(Topic ID: 235783)

At what age did you discover pinball and how? (Poll added)

By Pinballlew

1 year ago

Topic Stats

  • 91 posts
  • 84 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by Nickrc3
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders


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    Topic poll

    “How old were you when you discovered and became interested in the Silver Ball?”

    • Zero to 10 years old 114 votes
    • 10 to 20 years old 81 votes
    • 20 to 30 years old 18 votes
    • 30 to 40 years old 22 votes
    • 40 to 50 years old 6 votes
    • 50 to 60 years old 1 vote
    • 60+ 2 votes

    (244 votes)

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    There are 91 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 1 year ago

    I was watching some YouTube videos and have watched a few lectures by Gary Stern. Gary is repeatedly talking about that collectors will die out in the future if games are not discovered by 21 year olds in barcodes and other location pinball places. I have come across occasionally that people say they just discovered pinball thru various ways. Since Pinside is one of the popular places that collectors gather I pose the question. How old were you to become a collector and how did you discover the hobby.

    #2 1 year ago

    About 8 or so, I played mostly arcade games but the odd pin aswell then around 15 I discovered Hash and skipping school and Funhouse. Thats was that. Gary is right collectors will die out and eventually so will pinball machines but VR and video games will become so high tech and indistinguishable from reality that pinball will live on in that realm and probably blow anything from the past out of the water. Most of us won't be here so who really cares?

    #3 1 year ago

    I'm 34 (in a month, that should be about 4 years collecting), so pinball was everywhere when I was a child, but of course progressively disappeared until mostly being forgotten. Eventually saw something about a pinball/arcade show on FB, and then downloaded Pinball Arcade. Would have my first couple pins very soon after (during a trip to TPF). I knew I already loved the physical aspect of it, but Pinball Arcade is what brought it all back, and what first brought me into the deeper rules side of pinball. Pinside didn't hurt either, but Pinball Arcade was perhaps the main gateway that made it easy to experience many different games from home. As I observe at the local barcade and with people that first play pinball here--many people are shy about touching a pin in front of other people for the first time (being judged, etc.). It's possible that digital is the better gateway to build confidence. I've now had a few people completely cast out pinball, thinking they're all the same, mindless flipping, etc. etc., then become addicted once they give it a chance.

    Unfortunately there is no local league here. I think that sort of thing would help if it were available in more locations.

    EDIT: As a side-note, barcades and shows (to a lesser extent) are awful ways to discover pinball. Far too often, location pins are impossible to hear and aren't working properly (many times in ways that the average player won't realize). This sours pinball right off the bat. Went to the Replay Museum in Tarpon Springs recently and couldn't believe how many machines were in an unplayable state (was my 2nd time there, but this last experience will keep me from going back).

    If it weren't for Pinball Arcade, I would never have known how engaging a pinball experience was designed to be (really a shame that they're usually only ever discovered in an environment that destroys all immersion, particularly when many games have fairly necessary callouts).

    #4 1 year ago

    I found pinball at 10 years old. My mom was addicted to shopping and the mall had Aladdin’s castle! Pinbot and T2 got all of my money! Lol

    #5 1 year ago

    I was seven. Played pinball at the boys club after practices and games.

    Unfortunately I don’t remember what machines, to many decades ago.

    #6 1 year ago

    Arcades, very young.

    Add a poll maybe?

    Edit: under 10 for sure. 80s, first machines I really Remeber plying were centaur & Gamatron.

    #7 1 year ago

    At 12 years old went to the arcade every Saturday and Sunday at 9:00am in the morning and played on all the credits that we're on the games from the the night before.
    First game I bought was a TAF that came from the local pizza shop for $600.00

    #8 1 year ago

    I was probably 4 years old and I found it myself somehow (no help from my parents). I'm 52 now.


    #9 1 year ago

    I was about 8 I guess. It was 1977 so pinball was everywhere but my first pinball memory was my dad teaching me how to play and not just monkeyflip. We were on vacation in the Wisconsin Dells.

    #10 1 year ago

    I'm not a collector. And pinball discovered me about 1960.

    LTG : )
    Disclaimer : The rest is history.

    #11 1 year ago

    Discovered pinball soon after I got my Schwinn Varsity. I was about 12. Believe that was 1972.

    #12 1 year ago

    A whirlwind when I was 8-10 years old at a Chuck-e-Cheese

    #13 1 year ago

    Prob about five at Aladdin’s castle, but was more into arcades. Honestly, it took about 35 years to come back around. We went to the Chicago game expo a few yrs ago. Mostly arcades, but there were a few pins. That’s where I reconnected. Bought my first pin space odyssey there. My avatar is from there. Now my pins get far more attention than my arcades.

    #14 1 year ago

    I was 6 grandparents had a Big Casino in the basement, I was hooked.... game is still in the family

    #15 1 year ago

    I was 7or 8 when I discovered the lur of the silverball. Arcades where everywhere in my youth. I remember Castle Park had two stories and pins wall to wall. I spent several years playing what little location pins there were. I meet my wife at a bar that I knew had pins. I came in one day to play and she was behind the bar and 15 years later we have a house full of pins. It wasn't till a buddy got a pin that I discovered you could own these. I've been collecting for 5 years and can't believe how I ever lived before. It's been a wild ride of learning how to fix things. My tastes have gone back to the late 70's which was where it all began for me, and I'm proud to own a Bally Playboy which was the first pin I played for a whole summer.

    #16 1 year ago

    In 1976 I was 10 and my brother was 8. My parents were heavy into pot and their dealer owned a capt. Fantastic. IN HIS HOUSE! Blew us away. We played for hours while they sat in the kitchen getting high on product testing.

    #17 1 year ago

    43....couldn’t find anyone to compete with me on my bubble hockey machine. Found a Road Kings and took a few hundred dollar gamble on trying out a pinball. Hooked ever since!

    #18 1 year ago

    I was 5-6... My Dad played a bit when he was younger and I would play when we went to sammy’s pizza on the weekends.

    #19 1 year ago
    Quoted from Medisinyl:

    If it weren't for Pinball Arcade, I would never have known how engaging a pinball experience was designed to be (really a shame that they're usually only ever discovered in an environment that destroys all immersion, particularly when many games have fairly necessary callouts).

    I am 54 and I started out playing pinball when I was 11. I would sell pop bottles and head for the Quarter Bag Arcade. I played until I was about 17 Then I had to grow up overnight. Stopped playing til I was about 30. Then I had good job and I bought a couple of games for my house. Stopped again in a couple of years because I changed my life and had no interest in playing. Began again in 04. This time I did like you and got ahold of Pinball Arcade for my Ipad. Pinball Arcade introduced me to all of the cool A titles and it wasn't but a couple of months til I started collecting. Haven't looked back.

    #20 1 year ago

    I was 41. It was way back in February of 2018. I've been a gamer since forever and would see pinball machines in the arcades, but I think I was intimidated by them. They were usually more expensive to play and looked so complex and huge as a kid. My wife and I went to the local acrade in town and they had all the classic games and a nice row of pinball machines. I wasn't that excited to play them, but Batman 66 caught my eye as a big Batman fan and something just started clicking. Now, I only play the pins and even bought a High Speed last year to have something at home. I wish I had gotten the bug sooner. I've really been missing out.

    #21 1 year ago

    Like several others in this thread, I was first exposed to a home machine (ex-route) in a relative's recreation room. If we can get enough machines placed in people's basements, we won't have to worry about exposure through the [b]arcades.
    .................David Marston

    #22 1 year ago

    just 3 years ago because of game of thrones pinball. fun, but expensive hobby.

    #23 1 year ago

    8 years old was the first real taste of pinball after celebrating my birthday party at a newly opened arcade/waterslide park called Magic Mountain in Adelaide, South Australia.

    Place is long gone but the memories remain mostly due to the unique design of the place.

    9cf3-f27e-5fea-ae73-a49163a5e948 (resized).jpg
    #24 1 year ago

    At 8 when parents were league bowling and I was in the bowling alley arcade. Almost went to video games as Space Invaders was hot at the time. Never really cared for the video games. Had much more of a visceral feeling for pinball.

    #25 1 year ago

    Not sure of age but was preteen. Small convenience store a block away had an EM in one corner, magazine store had one EM, local diner had an EM in the back room and the junk shop had an EM buried in the back of the store. Used to stand on a flipped over wooden soda crate to play.

    #26 1 year ago

    I was probably around 7 or 8 as well, distinctly remembering going to Chuck E Cheeses and playing the Super Mario Bros pinball. No matter where I was in the building, I would always hear "Oh Yooooshiiii!" over any other sounds in that arcade. My SMB today is the most sentimental machine of any games I own because of this memory.

    I also remember playing Who Dunnit and Red & Ted's roadshow at the small casino arcade of a steakhouse/restaurant/truck stop that our family would frequent. Fond memories for sure.

    #27 1 year ago

    I'm 26 now but I had found pinball at birth. Father was collecting before I was around and had about 9 of them when I first starting playing. This hobby is in-bedded in my blood.

    #28 1 year ago

    Think I was 15...mountain mikes had a brand new shiny fish tales with the volume turned up.

    The wiggle fish topper, lightning fast ramps, reel lock, blasting jet skiers, what a rush!

    #29 1 year ago

    At the age of 13 at Grand Casino in either Gulf Shores or Biloxi. The arcade there was MASSIVE, and they had 15+ pins. Saw a Jurassic Park pin, and I loved seeing the dino eat the ball. I had tried to play Police Force and Whirlwind, but JP was the one that opened the door for me. Didn't play much again until 1995 at a place called QZar, and in the lobby they had an AFM. After that, I knew one day I'd get into the hobby. Fast forward to 2012, got my EE degree and commission in the Air Force, and I finally had the income to start getting games and begin the plunge into the hobby!

    #30 1 year ago

    You should make a poll

    #31 1 year ago

    Grew up in the 80's going to arcades and even working in them when old enough. Pinball didn't really catch my attention until my college days in the early 90's. I never understood rules but enjoyed playing them now and then. Post college, arcades were mostly a thing of the past and I didn't give much thought to pinball. I figured all that arcade stuff died out years ago. One day I was looking for something to play around with on my ipad and found Pinball Arcade. It was great fun revisiting pins I remember and discovering all the pins I never knew existed. I was shocked to learn that pinball machines were still being produced. Before I knew it, I was looking to get a real pin and seeking out pins to play. It just seemed like the perfect thing to get into for me. It was something you can work on, play, and share with others.

    #32 1 year ago

    I'm 60 in April. Dad was in the Air Force, so I usually ended up in the Snack Bar or Cafeteria where they had Pinball to entertain the Airmen.
    Spent a lot of time waiting, so picked up the habit around 11 years old in the 70's.

    Forgot about it until 20 years later when I picked up my first home game: Firepower. Now I go to Pinball Addicts Anonymous meetings...

    #33 1 year ago

    I was so young I can't remember an age. My dad ran a HUGE arcade route up until around 1990. As far back as I can remember we had arcades, pins, jukes, pool tables etc in our house constantly.

    #34 1 year ago

    Early twenties, when I was in college. My wife got tired of bowling at the student union at Kansas State University and wanted to play pinball instead. And what did we find? Scared Stiff. Still my all time favorite.

    #35 1 year ago

    Man so many great stories.

    Poll added!

    #36 1 year ago

    Like LTG - 10 years old. This was 1960. Got REALLY addicted at 12 playing EMs and Pitch and Bats (loved baseball) and the Williams from that era (Pinch Hitter, Official Baseball, and then World Series in 1962 - my Giants went to the WS in 62 vs the Yanks). Loved a Bally Ballpark from 1960 that I fed alot of dimes into. Of course today I own all those models -- took ALOT of years to get the right ones and then learn how to properly restore while retaining the original charm. Early EM loves were Tradewinds, then Heat Wave (64) and Kings and Queens and Bank a Ball both 65. By this time I was living at the bowling alley, making $2.50 a league keeping score (quarter a person) and fed those quarters into the beasts. Still get a boner today when the knocker goes off
    Still played the early SS's and then alot less as career, family, and 3 kids took precedent. Bought my first machine mid-80's (Magic City) and built from there slowly. Stayed mostly in the sweet spot of my youth with about 8 Pitch and Bats from the glory years of mid-fifties to early 60's, the the wedge heads and reverse wedge heads up to about 1966. Have 4 top DMDs since I have 3 grown sons who loved pinball from their teen years on. I currently have a game from every decade starting 1934 to 2000
    Its a GREAT hobby and never gets old. Lots of awesome folks and a few dicks but you cant avoid that with people -- more great people willing to help others. Will retire fully in about a year and will then hit the 20+ games waiting some love.

    #37 1 year ago

    I was about 10. After baseball practice I would ride my bike to the drug store. It was a tough decision, a dime for a small fountain coke or play the pinball machine...

    #38 1 year ago

    I was probably around 5 yrs. old (1966) when my parents bought a Barnacle Bill machine from a guy who sold junk out of a barn.
    They still have it, and it still gets regular play!


    BB (resized).jpg
    #39 1 year ago

    Was 17 when HS2 just came out new at local bowling alley. Played others before but it wasn’t until HS2 to get me to want to play. Stopped playing when i was getting in my 20’s and then rediscovered in my later 30’s. First game I bought was a HS2 and will likely be last to leave.

    #40 1 year ago

    About 8....when I started playing hockey. Right next to the rink was a bar/restaurant called the Penalty Box. The parents drank and talked.....all of us kids played pinball.

    #41 1 year ago

    i discovered when i was younger but i started playing just 1 year ago when i was 14. i am now 15 and have a collection of 5 games.

    #42 1 year ago

    Around 7... played Fireball and Wizard at the local 7-11

    #43 1 year ago

    While I’m sure I must have played pinball occasionally as a kid, I “discovered” pinball in March 2018 in my late thirties. That discovery was entirely random: for years I lived near a building that housed hundreds of pinball machines, but I always assumed the place was out of business because I never saw any lights or activity at the place. However, one Friday night my then girlfriend and I saw it light up, with a glowing red sign that said “Pinball.” She suggested that we stop in, and that was my first real exposure to pinball. The place has hundreds of wood rails and EMs, a few dozen solid state and mid 2000s Stern machines, and the one that caught my eye: JJP’s WOZ.

    While I did not realize it at the time, most of the machines were not working well, particularly the solid state and newer machines. My attention kept going back to WOZ, which looked so different than the other pins there. Between the bright color-changing LEDs, the screen that was gorgeous and suggested there was so much to do to progress in the game, the sound that was substantially better than the other machines, and the complete world under glass feel of the pin, I was hooked.

    Since that time, I have been playing every weekend at different locations in the Pittsburgh area, including Pinball PA, Helicon Brewing, Kickback, and my new favorite location, a Retro Arcade in Sharon, Pennsylvania. Whenever I have traveled for work, I find one or two places to play in whichever city I’m in, and have been able to visit the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas. I have played 86 of the Pinside Top 100 machines, and a handful of the Top 100 EMs.

    I have also been reading Pinside, and scanning the pinball ads each day on the site. I listen to a pinball podcast on my way to and from work, and watch SDTM and Buffalo Pinball on YouTube at night when I have a chance to relax.

    I can’t tell you how many times I have looked at hotels and flights for both Chicago for Expo and to Texas for TPF.

    I am glad to finally have a hobby, and I have certainly been spending a lot of time in the hobby since finding pinball. I still prefer the JJP games, and games coded by Keith Johnson. By far, my favorite pin I’ve played has peen JJPOTC, and I am looking forward to seeing Eric Meunier’s next title.

    Thanks for welcoming me to Pinside and the community in general.

    #44 1 year ago

    My Grandpa lived in a Resort in Northern Calif called Rio Nido 100 miles north of SF.There he retired and ran the snack bar at the "Center" where there was a manual bowling alley,and a pinball arcade! The year was 1955,I was 5! I would set pins for the bowling alley at .10c a line,then after a days work,I would spend the rest of the day in the Pinball arcade! Pinballs were .10c for 5 balls,all Ems in those days also with Skee-ball,and the big blue machine gun that you could shoot at targets! The "Center is long gone now,and even in Gournyville ,you can still find a Pinball to play! Those were the days my friend,we thought they'd never end!!

    #45 1 year ago

    I was in my late 20s or early 30s when I really got into pinball. I was originally into retro video games and then started dabbling in arcades. This lead me to checkout the pinball Hall of Fame on a trip to Las Vegas. When we got back, my wife and I discussed buying a machine. We set a budget and began our search. Pretty much just snowballed from there.

    #46 1 year ago

    I was 9 years old. The local pool hall had a few pinball machines...Delta Queen, Air Aces, Circus.

    #47 1 year ago

    I knew about them when I was very young in the arcades, 6 or so? But never played anything until in my 30s, so I polled 30-40. Started collecting shortly after.

    #48 1 year ago

    Growing up in late 70's and early 80's I was around for the arcade boom... mainly played arcades when young but I'm sure I played a few pinball machines too... just didn't know much about them nor care really.

    But that all changed in college. My dorm had a pinball machine in it (Hook) and for a poor college student it was cheap... and I quickly learned you could earn free games (something I really didn't know about). This game me a sense of accomplishment while I was having fun and made it even cheaper. It also helped that the score required for winning a replay wasn't too high...

    This essentially started my obsession as I searched out more pinball machines to play... learned more about rules... and since the web was brand new I started searching for resources that would help me get better... the pinball archive and rec.games.pinball came to the rescue and the rest is history.

    #49 1 year ago

    It was when I was 9 and for the first time in my life, I was allowed to hang in the arcade while my parents shopped.
    Fun City was the name of the arcade and the Pacman craze was in full effect. And for those of you too young to have been there or remember, it was most definitely a craze.
    Arcades were always a thing, but in 1980, they became a mecca for kids of all ages and it was all thanks to Pacman.And As much as I liked Pacman, I was drawn to the machines at the back of the arcade. Back in the day the pins were always in the back of the arcade, which was cool because it was an experience unto itself walking through a jammed packed arcade with all those video games being played at once.
    That first time I got to do that by myself I walked back to the pins and there he was. This big red, talking demon named Gorgar. I spent my whole dollar (quarter per play) on that Gorgar pin.
    Totally worth it and from the point on, even though I loved video games, I was a pinball guy.

    #50 1 year ago

    Assuming your poll was for coin op pinball, my first exposure was at age 11.

    But I had already succumbed to the allure of the silverball long before then.

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