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(Topic ID: 251809)

47th Anniversary


By LTG

1 year ago



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  • 89 posts
  • 64 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 months ago by kashif333
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    There are 89 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 2.
    #51 1 year ago
    Quoted from AUKraut:

    and we need to start a Pinball Hall Of Fame campaign for you!!!

    I'm ready. http://pinballhalloffame.com/

    LTG : )

    #52 1 year ago

    You're the best Lloyd - keep up the great work!

    #53 1 year ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    http://www.pinballnews.com/news/lloyd50k.html Scroll most of the way down for more answers.
    LTG : )

    The plot thickens!

    Hey, you're in the rare position of being an operator for a long time, through all of the ups and downs. Can you talk about how this recent wave for pinball compares to the 90's, 80's and prior. Are the players the same? Are the manufacturers similar to how they were 30 or 40 years ago? When were games swallowing quarters the fastest?

    Anyway, those are just questions, you don't have to answer any of them, just wanted to get an appreciation from the view of your unique vantage point.

    #54 1 year ago
    Quoted from Rondogg:

    Can you talk about

    I'll get back to this when I can ponder and try and give a better, longer answer.

    LTG : )

    #55 1 year ago

    Congrats Lloyd! Thanks for all the assistance you've given...all the way back to r.g.p. days.

    You get the lifetime achievement award in my book. All the best to you kind sir.

    Chris

    #56 1 year ago

    Love Ya, Lloyd! 47 More!!!

    #57 1 year ago

    Congratulations, Lloyd!

    Even though I've only been in the hobby for a few years, I’ve seen what a class act and asset to this community you are. I only wish I’d been into pins when my wife and I lived in Eagan during the ‘90s, then I would have gotten to meet you. Great accomplishment!

    #58 1 year ago

    Lloyd, you've helped so many people in ways you probably don't even know. Thanks for everything!

    I remember visiting you at SS Billiards when I was just starting to get into pinball and you treated me like an old friend. Really made me enjoy pinball a lot more.

    #59 1 year ago

    Congrats Lloyd
    You are a true asset to this hobby/industry!

    #60 1 year ago

    Congratulations!...Hope I can make your 50th year party!

    #61 1 year ago

    Congrats! And thank you Lloyd, your knowledge and generosity know no bounds on these boards and we are very lucky to have you here.

    23
    #62 1 year ago
    Quoted from Rondogg:

    Hey, you're in the rare position of being an operator for a long time, through all of the ups and downs. Can you talk about how this recent wave for pinball compares to the 90's, 80's and prior. Are the players the same? Are the manufacturers similar to how they were 30 or 40 years ago? When were games swallowing quarters the fastest?

    I'll try and respond to this. From my experience. Doesn't mean it was the same for others. And not much to say about the 1972 air hockey fad or foosball fad right after. They helped, but weren't enough to keep up and grow. Pool was always good to cover rent until about 2005.

    First, games that swallowed coins fastest was before my time. Mid 1940's on around here. The nickel operated gambling pins. Many ops dumped the huge cash boxes on a table. Split the pile in half. Asked the location to choose one side. Boxed the rest and took off. Didn't have time to count at the location. In Minnesota those games paid out tokens, which if the location knew the person, they bought them back for a nickel apiece. If they didn't know them, they wouldn't buy them, gambling was illegal. The money hauled in was unbelievable.

    Much of my experience starts at the beginning of 1979. My Mother had an operator in here and couldn't buy her own games. When KISS and Pinball Pool came out about the same time. The operator would put in one or the other. I over stepped my bounds then. Until then my mother ran the show. I told the operator to let me know which one he was putting in and I'd buy the other one and put it in. He said he'd put in Pinball Pool. And I knew he couldn't be trusted so I bought Pinball Pool and put it in. Sure enough he put in the KISS. I knew he'd try and screw me over if I could buy a machine and leave me with two of the same title in here. Needless to say we damn near had a war.

    As the year progressed it was becoming apparent my Mother and I had a difference of how things should be run. To put it nicely. She sold me her interests in Fall and helped out part time until October 1987.

    I picked up more new video games and new pinball machines and kindly asked the operator to remove their equipment. Darn near had a war on that one too. Oh well.

    So this brings us to the start of the video fad. Great times until it crashed. I bought 42 new games in 1981. I was always on quarters, thankfully. As income went from huge to nothing, I avoided the token wars. 5 for a dollar, ten for a dollar, 20 for a dollar. I sat and watched as other arcades jumped off the cliff faster.

    Times were real lean until about 1986. With the coming of high Speed, video games and pinball were on the up tick. This era seemed to be part of a seven year cycle. From good to bad to good again. Which in about 1996 the cycle never went up again.

    Things were rolling. Pinball was doing good, the fighting and driving video games were hauling in again. I thought nothing of buying a $27K Sega Virtua Racer. And little did I know the economy was going to have a direct impact on my industry.

    First 50¢ pin was Black Knight in 1981. Pins should have gone to 75¢ in 1991 according to the US Government cost of living index to have the same buying power. It's little things. I'm bringing in good numbers, but losing ground. Rent goes up, utilities, food, etc. etc. by 1996 the industry was on the roller coaster to hell and nothing could prevent the loss of video game and pinball manufacturers. At one point there were 2 or 3 hundred operators in Minnesota, which kept shrinking, I don't think there are 20 left in the state today.

    With the closing of Williams an ensuing panic of what am I going to do about pinball. Through all the years I didn't buy every new pinball that came out. I buy a pinball machine my gross doesn't go up. I buy a video game my gross goes up. But I could see I was heading toward a niche market with pinball, but with what pins ? I had the idea of buying up NOS playifleds, plastics, parts, to restore games. ( no repro stuff to speak of then ) I thought if I restored a game and brought it back, it could earn, and I could sell it later. Until something new in coin op. First up was an Eight Ball Deluxe LE. Restored. NOS playfield clear coated, NOS plastics and pop bumper caps. Repainted the cabinet. Brought the electronics up to speed. $5K into that project. Saw it earn a couple bucks a week. F**K !. Had trouble selling it for $900. Everyone said after it was gone that they would have bought it for that. They must have missed the for sale sign on it for 6 months.

    Gave up on that project. Sold all the things I had bought to do this.

    Motored along and started leaning more into pinball. Traded some vids for some A title pinball machines and bought some. 2001 saw the start of the Goose Parties. And some time after Todd Andersen ran some leagues and tournaments. And Stern was building some good pins.

    I tried some classic video games to give people another reason to stop in. I was told they'd take in money for a day or two and die. Which is what happened. Worth a try but a waste of money and labor. I tried selling parts for awhile but never brought in players like I hope it would so I stopped doing that too.

    I kept my pins at .50¢ a game way longer than I should have. I was sliding into bankruptcy. I finally started raising price per play. If I'd done that sooner, I could have kept more games, or kept them longer instead of selling games to stay open. Hindsight is always best.

    Fred Richardson ran the first Mayday Tournament here in 2005 and around this time Jason Rufer started his once a month event. I eventually ran both of them. The Goose Parties turned into the Pinball Circus. I added tournaments on New Year's Day and the day after Thanksgiving. Things were going okay, not great. Just treading water.

    And ran smack into the economy downturn about 2005. Everything pretty much turned to dog crap about then. Sold some rare stuff. Started gaining ground. Boom, right into the no smoking in 2006 by Hennepin County and the state doing it state wide in October 2007. Business dropped about 90%.

    Kept plugging along, treading water but not making great gains or anything. Things kind of stagnated and were going no where. About 2012 I started rethinking all the events. 40 years ago you'd run leagues or tournaments to cook your books. Business is growing, we have other interests, time to sell. And the leagues and tournaments start dragging you down. Your everyday player, the person paying your rent. Can't compete with the pros and slowly stops coming in. And the great players only come in if you pay them. Big prizes etc. So I started dropping the tournaments one by one. They are gone forever. The Pinball Circus is on hiatus, it may return some day. And after a year I started seeing my gross go up again. So I knew I was on the right path. Early in 2014 Kris Lillemo approached me about doing a fund raiser and refresh my business. I had thought about it in the past. But with some of the scams run on fund raisers, I didn't think many would contribute. When Kris wanted to do it, I thought okay. If he fails, no harm no foul, he tried. It was successful and got me a good jump ahead of where I was to where I'm going.

    Which brings us to what was going on in pinball since Williams closed. Which was about the time the hobby was taking off.

    Now years ago the manufacturers made the games. Sold to distributors. Who in turn sold to operators who dumped them on the street to make money. Now if an operator complained to a distributor, unless he was a big customer. He'd be having to find a new distributor. If the distributor complained to the manufacturer, unless he was a big customer, he'd be looking for a new manufacturer. So now we have people wanting to buy games for their homes that were never intended for the home market, but were intended for commercial use.

    The manufacturers today are faced with a growing customer base, many of who don't know that much about maintaining pinball machines. My hat is off to Stern. In the worst decade ever in coin op. Gary Stern kept the doors open and built some of the greatest pinball machines ever. The Simpson's Pinball Party, Lord Of The Rings, etc. etc. And quality was way better than what operators faced in the 1980's and 1990's. This really fueled the home market, and location pinball was on the rise. People were seeking out pinball machines to play. People were seeking out pinball machines to buy.

    Growth may be a sword with two edges. The hobby has brought more manufacturers, parts, repro stuff, to the world than the industry ever did. People seeking pins to play on location. Buying pins for their homes. More manufacturers starting up. Many more locations having pins to play. Which brings me to wonder with the advent of so many homes with pins, and so many locations with pins. If things have shifted. If we are losing players because they are no longer driven to seek games and don't play on location as much as they used to. If things will go the other way again.

    This past winter I had the best line up in here in well over a decade. And too many times I had all the pool tables going and no pins. Now I am only referring to my business, my experience. I do wonder if a shift is starting again ? Time will tell.

    I would like to apologize for making this so long. I was asked to cover some of what I witnessed and lived through and give an overview of pinball during this time.
    I tried to be thorough and cover the highlights. Many that people who know me, didn't even know.

    LTG : )

    #63 1 year ago

    Fascinating read. Thanks for sharung.

    #64 1 year ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    I'll try and respond to this. From my experience. Doesn't mean it was the same for others. And not much to say about the 1972 air hockey fad or foosball fad right after. They helped, but weren't enough to keep up and grow. Pool was always good to cover rent until about 2005.
    First, games that swallowed coins fastest was before my time. Mid 1940's on around here. The nickel operated gambling pins. Many ops dumped the huge cash boxes on a table. Split the pile in half. Asked the location to choose one side. Boxed the rest and took off. Didn't have time to count at the location. In Minnesota those games paid out tokens, which if the location knew the person, they bought them back for a nickel apiece. If they didn't know them, they wouldn't buy them, gambling was illegal. The money hauled in was unbelievable.
    Much of my experience starts at the beginning of 1979. My Mother had an operator in here and couldn't buy her own games. When KISS and Pinball Pool came out about the same time. The operator would put in one or the other. I over stepped my bounds then. Until then my mother ran the show. I told the operator to let me know which one he was putting in and I'd buy the other one and put it in. He said he'd put in Pinball Pool. And I knew he couldn't be trusted so I bought Pinball Pool and put it in. Sure enough he put in the KISS. I knew he'd try and screw me over if I could buy a machine and leave me with two of the same title in here. Needless to say we damn near had a war.
    As the year progressed it was becoming apparent my Mother and I had a difference of how things should be run. To put it nicely. She sold me her interests in Fall and helped out part time until October 1987.
    I picked up more new video games and new pinball machines and kindly asked the operator to remove their equipment. Darn near had a war on that one too. Oh well.
    So this brings us to the start of the video fad. Great times until it crashed. I bought 42 new games in 1981. I was always on quarters, thankfully. As income went from huge to nothing, I avoided the token wars. 5 for a dollar, ten for a dollar, 20 for a dollar. I sat and watched as other arcades jumped off the cliff faster.
    Times were real lean until about 1986. With the coming of high Speed, video games and pinball were on the up tick. This era seemed to be part of a seven year cycle. From good to bad to good again. Which in about 1996 the cycle never went up again.
    Things were rolling. Pinball was doing good, the fighting and driving video games were hauling in again. I thought nothing of buying a $27K Sega Virtua Racer. And little did I know the economy was going to have a direct impact on my industry.
    First 50¢ pin was Black Knight in 1981. Pins should have gone to 75¢ in 1991 according to the US Government cost of living index to have the same buying power. It's little things. I'm bringing in good numbers, but losing ground. Rent goes up, utilities, food, etc. etc. by 1996 the industry was on the roller coaster to hell and nothing could prevent the loss of video game and pinball manufacturers. At one point there were 2 or 3 hundred operators in Minnesota, which kept shrinking, I don't think there are 20 left in the state today.
    With the closing of Williams an ensuing panic of what am I going to do about pinball. Through all the years I didn't buy every new pinball that came out. I buy a pinball machine my gross doesn't go up. I buy a video game my gross goes up. But I could see I was heading toward a niche market with pinball, but with what pins ? I had the idea of buying up NOS playifleds, plastics, parts, to restore games. ( no repro stuff to speak of then ) I thought if I restored a game and brought it back, it could earn, and I could sell it later. Until something new in coin op. First up was an Eight Ball Deluxe LE. Restored. NOS playfield clear coated, NOS plastics and pop bumper caps. Repainted the cabinet. Brought the electronics up to speed. $5K into that project. Saw it earn a couple bucks a week. F**K !. Had trouble selling it for $900. Everyone said after it was gone that they would have bought it for that. They must have missed the for sale sign on it for 6 months.
    Gave up on that project. Sold all the things I had bought to do this.
    Motored along and started leaning more into pinball. Traded some vids for some A title pinball machines and bought some. 2001 saw the start of the Goose Parties. And some time after Todd Andersen ran some leagues and tournaments. And Stern was building some good pins.
    I tried some classic video games to give people another reason to stop in. I was told they'd take in money for a day or two and die. Which is what happened. Worth a try but a waste of money and labor. I tried selling parts for awhile but never brought in players like I hope it would so I stopped doing that too.
    I kept my pins at .50¢ a game way longer than I should have. I was sliding into bankruptcy. I finally started raising price per play. If I'd done that sooner, I could have kept more games, or kept them longer instead of selling games to stay open. Hindsight is always best.
    Fred Richardson ran the first Mayday Tournament here in 2005 and around this time Jason Rufer started his once a month event. I eventually ran both of them. The Goose Parties turned into the Pinball Circus. I added tournaments on New Year's Day and the day after Thanksgiving. Things were going okay, not great. Just treading water.
    And ran smack into the economy downturn about 2005. Everything pretty much turned to dog crap about then. Sold some rare stuff. Started gaining ground. Boom, right into the no smoking in 2006 by Hennepin County and the state doing it state wide in October 2007. Business dropped about 90%.
    Kept plugging along, treading water but not making great gains or anything. Things kind of stagnated and were going no where. About 2012 I started rethinking all the events. 40 years ago you'd run leagues or tournaments to cook your books. Business is growing, we have other interests, time to sell. And the leagues and tournaments start dragging you down. Your everyday player, the person paying your rent. Can't compete with the pros and slowly stops coming in. And the great players only come in if you pay them. Big prizes etc. So I started dropping the tournaments one by one. They are gone forever. The Pinball Circus is on hiatus, it may return some day. And after a year I started seeing my gross go up again. So I knew I was on the right path. Early in 2014 Kris Lillemo approached me about doing a fund raiser and refresh my business. I had thought about it in the past. But with some of the scams run on fund raisers, I didn't think many would contribute. When Kris wanted to do it, I thought okay. If he fails, no harm no foul, he tried. It was successful and got me a good jump ahead of where I was to where I'm going.
    Which brings us to what was going on in pinball since Williams closed. Which was about the time the hobby was taking off.
    Now years ago the manufacturers made the games. Sold to distributors. Who in turn sold to operators who dumped them on the street to make money. Now if an operator complained to a distributor, unless he was a big customer. He'd be having to find a new distributor. If the distributor complained to the manufacturer, unless he was a big customer, he'd be looking for a new manufacturer. So now we have people wanting to buy games for their homes that were never intended for the home market, but were intended for commercial use.
    The manufacturers today are faced with a growing customer base, many of who don't know that much about maintaining pinball machines. My hat is off to Stern. In the worst decade ever in coin op. Gary Stern kept the doors open and built some of the greatest pinball machines ever. The Simpson's Pinball Party, Lord Of The Rings, etc. etc. And quality was way better than what operators faced in the 1980's and 1990's. This really fueled the home market, and location pinball was on the rise. People were seeking out pinball machines to play. People were seeking out pinball machines to buy.
    Growth may be a sword with two edges. The hobby has brought more manufacturers, parts, repro stuff, to the world than the industry ever did. People seeking pins to play on location. Buying pins for their homes. More manufacturers starting up. Many more locations having pins to play. Which brings me to wonder with the advent of so many homes with pins, and so many locations with pins. If things have shifted. If we are losing players because they are no longer driven to seek games and don't play on location as much as they used to. If things will go the other way again.
    This past winter I had the best line up in here in well over a decade. And too many times I had all the pool tables going and no pins. Now I am only referring to my business, my experience. I do wonder if a shift is starting again ? Time will tell.
    I would like to apologize for making this so long. I was asked to cover some of what I witnessed and lived through and give an overview of pinball during this time.
    I tried to be thorough and cover the highlights. Many that people who know me, didn't even know.
    LTG : )

    Incredible. You stuck it out during some extreme market shifts!

    #65 1 year ago

    Love the old pics man! Congrats hope to see you at Expo.

    #66 1 year ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    I'll try and respond to this. From my experience. Doesn't mean it was the same for others. And not much to say about the 1972 air hockey fad or foosball fad right after. They helped, but weren't enough to keep up and grow. Pool was always good to cover rent until about 2005.
    First, games that swallowed coins fastest was before my time. Mid 1940's on around here. The nickel operated gambling pins. Many ops dumped the huge cash boxes on a table. Split the pile in half. Asked the location to choose one side. Boxed the rest and took off. Didn't have time to count at the location. In Minnesota those games paid out tokens, which if the location knew the person, they bought them back for a nickel apiece. If they didn't know them, they wouldn't buy them, gambling was illegal. The money hauled in was unbelievable.
    Much of my experience starts at the beginning of 1979. My Mother had an operator in here and couldn't buy her own games. When KISS and Pinball Pool came out about the same time. The operator would put in one or the other. I over stepped my bounds then. Until then my mother ran the show. I told the operator to let me know which one he was putting in and I'd buy the other one and put it in. He said he'd put in Pinball Pool. And I knew he couldn't be trusted so I bought Pinball Pool and put it in. Sure enough he put in the KISS. I knew he'd try and screw me over if I could buy a machine and leave me with two of the same title in here. Needless to say we damn near had a war.
    As the year progressed it was becoming apparent my Mother and I had a difference of how things should be run. To put it nicely. She sold me her interests in Fall and helped out part time until October 1987.
    I picked up more new video games and new pinball machines and kindly asked the operator to remove their equipment. Darn near had a war on that one too. Oh well.
    So this brings us to the start of the video fad. Great times until it crashed. I bought 42 new games in 1981. I was always on quarters, thankfully. As income went from huge to nothing, I avoided the token wars. 5 for a dollar, ten for a dollar, 20 for a dollar. I sat and watched as other arcades jumped off the cliff faster.
    Times were real lean until about 1986. With the coming of high Speed, video games and pinball were on the up tick. This era seemed to be part of a seven year cycle. From good to bad to good again. Which in about 1996 the cycle never went up again.
    Things were rolling. Pinball was doing good, the fighting and driving video games were hauling in again. I thought nothing of buying a $27K Sega Virtua Racer. And little did I know the economy was going to have a direct impact on my industry.
    First 50¢ pin was Black Knight in 1981. Pins should have gone to 75¢ in 1991 according to the US Government cost of living index to have the same buying power. It's little things. I'm bringing in good numbers, but losing ground. Rent goes up, utilities, food, etc. etc. by 1996 the industry was on the roller coaster to hell and nothing could prevent the loss of video game and pinball manufacturers. At one point there were 2 or 3 hundred operators in Minnesota, which kept shrinking, I don't think there are 20 left in the state today.
    With the closing of Williams an ensuing panic of what am I going to do about pinball. Through all the years I didn't buy every new pinball that came out. I buy a pinball machine my gross doesn't go up. I buy a video game my gross goes up. But I could see I was heading toward a niche market with pinball, but with what pins ? I had the idea of buying up NOS playifleds, plastics, parts, to restore games. ( no repro stuff to speak of then ) I thought if I restored a game and brought it back, it could earn, and I could sell it later. Until something new in coin op. First up was an Eight Ball Deluxe LE. Restored. NOS playfield clear coated, NOS plastics and pop bumper caps. Repainted the cabinet. Brought the electronics up to speed. $5K into that project. Saw it earn a couple bucks a week. F**K !. Had trouble selling it for $900. Everyone said after it was gone that they would have bought it for that. They must have missed the for sale sign on it for 6 months.
    Gave up on that project. Sold all the things I had bought to do this.
    Motored along and started leaning more into pinball. Traded some vids for some A title pinball machines and bought some. 2001 saw the start of the Goose Parties. And some time after Todd Andersen ran some leagues and tournaments. And Stern was building some good pins.
    I tried some classic video games to give people another reason to stop in. I was told they'd take in money for a day or two and die. Which is what happened. Worth a try but a waste of money and labor. I tried selling parts for awhile but never brought in players like I hope it would so I stopped doing that too.
    I kept my pins at .50¢ a game way longer than I should have. I was sliding into bankruptcy. I finally started raising price per play. If I'd done that sooner, I could have kept more games, or kept them longer instead of selling games to stay open. Hindsight is always best.
    Fred Richardson ran the first Mayday Tournament here in 2005 and around this time Jason Rufer started his once a month event. I eventually ran both of them. The Goose Parties turned into the Pinball Circus. I added tournaments on New Year's Day and the day after Thanksgiving. Things were going okay, not great. Just treading water.
    And ran smack into the economy downturn about 2005. Everything pretty much turned to dog crap about then. Sold some rare stuff. Started gaining ground. Boom, right into the no smoking in 2006 by Hennepin County and the state doing it state wide in October 2007. Business dropped about 90%.
    Kept plugging along, treading water but not making great gains or anything. Things kind of stagnated and were going no where. About 2012 I started rethinking all the events. 40 years ago you'd run leagues or tournaments to cook your books. Business is growing, we have other interests, time to sell. And the leagues and tournaments start dragging you down. Your everyday player, the person paying your rent. Can't compete with the pros and slowly stops coming in. And the great players only come in if you pay them. Big prizes etc. So I started dropping the tournaments one by one. They are gone forever. The Pinball Circus is on hiatus, it may return some day. And after a year I started seeing my gross go up again. So I knew I was on the right path. Early in 2014 Kris Lillemo approached me about doing a fund raiser and refresh my business. I had thought about it in the past. But with some of the scams run on fund raisers, I didn't think many would contribute. When Kris wanted to do it, I thought okay. If he fails, no harm no foul, he tried. It was successful and got me a good jump ahead of where I was to where I'm going.
    Which brings us to what was going on in pinball since Williams closed. Which was about the time the hobby was taking off.
    Now years ago the manufacturers made the games. Sold to distributors. Who in turn sold to operators who dumped them on the street to make money. Now if an operator complained to a distributor, unless he was a big customer. He'd be having to find a new distributor. If the distributor complained to the manufacturer, unless he was a big customer, he'd be looking for a new manufacturer. So now we have people wanting to buy games for their homes that were never intended for the home market, but were intended for commercial use.
    The manufacturers today are faced with a growing customer base, many of who don't know that much about maintaining pinball machines. My hat is off to Stern. In the worst decade ever in coin op. Gary Stern kept the doors open and built some of the greatest pinball machines ever. The Simpson's Pinball Party, Lord Of The Rings, etc. etc. And quality was way better than what operators faced in the 1980's and 1990's. This really fueled the home market, and location pinball was on the rise. People were seeking out pinball machines to play. People were seeking out pinball machines to buy.
    Growth may be a sword with two edges. The hobby has brought more manufacturers, parts, repro stuff, to the world than the industry ever did. People seeking pins to play on location. Buying pins for their homes. More manufacturers starting up. Many more locations having pins to play. Which brings me to wonder with the advent of so many homes with pins, and so many locations with pins. If things have shifted. If we are losing players because they are no longer driven to seek games and don't play on location as much as they used to. If things will go the other way again.
    This past winter I had the best line up in here in well over a decade. And too many times I had all the pool tables going and no pins. Now I am only referring to my business, my experience. I do wonder if a shift is starting again ? Time will tell.
    I would like to apologize for making this so long. I was asked to cover some of what I witnessed and lived through and give an overview of pinball during this time.
    I tried to be thorough and cover the highlights. Many that people who know me, didn't even know.
    LTG : )

    Thanks for taking the time to post this for prosperity. You mentioned a lot of stuff is rattling around in your head, so it was good to unearth a nugget from your mine. Your post may be my all time favorite.

    Quoted from Cash_Riprock:

    Congratulations Lloyd and Prada!!!

    Is Lloyd wearing only Prada these days?

    #67 1 year ago

    Congrat's Lloyd!! On a major milestone.

    #68 1 year ago
    Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

    Is Lloyd wearing only Prada these days?

    My dog. She came with a name. Everybody loves her. Often when you come in she'll run over and work you for a chest rub.

    LTG : )

    Pradachest rub (resized).jpg
    #69 1 year ago
    Quoted from whthrs166:

    Love the old pics man!

    Glad you typed it right and not “old man pics”

    #70 1 year ago

    Lloyd, congrats! You are an icon in the pinball world. Very few people around here with your knowledge, background and insights into the coin op business. Looking forward to your 50th! Thanks for all you have done to help everyone over the years - including me on several occasions!

    #71 1 year ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    I'll try and respond to this. From my experience. Doesn't mean it was the same for others. And not much to say about the 1972 air hockey fad or foosball fad right after. They helped, but weren't enough to keep up and grow. Pool was always good to cover rent until about 2005.
    First, games that swallowed coins fastest was before my time. Mid 1940's on around here. The nickel operated gambling pins. Many ops dumped the huge cash boxes on a table. Split the pile in half. Asked the location to choose one side. Boxed the rest and took off. Didn't have time to count at the location. In Minnesota those games paid out tokens, which if the location knew the person, they bought them back for a nickel apiece. If they didn't know them, they wouldn't buy them, gambling was illegal. The money hauled in was unbelievable.
    Much of my experience starts at the beginning of 1979. My Mother had an operator in here and couldn't buy her own games. When KISS and Pinball Pool came out about the same time. The operator would put in one or the other. I over stepped my bounds then. Until then my mother ran the show. I told the operator to let me know which one he was putting in and I'd buy the other one and put it in. He said he'd put in Pinball Pool. And I knew he couldn't be trusted so I bought Pinball Pool and put it in. Sure enough he put in the KISS. I knew he'd try and screw me over if I could buy a machine and leave me with two of the same title in here. Needless to say we damn near had a war.
    As the year progressed it was becoming apparent my Mother and I had a difference of how things should be run. To put it nicely. She sold me her interests in Fall and helped out part time until October 1987.
    I picked up more new video games and new pinball machines and kindly asked the operator to remove their equipment. Darn near had a war on that one too. Oh well.
    So this brings us to the start of the video fad. Great times until it crashed. I bought 42 new games in 1981. I was always on quarters, thankfully. As income went from huge to nothing, I avoided the token wars. 5 for a dollar, ten for a dollar, 20 for a dollar. I sat and watched as other arcades jumped off the cliff faster.
    Times were real lean until about 1986. With the coming of high Speed, video games and pinball were on the up tick. This era seemed to be part of a seven year cycle. From good to bad to good again. Which in about 1996 the cycle never went up again.
    Things were rolling. Pinball was doing good, the fighting and driving video games were hauling in again. I thought nothing of buying a $27K Sega Virtua Racer. And little did I know the economy was going to have a direct impact on my industry.
    First 50¢ pin was Black Knight in 1981. Pins should have gone to 75¢ in 1991 according to the US Government cost of living index to have the same buying power. It's little things. I'm bringing in good numbers, but losing ground. Rent goes up, utilities, food, etc. etc. by 1996 the industry was on the roller coaster to hell and nothing could prevent the loss of video game and pinball manufacturers. At one point there were 2 or 3 hundred operators in Minnesota, which kept shrinking, I don't think there are 20 left in the state today.
    With the closing of Williams an ensuing panic of what am I going to do about pinball. Through all the years I didn't buy every new pinball that came out. I buy a pinball machine my gross doesn't go up. I buy a video game my gross goes up. But I could see I was heading toward a niche market with pinball, but with what pins ? I had the idea of buying up NOS playifleds, plastics, parts, to restore games. ( no repro stuff to speak of then ) I thought if I restored a game and brought it back, it could earn, and I could sell it later. Until something new in coin op. First up was an Eight Ball Deluxe LE. Restored. NOS playfield clear coated, NOS plastics and pop bumper caps. Repainted the cabinet. Brought the electronics up to speed. $5K into that project. Saw it earn a couple bucks a week. F**K !. Had trouble selling it for $900. Everyone said after it was gone that they would have bought it for that. They must have missed the for sale sign on it for 6 months.
    Gave up on that project. Sold all the things I had bought to do this.
    Motored along and started leaning more into pinball. Traded some vids for some A title pinball machines and bought some. 2001 saw the start of the Goose Parties. And some time after Todd Andersen ran some leagues and tournaments. And Stern was building some good pins.
    I tried some classic video games to give people another reason to stop in. I was told they'd take in money for a day or two and die. Which is what happened. Worth a try but a waste of money and labor. I tried selling parts for awhile but never brought in players like I hope it would so I stopped doing that too.
    I kept my pins at .50¢ a game way longer than I should have. I was sliding into bankruptcy. I finally started raising price per play. If I'd done that sooner, I could have kept more games, or kept them longer instead of selling games to stay open. Hindsight is always best.
    Fred Richardson ran the first Mayday Tournament here in 2005 and around this time Jason Rufer started his once a month event. I eventually ran both of them. The Goose Parties turned into the Pinball Circus. I added tournaments on New Year's Day and the day after Thanksgiving. Things were going okay, not great. Just treading water.
    And ran smack into the economy downturn about 2005. Everything pretty much turned to dog crap about then. Sold some rare stuff. Started gaining ground. Boom, right into the no smoking in 2006 by Hennepin County and the state doing it state wide in October 2007. Business dropped about 90%.
    Kept plugging along, treading water but not making great gains or anything. Things kind of stagnated and were going no where. About 2012 I started rethinking all the events. 40 years ago you'd run leagues or tournaments to cook your books. Business is growing, we have other interests, time to sell. And the leagues and tournaments start dragging you down. Your everyday player, the person paying your rent. Can't compete with the pros and slowly stops coming in. And the great players only come in if you pay them. Big prizes etc. So I started dropping the tournaments one by one. They are gone forever. The Pinball Circus is on hiatus, it may return some day. And after a year I started seeing my gross go up again. So I knew I was on the right path. Early in 2014 Kris Lillemo approached me about doing a fund raiser and refresh my business. I had thought about it in the past. But with some of the scams run on fund raisers, I didn't think many would contribute. When Kris wanted to do it, I thought okay. If he fails, no harm no foul, he tried. It was successful and got me a good jump ahead of where I was to where I'm going.
    Which brings us to what was going on in pinball since Williams closed. Which was about the time the hobby was taking off.
    Now years ago the manufacturers made the games. Sold to distributors. Who in turn sold to operators who dumped them on the street to make money. Now if an operator complained to a distributor, unless he was a big customer. He'd be having to find a new distributor. If the distributor complained to the manufacturer, unless he was a big customer, he'd be looking for a new manufacturer. So now we have people wanting to buy games for their homes that were never intended for the home market, but were intended for commercial use.
    The manufacturers today are faced with a growing customer base, many of who don't know that much about maintaining pinball machines. My hat is off to Stern. In the worst decade ever in coin op. Gary Stern kept the doors open and built some of the greatest pinball machines ever. The Simpson's Pinball Party, Lord Of The Rings, etc. etc. And quality was way better than what operators faced in the 1980's and 1990's. This really fueled the home market, and location pinball was on the rise. People were seeking out pinball machines to play. People were seeking out pinball machines to buy.
    Growth may be a sword with two edges. The hobby has brought more manufacturers, parts, repro stuff, to the world than the industry ever did. People seeking pins to play on location. Buying pins for their homes. More manufacturers starting up. Many more locations having pins to play. Which brings me to wonder with the advent of so many homes with pins, and so many locations with pins. If things have shifted. If we are losing players because they are no longer driven to seek games and don't play on location as much as they used to. If things will go the other way again.
    This past winter I had the best line up in here in well over a decade. And too many times I had all the pool tables going and no pins. Now I am only referring to my business, my experience. I do wonder if a shift is starting again ? Time will tell.
    I would like to apologize for making this so long. I was asked to cover some of what I witnessed and lived through and give an overview of pinball during this time.
    I tried to be thorough and cover the highlights. Many that people who know me, didn't even know.
    LTG : )

    That is one of the best non-technical posts I've ever read on this site and probably the only one that long that kept my interest enough to finish it, thanks for taking the time to share it! Pretty amazing you never said f$@# it and closed shop or displayed a really crappy attitude towards people.

    #72 1 year ago

    I was just the #200 upvote for you. Has there ever been any posts with that many upvotes? Certainly a testimony to who you are.

    Darin

    #74 1 year ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    My dog. She came with a name. Everybody loves her. Often when you come in she'll run over and work you for a chest rub.
    LTG : )[quoted image]

    Sounds like she’s the brains of the operation. For the record you don’t wear Prada exclusively anymore, right? You mentioned some things I don’t get:

    1) 1940’s games earned unbelievable but were priced at a nickel. So games (pinball machines?) were placed on location and there was no charge to put them in and the rental fee was half the take. Right so far? How much would a game bring in and how many games would you get? This is something you’ll have to estimate since you weren’t involved but how much could one machine and one location have made at five cents?

    2) 1970’s and 1980’s, Distributors were chosen by manufacturer who then sold games to operators who put them on location. What was required to get operators license? Was a location prevented from being an operator too? Seems like that may have been your Mom’s issue of running the store and using the operator. Was there some contract a location would sign with Op, allowing them to be exclusive? Otherwise they would be free to switch operators at will and I am sure the Ops didn’t allow that. Were there non compete type laws in MN similar to other areas of the country? This whole cycle sounds like a racket, as in racketeering type activity.

    3) You switched to owning/operating after buying out your mom. You wore two hats, but on the operator side you were buying games from a distributor. Were there some hardball tactics used on their end to require Ops to buy a min number of games and to buy less attractive titles in order to get the good stuff? What was some of that like? Might as well also describe what kind of tactics Ops used against locations to determine # games, what kind of games a location could get.

    4) I visited SS Billiards twice and was mugged both times. First time I was in the parking lot leaving and second time it was right by front register. Both time the perp looked just like LTG. Thanks.

    #75 1 year ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Growth may be a sword with two edges. The hobby has brought more manufacturers, parts, repro stuff, to the world than the industry ever did. People seeking pins to play on location. Buying pins for their homes. More manufacturers starting up. Many more locations having pins to play. Which brings me to wonder with the advent of so many homes with pins, and so many locations with pins. If things have shifted. If we are losing players because they are no longer driven to seek games and don't play on location as much as they used to. If things will go the other way again.

    In my area, pinball is pretty big with lots of leagues and tournaments at different locations. Some locations are buying almost every new game. One local location (The Arcade) is selling off most of their pins and buying the game pods and simulator games. We stopped going there - such a shame as they had a bunch of LEs that we liked. Lots of people are buying pins for their homes, but we can't buy them all and keep up. Locations are a good place to "get your fill" of pins that aren't affordable, or aren't considered worthy of ownership yet. With the increase in the popularity of pinball, I think your pinball coin drop will pick up again … at least if you were located in SE Michigan it would.

    #76 1 year ago
    Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

    For the record you don’t wear Prada exclusively anymore, right?

    Just the thongs. Have to keep my image up.

    Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

    You mentioned some things I don’t get:

    I'll try and explain. If you have more questions please let me know.

    1) 5 ¢ a game, but you could shove in way more money to improve your odds and then shoot your one ball. Many were horse racing themed and you tried to get in the win/place/show holes.
    Split was depending on location and operator. The tall cash boxes could hold $800 + in nickels. There were locations that got emptied once a day or more. They were illegal. And everybody had their hand out. From the top on down. It finally came to the point the ops were paying out more to run them than they were making, so they wanted to run the legally. Then they became outlawed and that was the end of them in my state. On a side note. Wisconsin never had them. So when they were outlawed, some of the Minnesota operators were crying "what are we going to do ?". The Wisconsin operators told them, "now you're going to be operators".

    2) Every city has different rules and regulations as far as zoning codes on where you could or couldn't put games. And what licenses you may or may not need. Could be on your business, on you, the place, and each machine. Many of the license costs still came from the gambling days of slot machines. So they could be high. Distributors wouldn't sell to locations or individuals not operating. People would get tired of the game, ends up in a location somewhere, and you could start a war. Destroyed equipment, fires, years ago one distributor had a bomb go off in their front door, even murder. There are some people in life you just don't F with. There was an operator in here when we bought the place, which was why my Mother couldn't buy games. Having contracts with locations is a more recent thing, I'd guess from the late 1990's on as equipment prices rose. No non compete laws as far as I know. So locations had a little in their favor to keep an op or not so they could get better equipment or something the location may not justify. Funny you mention racketeering. You do know the roots of this industry ? Like I said, there are people you don't F with.

    3) None of your business where I bought games from initially. That aside, each distributor could be different. Had minimums to be sure you were an operator. If you were a small operator, you might have to buy some crap games to get a good game, and you wouldn't be the first to get good games, you'd be way down the list. And there could be different prices for equipment depending on who you were. And many distributors had routes too. You start buying a lot for a location, they could go do some checking and if it's a good location they make a better offer and you'd be out. I'm not a street operator. So I don't know all the tactics to get games in a location. Could be friendly just ask. Could be buy the building and tell the location how things are going to be.

    4) Thank you !

    LTG : )

    #77 1 year ago
    Quoted from bobukcat:

    Pretty amazing you never said f$@# it and closed shop

    Just me. I don't know any different. Aut vincere aut mori.

    Quoted from bobukcat:

    displayed a really crappy attitude towards people.

    I always try to be as nice to people as they are to me. And not one second longer. I'll put up with a lot, but do something that may have an adverse effect on my business and game on.

    Through the years there have been people mad at me for things I've done. And spread hatred for me through their friends. They never say how things started. I didn't just get up one morning and decide to be an a**hole. Ya gotta love people.

    And you do something for me. I'll never forget and I'd do anything I could for you.

    LTG : )

    #78 1 year ago

    Congrats!

    #79 1 year ago

    Last question for me. What do you predict the future of pinball will be, say, in the next 10 years?

    #80 1 year ago

    Thank you for all your contributions to the hobbyists and enthusiasts throughout Pinball World.
    Marty

    #81 1 year ago
    Quoted from Rondogg:

    What do you predict the future of pinball will be, say, in the next 10 years?

    While I think the tremendous growth has slowed. There is enough new, younger people into pinball to keep the ball rolling.

    I believe we are also seeing more kids getting into pinball.

    So I think we'll be on an even keel for at least thirty years until the core group starts dying off. Pinball enjoyed a kind of fad for 20 years now. So it won't go away. But will settle down to about half of what we have today.

    LTG : )

    #82 1 year ago

    Happy Anniversary to Lloyd & SS Billiards.

    #83 1 year ago

    Lloyd did you have games at home while you were growing up. Any pin favorite?

    #84 1 year ago
    Quoted from chad:

    Lloyd did you have games at home while you were growing up. Any pin favorite?

    Had a Victory Derby gambling pin with the gambling parts removed when I was growing up. It was left behind when my parents divorced and we moved. That and a Seeburg Jukebox that followed us everywhere, why I don't know. I finally sold it around 2000. And when Wizard Of Wor video game was done here, I moved it home. Had a better monitor in it. I really liked that game. But ended up never getting played at home so I sold it too.

    Capcom Kingpin is my favorite.

    LTG : )

    #85 1 year ago

    My family's visit in 2006 was the highlight of that trip for me Lloyd! Thanks for all the advise you have given out to me and countless others over the years. I miss the old RGP days and being more involved in the hobby. Also, thanks for "mugging" me and the wife at last year's Expo. I hope we can make it again this year but it's not looking good right now. Keep up the good work Sir!

    Kyle W

    #86 1 year ago

    Dave from The Mod Couple dropped off a present. Just in time for my 50th Anniversary party. The Golden Goose.

    LTG : )

    DSC00090 (resized).JPG
    #87 1 year ago

    Had a great time as always visiting with you Mr LTG! Anyone visiting the MN area should visit the amazing SS Billiards. Great lineup of beautiful games and the kindest host you will find (Prada)and of coarse the owner! Thanks again for a great time, we will be there for your 50th and have reservations for the 75th anniversary booked as well.

    #88 1 year ago

    Amazing time in the coin-op and game culture, quite unique too I think.
    Would like to see the place one day too and enjoy a whole day there
    LTG the man with the zillion posts !!
    Congrats for everything and probably lots of patience too !

    4 months later
    #89 8 months ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    A lesson for people to take pictures. Things don't last forever. And with cell phones and digital cameras, today it is so easy.
    Things I should have taken pictures of. Twice a year stand in middle of business and take pictures front and rear to see the changes. Inside my Father's two arcades. The shooting range I painted there and at the state fair ( was once the largest truck mounted mobile shooting gallery ). Even games. As a test operator for 19 years. Every new game I should have taken a picture of front, side, inside. Many games I had were one of a kind due to changes in production, or odd balls. Dedicated Donkey Kong 3 ( each distributor got one to sell the kits ) Pacman Jr. in Mappy cabinet. Sit Down Space Harrier in a Devious cabinet. Blasteroids serial number UR00001. Games from Tokyo before production games made in USA. Even board changes. These would be a gold mine of information now.
    Take those pictures people. You'll be glad you did.
    LTG : )

    That's right and with today's technology and cameras, things are so easy now. And we talk about cameras, samsung mobile phonescame up in mind. I'm using Galaxy Note 9 right now and it never disappoints me in all means.

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