(Topic ID: 296895)

Before the "Dark Times"... Before Pinside...

By Bublehead

3 months ago


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  • 66 posts
  • 41 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 months ago by Isochronic_Frost
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    #1 3 months ago

    This is NOT a Pinside bashing thread...

    This is a "Remember when..." thread.

    So let me start out with-

    Remember back when the first time you saw a new pin title was when it showed up at your favorite location? That gleaming, shiny new cabinet, that wonderfully glass-like playfield, that amazing artwork, that- WTF? moment when you realize this is a really crappy game and you hate everything about it, and yet <clink> goes another quarter in the slot? Yeah... I remember that.

    #2 3 months ago

    I‘ve never understood how somebody can find a pin crappy or bad. They all are wonderful, some more so than others. Even on the less wonderful pins there is always something to marvel at, maybe a new idea which didn‘t work out so well, but had to be tried and led future designs and rulesets in different directions.

    But what was your point again?

    #3 3 months ago
    Quoted from branlon8:

    But what was your point again?

    The point is to accentuate how we used to experience pinball... back in the days of ignorance and before the hype trains and fomo collectors, we experienced pinball very differently than we do today. This is a thread to remember some of those moments... if you don't have any moments to share, then just enjoy those that others have had. But I am afraid you are in the minority on thinking a machine can never be crappy, otherwise Popeye saves the world would have a better reputation.

    #4 3 months ago

    I never had shit in the way of pinball machines near me. The only one the local arcade had was a Stern Trident. And I played it and never gave it much thought. It was pinball. I had nothing else to compare it to. And once Space Invaders hit, everyone forgot about pinball and videos games were on!

    #5 3 months ago

    fair enough. My memories are more of being awed by the vastness of some arcades and their sleezy commercialism. I think that may have changed. I‘m just finding it interesting that one could have such expectations on a new pin to decide if it‘s crappy or not. If it wasn’t much fun I would just move on to another game. So folks were so opinionated even before Pinside??

    So Popeye doesn‘t have any redeeming features?

    Quoted from Bublehead:

    The point is to accentuate how we used to experience pinball... back in the days of ignorance and before the hype trains and fomo collectors, we experienced pinball very differently than we do today

    10
    #6 3 months ago

    I used to love pinball when I was a teenager in the 70s, and there were pins/arcades everywhere. I don't remember being excited about new titles, hell I didn't know if they were new or not, I just liked playing them......

    #7 3 months ago
    Quoted from branlon8:

    I‘ve never understood how somebody can find a pin crappy or bad. They all are wonderful, some more so than others. Even on the less wonderful pins there is always something to marvel at, maybe a new idea which didn‘t work out so well, but had to be tried and led future designs and rulesets in different directions.

    But what was your point again?

    This person has never played El Toro.

    I do miss the first time I saw a solid state pinball back in 1978.
    Never getting that feeling back.

    #8 3 months ago
    Quoted from branlon8:

    I‘ve never understood how somebody can find a pin crappy or bad. They all are wonderful

    What's it like to have never played SouthPark?

    #9 3 months ago
    Quoted from ejg10532626:

    This person has never played El Toro.
    I do miss the first time I saw a solid state pinball back in 1978.
    Never getting that feeling back.

    i DO remember seeing KISS and Evel Knievel at the local dance place/arcade and loving them - i have both now, those games ARE the 70s to me.
    Make me feel like a kid again, especially Evel. Distinctly recall playing that one...

    #10 3 months ago
    Quoted from pinzrfun:

    I used to love pinball when I was a teenager in the 70s, and there were pins/arcades everywhere. I don't remember being excited about new titles, hell I didn't know if they were new or not, I just liked playing them......

    And I never heard of individuals owning pinball machines at all back in the 70's and 80's! Not even the rich people!!

    #11 3 months ago

    Got hooked on pinball in 1989 well before this newfangled internet madness.
    Machines were found via the classified in the local rag. Got a large part of my
    collection that way. Back then there was almost no advice about how to fix them
    and that resulted in two thing; you had to figure it out yourself and broken
    machines were plentiful and cheap. Especially SS pin like series 1 and 80 Gottliebs
    and early SS Williams. It was not unusual to get 2 or 3 'new' pins a week locally.
    That was FUN!

    Is it better now? In some ways. We get to share our experiences and help each other
    out. But machines are MUCH harder to find and WAAAAAY more expensive.

    Back in the early internet days there was a news group called 'rec.games.pinball'
    and that was very active as early as the Darpa net.
    Steve

    #12 3 months ago
    Quoted from Bublehead:

    back in the days of ignorance and before the hype trains and fomo collectors, we experienced pinball very differently than we do today.

    This isn't necessarily true. It all comes down to individual choice. The majority of people just can't resist.

    For example, I didn't really deep dive into Mandalorian threads the minute it was announced. I didn't extensively watch the initial Deadflip game play streams. I don't listen to podcasters telling me how to think about new games or companies.

    I'm a big SW fan, and Mando looked promising from the teaser videos, but I also knew a friend was getting an early run Pro. I was looking forward to playing it soon.

    Then a bunch of us got together, unboxed it & played the hell out of it. We had a blast figuring out the code, what to shoot for in modes, how to start the mini-wizards, strategies for the foundry, hurry up snipe shots, how to finish hunter modes, etc etc etc. Lots of excitement, everyone exploring & learning this new game all together. Then we dove even further into the co-op modes, the challenges of impossible play, and so forth.

    I'd call that experiencing pinball the old fashioned way. When you don't give a shit about LEs & FOMO, it's very liberating.

    #13 3 months ago
    Quoted from Bublehead:

    That gleaming, shiny new cabinet, that wonderfully glass-like playfield, that amazing artwork, that- WTF? moment when you realize this is a really crappy game and you hate everything about it....

    Yup, JM. Even played it for awHile, ouch.

    I more remember working at an arcade and being forced to play stupid ass games that ended up being fun; No Fear & Corvette come to mind.

    #14 3 months ago

    being a South Park and Popeye Saves the Earth owner... i feel attacked

    #15 3 months ago
    Quoted from branlon8:

    I‘m just finding it interesting that one could have such expectations on a new pin to decide if it‘s crappy or not.

    As a teenager pin addict in the 70's, we searched out the newest titles and drove literally hundreds of miles around Dayton and Springfield Ohio, Cincinnati, and Columbus looking for new titles to play in all the arcades, in the malls, rec centers, bowling alleys, skating rinks, youth centers, 7-11, local convenience stores... It was always a thrill to see a new machine at a local arcade, that meant we didn't have to drive all over creation for a while... until we determined the "fun" factor and balanced that against the cost. I recently purchased a Gottlieb add a ball from my youth because it was our go to pin when we were broke. We could play all afternoon on a couple of bucks. Was it as much fun as playing a new SS machine?, no, but it was way cheaper and it was still fun. Unlike Popeye, where we quit playing that dog after about 5 dollars and I have not played it voluntarily since except in tournaments.

    26
    #16 3 months ago

    From ‘98-‘03, RGP and Marvin3M (Clay’s guides) were the center of the pinball universe. Without Clay Harrell and LTG giving us all that free repair knowledge and advice, pinball would not be what it is today.

    #17 3 months ago
    Quoted from alexmogil:

    being a South Park and Popeye Saves the Earth owner... i feel attacked

    Thats Ok, hey, I own a SP too, and seasoned players trash it, but guests really enjoy it, it's instantly recognizable, and it is the only official production pinball machine with a literal pile of crap on the playfield.

    10
    #18 3 months ago
    Quoted from swampfire:

    From ‘98-‘03, RGP and Marvin3M (Clay’s guides) were the center of the pinball universe. Without Clay Harrell and LTG giving us all that free repair knowledge and advice, pinball would not be what it is today.

    I still have Clay’s guides printed out and in binders. Use them regularly. The “This Old Pinball” DVDs were great, too.

    #19 3 months ago
    Quoted from gambit3113:

    I still have Clay’s guides printed out and in binders. Use them regularly. The “This Old Pinball” DVDs were great, too.

    Me too! But I have all the TOP videos on VHS, lol. Maybe they’ll be worth something someday.

    #20 3 months ago
    Quoted from alexmogil:

    being a South Park and Popeye Saves the Earth owner... i feel attacked

    You should, there is no shame in owning ANY pin.
    Those that can’t imagine a pin being a fun experience the first time you play it are just probably used to letting others do their thinking.
    I mean, if you had NEVER seen Popeye, wouldn’t you be intrigued by the large upper playfield? The mini game up there, the sweet boat apron? How about that Bluto lockup? How many balls can that thing hold, how does it work?
    That used to be the fun, discovering NEW games for yourself, even if you were only discovering that they weren’t really that good.
    Listening to know-it-all’s bash games and pick them apart before you even get to flip it is a real downer, and ruins what should be a good time for anyone that is playing ANY new pinball machine.

    #21 3 months ago
    Quoted from DNO:

    You should, there is no shame in owning ANY pin.

    A LOT of people on RGP thought Congo sucked in ‘02 when I bought mine. Same code, same game, very different opinions now.

    #22 3 months ago

    I’ve discovered pinball a few different times….

    80’s were awesome… nothing like seeing black knight, space shuttle, haunted house, black hole, fathom, etc…. All for the first time…. F
    Back then haunted house really stood out as amazing….

    Then sometime in the mid 90’s I stumbled on scared stiff in a bar and been hooked ever since

    #23 3 months ago
    Quoted from swampfire:

    A LOT of people on RGP thought Congo sucked in ‘02 when I bought mine. Same code, same game, very different opinions now.

    I thought congo was bleh then and still think so today even after owning one for a few years. Great music, nice flow, WTF rules and a shitty LPF.. yea someone else can own this thing now.

    #24 3 months ago
    Quoted from swampfire:

    A LOT of people on RGP thought Congo sucked in ‘02 when I bought mine. Same code, same game, very different opinions now.

    The two most concrete things in RGP consensus:

    1) Congo sucks.
    2) Judge Dredd is NOT a $1200 game!!!

    #25 3 months ago

    I remember going to the local 7-11. To get get comic books and a Slurpee. And there in the back corner with the arcade machines was a brand new Taxi. Those were the days alright.

    #26 3 months ago

    I can remember being in the arcade ca. 1980 and LOVED playing a machine called "Head On"...the pins in this arcade were pretty well rotated. When they got a Space Invaders (pin) I thought, "THIS is the next generation of pinball" because there was still a predominance of EM's in arcades at that time. Then right after SI came Black Knight (the good one, NOT BK2K), Meteor, etc. At that time I pretty much abandoned vids and stayed with pins from there on. I bought myself a brand new SI pin and after that BK, Fathom, etc. I'd rotate them out pretty heavily in my garage-cade. Man, I wish I'd kept most of them! Buying NIB in those days -especially if you were a kid of 17 like I was- was not for the weak-hearted. The operator whom I dealt with had to "vet" me so to speak to make sure I wasn't placing these on location. I think he pretty much trusted me after his "gumbas" (his words) delivered pins to my garage and saw my set up! Best times of my life!

    #27 3 months ago
    Quoted from CubeSnake:

    I can remember being in the arcade ca. 1980 and LOVED playing a machine called "Head On"...the pins in this arcade were pretty well rotated. When they got a Space Invaders (pin) I thought, "THIS is the next generation of pinball" because there was still a predominance of EM's in arcades at that time. Then right after SI came Black Knight (the good one, NOT BK2K), Meteor, etc. At that time I pretty much abandoned vids and stayed with pins from there on. I bought myself a brand new SI pin and after that BK, Fathom, etc. I'd rotate them out pretty heavily in my garage-cade. Man, I wish I'd kept most of them! Buying NIB in those days -especially if you were a kid of 17 like I was- was not for the weak-hearted. The operator whom I dealt with had to "vet" me so to speak to make sure I wasn't placing these on location. I think he pretty much trusted me after his "gumbas" (his words) delivered pins to my garage and saw my set up! Best times of my life!

    You’re the first person I’ve EVER heard of that bought NIB back in the 1980s holy smokes. You were really a maverick there!

    Quoted from DNO:

    You should, there is no shame in owning ANY pin.
    Those that can’t imagine a pin being a fun experience the first time you play it are just probably used to letting others do their thinking.
    I mean, if you had NEVER seen Popeye, wouldn’t you be intrigued by the large upper playfield? The mini game up there, the sweet boat apron? How about that Bluto lockup? How many balls can that thing hold, how does it work?
    That used to be the fun, discovering NEW games for yourself, even if you were only discovering that they weren’t really that good.
    Listening to know-it-all’s bash games and pick them apart before you even get to flip it is a real downer, and ruins what should be a good time for anyone that is playing ANY new pinball machine.

    I own plenty of games that seem universally hated, and most guests find they’re actually a blast! It’s all about delivery and expectations! I own games that are ridiculously hard and they’re setup to be punishing. Then I have a couple that are set very easy and forgiving to let newbies warm-up or cool down on. Build some confidence and then play Seawitch for 50 seconds and get smacked down!
    Rinse repeat.

    #28 3 months ago

    Pinball in 2021 is “look how much I spent” “look at this fully restored showpiece that I don’t dare play”

    Good times

    #29 3 months ago
    Quoted from swampfire:

    A LOT of people on RGP thought Congo sucked in ‘02 when I bought mine. Same code, same game, very different opinions now.

    Hurricane is the same way, except the opinions now is that it still sucks.

    #30 3 months ago

    I could write a book on this subject. I have been flipping games since the late 80s. Even being in the business it was still fun coming across a new game. I remember seeing Medieval in a bar, dropping a ton into it, and going back to the shop the next day telling everyone "this is the game that takes Addams down" and getting mocked for it.

    #31 3 months ago

    I would also like to say it was nice playing a game, having an opinion, and not have people tell me "it dosen't suck wait till the codes done."

    #32 3 months ago
    Quoted from freeplay3:

    I would also like to say it was nice playing a game, having an opinion, and not have people tell me "it dosen't suck wait till the codes done."

    Pinside classic..."you probably haven't played a dialed in one yet."

    #33 3 months ago

    I started collecting in 08, so I am past the “Dark Times”, but damn do I miss those days lol

    #34 3 months ago

    I remember playing a few older pins when i was fairly young, but being a kid of the 80's it was all about video games. We didn't really have any arcades around us. Then sometime in my highschool years my buddies and I found Funhouse and T2 and I was hooked, but even having said that, really didn't play pinball much. Was at some guys house who had a man cave in his garage and he had 4 pins lined up, and it clicked. Found out about arcade auctions and that was the start of my addiction. Still don't really see many machines around, but if I do I always make a point to play them.

    #35 3 months ago

    Remember going to a Pinball store, shop or just plain "junk yard" for parts? I remember making the drive in my 70 Volvo 142 from San Jose up to "For Amusement Only" in Berkeley for parts. For those who never got the chance it was in an old Victorian house. I never got past the "living room" but always wondered what treasures were tossed in the back yard or up on the second and third floors. Good times.

    #36 3 months ago

    Nothing like the freedom of a bike ride, pocket full of quarters, and playing the crap out of a flaky high speed chewing some bazooka Joe.

    #37 3 months ago

    Started out in the 70s playing various EMs in various nearby locations, and in the early 80s I found a place with KISS, Star Trek, and EBD solid states. Played KISS and EBD to death. Worked at a family fun center in the mid-80s and have distinct memories of Space Shuttle and Comet, the first machine with a million point shot. Stayed after work to play those titles for free. Lost track of pinball for a bit, as I was distracted by other things, but finally returned to the fold when I purchased a Meteor off of eBay. Taxi, EBD, Seawitch, and Galaxy followed soon after, all purchased for $200 or less. I remember wishing I could afford a sweet Whirlwind ($1,100) or a STNG ($2,300), but I couldn't justify such luxuries at the time. RGP and Clay's guide saved my ass repeatedly. Like most (all?) of my hobbies (70s stereo equipment, muscle cars), explosive growth has generally priced me out of the game. I'm just glad I was able to buy a home before those prices headed off into the stratosphere. In short, pinball is mostly a nostalgic exercise for me.

    EDIT: Not intended as a whine. Just some simple observations of change over time.

    #38 3 months ago
    Quoted from CubeSnake:

    Buying NIB in those days -especially if you were a kid of 17 like I was- was not for the weak-hearted.

    Man! Love to hear more stories from your life volume. Legend.

    #39 3 months ago
    Quoted from swampfire:

    A LOT of people on RGP thought Congo sucked in ‘02 when I bought mine. Same code, same game, very different opinions now.

    Yes! Congo is great! I'm kicking myself now because I've had opportunities to buy beautiful examples near me and I had no idea how good it was.

    #40 3 months ago

    I have two childhood pinball memories - playing an EM in my buddy's basement. I didn't really understand it, but I enjoyed it.

    Counterpoint - seeing all the ramps and gizmos on a 1990s game and being wowed, dropping my money in, bricking every shot and draining every ball with-in 30 seconds and thinking "pinball is dumb."

    #41 3 months ago

    I was more of an arcade game guy so I more remember that...

    things like going into the arcade and they had 20 Pacmans lined up and all of them had people waiting in line to play it. Or when Dragons lair came out...

    Pinball wise I didnt really get into it until the 90s and first game to really grab me was Funhouse..

    The pinball games prior to that I would play once in a while but I never thought the 70s and 80s pins were that fun honestly.

    #42 3 months ago

    When I was a wee lad, there really weren’t any arcades nearby, and in my mind pinball was primarily something you played at the boardwalk arcades in Ocean City, MD or Virginia Beach.
    I remember vividly gazing down the line of machines in Flipper McCoy’s arcade, trying to figure out which one held the most promise! I settle on the most cool looking one in the row, a brand new PinBot. When that visor opened up, my mind was fully blown.
    Then I went to the second floor of the arcade and Grand Lizard blew my mind some more.
    That day I became a pinball person.

    In the early 90s it floored me that all these themes were being released which seemed aimed directly at my tastes and interests - a game that combined monster movies AND drive in movie theaters? TWO different Star Trek games? A Twilight Zone machine?! WOW.
    I used to save all the quarters I found until I had a nice little jar full of them, then blow it all playing pins with my brother.

    It wasn’t until around 2009 when I “remembered” pinball. The idea of owning one and being able to take care of it seemed way too daunting even then. But, eventually I got hold of a PinBot, and now I restore games regularly. I do high end cabinetry part time, but it’s gotten kind of stale after 12 years. Pinball has been a wonderful companion and outlet for my fussy, OCD work habits!

    #43 3 months ago

    I remember some of my "first" times very distinctly- Pinbot at Putt Putt and burying my best friends score after cashing in on the Solar Value for 5 million which NOBODY had any idea was a carry over jackpot at the time, or how to score it. It pays to read the instruction card when you are 2 million in the hole going into ball three.

    Damn, thinking about it, I can pinpoint a lot of my "first" times playing a title based solely on location. Malibu Gran Prix, The Golden Cue, Red Baron, Bus Stop Roller disco, Beaver-Vu bowling/skating rink, Kettering Rec center-
    All of these were A locations that got new titles first and we prowled them looking for new titles all the time.

    #44 3 months ago

    My brother and I played Capt Fantastic at the pot dealer my mom visited in 1979, in his HOUSE! Yeah! An actual pin in his house! He would go into his game room and give us credits and the two of us played that friggen thing til it was time to go home. ( or after the seeds were separated on his kitchen table). Of course I was 11 and my brother was 9. We didn’t care.

    Next pin I played in 2000 was SWEP1. Hologram on glass blew me away. I started collecting pins in 2005 and never looked back.

    #45 3 months ago
    Quoted from phil-lee:

    Man! Love to hear more stories from your life volume. Legend.

    Thanks for the kind words! I started really young..was around 9-10 years old when I saw a coin-op player piano at Lake George. I was hooked and started scanning the local papers for pianos for sale. We're taking like 25-50 dollar pianos here! I'd find one, drive over to see it on my bike, and had 2 college guys that would pick up and deliver it to my garage for 25.00 (!) as I was too young to drive. I taught myself how to restore them and did pretty well money-wise. By the time I was around 16, pianos were starting to wane, but pins were around and were dirt cheap. So I migrated to them and with the sizable amount of $$$ I had made from pianos, I was able to parlay that into pins & vids. It just seemed so easy back then but I cannot fathom how a parent today would let his kid do what I did! My sincere thanks to my mom who always had faith and pride in what I did!

    #46 3 months ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    Yup, JM. Even played it for awHile, ouch.

    You stubborn, heartless bastard D: ...

    #47 3 months ago
    Quoted from Bublehead:

    Malibu Gran Prix, The Golden Cue,

    Golden Tee golf center

    #48 3 months ago
    Quoted from CubeSnake:

    Thanks for the kind words! I started really young..was around 9-10 years old when I saw a coin-op player piano at Lake George. I was hooked and started scanning the local papers for pianos for sale. We're taking like 25-50 dollar pianos here! I'd find one, drive over to see it on my bike, and had 2 college guys that would pick up and deliver it to my garage for 25.00 (!) as I was too young to drive. I taught myself how to restore them and did pretty well money-wise. By the time I was around 16, pianos were starting to wane, but pins were around and were dirt cheap. So I migrated to them and with the sizable amount of $$$ I had made from pianos, I was able to parlay that into pins & vids. It just seemed so easy back then but I cannot fathom how a parent today would let his kid do what I did! My sincere thanks to my mom who always had faith and pride in what I did!

    “That’s my little boy. We have 5 pianos in our house right now and a 6th is being delivered! No matchbox or GI Joe for him, just Baby Grands!” - CubeSnake’s ridiculously patient mother.

    #49 3 months ago
    Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

    “That’s my little boy. We have 5 pianos in our house right now and a 6th is being delivered! No matchbox or GI Joe for him, just Baby Grands!” - CubeSnake’s ridiculously patient mother.

    If nothing else, he'll grow up strong! lol Pianos are simply unimaginably heavy! Makes a Gottlieb Haunted House seem like it's made from Balsa wood....

    #50 3 months ago

    There was also an after school program in the neighborhood which had a big game room set up in the finished basement of an old elementary school building; they had a bunch of video games and a couple of pins, the first bowling shuffleboard game I’d ever seen, plus pool tables and a jukebox in the back section, all set up to free play.
    Occasionally they’d clear the room by insisting that all the kids had to play some team sport together. I slipped out quietly on those days, lol.

    They had a Black Knight there which actually played decently (this is ‘86/‘87 we’re talking about.) I recognized the layout from the Commodore 64 pinball simulation “David’s Midnight Magic” that I loved playing at home. I never knew it was based on a real pin! Black Knight was kind of the standard bearer for me as a kid - 2 playfields! 4 flippers! Magna-Save! MORE IS BETTER!!! (When I saw Grand Lizard a bit later in VA Beach, it was like “come for the Black Knight-ness, stay for the ridiculous flashing lizard head”)
    Since everything was on free play at this place, you couldn’t set your quarters on the glass for the next turn. You just had to meekly ask the much-bigger-than-you kid “I got the next game?” The nicer big kids would give you a turn

    That place also had the original TRON arcade game and the amazingly cool and addictive “I, Robot” There were otherwise no arcades within walking distance, so the whole big 80s arcade thing, as I mentioned earlier, for me was something that teenagers did in a different world. Arcade games in my experience were either at the boardwalk on summer vacation or at a Chuck E. Cheese when some friend had a birthday party, or *maybe* at the mall for 10 minutes. So, all these games at the after school lounge were brand new to me, even the old school vector graphic “Asteroids”.

    I also used to delude myself that I would become an outstanding pool shark if I played every day.
    I didn’t. But I imagined that I was cool during those hours; I often had that room to myself, rackin and cracking’, putting on songs from the jukebox. I felt like a deeply sophisticated 11 year old

    Part of me would love to set up something like that for kids now, but pins are too damn over valued these days. I’d be watching those little punks like a hawk, all “HEY! EASY ON THE MACHINE! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THAT THING IS WORTH?!?!” Probably wouldn’t be the same experience for them

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