Quoted from illawarra92:
okay..have made all my old arcade photos public on my fb page, ther are about 1,600 and copied all the ones in this thread..search tony mather and look for this excellent profile photo from 30 years ago
Long post but:
Wow. I am looking through these in awe. I was not born until 1998 so it very weird looking back on all of these times before I existed and thinking of where all of those machines are today, knowing all of those buildings are now vacant if not destroyed, and so many people in these photographs that could be anywhere right now. Mostly the machines. This really makes me wish I could see where all of my collection has been, "if only they could talk". So many different machines, so many different stories.
I've always had these weird distant deja vu-feeling memories of my early life that I can't remember when the 80's stuff was still decently prevalent (or at least it seemed that way to me, the world was also a much different place already, not only from a child's perspective but looking back now) and a lot of these are sending that through the roof, along with early memories of growing up in outdated campgrounds with arcades similar to a lot of those in the pictures. Love it. Thanks so much for uploading!
Since I wasn't alive back then and with the modernization of things like having these forums, pinball shows, reproduction parts, etc., I find that it is sometimes easy forget the coolest part of all about these machines and that is the history. It's really hard to explain, like the history (who made it, what year, how many were made, "it's old") is always really apparent of course because we always talk about it, but the actual history of where these machines have been and their stories is something I find that passes me by sometimes for some reason, probably because I wasn't there. Like I can go down in my basement and look at my games and know they're old and lived their lives out there in the world and can *think* about where they've been, but then you look back at these old pictures, evidence of the times, and you see one of the titles you own and it all really just kind of puts it into perspective and I find it very fascinating. Everybody focuses on the history of what happened at the factory and who made what game and whatnot, but I think the more exciting part is what came after that, each machine has it's own unique story of where it has been and most of them are unknown. They are all truly survivors and they sure had a long journey. Really makes me appreciate them even more.
We all try to discuss which machine is the best and what reproduction playfield is coming out next and how iconic machines like Atlantis or Eldorado or Fathom or Funhouse are and how great they are in a collection, and I find it very fascinating how they were all just out there doing their thing long before any of this even mattered, long before this whole collecting thing we have, before any of this was relevant, so long ago. When I think "Atlantis", naturally I think "very popular 70's wedgehead on 2016 modern-day Pinside" before "1975" because it's what I'm most familiar with, while picturing it in somebody's basement or at a show rather than picturing it in a candy shop or arcade. Although the history and age is still obviously apparent, it is nice to switch it around a little and think of the roots rather than the times I'm familiar with and actually lived in, which are the times of today, filled with pinball shows and pinball parties in the homes of collectors. I suppose in a way *right now* is my 1975 or 1985 or whatever for you guys.
The whole popular culture thing is cool too, seeing what is now a niche hobby once cover the world as a very normal part of society - and now those same exact machines that were in those coffee shops and candy stores and arcades are now in our homes. Fantastic.
I'm gonna shut my trap now before I start to sound insane. Most of you are here because your main pinball experience was back then, but mine is a little backwards so sometimes I tend to ramble as I try to describe what I'm feeling, hah. 90% of my glory days of pinball and pinball playing were spent right here in the hobbyist culture enjoying yesterday's show or home pinball party and it's mostly all I know, so discovering just how big and mainstream it once was is a very cool thing and I am glad all of this was able to be documented.