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.