I run a website called "Pinball Makers" ( http://pinballmakers.com/ ) that is for people who are interested in making their own pinball machines from scratch and has a ton of information on how to do it. I recently completed my own re-theme game:
And I decided to bring it out to the Toronto Maker Festival that took place this weekend at the Toronto Reference Library, to help introduce pinball to a younger crowd interested in mechanical and electronic hobbies.
I had a display showing P-ROC boards, a working demonstrator with lights, a 5-bank drop target, rollover, standup and a flipper on it to show how pinball works, and a laptop set up running my game so people could see the switch hits and a mockup of the display.
A video of the laptop running the game software:
It was in a darkened area called the "Glowatorium" with all the light-based exhibits, which was fine but I had to add some lights for my sign.
Day one saw tons of people under 40 interested in playing pinball!
Lots of young kids were lining up to play and even arguing about whose turn it was.
Plus, the demonstration display I made out of spare parts I had lying around was very, very popular.
This kid said "I could do this for hours."
For two days the game was basically played non-stop.
I would suggest to any pinball people to bring games out to non-pinball events to see how normal people interact with them. Pretty much everyone had no idea how to start a game, figure out the flippers or ever look up at the backglass except when the game was over. I ended up disabling the ball save because it was only confusing people. Forget explaining how two player games worked!
It was totally worthwhile to bring the game out and show people that pinball can be a fun hobby, especially if you're interested in the fixing and making side of things.
At the end of the show as I was loading up my car, one of the volunteers came over and said he thought my display was amazing and that when I lifted the playfield one time, he saw one kid's whole world change as he was blown away by what he saw. I thought that was really great.
It was an amazingly well-run show and had a lot of features that pinball shows could use, like free help to unload and load, volunteers to sit in your booth to give you a 30-minute break, and a free lunch.
Here's some audits for the two 8-hour days. Keep in mind it was 95% young kids who tended to chimp the flippers, but a couple of them were surprisingly good!