(Topic ID: 65959)

Growing Pinball in my area + Video Tour of my Garage


By Bakushan

5 years ago



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  • 32 posts
  • 24 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by genex
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    #1 5 years ago

    So as some of you may know I have only been into this thing since November, so 11 months. In that time I have fallen deep into the rabbit hole and have bought many machines, sold a few, and generally become obsessed/infatuated with pinball as a hobby and a interest. Can you blame me?

    What really brought me into the hobby full force was being invited into a great group of owners here in DFW, a group called the DFW Pinball and Arcade Club. These guys were having one of their pinball parties, which I had never seen before, and once I was there the magic of it really took grasp. I realized later that the excitement and enthusiasm of genuine pinball enthusiasts made me want to become one myself. I had that "ah ha" moment where I realized that these things were so much deeper, so much more meaningful than just a game where you hit a ball...

    As time went on my passion for wanting to host, create, promote or be involved with any/all pinball related events in my area of North Texas increased. I hosted my first ever pinball event just a few months ago and over 150 people came and nearly 40 pins were there to play. Remarkably, doing this actually soured my reputation with some locals as I used my tried/true aggressive marketing I have utilized in the car industry over the last 9 years to achieve those results. I never meant to, but I quickly became a "love me or hate me" kind of guy. Which sucks honestly, but it is what it is. I'm not letting that stop me or hold me back from my goals.

    So my next plan/idea has been to convert my own garage into a game room, not unlike many of you pinsiders have done yourself. However, my game room has a little bit different agenda than just serving my own personal passion for pinball. The goal all along has been to use it as a catalyst to convert normal people into pinball hobbyists.

    You see I realized after my own experience, that today no-one is going to go out to a Pizza Hut and fall in love with a pinball machine. There is no pinball machine. If they are to find one, its either in disrepair due to a operator or its $1 a game and someone who does not understand pinball is unlikely to pay $1 to learn. So pinball is stuck in the mud.

    I want my garage to be a place where I can host events, parties, shindigs and how-to-seminars for regular folks. Not established pinballers, but normal people like we all have in our life who may be interested but have never actually touched one in 10+ years. By having a place that people can come and play, for free, in a welcoming and safe environment with well maintained and fully functional pinballs representing machines from 1977-Today I believe I can make a difference (locally) in the overall interest, awareness, and promotion of pinball in general.

    I have 5,000 facebook friends, 21,000+ facebook followers for a combined network over 26,000 people. I am exposing these people to pinball and arcade related content several times a week, which itself has led already to pinball purchases and requests to visit my home arcade.

    I am not a whole solution, or even a small one, but a tiny piece that can have a difference in my area.

    Passion about pinball is truly contagious, and sharing it with others in my opinion is the #1 best way to grow our hobby.

    Here is a video walk through of my arcade made tonight during a open/public pinball event I hosted. Thanks for reading.

    DSC_2151.jpg

    #2 5 years ago

    Looks awesome! I wish I was closer! I would come on over and hangout!

    #3 5 years ago

    Wow! I might have to take a trip down 35W straight south to Dallas! I salute you and your game room! Fantastic!

    #4 5 years ago

    Nice work Shan....hope to come see you sometime and play your pins/talk about the hobby. You really are "all-in" with pinball

    #5 5 years ago

    Nice garage!

    #6 5 years ago

    Nice. I see the pins are getting played. The videos game not so much. That is what happens in my game room the video game get no love.

    #7 5 years ago

    What an awesome setup!
    I'll be right over!

    #8 5 years ago

    I LOVE your attitude! We had an old family friend come over last weekend, and I didn't even know if he'd be into pinball or not (much less his two kids), but within one hour of playing, he was enthusiastically planning for when he would have not one, but two, in his basement. He asked if we could hook him up with intel and guidance when he was ready. And his boys were already competing to best each other on AC/DC.

    I agree, that is how the hobby will spread. It lives or dies on word of mouth, and in the new social media age, it's NOT that hard to do that. One pinball fan can make a difference in the hobby. We all can.

    #9 5 years ago

    Thank you all so much for reading. I know how this forum can be for long posts, heh.

    #10 5 years ago

    That's a great set-up and cool of you to share it with everyone.

    #11 5 years ago

    Making me wish I lived in Dallas so I could come hang out.

    #12 5 years ago

    "Remarkably, doing this actually soured my reputation with some locals as I used my tried/true aggressive marketing I have utilized in the car industry over the last 9 years to achieve those results."

    That's oversimplfying things quite a bit. Suffice to say, there is a huge schism in our local community right now, and it's making things NOT FUN for a lot of people and it needs to be resolved. Sucks. It's a major freakin' buzzkill that I can't just simply invite everyone in the area to events because a few people can't get along.

    That F2K looks friggin sweet...everything working already? I thought it was a project pin lol..

    #13 5 years ago
    Quoted from roffels:

    That's a great set-up and cool of you to share it with everyone.

    Thanks very much. It's lacking in high end titles, but it makes up for it in friendliness.

    Quoted from FoghornLeghorn:

    Making me wish I lived in Dallas so I could come hang out.

    You are welcome anytime. Any pinsider, or pinball interested person is. Just message me.

    Quoted from Frax:

    That's oversimplfying things quite a bit. Suffice to say, there is a huge schism in our local community right now, and it's making things NOT FUN for a lot of people and it needs to be resolved. Sucks. It's a major freakin' buzzkill that I can't just simply invite everyone in the area to events because a few people can't get along.

    Dude, you are right. But I try (if possible) to always focus on the positive and put negativity behind me. But yeah, the elephant in the room needs to be removed for sure. I for one am willing, ready and able to come to the negotiation table. I want to get past any drama, and not be part of any sort of division in our small hobby.

    Quoted from Frax:

    That F2K looks friggin sweet...everything working already? I thought it was a project pin lol..

    Yeah... it was. Heh. That was a few hundred dollars ago. Shopped, new chips, a new board, new lights, waxed etc. It all works, plays. Just need to fix a wiring harness for the lower insert lights and find a stern coin-door frame. But the game plays fine, sound etc. Its fun. I couldnt wait that long man... come on.

    #14 5 years ago
    Quoted from Jared:

    Thanks very much. It's lacking in high end titles, but it makes up for it in friendliness.

    I wouldn't worry about having a high-end title. I'd love to have a Rollergames and a Taxi, and my only table is a Ninja Turtles.

    #15 5 years ago
    Quoted from roffels:

    I wouldn't worry about having a high-end title. I'd love to have a Rollergames and a Taxi, and my only table is a Ninja Turtles.

    Honestly... what other tables could you possibly need?

    I would sell every pinball machine I own... and a lot of other things... before I would part with TMNT pinball. Seriously.

    #16 5 years ago
    Quoted from Jared:

    Honestly... what other tables could you possibly need?

    ... Jurassic Park.

    If I find myself in your neighborhood, I'd love to hang out. Unlikely at this point in time, but hey, who knows?

    #17 5 years ago

    I like what you're doing...and it's a refreshing and innovative approach: an intermediate way of attracting the general public's (or at least the neighborhood's) attention to pinball in a positive manner. This is much better than hoarding pins in your basement that few people get to play. The public can occasionally play your machines, even if not in a true public location.

    However, I don't think you'll be able to convert many people into pinball hobbyists.

    There are plenty of people who enjoy pinball that are not hobbyists; some are new players that have just discovered it, and some have played for many years. In our league here in town of about 20, I am one of four members that actually own machines. And two of the four that do only have a single machine, with one other having two machines. Most of our leaguers have no interest in owning a machine; it's not for everyone, for various reasons.

    I still believe the best way to spread pinball to the public is to operate. Even if you only operate a single machine, in the right location (that Pizza Hut?), it will draw a lot of interest...people will be talking about it, especially if pinball has been absent for a while. I know it's not practical for everyone to do so, but if you are able to, give it a try. You will be surprised by the thanks you will receive from random local people, many you would have never met in a league or at a show. And, you might just generate a little cash flow on the side. You don't have to have a brand new Stern LE or Medieval Madness...a Rollergames, Bride of Pinbot, or Dr. Dude will do.

    -Mark

    #18 5 years ago

    Looks great man! wish I was closer

    #19 5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing... cool game room... I wonder if the neighbors are okay with your setup?

    #20 5 years ago

    Nice selection of games...go pinball go

    sharing-689.jpg

    #21 5 years ago

    As long as people keep hosting parties and events like Bakushan and Frax, the DFW schism aspect will fade.

    Haters will hate. Whiners will whine. Beetches will beetch. Cussers will cuss.

    And anyone in the DFW area that still clings to the past, my advice is to just get over it already.
    Or sit it out. Either way, tournaments, parties, leagues and events will continue to happen in DFW.

    Focus on the great things ahead of us like Stern Star Trek, Skit-B Predator, JJP Wizard of Oz, Hallow-Scream in Austin, Houston Expo, Texas Pinball Festival, IFPA State Championship, Jammed Quarters & Flip Off Hunger.

    The Pinball good time train is running full steam ahead!!

    Xerico

    #22 5 years ago
    Quoted from Jared:

    Remarkably, doing this actually soured my reputation with some locals as I used my tried/true aggressive marketing I have utilized in the car industry over the last 9 years to achieve those results. I never meant to, but I quickly became a "love me or hate me" kind of guy. Which sucks honestly, but it is what it is. I'm not letting that stop me or hold me back from my goals.

    I wouldn't waste 2 brain cycles on worrying about the haters. Keep on truckin'!

    #23 5 years ago
    Quoted from Jared:

    Passion about pinball is truly contagious, and sharing it with others in my opinion is the #1 best way to grow our hobby.

    Well said!!! A++++

    #24 5 years ago

    Great job in what you're doing. Love the garage and the attitude of wanting to share your hobby to complete strangers so I salute you sir! I would be there in a heartbeat!

    #25 5 years ago

    it works for religious groups....

    #26 5 years ago
    Quoted from Jared:

    You see I realized after my own experience, that today no-one is going to go out to a Pizza Hut and fall in love with a pinball machine. There is no pinball machine. If they are to find one, its either in disrepair due to a operator or its $1 a game and someone who does not understand pinball is unlikely to pay $1 to learn. So pinball is stuck in the mud.

    While I appreciate your enthusiasm, I don't appreciate you generalizing about operators and location games. My games are clean and working 99% of the time. When one has a problem, I get a call and the game gets fixed within 24 hours. I regularly get compliments on my games. There are plenty of other operators here on pinside like me that take pride in operating clean and working (and fun) games. The one or two locations near me (225 locations, 527 games) that charge $1 a game (I don't) also offer 3 games for $2.

    While location pinball isn't growing as fast as home ownership, it is growing. The pinball maps show it. I just recently got a new location and now have 3 more of my games out there. Looking at the pinball map, the Dallas/ FT Worth area has 20 locations with 45 games. Do you ever go to those locations? Have you ever considered operating any of your games? Now is a very good time to solicit business owners.

    The absolute best way to support the hobby is to operate games. The second best way to support the hobby is to play on location regularly. And if you really think location play is 'stuck in the mud', keep an eye on the link below. It's not.

    http://pinballmap.com/

    #27 5 years ago
    Quoted from phishrace:

    While I appreciate your enthusiasm, I don't appreciate you generalizing about operators and location games. My games are clean and working 99% of the time. When one has a problem, I get a call and the game gets fixed within 24 hours. I regularly get compliments on my games. There are plenty of other operators here on pinside like me that take pride in operating clean and working (and fun) games. The one or two locations near me (225 locations, 527 games) that charge $1 a game (I don't) also offer 3 games for $2.
    While location pinball isn't growing as fast as home ownership, it is growing. The pinball maps show it. I just recently got a new location and now have 3 more of my games out there. Looking at the pinball map, the Dallas/ FT Worth area has 20 locations with 45 games. Do you ever go to those locations? Have you ever considered operating any of your games? Now is a very good time to solicit business owners.
    The absolute best way to support the hobby is to operate games. The second best way to support the hobby is to play on location regularly. And if you really think location play is 'stuck in the mud', keep and eye on the link below. It's not.
    http://pinballmap.com/

    No idea if the underlying facts are correct, but you make a compelling case. Well articulated.

    #28 5 years ago
    Quoted from roffels:

    ... Jurassic Park.
    If I find myself in your neighborhood, I'd love to hang out. Unlikely at this point in time, but hey, who knows?

    Agreed on Jurassic Park. Man what a game. Truth is, I find something to like about any pinball machine. Yep... even Street Fighter 2. Any machine. For me TMNT was my first one I bought, and I am a lifelong TMNT fan, so it will never be sold.

    Quoted from marcos:

    I like what you're doing...and it's a refreshing and innovative approach: an intermediate way of attracting the general public's (or at least the neighborhood's) attention to pinball in a positive manner. This is much better than hoarding pins in your basement that few people get to play. The public can occasionally play your machines, even if not in a true public location.

    Thanks!!!

    Quoted from marcos:

    However, I don't think you'll be able to convert many people into pinball hobbyists.

    So far I have gotten 5, for a total of 7 machines purchased. Long way to go.

    Quoted from marcos:

    I still believe the best way to spread pinball to the public is to operate. Even if you only operate a single machine, in the right location (that Pizza Hut?), it will draw a lot of interest...people will be talking about it, especially if pinball has been absent for a while. I know it's not practical for everyone to do so, but if you are able to, give it a try. You will be surprised by the thanks you will receive from random local people, many you would have never met in a league or at a show.

    Ya know, I don't necessarily agree here, but I have thought about it. The total cost to get up and going for a single machine here in Texas is around $260. From there its $60 a machine per year. It's still something I am considering, but only for the sake of more exposure. Another idea I had was to just move my collection to a public place: and keep them all on free play.

    Quoted from JAXPinball:

    Thanks for sharing... cool game room... I wonder if the neighbors are okay with your setup?

    Oh yeah. They come over and play often, and whenever the garage door is open kids/neighbors/joggers by will come over and chat, play, and learn. They love it.

    Quoted from Xerico:

    As long as people keep hosting parties and events like Bakushan and Frax, the DFW schism aspect will fade.
    Haters will hate. Whiners will whine. Beetches will beetch. Cussers will cuss.
    And anyone in the DFW area that still clings to the past, my advice is to just get over it already.
    Or sit it out. Either way, tournaments, parties, leagues and events will continue to happen in DFW.
    Focus on the great things ahead of us like Stern Star Trek, Skit-B Predator, JJP Wizard of Oz, Hallow-Scream in Austin, Houston Expo, Texas Pinball Festival, IFPA State Championship, Jammed Quarters & Flip Off Hunger.
    The Pinball good time train is running full steam ahead!!

    Progressive... positive... moving forward. I dig it man.

    Quoted from phishrace:

    While I appreciate your enthusiasm, I don't appreciate you generalizing about operators and location games. My games are clean and working 99% of the time. When one has a problem, I get a call and the game gets fixed within 24 hours. I regularly get compliments on my games. There are plenty of other operators here on pinside like me that take pride in operating clean and working (and fun) games. The one or two locations near me (225 locations, 527 games) that charge $1 a game (I don't) also offer 3 games for $2.

    Sorry. Here in DFW, this is not the case. So for me, my post was not so much of a generaliziation than it was a matter of fact from my personal experiences here in North Texas, where pins are on route with PF's so dirty you cant see inserts, no GI working, and busted rubbers on flippers that go at half strength. It literally is so bad that it appears that someone setup a terrible game to begin with, and left it on for 5 years never having touched it. That bad. So thats my point of view on it.

    I am very glad to hear that good/clean/awesome operators exist. Good. I hope there are more of you. We have a couple (2-3) in Dallas that I can think of, and some others in Austin/Houston, but generally speaking... in DFW... and place with 8+ Million People... you can find less than 15 pins in a 100 mile radius that are in working playable condition in a public place.

    Quoted from phishrace:

    Looking at the pinball map, the Dallas/ FT Worth area has 20 locations with 45 games. Do you ever go to those locations?

    Yep, in fact I added a lot of the locations to the map myself. Well, the pinside map anyways...

    Quoted from phishrace:

    Have you ever considered operating any of your games? Now is a very good time to solicit business owners.

    I have considered, but have not pulled the trigger. I am extremely busy. I have shows from 9 months ago I DVR'd that I have not watched, lol.

    Quoted from phishrace:

    The absolute best way to support the hobby is to operate games. The second best way to support the hobby is to play on location regularly.

    Well, support and grow are different words. How I feel like I said in the OP is that "Passion about pinball is truly contagious, and sharing it with others in my opinion is the #1 best way to grow our hobby.". So in regards to GROWTH, I personally feel that sharing your own passion about this hobby is the #1 way to do it. I played pinball machines for 25 years, and never once even realized that there were rules/objectives/goals/modes until someone explained it to me, with vigor and enthusiasm. Even then, I thought owning a pin would be impossible for me... until I also met a group of owners that have many pins amongst them and learned the ropes. Now I have 8 of my own.

    Not sure I want to become an operator yet, but I spend money on any playable pinball machine I see, every single time. Never miss a chance to do it.

    #29 5 years ago
    Quoted from Jared:

    Well, support and grow are different words.

    There isn't enough wealth in this country to keep home ownership growing at the rate it's been growing lately. A pinball machine in the home is a luxury item most can not afford. Even if the growth among home buyers could be sustained, do you really want to play only with people who have upper middle class incomes? I enjoy playing with folks from all walks of life. Money should not be an obstacle to enjoying the hobby. In my area, it isn't.

    I really do appreciate your enthusiasm. If the location scene in your area is weak, please use some of that enthusiasm to help improve it. Talk to the operators. If that doesn't work, talk to the business owner. I've had very good success doing those things in my area. More home buyers is good, but more location players is better. The home market is close to saturation. Sooner or later, you'll find diminishing returns. Not so with location play. Location pinball used to make more money every year in this country than the movie industry. Wouldn't it be awesome if that happened again?

    #30 5 years ago

    I need to go down to Texas!!!!

    #31 5 years ago
    Quoted from phishrace:

    Location pinball used to make more money every year in this country than the movie industry. Wouldn't it be awesome if that happened again?

    I think its a long, long, long shot... but even if we could get it back to 10% of what it once was that would be a gigantic leap.

    Ya know what would be great for pinball? A reality series on TV. I have seen like 5 different pilots/casting threads... and no show yet. Its amazing what shows can do for hobbies!

    #32 5 years ago

    Bakusha, glad you are doing what you are doing! I know from playing on location and pretty much ANYWHERE that people do enjoy pinball, but the machines do need to work to some degree and that we're quite lucky to have great operators in the SF Bay Area like phishrace and others.

    If/when I get out your way would love to take some photos and maybe interview you too about what you're doing and the scene out there. If you get out to the Bay Area, let us know - all of us location players are pretty friendly and there's a pretty diverse mix of people out here.

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