I went from zero to 6 pins (and a Williams Slugfest) in about 7 months. Do I have an addiction or do these machines just multiply on their own?
I was a kid in the 90's, but didn't really get into pinball even though there were a lot of them in the arcade I went to. I was more interested in ticket redemption games so I could bring home worthless junk. I really wish I had appreciated pinball when it was there.
Since the death of arcades in the late 90's none have popped back up locally for me. The best I have is a bar that I haven't been to with a few pins and an annual arcade expo (I can't remember if that's occurred for 2 or 3 years now). If I travel a couple hours in a few directions I can go to a Dave & Busters or similar, but none have pinball.
Anyway, at the expo a couple years ago, I rediscovered Williams Slugfest. See, that one actually allows you to redeem cards, so I played it as a kid even though I didn't care about sports or sports cards... At that expo I played some DMD pins and ignored anything older.
Soon after, I found Slugfest locally on craigslist and bought it. Any DMD pins I saw were outside of my price range for impulse buying, but Slugfest came in at a much lower price point. It was kind of my launchpad into pinball, and it wasn't until the next expo that I really gave pinball the attention it needed. I learned that a pin didn't have to have a DMD in order to be fun. It was after that expo that I decided I needed to buy my first pin. I fell in love with Jurassic Park and hope that it will be my first "big" pinball purchase sometime in the not too distant future. I was going to have to go with something older and much cheaper for pin #1.
I saw a Williams Alien Poker locally for what I thought was a good price. I researched the game, read reviews, watched videos and loaded it up in Visual Pinball. I had to have it! I learned the rules and how it was supposed to work before I even went to look at it. I was able to get the price down after pointing out some things that weren't working correctly (lights coming on at the wrong time or not at all, etc...) So it became my first true pinball machine. I quickly fell in love with troubleshooting and repairing every little issue that came up. I put it down in my basement with Slugfest. I wasn't going to buy any more games until after I got married in April 2014...
But I kept periodically seeing what popped up locally on Craigslist, specifically looking for deals under $500... and then I saw a Stern Dracula project machine. Well, I love fixing stuff, so a non-working project machine would be right up my alley. I got in touch with the seller, and when I went to pick it up, discovered he had more project machines in unknown working order that he was willing to let go for super cheap.
The next day I bought my Trident project machine.
The next week I bought Big Game and Stars project machines...
My collection grew by 4 pins in less than 2 weeks.
Alright, I had enough to keep me busy, right? I got Dracula and Stars fully working. I'm still restoring the Trident playfield and have a replacement pf for Big Game on order to replace the trashed one that's in it, so two of my games aren't even currently playable.
I have fallen in love with these early solid state games, but had a burning hole in my very core for something with ramps and multiball...
I still searched craigslist to see what was available. All kinds of pricey games were there, but I couldn't drop that kind of money all at once. I wanted sub $1k... sub $500 if possible. System 11 games would show up at over $1k, but not many other options. I did see a Gottlieb Genesis for $500 which was reported to be in questionable working condition with broken ramps. I'd have probably gotten it if the seller would have returned any of my emails... so that one didn't pan out.
Well, today I purchased a reasonably priced, fully working, good condition Special Force. I have read mixed reviews, and some people seem to really hate it, but not me! It's a perfect scratch for the particular itch I have, until I have a larger amount of expendable income to drop on a Jurassic Park, after I get married (yes, she knows I plan on getting a JP).
I haven't been spoiled by all of the triple A titles, so in a way I'm kind of discovering pinball for the first time and going through the generations from late 70's solid states with numeric displays to late 80's with alphanumeric (technically Slugfest gives me some exposure to the 90's DMD era). I don't play a game and think how much better another one is. I enjoy each one for what it is. Though I'm probably not being fair to EMs, since I've been avoiding them.
So, do I have an addiction? I haven't broken the bank yet. My entire collection was bought for less than the price I've seen on some Jurassic Parks (though I probably could have purchased a lower priced JP for what I've spent over time so far), not to mention the obscenely priced triple A titles... Not that I wouldn't want a triple A, but I will have to be in a vastly different economical situation before I can make a purchase like that.