(Topic ID: 173569)

How did you get into this hobby?


3 years ago

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  • Latest reply 3 years ago by SUPERBEE
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    #51 3 years ago

    I liked pinballs as a kid but it was not a serious item for me. About four years ago I started seeing these pinball machines on youtube that were not pinball machines. I did not know what they were. Turns out they were visual pinball machines. OK. I'm interested. How do they do that? It took me a while to figure out the magic of using a flat screen TV and free visual pinball programs. In 2013, I took the plunge and built a medium budget visual pinball machine.

    I did the usual things you do with a VP machine. I downloaded and played lots of visual pinball games. It was a learning experience. Long story short, there was one VP game I kept returning to. A lot. I kept watching youtube vids of this game and it looked like it would be a lot of fun.

    We have a local op who has a few 80s pins located in a laundry mat; I had the chance to meet him on night. We talked and he gave me some education. I told him I would like to find a Stern Big Game. He gave me the number of a local guy who had a Big Game. I chased that guy down but we could not make a deal.

    A few weeks later, around Thanksgiving last year (2015,) while doing a half-assed random search for pinballs, a Big Game showed up on Craigslist in Oklahoma City. I wound up buying it. And working on it. And working on it. And working on it. I found that working on a pinball machine is more fun that working on cars, so the gear head in me wanted more.

    I recently retired. I don't care to hunt or fish, my guitar playing skills are---well, call me fumble-fingers. I needed a hobby and I love the thrill of the chase. So, here I am, not quite one year later and I have four Stern pins, a Sonic Cherry Bell pin, and I just picked up a beat up Game Plan Captain Hook pin.

    Right now, I don't get to play much because most of these pins are pretty raggedy and I am slowly getting them whipped into shape. It was a whole lot of machines in a short amount of time. Eventually, I will have them all up playing.

    My house has gotten smaller and looks like a pinball warehouse. And I'm having a ball (no pun intended).

    #52 3 years ago

    My story starts in the mid 50s
    My mom grew up here, and had 4 other siblings. As they got older and started driving my grandfather decided he didn't want them running around, getting into trouble, and would rather have them home with their friends.

    So he went and bought up a bunch of old games and placed them in the basement. Shuffleboard, full size pool table (that was already over 100 years old when the bought it. He originally wanted it upstairs, but the floor couldn't support the weight), big ball bowler, shooting gallery, etc... You also have to remember that at this time, people having pinballs and such in their house was unheard of. It made the house very popular with the kids and their friends.

    As they got older and started having kids of their own, the grandkids started to play with them, and as happens the games broke. One by one they were thrown away. (This was way before the Internet, and finding parts was not as easy as it is now). Eventually all that was left was the pool table, the shuffleboard, a Williams double play pitch and bat, and a Midway deluxe shooting gallery.

    When I got older, I developed an interest in fixing things. My first success story was fixing an old Lionel train set that was also in the basement. It just exploded from there.

    When I was a teenager I got a job at the local bowling alley and helped convince the owner to put more pins in. We started getting all the new games as they came out, and the operator was surprised by my enthusiasm on learning how to fix the games, to the point where he didn't mind me hanging around when he worked on them.

    After college I was finally able to buy my first game, and it took off from there. I keep my funhouse at my grandmas where it gets the snot played out of it. It has become a 4 generation game, with my grandma, aunts/uncles, cousins, their kids (and my own) play.

    Pinball has introduced me to so many awesome people it is hard to count, and has saved me tons of money in repairs on household items that I would have had no clue how to fix. Best of all is I get to see my sons eyes light up when he sees a game, and it is only a matter of time before he finds the power button and starts games on his own.

    #53 3 years ago

    I always talked about getting a pin, but put kids and paying off house as priority. Kids grown up house paid off...time to get a pin. Due to the years of saying I was going to get one I had no resistance when I finally decided to pull the trigger on my first pin, sweet.
    After a bit of research I decided to get a TZ in 2013. What I didn't know is they breed and TZ needed a partner, Met Prem was brought two months later lol
    I now have 8 pins with RZ and TAG due Jan/Mar. have taken over garage and running out of room wtf
    I have met some great people through pinball over the last three years. Glad I got into pinball now. Most in community are pretty cool.

    #54 3 years ago

    Nice , that was my first pin too !

    #55 3 years ago

    i wanted to respond to every post because i think this is a real thread for real pinball lovers to hear real stories but i cant keep up which is awesome !! keep the stories coming!! I think this is a breath of fresh air from all the negative stuff going on in here.

    #56 3 years ago
    Quoted from dsuperbee:

    My mom grew up here, and had 4 other siblings. As they got older and started driving my grandfather decided he didn't want them running around, getting into trouble, and would rather have them home with their friends.

    So he went and bought up a bunch of old games and placed them in the basement. Shuffleboard, full size pool table (that was already over 100 years old when the bought it. He originally wanted it upstairs, but the floor couldn't support the weight), big ball bowler, shooting gallery, etc... You also have to remember that at this time, people having pinballs and such in their house was unheard of. It made the house very popular with the kids and their friends.

    As they got older and started having kids of their own, the grandkids started to play with them, and as happens the games broke. One by one they were thrown away. (This was way before the Internet, and finding parts was not as easy as it is now). Eventually all that was left was the pool table, the shuffleboard, a Williams double play pitch and bat, and a Midway deluxe shooting gallery.

    When I got older, I developed an interest in fixing things. My first success story was fixing an old Lionel train set that was also in the basement. It just exploded from there.

    When I was a teenager I got a job at the local bowling alley and helped convince the owner to put more pins in. We started getting all the new games as they came out, and the operator was surprised by my enthusiasm on learning how to fix the games, to the point where he didn't mind me hanging around when he worked on them.

    After college I was finally able to buy my first game, and it took off from there. I keep my funhouse at my grandmas where it gets the snot played out of it. It has become a 4 generation game, with my gran

    Awesome history dsuperbee !!!!!

    #57 3 years ago
    Quoted from Pinball_Freak:

    I always talked about getting a pin, but put kids and paying off house as priority.

    So common !!

    #58 3 years ago

    Try to give us a bit of a story on your pinball journey and just just a quick synopsis . I think a lot of people really appreciate hearing the stories behind the name. Breath of fresh air from all the negative stuff.

    #59 3 years ago

    Sorry, meant "and not just a quick synopsis".

    #60 3 years ago

    As a young teenager there was a competition to win a pinball machine, I did not win but I realized you could own one

    Mid teens, the cool kid on the block lived in a flat behind his parents place, he had a pinball machine in his room

    a couple of years later, I am working, but spending money as quick as I earn it. ad apears in the newspaper, the local operator is selling a dozen old EMS, single players $110, two players $120
    buy my first game (Gottlieb; Sure Shot)

    #61 3 years ago

    a friend always had numerous pins in his house, helped him move some in. i had a pool table in the basement and figured a pin would be good to go with it. always loved playing bally playboy when i was younger. so what the hell, got a T2 to go with the pool table.

    #62 3 years ago

    I grew up with the lights and sounds of pinball. I remember the big yellow boxy thing in the basement it made all those noises. The flashing lights, the thump of the bumpers, the buzz of the flippers and the sound of the match unit going crazy along with the bell. Oh yes the smell that thing made. Opening the cabinet door and watching the score drum make all those sparks. Then i was old enough to play. Took years for me and my siblings to master rolling over the score on the Williams em Klondike but sadly as others have stated it finally quit working one day and bye bye it went. Still something odd about orange and pink horses.
    Years went by played here and there. Then i got old enough to get a job and now i have 6 machines all in states of repair some work and play some are waiting there turn to come back to life another day. Just last week the solder station went up in smoke and now here i sit looking for that next machine while i wait for the new one to come any day. Hoping someone local has to part ways with another machine for me that i just have to have snatch up and play because they like many of us here we have reached the limit and now something has to go because they have another one on the way.

    #63 3 years ago

    I used to play a bit of pinball as a boy, some as a teen, later as an adult in a local arcade called Space Invaders. One of our favorite games was Cyclone. Space Invaders arcade eventually shut down, and pinball went off my radar.

    A friend from that circle had over the years become employed by a gameroom business moving billiards tables. He invited me on a trip to PAPA, and near that time told me his employer aquired a lot of the old Space Invaders vids and pins, and he had bought the Cyclone that was from Space Invaders. Not just a Cyclone...THE Cyclone, the actual machine we played throughout the years. He told me the game had become broken and now was basically unplayable and asked me to look into repairing it. After I fixed his game and babysat it for around a year, I bought my first machine, Mata Hari.

    #65 3 years ago

    I used to own a toy pinball (Tomy) as a kid and loved it to bits. Growing up in the 90s pinball was not something I came across in the UK, but about 8 years ago I got really in to pinball app games on my iphone/ipad and had to try out the real thing, so I hunted down a few 'on location' pinball machines in London - and was hooked.

    I bought my first pinball Dr Dude 2 years ago, sold that and upgraded (in my opinion) to a Stern Star Trek Pro.

    So there you have it, the real turning point for me/introduction was mobile games or 'cell phone games' for all you Americans

    #66 3 years ago

    NES emulation -> MAME -> arcade collecting -> pinball

    #67 3 years ago

    I played pins in arcades as a kid and teenager. Used to play in college in the break room. Loved playing. After college I worked and got married. My job had me working tons of hours. I had no life, and was too tired to go out and find machines. Besides which I loved being with my wife, and going out without her seemed dumb. The machines in arcades were beat up and needed repairing. So..I bought my first machine from an Operator. $600 for a pinbot in 1990. I moved around a lot throughout the US and Canada for about 3 years at each assignment. The pin came with me. I learned to fix it so I didn't have to pay anyone.
    The madness started now. I have learned to love fixing them as much as playing them. I'm so glad I did this, as you can't find them anymore in the wild, so it's a blast from the past right in the basement.

    #68 3 years ago

    When I was 9 we moved into a new house. Dad and i wanted a pool table but the staircase was narrow and had a 90° turn. Bummer. 3 years later new home and same problem so off we go to the local repair, technician place. WOW! Dozens of games lining walls and parts everywhere. It smelled like smoke and solder. Dad had a budget ($500) I think. I remember playing 3 or 4 of them and wanting one that was $700. So, $350 later we had a Black Knight in our truck heading home. Was pretty cool in 1990 being the kid that had their own pinball machine. However the passion for bk died. I had 2 arcades within biking distance that had all the new games for me to put quarters in. Jetting ahead to 2000s I was young and single and forgot all about pinball. The arcades had closed and you'd find the occasional game in a bar or pub. Then in 2008 I walk into circus circus at west Edmonton mall and there's a shiny new Family Guy. I was like wow. Why did I stop playing pinball and how can I get one again? My favorite game was fish tales so I went about getting one. $1250 and a 8 hr trip I had one again (much to my wife's dismay) Been buying and fixing them since. And still married.

    #69 3 years ago

    Got a lead on a Bally KISS machine from a KISS collector friend back in '96. Bought it working and my friend who turned me on to it knew where some pins were in storage in a tractor trailer for years. Enter pin #2. Bobby Orr's Power Play. Needed work but I bought it anyway. Eventually the KISS machine had issues and since I had no idea how to repair it both games sat not working for 10+years. Hired a tech to repair them in my home while I watched. I learned alot and have added more games since. I loved pinball in my teen years and never outgrew it. Feels good to make repairs yourself. What a great and different hobby. Not everyone on the block has a pinball machine.......

    #70 3 years ago

    I've always been more into pinball than arcades. Growing up in the early-mid 90s, I used to always gravitate towards pins at arcades and elsewhere. Grew up playing a lot of the 90s DMD era games like TAF, DE Batman, AFM, etc. As pins dried up in the early 2000s, I missed them but never thought about buying one. Anyway, somehow in 2010-11 I came across a pinball ad on Craigslist and was shocked you could buy a machine for your house!

    Being a huge Doctor Who fan, I didn't even know they had released an DW pin until I was sleuthing for one to buy. When I came across that, I knew it was the one. I found two for sale semi near me, one in Atlanta and one from a dealer in Charlotte. Since, at the time, I knew nothing about repairing machines, I wanted one that was good to go and needed no work. So, I paid the extra price for a dealer's machine that had been gone through and was working great. At the time it was a little high for that game, now it'd be a steal -- crazy how 5-6 years have changed prices.

    Anyway, that started it all for me. Still have my DW in my gameroom and will likely never get rid of it. I've owned 64 other machines beside that first one, learned to repair them quite well and do that for a living currently, and have met many great people. It's been a wonderful hobby to be a part of and has changed my life, no doubt.

    #71 3 years ago

    Copied and pasted from "My Pinball Saga" on my intro page. (I edited a few things.) Through Pinball hubby and I have met some of the best people and we consider them among our best friends! Pinball is something that we have in common, enjoy together we like to play and travel to shows (when we can) and we work on them together!
    Here's our story...

    I remember playing pinball when I was a teenager, back in the 80's. My parents were on a church bowling league, (this was when gamerooms were dubbed as 18 and over...) there was a gameroom at the bowling alley, but it was closed off. I would get quarters from my Dad and sneak into the gameroom to play pinball. (my Dad thought I was putting the quarters in the gumball machines) I remember playing Haunted House, it was always REALLY quick games, cause all the flippers never worked!! Fast forward a year or two, at another bowling alley (no age restriction at this one) a school friend of mine's Mom worked there, so we went to see her after school one day about 2 weeks before we graduated. I met my future hubby there...While we were dating, we played lots of pinball. Space Shuttle and Black Knight are two that I specifically remember...Black knight was removed, but SS stayed, and we played it alot!

    After we got married, we got away from pinball for a few years (late 80's and all of the 90's). We had kids, and no time or money to drop in location games. Fast forward to 2000. We were house hunting, and our new house was gonna have a basement for our pool table (family heirloom from hubby) and we came back to pinball...found E-bay...and realized that you could have a pinball like the ones we remembered in your house. So in 2001 when we moved in, we got our first pin, Williams Space Shuttle...Still have it, it was the first game I restored and it will not be leaving anytime soon!
    That was the beginning...we decided that our one pin looked lonely, we needed another one to go with it AND if we got another one, we would still have one to play while we restored the SS... We continued to scour E-bay and we also started going to auctions in Columbus Oh. and Indianapolis In. we in a short time had added a BK, Road Kings, Sorcerer and Gorgar to our growing collection...You all see where this is going right?

    Our first plan was to have an 80's theme. We were gonna have one Williams pin from every year in the 80's, and a few classic vids (Pac-man, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong and Robotron) We completed that particular goal, with a few years having doubles and even triples...so we decided we wanted all the system 7 games, all the sys. 9s, all the sys. 6s.... At this point the pool table as well as all our living room and dinning room furniture and around 10 or so pins (in some stage of restoration) are in storage units.
    In late 2010, we had all the sys. 7s, 9s, and all the 6s, 5 EMs, and 7 sys 11s...We were getting ready to join a pinball league, and we felt that we needed to branch out and expand our collection a bit and have some newer DMD games. Highest on our list being AFM and SM...so during 2011 we accomplished that, and added AFM, SM, and even a Congo to our collection. We felt we had a good array of games, and a little bit of everything now... 2013 came along and we added our first NIB Metallica premium Roadcase, and have since added a CSI. Started and run (along with help from others in the league) a local league from our Cincy Pinball Group with 30 folks playing.
    2017 has brought some changes to the line up not many as (shall I say) we are "content" with what we have ATM! Since I retired from doing restorations for others (in 2011) and have just been doing my own games. I have also been custom painting trim and some figures and PF toys for different games. Keeping up with friends and enjoying the hobby!


    #72 3 years ago

    2004 - Meet future husband drunk in a bar.
    2005 - Start dating future husband long distance.
    2006 - Future husband moves to Toronto to live with me in my loft. Realize future husband is obsessed with pinball. Decide that is strange but am able to somewhat get over this along with his tendency to sometimes "forget" to wear pants while indoors.
    2007 - Get to know husband's friends. Keep hearing stories about their college days and beating pinball machines with their knees, elbows and even tongues. Weird and gross.
    2009 - Time to get married. Husband and friends go out and play pinball for his bachelor party. Husband's friends go out and play pinball again the next day. Almost miss the ceremony.
    2010 - Husband officially becomes Canadian. Can't kick him out now.
    2012 - Sell loft & buy house. Let my husband buy one pinball machine. I will never play it.
    2013 - Hey, this isn't too bad. There are strategies? Who knew you didn't just shoot at stuff randomly. And look at these mod things you can buy. The pinball machine with the castle is funny... I want the pinball machine with the castle. Look! I can catch the ball with my flipper! We can fit four pins in the basement. No wait, 5 or maybe 6. Seven is definitely the maximum - at least until we renovate...

    #73 3 years ago

    I played a lot at the same arcade as wayout440 I assume did (Space Invaders in North Olmsted). I also had a friend who had a bunch of pins in his basement. We played King Rock and Four Aces all winter long. My love grew from there. I got a free non working Road Kings machine from a neighbor and started my small collection after that.

    #74 3 years ago

    In 1999 I was on eBay looking for items to decorate my game room... The rest is history!

    Rob Bell

    #75 3 years ago
    Quoted from scylla:

    Meet future husband drunk in a bar.

    Love how it started. Great story.

    #76 3 years ago
    Quoted from mswhat:

    I played a lot at the same arcade as wayout440 I assume did (Space Invaders in North Olmsted).

    We played at the one in Cleveland on the Brookpark border, behind the old Peaches record store. That was a bit of of a shady area to leave around Midnight.

    #77 3 years ago

    Unlike most of you guys I was born into this crazy hobby. My parents had 3 pinball machines and a bowler in the basement. I have pictures of me as an infant and toddler playing the machines. In the late 80's my parents renovated the basement and the pins and bowler were sold. They bought an ur asteroids and a cocktail pacman to replace them.

    Fast forward a few years and I was 17 and bought my first video game (yeah I know) was a bally midway nump.n jump. It was all downhill from there. I have over 60 machines currently (pin, vids, bowlers) and my kids love my hobby. And yes I have pictures of my infant son on my paragon pin. And both my boys have their own machines.

    #78 3 years ago

    I always thought pinball was stupid. I was a video gamer. I didn't get it.

    Hit a ball, get a score, who cares?!?!

    Then I was out visiting my brother who had moved across the country. He had a Pac-Man arcade and Jurassic Park pinball in his basement.
    I was playing Pac-Man for hours when he said why don't you play some pinball with me? I told him "No, it's not my thing, it's kinda dumb."

    He asked if I "knew how to play"? I asked him what there was to know?

    He then explained the different modes in Jurassic Park and how to activate them. He then went on to tell me that you if played through all the modes you would get to this crazy end mode called "system shutdown" that he had only ever seen once or twice.

    All of a sudden everything clicked and it was a game to me now with goals and objectives! I spent all damn night trying to hit System Shutdown. I never got there.

    When I got back home to Sacramento I called up a local operator and hunted down a Jurassic Park machine. This was in 2004 and the rest is history.

    I've owned over 150+ games and now have a solid little collection of ~15 games (mostly newer Sterns), and of course my original Jurassic Park

    Wall-o-Stern (resized).jpg

    #79 3 years ago

    As a kid, I dropped every quarter I could find into pins, which could be found in almost every store imaginable. Then the video games arrived and I felt like they were a better bargain for my money. More juice for the squeeze so to say. The fact that pinball pricing jumped to .50 while the games became more difficult only drove that point home. Eventually I lost interest in videos and life went on. Jump forward to early 2000 and I was carooming Ebay one day when I ran across pins. Suddenly a light turned on in my little brain when I realized that I could own one in my home. I could own a fricking pinball machine!!! My first one was Tri Zone, then Lost World and Phoenix and Playboy soon followed. I went after every game that I enjoyed as a teenager. Sweet.
    Its been close to 16 years and even though the basement is now full there is always room for 1 more.

    #80 3 years ago

    Great stories all !!! Its funny how som many of out stories are soo similar.

    #81 3 years ago

    I blame my addiction on Dream Machine that was once in Lincoln Mall-Lincoln,RI. My dad would give me ten bucks to play while he went off shopping in the mall. Remember when you could leave your kids alone and not worry about bad things happening? Those days are gone. Anyhow I spent alot of quarters on the sit-down Spy Hunter arcade(still a favorite) and remember HighSpeed being my go to pinball machine. I always wanted my own little arcade and it was a long wait for me to reach my first pinball machine,Time Warp. Love this machine.
    The fun is endless,I even have a wife that has just as much fun playing.

    #82 3 years ago

    My neighbor had a Gottlieb 2001 in their basement. When I was a kid, we played on it like it was a jungle gym. It never worked.

    When I was in middle school, my mom bought the game for my dad as a fathers day gift for $20 because he liked to tinker. Basically the price for our neighbors to pay their older kids to haul it from the basement. I can still vividly remember seeing them walk the whole game as if it were a couch down the sidewalk to our garage. No one knew how to take it apart.

    It sat, and my dad eventually figured out how to get the glass off and lifted the playfield. He took one look at the switches and relays, and said "to hell with that." It sat some more.

    The summer of my freshman year of high school, I was too young for a job, but too old for summer camps. I taught myself how to read the schematics, and somehow fudged my way through fixing it with my dad. That's when the sickness happened, and suddenly I had a job and eBay and Craigslist became horrible enablers.

    Then I had 12 games, an empty wallet, but incredible memories of me and my father fixing games. To this day, I owe a ton to this hobby. I've learned so much.


    #83 3 years ago

    Around 1995 or so I saw an ad in the local Buy 'n Sell for the Starburst Arcade Auction - that was when I realized you could buy old video games. I had zero interest in pinball, having grown up in the 80s, but the idea of picking up an arcade game was enticing.

    My first auction, I was put off by the request for a $200 deposit - I thought that money would be taken from me and if I didn't buy anything, I'd lose it, so I left. But I saw the ad again and went back in six weeks, and bought my first machine: a totally mint Robotron for $150.

    Back then, the only people at the auctions were operators, and maybe one or two curious home buyers, so Robotron was of no interest to the operators and therefore it was worthless.

    Anyway, I built up a substantial collection of video games just buying them for pennies at the auction - I had ALL the classics, a dozen or so all lined up in the tiny basement of my 3-level studio apartment. But the problem was, they mostly sat there turned off, because although fun for a bit, playing them was mostly a grind.

    A friend I had met while collecting vids also collected pins, and he suggested I give pinball a try. So, he and I went out to a local operator and went through their *massive* warehouse of old pins that nobody really wanted, and we picked out a super mint Gottlieb Volcano for $200. I mean, this thing was super clean. It wasn't working, as is typical of unmodded Sys80 games, and it clearly died early on to be so nice. So, he helped me get it set up and working again.

    I must have played that game every day for six months. I was completely hooked at that point. And slowly, I started selling off the vids and replacing them with pins until I only had the one vid left and a dozen pins, all mostly picked up at the same auction.

    Since then I've gone through three containers of games and I've owned over 250 machines, easily. I wish I knew then that pinball would end up being so popular, I might have hung on to all those cheap WPC machines or even the early SS games I was picking up for $100 each. If I started now, there's no way I'd be in this hobby!

    #84 3 years ago

    I grew up in the arcades and spent a whole summer playing Gogar and listening to Pink Floyd. At age 8 I fell in love with both. When I was 17 my friends and I would go to castle park and play pins for hours. They had walls and walls of pins. I think that's were my love and fascination of long rows of pins came from. In my 20's there was a bar that had 6 pins that I spent all my free time with my buddy playing. Now in my 40's that same buddy got an Ac/Dc. I had no idea you could own a pin, so silly looking back. I decided to build a small game room a pin some video games. I couldn't believe I had a pin in my house. When I wasn't playing it I would just stare at it. One has now become 16 and my house looks like an arcade. The learning curve to learning how to work on them has been filled with lows, but incredible highs. Still so much to learn. I still love turning them all on and staring at them. One day I hope to be able to do complete restores,soldering boards and everything. I constantly look at pins and dream about having a building to have a 100 or more pins one day. It brings me great joy to see my wife and kids play. My son wants to design and build pins. He makes some great layouts on paper all the time, and likes to explain what all the shots and stuff will do. I hope the future allows me to always be able to collect and gain a better understanding of pins to make both of our dreams come true. I really enjoy reading everyone's story. This and the game room thread along with what game did you pick up thread, help keep the dream alive.

    #85 3 years ago

    As a kid, I always gravitated to them over arcade machines; not sure why, but I always liked pinball. When I left for school in 1996 and focused on music, there were no machines near my college and I sort of forgot about them. When I returned back home in 2000 to start my career, the bubble had burst in pinball, and I was so wrapped up in my career that I forgot about pinball. Fast forward to 2012 when a colleague of mine had an X-Men Pro in his office and instantly like a switch, I remembered how much I missed and absolutely love pinball. I bought his X-Men and started my collection. I have 5 machines at home and my mother-in-law has a lovely Taxi. I love playing as much as I love repairing and I absolutely love helping people fix their machines.


    #86 3 years ago

    Here's what I have in the "story" in my profile... titled "pinball in a paragraph".

    First played pinball in my grandfather's basement in my "single digit" years. Helped keep the coin boxes heavy in Happy Valley during college days. Sad to see arcades close one-by-one in the 1990's. Wife bought first machine as a birthday present in 2008. Presently have 7 (three more than allowed). Invented daughterboard solution to help resolve WPC pinball resets in 2014 and began selling at a very fair price in hopes of helping everybody reduce their susceptibility to resets. Board is available at http://www.kahr.us

    BTW, the machine in my grandfather's basement was Liberty Belle. The machine my wife bought (and I still have) is Cue Ball Wizard. The story is a little out of date in that I now have 9 machines. Suspect my collection data is outdated... maybe I'll fix that!

    -visit http://www.kahr.us to get my daughterboard that helps fix WPC pinball resets or for my Pinball 2000 H+V video sync adapter kit.

    #87 3 years ago

    I grew up in the mid 60's and lived in the arcades. The greatest arcade I ever knew was the Idle Hour Amusement Center. Nothing but EMs at the time and it was great. Pins, bowlers, gun games, helicopter, drivers, cranes... I loved them all.
    Moved through the 80's, the golden age of the video arcades. Into the 90's and the great DMD pins.
    Now I'm semi-retired but I think arcades will always be a part of me. It gets into your blood and that's the way it is.

    the circle2 (resized).jpg

    #88 3 years ago

    For me,it begun with Time Warp that I bought for 10$,not working.
    After several attempts to repair it,I did it,and saw that the things are not so bad.
    I played so many pinballs at the arcades late 80s and 90s(golden era for me) but never imagine that one day I will have or even repair them.

    #89 3 years ago

    This is how it started for me

    IMG_6765 (resized).JPG

    #90 3 years ago

    True collecting, not ownership or playing, started after completing my pinball technician apprenticeship in 1988.

    I had access to many used machines as options to purchase (or in place of paychecks) as a side benefit of work.

    My career in the military later actually helped my collection by acquiring harder to find manufacturer titles such as Zaccaria and bringing them back with me from overseas particularly from Europe and South America.

    Never looked back again.
    The one primary goal I have not yet to achieve in this hobby is to actually have my permanent collection (what number it is a specific time) in a single pinball row for a quality photo. I have never yet lived in a residence that I could do this properly.

    #91 3 years ago

    5c into a crosstown when I was 5. That's it game over I was hooked. That was in 1968.
    Now I feel old.

    #92 3 years ago

    At work and a coworker was reading the "Buy, Sell, and Trade". Think craigslist / kijiji, but in newspaper format. He asks me if I like pinball and I say "yes, of course".

    "Do you want one?"

    "That's a thing? Eff yes."

    So off we went to pick up 3 of them in what I now know is a called a shed find. Stern Galaxy, Bally Strikes and Spares, Bally Harlem Globetrotters. $100 for the three, all non-working and covered in pigeon poop. This is about 1999. 50 bucks each. I take Bally S&S, he takes the other two - the extra machine is the finder's fee. Within a week or so, his girlfriend is yelling at him to get that junk out of the house, so he just gives me the other two. The only thing wrong with Galaxy was the power switch was broken. S&S takes a little more work, I never did get all the lights working again (that would be a cinch for me now), and Globetrotters never comes to life. I sent the mpu off for repair, after 6 months, some angry telephone calls, and a few hundred dollars I finally got the MPU back, still broken, so I used the Globetrotters as a parts / experimentation machine.

    A couple years later I moved to Toronto and had to sell all three before moving, again for $100 to someone who drove from Quebec to pick them up.

    When I moved back from Toronto and had space and some free $$$ again, pinball was #1 on the to-do list.

    #93 3 years ago

    I grew up in a small farm town in northern, IL with little to do and even less spare change to do it. Some of my earliest memories of fun and family were playing an older pin at my cousins home during the holidays. I remember scarfing my dinner just so I could go hang out in the game room and play the pinball machine before the older kids took it over. I still dont know what machine it was and nobody still alive in my family seems to remember either, but I was entralled with it and learned how to 'trap the ball and shoot the spinner' from an older cousin. The control over the game stuck with me for a long time.

    Around 7-8 I remember riding my bike to the Hub cigar store/corner market on the far side of town and dropping a quarter into the single pinball game. I learned to nudge and keep the ball alive for a long time, often strecthing a quarter out much longer than my buddies which blew their spare change on the vids of the era. This love of pinball continueed into highschool where I often squirreled away enough lunch money to be able to play the TAF on route and got good enough to regularly leave credits on the game for the younger kids to play. TAF was my first real love affair with a pin. I obsessed over having the high score and every score on the leader board, often bailing out of class or other activities to continue playing credits on the game and rack up more knocks. I also traveled to the other local towns and it was always fun grabbing the HSTD on those TAFs.

    For years I thought about having my own pin and at the urging of my wife I finally took the dive into ownership, buying my first game (A TAF; big surprise) after completing grad school. 1 pin turned into 12 in the first 12 months. I quickly learned that pin ownership meant you need to elarn how to work on them. That quickly evolved into moy love of working, refurbing, and restoring. My favorite down time activitiy is turning on some tunes, and digging into a full refurb of a classic. I am fortunate enough to have a SO that loves pinball and has embraced the hobby alongside me. She helps shop out games, plays them (likely more than I do), and in general just likes and supports the obsession of colleciton, restoring, and pinball road trips.

    Pinball has grown and evolved for me throughout the years but is the only hobby to keep me engaged. I find that when I get bored of playing, I rekinddle the love of refurbing. If I get burnt out on refurbing, then there is always competition. If comeption gets boring then I have fun meeting new folks from routing some of my decks. PInball is mutlifaceted and I have found that just jumping in feet first and enjoying the journey has been a blast.

    #94 3 years ago

    I was always a fan of pinball growing up, however, was terrible at it, and as a child, 50 cents a play was too much for how little I could play compared to cabinets. I always heard from my dad that he was a "Pinball wizard" or at least would spend hours throwing money into pinball games and would have the machines he played tweaked by owners so it was harder to get free games. I think it also gave me a fascination with pinball since my dad wasn't much for arcade games but would take me to "Wonderland arcade" and spend his time on the pins while I played cabinets arcade games. My dad and I now go to arcades to play pinball which is one of the few things we do so Pinball will always be a place right in my "feels" that I will always enjoy
    I Bought my first Pin about 4 years ago, a 1991 data east simpsons pin, fun story, I bought it through Ebay from someone in California. I had him hold it till I conveniently had to travel(we live in Oregon) down there to help a friend move home. Which we used his parent truck and trailer and they paid for gas. Which was a nice perk. In hindsight I won't buy on Ebay again, but make for a fun first Pin story.
    This may be a lame story, so I apologize, but that's my story. Pinball is always able to captivate me more than any video game. Perhaps because emulators and video pinball are just not the same as watching a ball roll around and the adrenaline of finally getting that shot which progresses you through the game.

    #95 3 years ago
    Quoted from Snwbrdrmidget15:

    This may be a lame story, so I apologize, but that's my story.

    Not lame at all. All the stories are cool to hear and all unique.

    #96 3 years ago

    I liked playing pinball as a teenager. Never got into arcade games much other than Pacman, Asteroids, Naughty Boy, etc. A local pool hall had a GTB Bronco that I remember playing & liking.
    Fast forward & my neighbor has this really nice shuffleboard with the banks & score board. We all like playing it & I wanted to get one, but there's no way I'd ever be able to get one down the stairs. I knew my friends & I would be more interested in playing pinball than a MAME machine, so I looked on kijiji & bought my Raven the same day. There was another game, can't remember which, that was for sale, but I went to see the Raven & liked it.
    I'd get another, but I have neither the room nor the funds. Perhaps once I get the sound working I'll sell it & get a different one. These days though, not many come up on kijiji & the fairly priced ones sell quick.

    #97 3 years ago

    Grew up in Winter Park, Fl. First began playing pinball at Tom's pizza/ Beefy King at the corner of Fairbanks and Park Ave(1972). Also played pinball at the bowling alleys and at the Winter Park mall.
    In 1975, Sunshine Playland opened next to Goony Golf and that was my hangout for the summer. It closed later that same year.
    Didn't really think about collecting pinball machines until I visited an old friend who had about 4 or 5 located in his dining room. Later, bought my favorite machine from '70's era which was kinda in junk condition. Kept selling and purchasing other Wizards until I was happy and from there began buying other EM's. Might shift gears and buy a new Stern next year.

    #98 3 years ago

    My dad always played pinball and introduced my brother and me to the game when we were young. At an early age we would play by standing in a chair. My dad would normally start off by racking up some free credits with his game play then it was our turns. My dad was also famous for his you play one flipper and he would play the other.

    Grew up in the 80's (great time) pinball and arcades easily found and often played.

    Then in 2009 it happened, listening to a local radio program called the swap shop, some one local had a pinball machine for sale. Always thought it would be cool to own a pinball machine so I bought it, played the crap out of it. Next thing you know looking for another, then another.

    Now visit / hunt out pinball when I travel. Enjoy the people and the hobby. Just this year started to play in some local tournaments found its another great way to meet fellow pinballerz.

    #99 3 years ago
    Quoted from Topher5000:

    These days though, not many come up on kijiji & the fairly priced ones sell quick.

    I hear ya on that ! Toronto area is a tough market !

    #100 3 years ago

    I grew up as a video game kid, loved going to arcades and sorta liked pinball but didn't really "get" it. I remember liking F-14 Tomcat a lot, and I started paying attention to pins more in the 90's - a movie theater I went to had T2, STTNG, Addams, Jurassic Park, etc. I loved STTNG, even though I didn't really understand it had rules or goals...I just loved the music, voices and cannons.

    I always hoped i could own my own arcade game...and in 2003 I started going to local auctions. I didn't get anything at the first auction, but it was fascinating how many amazing classic early 80's games were there... and they weren't that expensive. (Side note, I remember there were 2 Addams at that auction, both were about $1500). The next auction I decided to raise my hand and get something - $125 for a dedicated Pac-Mania! My friend got an Arkanoid for $65!!!

    Well, you can't stop at one...I kept going to the auctions, met other local collectors and made some great friendships that I still have to this day! One of those friends taught me how to solder and fix monitors...so, I felt more comfortable about buying broken games and trying to fix them. Pretty soon my collection had grown...I had childhood favorites like Ms. Pac-Man, Mappy, Crystal Castles, Dig Dug, Donkey Kong, Frogger, etc...and in addition to auctions, I was finding games on craigslist, finding ex-arcade operators and buying games in bulk...I hadn't spent more than $300 on a game, and many times I'd buy a bunch of games just to get 1 that I wanted - then sell the rest and basically get a freebie. I still didn't have a pinball yet, because they were "scary" and expensive.

    One day 2 of my friends and I drove out to an ex-operators house, and he had games all over his backyard, in a trailer, in his garage, and in his sons house down the street! One of the things he had was a Back to the Future pinball. He only wanted $300 for it - hey, that was within my limit!!! So - that's how I got my first pin! A bunch of my friends who collected pins and vids said "Pretty soon you're gonna have a ton of pins and sell all the vids"...I laughed them off - but they knew...they knew what was up. They knew the natural evolution that happens.

    In 2006 I had the opportunity to work on the Family Guy pin with Stern...that experience introduced me to Gary Stern & Pat Lawlor and got me interested in all the people behind pinball. While I was waiting for my FGY to show up, I started buying more pins. I did my first full shop out and repair on a filthy and broken Bram Stoker's Dracula. I couldn't believe I dropped $1000 on it...but today that seems like nothing! Once I started getting a few more pins, learning how to fix them...learning about their rules...and learning how much more interesting and addicting they are to play - the vids started to get sold off to make room for pins. I loved the vids from a nostalgic standpoint...but from a gameplay standpoint - I'm only as good at them as I was when I was six years old...it was the same experience every time. Pinball was different every time! Aside from addicting gameplay, I got addicted to picking up "cheap" project pins, tearing them apart, and bringing them back to life. I sorta burnt out on that and don't really do that anymore...although to be fair, cheap projects generally don't exist and I have a collection I like...so I'm not that motivated.

    I still have a handful of vids...but honestly I never really play them...if I ended up selling them all, I don't think I'd lose any sleep.

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