Actual real pinball machines...

By Zombreebot

July 29, 2016

This story got frontpaged on July 29, 2016

7 years ago

I have always had a fondness for video/arcade type games. I grew up in the 80s and it was such a blast. At home we had an Atari and would frequently play games like Super Breakout or Tanks together as a family. But it was going to the local arcade (Funtown in Knoxville, TN usually) that I looked forward to the most. Back then, there were also arcade machines in all the pizza joints, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and just about any other type of place. Rolls upon rolls of quarters I fed to Gauntlet (warrior needs food badly), Crystal Castles (that worm...ugh), DigDug (darn you fire breathing underground dragon), and PacMan (just you wait until next time Blinky). Later, we also got a Nintendo console (thanks Mom!) - on which I played Mario for hours at a time, learning every nook and cranny and where all the little green 1UP mushrooms were.

It wasn't until probably high school that I developed a fondness for pinball machines. I liked their lights, the action, and the feel of connecting to the machine that video games (while great) just didn't really have. I would play pinball anytime there was a machine around close by. DMDs were the "new thing" I guess at that time (early 90s) and I looked forward to seeing the animations and wondered what would happen next on each one I played as every game was different.

Now that I am almost 40 (yep I said it) and "all grown up" I still play some type of game just about every day (great stress relief). Xbox, Playstation, you name it I got it and taught my kids how to play it. Games are a family past time and will always be, as far as I am concered. Then, one day my 7 year old daughter showed me a pinball game she had been playing on Xbox. We got to talking about it and she laughed and told me she didn't know there were actual real pinball machines. I could not believe this! How could this be?

This led to me telling her long winded stories of all the great pinballs I used to play "back in the old days" as she calls it (haha). I also realized I had not seen a pinball machine in years. So, I googled a few pictures to show them to her and sure enough, saw there was a Pinball Expo in Atlanta. Being the cool Mom I am, I took her to it - even carried along a little step stool so she would be able to stand on it to see while she played her first real pinball. She fell in love with Data East Jurassic Park, which I have to admit, brought something back to life inside of me.

Since then, we still play video games but can't stop thinking and talking about pinball. I read tons of articles and surfed the pinside site. Quickly realized I had no idea how pins worked, am not really a great player, and had no place to put one. You only live once so I decided to take the plunge and buy one anyway (unless you jump in there you will never learn - right?). Today a Tales from the Crypt pin sits in our dining room. This particular pin brings back such nostalgia for me. So far, we have fixed a couple of minor issues on it - fuses and springs mostly (you go gals!). Also plan to add Jurassic Park to our collection once we move out of our 2nd floor apartment (yep, I'm sure my neighbors love me) into a house where we have more room. We are both thrilled to have taken up this hobby together and in becoming a part of this great Pinside community. Look forward to meeting you!

Shelly Strickland
Evans, GA

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7 years ago

Awesome Shelley! You'll learn how to fix stuff quickly and yep, everyone here can help out with questions. Have fun!

7 years ago

Very cool story. Keep on playing....

7 years ago

Great story and even cooler that you are a mom passing on your pinball passion to your daughter.

7 years ago

Shelly, Cool post and I have had friends that move kitchen or living room furniture to accommodate just one more machine. That is awesome your daughter has that pinball interest and it does keep you forever a kid at heart. That is awesome that you can enjoy "real machines" together and is one of my driving forces for restorations. Preserve the pinball for others to enjoy and keep that nostalgia and energy flowing. Keep on flipping and your next machine awaits. There is no cure for pinball fever, I speak from experience and it keeps you ready for the next game on!

7 years ago

Your kids are so lucky to have a mum like you...The more kids we can introduce to this hobby the better for all of us. Welcome to the community :-)

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