(Topic ID: 127668)

Did Pinball actually commit suicide?


By Blitzburgh99

5 years ago



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  • Latest reply 5 years ago by Classic_Stern
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    #1 5 years ago

    There seems to be a fair share of blame to go around as to why pinball died out at the end of the '90s…video games, etc.

    Could the real reason be that pinball died out was that it advanced itself to be so complicated, that games became maintenance nightmare for operators, that they never worked properly for players, and they walked away with quarters for other things?

    Case in point: Indiana Jones is often referred to as a maintenance nightmare on route, but can be run well in a home environment.

    Did pinball jump off a bridge?

    #2 5 years ago

    No suicide happened just things started to change. A combination of things caused the decline of Arcades. The internet, the boom of console gaming, and the ability to by higher powered home computers for less money, for home gaming.
    Yes, Pinball Machines require much more maintenance than an arcade cabinet game. Many Arcades closed as patronage dropped off.

    #3 5 years ago

    I am sure that was part of it.

    IMO, Pinball, Skeeball, Gun Games were replaced with video games.
    By the 90's video games at home took over, at arcades were not profitable.

    Also rents in many areas soared, due to the franchising of Retail stores Selling high Profit
    Goods from imports, and then NAFTA.

    An arcade couldnt draw the revenue, and products like Slot Machines for Williams was in larger
    demand.

    #4 5 years ago
    Quoted from Blitzburgh99:

    Could the real reason be that pinball died out was that it advanced itself to be so complicated, that games became maintenance nightmare for operators.....?

    As a former field-tech (1988-2007) I can say that machines like Indiana Jones were no problem at all to maintain. All pinball machines were in excellent state and made good money. And that may be the biggest problem for the industry, the WPC generation is still on route !!

    #5 5 years ago

    High taxes on games had something to do with it. Boy do I miss arcades.

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    #6 5 years ago

    It was what happened to money starting about 1990/1991. Our dollar was losing value.

    Little things happen. Rent goes up, utilities go up, food goes up, gas goes up. You are making good money so you don't really notice until your money is worth half of what it is.

    Black Knight was the first pin shipped at 50¢ a game play.

    According to the US Government cost of living indexes, this should have gone to 75¢ in 1991.

    So ops were losing ground. Started buying less equipment. Distributors started ordering less equipment. Manufacturers started cutting back and some closing. By 1996 we were on the roller coaster to hell.

    I always wondered why from The Addams Family to Medieval Madness, the greatest pins ever made were out there. Yet the player base was decimated during this time.

    I was wrong. The player base was there. The money they were spending was worth half as much.

    LTG : )

    14
    #7 5 years ago

    Pinball was still making money, and the pin2K machines were outselling the regular pins that came before.

    But Neil Nicastro wanted to kill pinball- for good.

    Not only did he shut down the lines, but he also refused to sell the pin division to any other company or individual.

    #8 5 years ago
    Quoted from Darcy:

    No suicide happened just things started to change. A combination of things caused the decline of Arcades. The internet, the boom of console gaming, and the ability to by higher powered home computers for less money, for home gaming.
    Yes, Pinball Machines require much more maintenance than an arcade cabinet game. Many Arcades closed as patronage dropped off.

    Not sure about the console gaming thing. A couple great era's in pinball co-incided with strong periods in video gaming. Breakthrough System 80 games like Haunted House were in the 2600 era, and System 11 was strong clear through the NES era.

    I was out of vids and pins when the Playstation was released, but wasn't that in the mid to late 90's when Williams was killing it with stuff like Twilight Zone and Adams Family?

    #9 5 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Pinball was still making money, and the pin2K machines were outselling the regular pins that came before.
    But Neil Nicastro wanted to kill pinball- for good.
    Not only did he shut down the lines, but he also refused to sell the pin division to any other company or individual.

    That is a pipe dream. RFM sold well, SWE1 sold *ok* probably due to the movie being a dud. They did not have another adam's family on their hands with the system.

    #10 5 years ago

    IMHO, pinball was always on life support

    You look at the 70s and some periods during the 80s, you have three or four manufactures bringing out a new game every two months, that is what kept the players playing, new games, new cchallenges

    Get to the 90s and 2000s, down to two manufactures bringing out a game every three months

    #11 5 years ago

    I've heard a combination of things. Addams Family was a huge hit and stayed on route for a long time.
    Diamond Plate made it so playfields didn't wear out with decent maintenance -- so the great 90's games meant ops didn't have to buy new pins. Killed by their own great product.

    And the European market started shifting to arcade size gambling-type machines. I can't remember what they were called, but they became very popular and forced pinball out of a lot of locations in Europe.

    that, plus the other factors listed above. Perfect storm. Glad it's on the upswing now, though.

    #12 5 years ago

    Pinball is still around and is arguably getting stronger daily. So, at best, you could say it attempted suicide in the 90s.

    #13 5 years ago

    Maintenance was a factor for pinball machines specifically, but the real demise for arcade gaming in general was the migration of video games and other vast array of entertainment into the home due to advancements in computing power and lowering price of technology.

    #14 5 years ago
    Quoted from joelreeves:

    I've heard a combination of things. Addams Family was a huge hit and stayed on route for a long time.
    Diamond Plate made it so playfields didn't wear out with decent maintenance -- so the great 90's games meant ops didn't have to buy new pins. Killed by their own great product.
    And the European market started shifting to arcade size gambling-type machines. I can't remember what they were called, but they became very popular and forced pinball out of a lot of locations in Europe.
    that, plus the other factors listed above. Perfect storm. Glad it's on the upswing now, though.

    This is generally what I heard. Fewer locations combined with Williams no longer competing with other companies and instead competing with their 3-5 year old machines. Previously the games were supposed to be worn out after 3 years.

    13
    #15 5 years ago

    One man is responsible: Neil Nicastro

    #16 5 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    One man is responsible: Neil Nicastro

    What a butthole

    #17 5 years ago

    I know its not saying much but the Nicasro is probably somewhat justifiable and I'd like to know the details. I worked for Midway for two years in 01 and 02 and I remember vaguely less than nice comments about him out on the wear coast. If he had a hand in the fall off I guess I wouldn't be surprised.

    #18 5 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Neil Nicastro wanted to kill pinball- for good.
    Not only did he shut down the lines, but he also refused to sell the pin division to any other company or individual.

    OK, I have to ask: what is the rest of the backstory behind this?

    I mean, for sake of argument let's accept that for whatever reason, WMS wants out of the pinball biz. Fine.

    There's still literal tons of assets to sell, trade, or barter toward some sort of return: tooling, IP, patents, inventory, facilities, personnel... I mean, companies do this all the time, and you'd think it required in the interests of "maximizing shareholder value" toward the bottom line.

    So why NOT sell it? What's the point? Some crackpot puritanical crusade to save the world 'cuz foozball is tha devil? A personal vendetta to screw employee(s) honed to very specific skillsets by ensuring they might never find work again by imploding the industry? Something even more ludicrous?

    I mean... I don't get it...

    #19 5 years ago
    Quoted from goingincirclez:

    I mean... I don't get it...

    Niel hated the whole pinball division.

    He would rather let everything rot, than sell it to any other party.

    Years latter, he would not even sell the remaining inventory to a single buyer.

    He split up everything and sold it to buyers on all different continents, just to maximize the chaos.

    They did not call him The Cocksucker for nothing.

    #20 5 years ago
    Quoted from goingincirclez:

    OK, I have to ask: what is the rest of the backstory behind this?
    I mean, for sake of argument let's accept that for whatever reason, WMS wants out of the pinball biz. Fine.
    There's still literal tons of assets to sell, trade, or barter toward some sort of return: tooling, IP, patents, inventory, facilities, personnel... I mean, companies do this all the time, and you'd think it required in the interests of "maximizing shareholder value" toward the bottom line.
    So why NOT sell it? What's the point? Some crackpot puritanical crusade to save the world 'cuz foozball is tha devil? A personal vendetta to screw employee(s) honed to very specific skillsets by ensuring they might never find work again by imploding the industry? Something even more ludicrous?
    I mean... I don't get it...

    They kept some of pinball assets for gambling. If you go to casinos, you'll still see weird stuff like Attack From Mars slot machines. There is even an older High Speed machine with some of the same art.

    #21 5 years ago

    Well that clarified it for me about Nicastro. Like I said, I recall people noting he was an ass when I was at Midway and the general rule to avoid him. If he's that much of a douche when it came to pinball I can see why and it makes me curious what he did to piss off/scare off the game makers to avoid him.

    #22 5 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    They did not call him The Cocksucker for nothing.

    I dunno, Vid, I think that's too kind. I mean, I get what you're saying and all. But in a generally literal sense I always presumed that cocksuckers had their reasons...

    #23 5 years ago

    Nope it wasn't suicide. It was Homicide. The name of the culprit was Atari.

    10
    #24 5 years ago

    I worked for an operator for several years. I can tell you without a doubt, what killed pinball was that Video Games came along, and were much easier to maintain... I.E., you didn't have to do a damn thing to keep them running.

    When an op can come in, dump the quarters out of street fighter into a large bag, lock the door back, and leave, he's going to prefer that over all the maintenance a properly maintained pinball machine needs.

    Once the op stops maintaining the machine, it's a vicious circle where players don't enjoy the game because the flippers broke or something, and so they play it less, and eventually get to a place where they don't even trust the pins will work so they won't even try. Then the ops use that as an excuse to not repair the machines (they don't make any money anyways!), etc.

    Things may change now, because video games don't really make money anymore since you can emulate them or play the games on your phone, etc. So it's kind of switched back since you can't make easy money with the video games that need little maintenance.

    #25 5 years ago

    All the municipalities killed it by purposely trying to close down every arcade because kids were buying and selling weed in them so commonly. The municipalities first started making the owners pay a tax as high as $150 annually per game. They they put minimum age laws on how old the customers could be and started sending the cops in to enforce the local laws on how late minors could be out at night. Then the citizens were still coming to the front desk and complaining that their kid was in an arcade after 10 o'clock so the cops started sending in uniformed officers to check IDs and write the kids for possession of tobacco under the age of 18 etc. I know for a fact this is all true because I am a retired cop. The cities wanted every arcade shut down because the parents were to lazy to watch their own kids so they wanted the police officers to do it for them.

    #26 5 years ago
    Quoted from playernumber4:

    All the municipalities killed it by purposely trying to close down every arcade because kids were buying and selling weed in them so commonly. The municipalities first started making the owners pay a tax as high as $150 annually per game. They they put minimum age laws on how old the customers could be and started sending the cops in to enforce the local laws on how late minors could be out at night. Then the citizens were still coming to the front desk and complaining that their kid was in an arcade after 10 o'clock so the cops started sending in uniformed officers to check IDs and write the kids for possession of tobacco under the age of 18 etc. I know for a fact this is all true because I am a retired cop. The cities wanted every arcade shut down because the parents were to lazy to watch their own kids so they wanted the police officers to do it for them.

    Wow. Dint know this. Very interesting.

    #27 5 years ago

    That's definately true playernumber4, not necessarily specifically for pinball but in arcade establishments in general.

    I remember in the 90's talking to a few people involved with some arcade establishments... one was in the mall, they told me how the mall wanted them out. The place was pretty upscale (the arcade!) and there wasn't any trouble, certainly no weed being sold but the mall didn't like that it was a place teens were hanging out. They basically wanted them to move out of the mall, they may have eventually been what caused them to close, I don't know the story of why they eventually closed down.

    Another guy (1995 or so) was trying to open an arcade, and had two different strip malls tell him they didn't want an arcade business in any of their spots because the trouble it would cause.

    So yeah eventually arcades were considered a nuisance and had a bad reputation.

    #28 5 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Niel hated the whole pinball division.
    He would rather let everything rot, than sell it to any other party.
    Years latter, he would not even sell the remaining inventory to a single buyer.
    He split up everything and sold it to buyers on all different continents, just to maximize the chaos.
    They did not call him The Cocksucker for nothing.

    After reading various threads and conversation goes stale, I often scan through to see what Vid has to say. Often funny, but always truth to be found in there.

    #29 5 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    One man is responsible: Neil Nicastro

    That guy killed Williams Pinball, but what happened to Gottlieb before that?

    I thought I read that it was some botched gaming contract that put them out of business, or maybe I'm confusing that with something else.

    #30 5 years ago

    A lot of the pins on location in Holland were replaced by slot machines. Plus the home consoles made arcades a thing of the passed. Although we still got a few left. (Very few)

    #31 5 years ago
    Quoted from asay:

    That guy killed Williams Pinball, but what happened to Gottlieb before that?

    It was the fact that they never really came to terms with solid state pinball. They made great EMs but couldn't compete with Williams' bag of tricks on solid state games.

    #32 5 years ago
    Quoted from jwo825:

    Pinball is still around and is arguably getting stronger daily. So, at best, you could say it attempted suicide in the 90s.

    Totally agree, so many new people getting into the hobby

    #33 5 years ago
    Quoted from asay:

    That guy killed Williams Pinball, but what happened to Gottlieb before that?
    I thought I read that it was some botched gaming contract that put them out of business, or maybe I'm confusing that with something else.

    Well Gottlieb changed hands a bunch, hence Premiere, Alvin G and other weirdness. I've always heard it was just pinball slowdown in the mid nineties, but never heard this botched contract story.

    #34 5 years ago

    It is also speculated Williams didn't sell off the pinball division to a single entity as Williams would look bad and stupid if it then began raking in higher profits.

    #35 5 years ago

    I was hoping being the drunkest drunk who ever drunk would help me to wrap my hazy eyes around such trivial banter in a hopeful reprieve ,but once again I digress into a hopeless submission of discontent. All through it all as I turn down the lights one thing that comes to mind: Video Killed the radio Star.......

    #36 5 years ago

    OK with all the reasons above. Unsure about what happens in the US, but also take into account the fact that bars are slowly disappearing, at least in France.

    Check the graph below ("bistrot" is slang for bar). There were actually far more in the 80's. Hundreds close every year, to be replaced by Fast food joints or Kebab... or nothing.

    There use to be a time where **every bar** had a pin. A single one usually. (I was a kid then, remembered going with my mother to bars where she could fix her addiction... espresso coffee !)

    Now nearly no one wants a pin in a bar because it's noisy and annoying for non pinheads. Tolerance for noise (as for many other things) has decreased.

    Bars.png
    #37 5 years ago

    Bars are disappearing here in the US too. When the portable breathalyzers (PBTs) came out initially (maybe in the early 80's) they were only to be used as an "exclusionary tool" for when a cop pulled a guy over but was not sure if he should let the guy drive home or not. If he blew under a .010 the cops would let him go. Well, after about 5 years of those tools being around some cops got the bright idea that they could make a lot of money in court for overtime if they pulled over every car that left a bar and stuck a PBT in his mouth. And thats what happened. They did it enough to get the PBT results admitted in court as evidence, and the cops sit outside the bars now when they close somebody gets a PBT stuck in their mouth, and a cop gets himself some overtime later and a pat on the head from his boss that night. The word spreads through the bar and the customers stop going there. Lots of bars around here have closed as a result.

    #38 5 years ago
    Quoted from playernumber4:

    Bars are disappearing here in the US too. When the portable breathalyzers (PBTs) came out initially (maybe in the early 80's) they were only to be used as an "exclusionary tool" for when a cop pulled a guy over but was not sure if he should let the guy drive home or not. If he blew under a .010 the cops would let him go. Well, after about 5 years of those tools being around some cops got the bright idea that they could make a lot of money in court for overtime if they pulled over every car that left a bar and stuck a PBT in his mouth. And thats what happened. They did it enough to get the PBT results admitted in court as evidence, and the cops sit outside the bars now when they close somebody gets a PBT stuck in their mouth, and a cop gets himself some overtime later and a pat on the head from his boss that night. The word spreads through the bar and the customers stop going there. Lots of bars around here have closed as a result.

    Yep very true I haven't been back(2011) since a cop followed me on my birthday and I actually was under the legal limit but he took me in anyhow bc I got mouthy with his off duty buddy at the bar(which is y he followed me) bc i took the lady he was trying to get with lol.

    #39 5 years ago
    Quoted from playernumber4:

    Bars are disappearing here in the US too. When the portable breathalyzers (PBTs) came out initially (maybe in the early 80's) they were only to be used as an "exclusionary tool" for when a cop pulled a guy over but was not sure if he should let the guy drive home or not. If he blew under a .010 the cops would let him go. Well, after about 5 years of those tools being around some cops got the bright idea that they could make a lot of money in court for overtime if they pulled over every car that left a bar and stuck a PBT in his mouth. And thats what happened. They did it enough to get the PBT results admitted in court as evidence, and the cops sit outside the bars now when they close somebody gets a PBT stuck in their mouth, and a cop gets himself some overtime later and a pat on the head from his boss that night. The word spreads through the bar and the customers stop going there. Lots of bars around here have closed as a result.

    Here in Pa, the three top revenue producers for the state are State run lotteries, State run Liquor Control Board and Stae wide DWI conviction. We here like to get you drunk so we can pull you over for even more profit

    #40 5 years ago
    Quoted from kklank:

    Nope it wasn't suicide. It was Homicide. The name of the culprit was Atari.

    I said it in an earlier post, but I disagree the answer is video games. Space Shuttle and High Speed were the first things that lured us away from them.

    Atari was pretty much dead while Williams was still making their biggest games (remember the Jaguar and Lynx? Two giant duds between 89 and 93). They weren't even a real company by 1998, just a name purchased by Hasbro to slap on their gaming division.

    #41 5 years ago

    If there is one suicidal shot pinball made, you could make the argument it was the release of Popeye.

    While everyone thinks this was the times, Steve Ritchie adds an interesting take on the demise of pinball to a point, attributing this partially to Popeye.

    While I think, and have wrote about this many times, that Popeye can be a good game with changes, there is no question that it was a complete and total disaster that should not have happened at the time. There are severe design flaws that, when you are someone like me who has torn into virtually every b/w game, you question if the same quality control was even sent a memo about this machine coming out.

    Again, I like Popeye.... now, as a home collector, with many key physical changes, but as an attempt when it came out, the points Steve brings up here, in combination with the increase in home gaming, really paints a clear picture as to what happened.

    Popeye killed off the powerhouse success that Williams had accomplished with one poorly planned machine.

    Here it is:

    “Some Popeye Facts and My Opinions and Recollections:
    Barry Oursler designed the game, but it was Python's theme, including
    the weird euphorics-influenced eco-connection.
    Python was not, and never will be a game designer. He will SAY
    anything, truthful or not. This is not to say that he didn't come up
    with many good ideas for the games he worked on, but he never drew
    anything more than sketches except when doing the artwork for the
    playfield, back glass and plastics. A pinball designer makes a full
    scale drawing of his games with all components shown. He does the
    fitting of components and at least some of the mechanical
    engineering. A pinball designer chases down and looks after every
    component and mechanism on his game. He deals with a BOM, management,
    and other members on the team. Barry was the designer of Popeye.
    The game designer was not always the team leader of the pinball teams
    at W/B/M. If another member of a team was more suited to carrying the
    vision and dealing with other members, then he would take the reins
    with the designer's permission. Barry liked to let others on his team
    lead things. Steve Kordek, Chris Granner and Python were probably
    the most influential on Barry's teams to my recollection.
    Popeye was the game that followed ST:TNG. Popeye didn't make money on
    the street. The theme was stinky and the geometry was funky, chunky
    and clunky. No real players liked the hidden shots and generally poor
    visibility that allowed function to follow form. Its hard-to-play
    upper playfield didn't win it any friends. Graphics and art were just
    nasty, and speech, sounds, script and music were less than stellar.
    Popeye was expensive to build and carried hefty tooling and mold costs
    that were never amortized. Williams lost money on Popeye, something
    that hadn't happened for many many years prior.
    The real reason that Popeye is/was universally despised was that all
    of the Williams/Bally/Midway distributors were signed up to take
    minimum amounts of every run of machines we manufactured. They were
    not upset when they had to buy minimum quantities of ST:TNGs and other
    titles, but they were very angry that they had to take a minimum # of
    Popeye machines. To make matters worse, Willy raised the price of
    Popeye! The theme was ridiculous. Who cares about Popeye? Popeye
    was nothing in Europe (our second through fourth ranked markets) even
    when it was fresh. Not one distributor cared for the license. We who
    were in charge should have stopped the game, because we all knew that
    it was a steaming pile well before it was released. There were
    politics involved, and I seem to recall that we couldn't get anything
    on the line quickly enough if we did not release Popeye to production.
    The distributors were screaming and making threats of lawsuits and
    dumping Willy as a represented manufacturer. Eventually Williams
    canceled the minimums clause in their contracts with distribs. Popeye
    had a very bad stigma attached to it for a long time which, of course,
    was played up by our competitors. Some people say Popeye was "the
    beginning of the end" of pinball at Williams. It was hard to sell
    large runs of games after Popeye. The failure of pinball cannot be
    blamed on Popeye, but it sure didn't help our business.
    I do not agree that less people like wide bodies than regular width
    games. They were harder to design because of the slightly larger
    spans of time required for the ball to get to the targets. The worst
    wide body width was Stellar Wars/Superman/Pokerino. Until I/we moved
    the flippers and slings into the same familiar location as a narrow
    body, they were really horrible in my mind. Some designers went crazy
    with more flippers and more drain space between them! The outer orbit
    shots were actually miserable to make because the ball was so far down
    the flipper end in order to hit them. The ball doesn't carrying much
    speed or power at that angle. The widest games are the ones that I
    never want to make again. The Superpin width was/is much better. I
    can design in at least one more shot in a Superpin width, and more and
    larger toys can be utilized.
    I do have to admit that my favorite playfield size to play and create
    within is the standard 20-1/4" X 46" I would like to make a longer
    (48") game someday, but it is not a high priority.
    I don't enjoy dumping on others games, but don't try to tell me that
    Popeye was a good game. If you enjoy playing it, that's certainly
    your prerogative. Most Williams engineering/management folks don't
    want to think about Popeye. It was an awful time in Williams
    history.
    Regards,
    Steve”
    https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!topic/rec.games.pinball/Brmc4Jdbn3s

    #42 5 years ago

    From the release of T2 until the end of 1993 pinball was as popular as it has ever been, right along side Streetfighter and Mortal Kombat. Then, as all things in popular culture seem to do, the fad faded, the fighting game craze was over, and pinball machines like Addams Family were still in relatively good shape and still making decent if not as good as earlier money, so as an operator it was easiest to just not spend the money on new games. Once this spiral started it just kept getting worse, and the durability of the early 90's machines contributed greatly.

    #43 5 years ago

    I suppose there are many factors but it just seemed natural. I remember arcades being less popular. Games were more complex and appealed to fewer people. New games were a rare sight and most games were not maintained at all. Pins were always more rare than videos probably because of expense. Newer generation didn't have the same arcade experience of those that grew up in 70s and 80s. Computer gaming really took off at the time and that is what I got into.

    #44 5 years ago

    Baked Apple Pancakes killed pinball. It was around 1982. Bickford's would do a special on Tuesdays. Baked Apple Pancakes were 2 for 1. For those that don't know, a Baked Apple Pancake is a huge plate with this massive custurdy pancake on it. It had cinnimon crisp, apples, and was huge. Me and two friends would go and get the 2 for 1. Those 2 pancakes and coffee. It was a bargain, and two of them were enough to feed all three of us. Plus, in the back, they had a Pacman machine. So the entire afternoon was spend eating and playing Pacman obsessively. We got to the point where we could get to the fifth key level. No bad flippers, no broken mechs. The game just worked. All my spare quarters went there. I'd still play pinball on occasion, but the lions share went into Pacman. It was a fun time.

    #45 5 years ago

    I once asked Larry DeMar how a game like Popeye made it into production and he told me that managing creative people is a complex issue and that production timelines were set in stone. Others have commented that Barry Oursler generally got the short end of the stick in terms of time and budget compared to guys like Ritchie or Lawlor, and like Ritchie is quoted as saying, he generally let someone else lead the creative side of things. So that's how that happened.

    Did it kill pinball? I don't think any one thing killed it, it was death by a thousand cuts. Neil Nicastro was enemy number one at Expo '99 I can tell you, and I know for a fact that at least one group of industry veterans offered up a $20M offer to buy the pinball division and were flatly turned down, so there's truth to Neil hating pinball. The division even posted a profit in the last quarter before closing!

    But that's just WMS. Capcom and Gottlieb all went out of business in the time from when I started collecting until WMS finally followed them in '99, so clearly it was an industry-wide issue.

    I wouldn't celebrate the return of pinball just yet. Things are looking up but the barcade may go out of fashion any time soon. Having what is essentially a hobby industry isn't really sustainable long-term.

    #46 5 years ago

    The rise of the personal computer and the internet probably contributed to the death of pinball and arcades as well.

    Between 1995 and 2000, internet subscribers went from ~10 million to ~300 million. By 2000, over 50% of households in America had home computers.

    In a relatively short period of time, people gained access to untold amounts of entertainment that was always changing and updating. The social aspect of getting a high score at an arcade was quickly replaced with new online experiences.

    #47 5 years ago

    There will always be a thirst for something new and exciting. My brother and I owned a bar in the Seattle U-District in 1979-1980. Neighborhood tavern with mostly a college clientele. We had three pinballs machines (Eight Ball, Royal Flush and a Mata Hari). The Pinballs made pretty consistent money. Then the video games came. Our machine vendor put a 4 player sit down Black Jack game on site. This was just a play against the machine. This game had a coin box that measured probably 18"-20" square. In less than a week, that coin box was 3" full of quarters. Even the machine operator was amazed. Video games killed pinball.

    #48 5 years ago
    Quoted from DaveH:

    Baked Apple Pancakes killed pinball. It was around 1982. Bickford's would do a special on Tuesdays. Baked Apple Pancakes were 2 for 1. For those that don't know, a Baked Apple Pancake is a huge plate with this massive custurdy pancake on it. It had cinnimon crisp, apples, and was huge. Me and two friends would go and get the 2 for 1. Those 2 pancakes and coffee. It was a bargain, and two of them were enough to feed all three of us. Plus, in the back, they had a Pacman machine. So the entire afternoon was spend eating and playing Pacman obsessively. We got to the point where we could get to the fifth key level. No bad flippers, no broken mechs. The game just worked. All my spare quarters went there. I'd still play pinball on occasion, but the lions share went into Pacman. It was a fun time.

    Yeah it's pretty simple actually and nothing against Pinball which still flourishes across the river in PDX because of demand here. It really just comes down to technology and evolving appeal to customers when they come into an establishment. The fact that video games have lost their appeal in Bars and Taverns over the past 10 years opens the door back up to Pinball once again. But as WOZ has tried to do, it needs to be innovative and attractive, or it will just sit in a corner in a half broken and flipping-dirty mess.

    #49 5 years ago
    Quoted from TOK:

    Atari was pretty much dead while Williams was still making their biggest games (remember the Jaguar and Lynx? Two giant duds between 89 and 93). They weren't even a real company by 1998, just a name purchased by Hasbro to slap on their gaming division.

    Kind of off topic:

    "Atari" still exists today, believe it or not. Infogrames is wearing their dead skin, with a very small staff. Question is: Why would they emerge out of bankruptcy, only to lose more money in the process?

    It's not even the real Atari anyway. Bunch of copyright trolls, bullying Jeff Minter and his brilliant TxK game. I bet he'd make a better version of Asteroids instead of what they came up with recently.

    OP: Now I'm pretty mad that Neil Nicastro hated pinball. I'd be surprised if he's still the head of WMS today.

    #50 5 years ago

    After seeing a documentary on it, I agree with others that say it made no sense for Williams to just sit on their pinball division and not sell it off. I'm shocked the major stockholders didn't have an issue with this. Every company is out to make money so not selling this part off makes zero sense. For me, this proves what Vid1900 is saying is true. The CEO must have hated the pinball division for some reason...

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