I shared this story with a pinsider that asked for it. He liked it, so I thought I'd share with the group.
With that said, here is the story. I find it an interesting pintale. Caution- you're getting the full story!
Once upon a time, about three years ago now, I found an ad on craigslist that said something along the lines of ''pinball parts for sale'' In the ad, there were several things for sale, video parts, nos gottlieb coils, and some average priced listed pinballs....and a ''project Twilight Zone for $900''
I e-mailed, got a response, and made a date for the TZ. When I got there, I noticed a mint condition Twilight Zone, with no fade (this was a vendor, at their office/warehouse) mint playfield, but the mini playfield was off, and it looked dusty. I offered $800 (would have gladly paid $900) and it came home. Someone had flipped the ribbon cables upside down so a reverse to those, and the game booted, played and was really a nice pin.
Fast forward to last year, I was at a very well known arcade and I was playing a TZ there. This got me to wondering what those vendors had been up to.
Now keep in mind, my area has been wiped out- boom- clean- DONE with vendors getting cleaned out. There have been about a dozen MM wiped out of New England vendors by one person. He wanted this contact I had, because he knew they had one of the only CC's in New England. I never gave up the contact to him, and he could never figure out who it was. (if you're reading this, HI, you know who you are, we're buds
So anyway, after the arcade that day, I decided to stop in to the vendors lair. Two guys came to the door and looked confused as to why I was there. I explained, I had bought the TZ project from them and I was interested in another pin if they had any? ''All we have is a TSPP for $2500''
I said that would work for me, and I arranged to come back within a week. The day I was to go there, I got a phone call ''hey, we'd really like to put that TSPP in a place we need, interested in another TZ for $2500?
I said yes.
I get there and there is another, MINT condition TZ. Only the dmd is faded out. I gladly paid him and noticed a Monster Bash, sitting there. I could hardly believe my eyes, and asked if it too, was available? It was. $3500. Turns out, that it was the game TSPP was replacing, because the MB gi on one side was out.
This mb had the normal disaster at the legs, but unbelievably, no drac trac wear at all. There was mosh pit wear.
I make the deal to come back for MB, but in my mind, I'm out of $$$. I need to think fast. I had a very nice, (my pride and joy) GN'R at home. I had to quickly sell it for funds and I really didn't want to, but had no choice.
I went there a couple days later and then made an offer of $3000. They agreed. As we are loading it up, I noticed a couple pins lined up, one a Nascar. On Nascar is a post it note ''borrowed dmd for CC''
I couldn't believe my eyes. Could it be, THE CC? Sure enough, it was. Now I ask, thinking at this point it's a lock right? ''Noooo'' he replies ''the Pizza shop owner loves that game, and won't give it up''
I couldn't believe it.
He then goes on to say ''they go for stupid money online, like ten grand on ebay, but nobody ever buys those...it's just the same sellers relisting the game over and over again.
Really, a pizza shop owner has taken to one of the most sought after games on the planet...okay.
He was sort of right about sellers and their pricing...with most pins.
Over the course of a year, I would call them. I could not get that game out of my mind. Because it was Cactus Canyon? Because I had never played one? Because I just knew? In the back of my mind, I knew that was my way to finally once and for all, get a MM. A game I have been after and have been one step behind, like chasing a ghost.
His reply was a little different this time '' yeah, that game is getting old now, and I know you've been after it, anything to replace it with?'' I said thinking off the top of my head fast ''how about an Ac/DC Pro?''
''Yeah, something like that would work'' he says.
I was over the moon with optimism. I tried to figure out how to acquire a newer stern like ACDC, but was coming up a little short. I then called back and they had changed their mind, due to the questionable earnings that ACDC would provide. I had to think fast but was coming up empty. ''Well, that pizza shop owner still wants it, so what can ya do....''
I was feeling deflated, but I called back about two weeks later just to shoot the breeze. ''ha, ya that CC is sitting right here in the shop, it broke'' he says.
I could barely contain myself. Now was my chance. I quickly through out- Avengers PRO?
''MMMMM....maybe something like that would work'' he says.
Allentown was one week away and I had to move quick. Where can I get a reasonably priced Avengers PRO? I posted a wtb in groups, but was coming up EMPTY. I figured for sure, Allentown would have a NIB there, right? Wrong. First day, NO new sterns except the premium floor models. The next day, Saturday, Marco pulled out a nib Rolling Stones, and a demo Avengers Pro. I did not hesitate in the purchase for $4300. As I was wheeling it out, many people, including said bud, who had a booth at Allentown, were yelling ''bad decision man!! Should have waited for Metallica...''
Back home, I unloaded it in my garage and played the hell out of it for one day. The next day, I called them. I was anxious and nervous. I KNEW this could very well be, my last shot at this CC.
I call and the phone conversation went something like this
'' Avengers huh..well...I don't know...you know, the pizza shop wants it back...and...why do you want CC so bad?.....well, we'll think about it....''
I was crushed. I went back to playing Avengers and that night went to sleep feeling again, like I was chasing an untouchable ghost.
The next morning I woke up, a light bulb went off in my head the second I opened my eyes. I will call the vendor and see if they want me to bring the Avengers to them, to try it out, or put it on location, just to see if the fit was right for both of us...
''mmm...well, ooookay, if that's what you want to do'' he says.
I did. I've never loaded a pin so fast in my life, and drove an hour to their warehouse. We brought the game inside, plugged her in and they were just wowed over with Avengers.
During them playing Avengers, I see CC. I walk over to it, and it's like something out of a movie. Time feels like it stops. I know this sounds dumb, because after all, it's only material. But the one pin I had chased and wouldn't stop chasing was finally in my grasp. The vendor then came over and said '' well you want to take it now, or wait for the board to be fixed? (before I could yell out YES!! NOW!!'' He says ''but if I was you I wouldn't take it now...it needs work and I wouldn't feel right about you taking a broken game, it could have a lot of other problems and gremlins...''
A few moments later, I ease in, that it is fine- lets go for it.
''Well, I'll have to check with my boss, he'll be back in a few minutes'' he says
I was just stone faced at this point. I couldn't believe my ears. It was like a big f'n carrot on a stick like in the cartoons.
After about ten minutes, the owner comes back. He is told why I am there, barely notices the Avengers, and he goes off in his office, only to emerge after ten minutes from eating his donuts.
he then says ''Now let me get this straight. You want to trade us, this brand new freakin' game, for this hunk of junk that we've routed out for the past 13 years?...doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense to me, because I can put that Avengers anywhere, and make new, fresh money with it. I don't think you're going to make a lot, but if you do, more power to ya''
I said '' do we have a deal then?'' and I reached out my hand for a handshake. He shook. I loaded. I came home, honking my truck along the way. (Yep, CNYpinguy , I did like you
At home, I marveled at it. I went to radio shack to buy the diodes it needed on the driver board and replaced them to make the game 100% operational. Before I left, the vendors took down my address to send me the diodes that had not arrived for the driver yet (which were late shipping from Marco) . 3 days after I had the CC, a letter arrived. Inside were the 2 diodes and a note that read;
''James, we found out how much that CC was worth later that night after you took it home 14-18k!!! Needless to say, my boss is pissed at me, and I don't know if we can do anymore deals?''
I meant to reply, but haven't yet.
As far as pinball goes, acquiring CC meant everything to me. I am a pinball player, and only flip or sell to flavor/have other pins. I play in tournaments, and really cannot afford at this time, to buy all of these crazy games that come out every year or even many of the older ones right now. I've become obsessed with the silver ball. From the art, to the Jackpot, I live and breath it.
The hobby has gone from a small, affordable fishing hole to a crazy deep sea fishing excursion, where most everyone has a huge boat and nobody knows just how far out in the ocean it goes or where they'll end up. The treasure is scattered all around at the bottom of the sea.
After playing it solid for a week, I knew CC rules just were not on par with so many other great pins. I could not justify the price. I knew that a MM at least has the solid rules and game play that CC did not. I tried to trade even, but no bites. I listed it for what I thought was a prett silly number, got a couple bites and one guy paid asking price. Totally fine with the condition. No questions, other than how I wanted to be paid. He received the game by NAVL after a couple weeks and wrote back to tell me how pleased he was, and thanked me for giving it to a good home.
I went and bought a nib AC/DC premium and a HUO SM with the funds. Two games I just could not afford to pull off as a ''toy purchase'' otherwise. (Ac/Dc has since been traded for a Tron)
So that's my CC story if you're still with me. Pinball is an amazing hobby. It's unlike any other really, because it's so hands on in so many different ways, so interactive. I only worry that I might spend too much time in it sometimes, and that my kids are growing up too fast.
Sometimes, it's best to step back and reflect. In the words of one of my all time favorite pins, Funhouse/ Rudy
''Hey, it's only pinball....''