUTE to start!!!

Good luck and have fun !!!

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