Like every other pinhead out there, I've dreamed about making my own machine. Recently, I've put some serious thought into how to actually go about it.
I've read Aurich's posts about simplifying the pinball experience and agree that tangles of ramps and endless complicated rulesets are getting out of control, which is perfect because my dream theme is sort of "the game Bally never got around to making." I want to create a real late-70's throwback with electronic beeps, no ramps and lots of character.
My other inspiration is a lack of space in my home. I'd love to own a Golden Arrow, Buccaneer, OXO, Strange World and Gemini, but I have room for only one more game at this point (in my bedroom, if I move some furniture around). So I want to make it count and create a sort of "wedgehead multicade," capable of playing several different games on a single layout.
After getting advice on these Forums, I've decided that re-theming an existing game would save countless hours and dollars. I took the plunge this week when I found and bought a Flash playfield on Craigslist - it's missing most of the plastics (which I'd replace anyway), along with four coils, one of the flippers and a few standard parts, but the bones were there - all the brackets, switches and game-specific parts were in place. At $250 I overpaid a little, but at least this gets me started.