Apparently I wrote you an essay.
Quoted from ceterumnet:
I got serious about Pinball about 2 years ago. I played a Stern Star Wars, and I was hooked. I had played pins here and there when I was a kid in the 80s and 90s. Since then, I've managed to convince my wonderful wife to let me have as many machines that will fit in the space I have (it works out to 4-5.)
I currently have a LOTR, Wonka LE, a TZ on its way, and a JJP GnR CE that's coming who knows when. I also just sold my Star Wars and Iron Maiden to make room for my most recent additions.
For some reason, I assumed that I would only enjoy modern machines. When I first started shooting, the older machines seemed boring to me...but as my skill level has increased, something has changed...
So, I decided to stop by the local pinball place and play a little today. It was a bit of an eye opener for me - I am now a HUGE fan of some of the older machines like Pin*Bot, Bride of Pin*Bot, Jack*Bot, Cirqus Voltaire, Tales of the Arabian Nights, Theatre of Magic, etc... I know that many if not most of you are probably laughing because these aren't really that old compared to some of the earlier machines
I played on Bride of Pin*Bot and Cirqus Voltaire for hours today. I am thoroughly impressed.
These machines have a very different feel to them that I didn't notice before. Also, the layouts actually seemed much more complicated/nuanced than today's pins from Stern and JJP - don't get me wrong, I love both of those pin manufacturers and I hope we keep having more abundance of machines.
I just wanted to share this with fellow pin enthusiasts. I've found that this community, for the most part, has been really great to deal with!
I'd love to hear any stories that you all have around "discovering" "new" old pins like me!
PS> I need a new house with more room for pinball...I think the number of machines I'd like to have is 10. I'd be curious what everyone's magic number is!
It happened to me about 4 years ago at a little place called "Crabtowne USA, in Glen Bernie Maryland". My company office had moved, and it moved about 400 yards down the road from this place. When I drove by it, it had a sign up that said, "retro arcade". I love seafood, and after driving by it a couple of times I decided I had to check it out. I came back with the wife and (at the time) toddler that weekend. Survey says that was a mistake! Inside it had about 30 pinball machines and 50 retro arcade games. Games from the 70s to present. I was brought back to a childhood I spent largely at my parents amusement park, "Tropical Island Golf and Games Funpark". They not only had some great games I had played as a kid like Addams and ST:TNG, but a few newer pinball machines. I didn't know they still made them! I put a few quarters in ST:TNG and was hooked. I snuck into work a bit early for the next few months so I could leave a little early once a week or so and get my "fix" at Crabtowne (cough cough... still do) without affecting the family.
A year or so later I found out my company boss is a huge pinhead, and has a small collection of pins in his basement. People do that? And it's socially acceptable? Apparently it is where I work. The boss liked pins so much that when the company moved locations, he put a pin in his office, "The Avengers"! The one with a Hulk that broke all the time. It was on freeplay, and they had a company wide "pinball" contest that year on the machine. Only like 4 people really tried, but know that I had competition it was serious. I put a couple of hours a week on that pin for the year and realized that with time to explore a modern machine... things really opened up. I know some people rag on that machine, but it pushed me over the edge into the hobby.
The next year, the company went from an Avengers in the office to a Star Wars LE. Whoa what a change! I quickly discovered that a game can have the perfect theme but not scratch the itch (it was on early code that was never updated… didn’t know any better). I love the Star Wars game now, but at early launch it was wanting. About this time my wife and I were looking into getting the basement finished. I made a unilateral “agreement” that if we got the basement finished out we could put a pinball machine down there. I picked up my first pin, a World Cup Soccer 94 the day the painters left.
Holy crap, your own pin in the basement? This is awesome! I built up confidence on minor repairs, I did LEDs, fixed the motor, fixed the diverter, fixed the playfield lights that were out, and gained confidence as a tech. I discovered pinside and learned such basics as “how to raise the playfield!”. I played that and played that and played that until I got to beat Germany in the World Cup twice in one game. Then realized it was time to move on… This took… about 8 weeks. My wife wasn’t thrilled to see one go so fast because it was like throwing money away, but once I proved I could easily sell it and get my money back, the floodgates opened. I have slowly added more pins to my collection over the past 2 years… Well… actually pretty rapidly. My boss found out I was into pinball and gifted me an AFMr SE as a bonus… which was awesome! I traded, bought, sold, and added to the collection. I’ve rotated 25 pins through my basement in the past 2 years, and currently sit at 5 and a MAME.
I put more into it and could open it up to anything I wanted, it went from 1 to 5 machines as I slowly ate up space. I found that switching from asking just for cash, to asking for trades +/- cash with really good ads yielded up many more offers much quicker than just asking for cash and started to run a variety of machines through. I found that a variety of manufacturers, eras, and designers really change things up… shooting for different “styles” of games can be a lot of fun too. I found that 5 is a good number because it’s how much space I have, and I can generally keep the pins all working. I enjoy fixing them up and the pins that come through my basement always go out looking better than they came in.
I currently have 5 machines: A ST:TNG for a classic 90s “mode” based game, a TSPP for a game I’ll never beat that is super deep, an AFM for an objective based game, a TNA for a modern super fast game, and a Black knight for a classic 1980s game. You will notice that there is a game from the 80s, 90s, 2000s, and 2010s in there. I would like too swap out the TSPP for a LOTR at some point in time, and will likely let AFM go in favor of a 2020s game someday. However, I am always good with my collection until something good comes up for trade. I have not done the NIB thing… but was in on a R&M until the COVID scared me.
Pinball opens up more and more the longer you are into it. I was only interested in the DMD games at first, but Deadpool really turned me onto the modern games, and the Hobbit blew me away with presentation. I started looking further back and had tons of fun with some system 11s. Whirlwind, High Speed, and Taxi all rotated through my basement and are solid recommendations. I recently jumped into the early Solid State with a 1980 Black Knight, but that’s as far back as I have gone.