I’ve been lurking here for about a month or so and now that I’ve finally joined, I felt it necessary to give a small introduction.
My name is Mike and I am a pin freak. I don’t currently own a pin, but that doesn’t seem to be a requirement for the disease. I do have old stand-up arcade machines like Donkey Kong and Q-Bert, along with an original Chexx Hockey machine, as well as others, so I’m already of the same ilk, I’m just now moving over into pins as well.
I never realized it before, but I’ve been a pin-head all along. I remember making the decision in my youth to play pinball more because it was the one type of game I could control my own “destiny” and play on a single token or quarter for up to 10 minutes it seemed! I can physically remember playing a bunch of older pins from Black Knight to Black Hole to Space Shuttle to Taxi to Comet and even up to the hotter pins at the time like Jurassic Park, Medieval Madness, and Twilight Zone all at our local Malibu Grand Prix. They had fabulous turnover for their pins and whenever something new came in, they’d be the first to get it, it seemed.
A lot of my pinball memories not only come from Malibu Grand Prix and other local arcades, but every time my family would go on vacation, particularly to a casino, I was always too young to be there and was relegated to the arcade room. I never really minded it so much as long as they had decent pins.
Where my addiction really took hold is when I was in college. My campus had a general food court/break room/activities/bowling/amusement area that we all called “the pit”, mainly because you had to walk downstairs to get there as it was under an office building and general study area. Well, they happened to have a pinball machine there for a couple of my years there by the name of The Addams Family. I played it a couple times and fell in love. I played it pretty much everyday for two or three years, while school was in session. There would even be times I’d go down there during summer and winter break just to go play it(also since parking was free when school wasn’t in session).
After I graduated and started working full-time, my addiction subsided. But I had no idea it was still there. Last year I found a TAF at a local putt-putt and while it has seen better days, it was still my “old friend”. It instantly brought back memories of the very first time I got to Tour the Mansion and how I had no idea what to do! All the sound bites came flying back into my mind and I enjoyed them all over again. I decided then, that if I can own some of my favorite arcade machines, I can also own my favorite pins.
Fast forward to about six months ago. I narrow my search for pins I want to buy and ultimately keep, down to three: TAF, TZ, and FH. These three pins are the ones I’ve played the most and have the fondest memories of, far and away, and are the ones I’d ultimately like to have in my permanent collection. I realized then, too, that I’d probably have to learn to shop out a pin in order to not only learn how to do it and fix my own stuff, but to also save some money on the front end, hopefully buying one that needs work and putting the time and effort into the pin instead of cold hard cash. I feel it’ll be an uphill battle, but maybe not as steep a climb as I once thought. I met with a local pin repair guy and we talked for about an hour or so about what goes on with a System 11 pin and a DMD pin, since those were the two he had there in his shop. Given that exposure, my history of fixing my own arcade machines, that I’ve restored a couple of classic Mustangs(where I personally rebuilt the engines, transmissions, upholstered the interiors, ran new harnesses, etc.), and that while getting my degree, I had a couple of electrical engineering courses that dealt with everything from basic logic gates to full IC chips, he felt I have a good base of knowledge to try my hand at shopping out a pin. Besides, I love taking on new challenges and this seems right up my alley! I fully expect this to be a labor of love, too.
I’m sure I might make a mistake or two. But after doing nothing but research for the last few months on how to work on and fix a lot of different things on pins by watching youtube videos, reading every post I could on this forum and others from people who have very specific issues, and generally absorbing as much info as possible from talking to people about it, I feel like I’ve already got a great head start. In fact, last week at Pin-A-Go-Go in Dixon, I was talking to a guy who owned a TAF about all the little nuances and things that make a TAF “unique” to work on and he even mentioned how he was impressed I knew so much about pins without ever having owned one. I told him I’m trying to learn as much as possible because while a little bit of knowledge is dangerous, a lot of knowledge will keep you safe.
That’s where you guys come in. I’ve been reading here for about a month and the vast expertise and breadth of knowledge is staggering. I glean so much info from you guys, it’s silly. And that’s something else I’ve noticed, you’re all a bit silly, and yet somehow it fits. I don’t think I’d want it any other way!
Anyway, just wanted to send along my greetings to everyone here and while I may not post all that often, you’ll have no excuse for not knowing who I am when I do. And if you happen to know anybody with a TAF or FH in need of some TLC that they want to get rid of, shoot me a PM!
Looking forward to having fun with y’all!