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(Topic ID: 146441)

Pinball Heroes


By Caucasian2Step

4 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 24 posts
  • 14 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by ghostbc
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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#1 4 years ago

I'd like to take a grateful moment to thank the pinball heroes that I have in my life. There are many of them. Some of them are people who are well known within the industry and others are people who just happen to love to play pinball. Some of them don't even know how awesome they are for So I am going to take a moment and write about some people that I have met through pinball that have made a positive influence on my life.

When I tell people about pin-heads and describe them as "Big kids. They like to have fun. And in all of my pinball travels I have met some characters and even a few jerks, but I have never ever met a pin-head that I would call mean." That's a pretty good slice of humanity right there.

So, I am going to start with the people who brought pinball back into my life and made me realize that the kid inside was still alive and well. I'd like to talk about Kevin and Carole Carroll. So these two opened up Lyons Classic Pinball nearly 12 years. I remember going there when the joint first opened up. You could hear crickets, and it wasn't Frontier either. So living just down the road, I stopped by a few times a week. Then a few months later I asked them if they had put together a pinball tourney. They said they hadn't and I ended up starting their monthly double elimination event. It is still going strong and they still pull the names of games out of the Mad Hatter top-hat that we started using years ago. Through this event I was introduced to the best players in Colorado and realized that pinball was out there and was to be searched out! The quest was now on! I have met many many other great pinball heroes since then, but these two are getting the first mention, because they were the catalyst to get me back into pinball like I never had before. My first pinball shirt was an orange LCP embroidered design from their first batch of designs. I still have it! I also remember one of the vidjas Tim Arnold's early Las Vegas events events where he pulled a winning name out of the jar and said "and the winner is Carole Carroll... Carole Carroll, what kind of name is that?!?" Ha-HA! Poor Carole, she gets the Rodney Dangerfield Respect award for having to deal with the Timmah shenanigans.

Over time I have played over a hundred new (to me) games at their location, at their home or in the Evil Scientist's basement workshop that they were good enough to share with me. All those reviews that I write... many of them were based on games that these two have in their collection and I may not ever have played otherwise (Balls-A-Poppin and Kismet immediately come to mind). So once again, Pinball Heroes making a difference.

So, doing what I could to help the cause, I'd paint PF's for them. I don't paint that often anymore, but I think I am going to get back into it now that my own collection seems to be getting under control. It has been a while, but for a bit, ever second or third game in their place had work on it that I had done. I was happy and proud to help when I could. Now I live a bit further away and don't get there as often as I can, but it is always a treat when I do. And this wasn't just at LCP, they were very open to share their collections with other pinheads or introduce people to the game. When people come to Colorado and ask where to play, the first place I tell them to go to is "Lyons Classic Pinball, there are some other great places to play, but this is the best one in this time zone." For real.

Now, the Lyons Spring Classic is one of the stops on the PAPA Circuit. Music Festivals through the summer bring new people into pinball that normally wouldn't even know pins are still here. League has been there for at least 6 years and is going strong. Every competitive event in the square state is listed on their website. Their games are all in competition shape and even a single switch error is addressed as immediately as possible. If you have not been there, you owe it to yourself to check out: www.lyonspinball.com.

I am sure to add to this story as I am obviously missing important details. But I will be adding more heroes to this post as well.If you have any other Pinball Heroes stories you'd like to share. I'd love to hear them. ROCK ON PINBALL HEROES!

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#2 4 years ago

Kevin and Carole are pinball heroes for sure. Lyons Classic Pinball was the first place I'd walked into in 20 years that had more than 4 pins. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven, especially after enjoying dinner and a beer at Oskar Blues. I started looking forward to business trips there. Sadly, I don't work with that customer anymore, so I haven't been in a long time.

I really enjoy your reviews, C2S, especially of the old solid state games. If more people would write reviews like yours and stop fretting over the ranking numbers, Pinside would be better for it.

Here in GA, I have so many pinball heroes, I know I can't list them all. I'll just say that I'm grateful for the long-lived GAPAS mailer started by Al Warner, the PinSwap that we had before Southern Fried Gameroom Expo took off, and for all my friends who run tournaments and SFGE, and those who host get-togethers and league nights. They're all great people.

#3 4 years ago

2step's my hero He tells it like it is. Kismet must be an awesome game because it looks a lot like Magic Clock. One of our house favorites. Rock on!

#4 4 years ago

Kevin and Carole are rock stars. The whole Denver area scene is rocking, I highly recommend everyone go there and check it out.

rd

#5 4 years ago

Kevin and Carole are class acts and something to aspire to!

Love my visits out to CO to see them and you also! Some of my favorite Kevins live in CO

#6 4 years ago

My major heroes are all of the pinball streamers who I've watched and enjoyed. Specifically Dead Flip and Buffalo. I'm glad they're bringing pinball to a wider audience and they're partly the reason I got into both livestreaming and playing pinball.

#7 4 years ago

Love it! I want to hear more about the "local" heroes. The unsung ones that make a difference that most people don't know about. It's easy to talk about the "big" heroes and I'll be getting to them as well. Please join in and make sure that the positivity gets spread all around like buttah-baby!

#8 4 years ago

My next pinball hero is better known as "The Reaper". Dean Grover is one of the nicest unassuming gentle natured badass shit-killin muthafuckin' pinball players you will ever meet. Do not be fooled. He WILL play a damn fine game of pinball, make you look silly, take your money and with a quiet smile say "Thank you" after he beats you at what you thought was your best effort. Do not sleep on him. HE will bleed you real quiet-like in your sleep with his awesome pin-fu! His contributions as a pinball programmer were short (Congo, SafeCracker and some support work on a few other tables as well), but he is very proud of his work and when Congo fires up, on his kid's birthdate, the message of a happy birthday flies across the DMD.

Dean is very generous with his collection and the 4th of July parties at his joint are never to be missed! Another thing that he takes great pride and effort into is bringing about 15-20 games out of his own collection to the Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown EVERY YEAR! Between him and Kevin McCarthy, the two of them have consistently laid the foundation of great playing games that are shared with the general public and bring pinball to the attention of the General Public (not necessarily people like you and me) in Colorado. They are a big part of making this show a successful and long lasting one. This is important to him and he is supported by his awesome wife Samantha in his endeavors. Now one thing to understand about "The Reaper" is that he has had long term chronic health issues. Not the small ones, but big, life threatening matters and as a consequence, he weighs about 140lbs. On a good day. Soaking wet. So moving these decks takes lots of bodies and he always collects a hearty crew of Merry Pin-head Men to get the job done right. Oh yeah, he lives about 40 miles away from Denver and has to rent a storage unit to get the games in close proximity to the Showdown every year. To my understanding, this all comes out of his (and KMac's) own pockets. They love pinball and sharing it, that much.

I also have to note that I have bought a few games from him and he has always accurately described their condition and made sure that I was happy with the deal. And I am!

So without further delay. Thank you Dean Grover for being a Pinball Hero!

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#9 4 years ago

A pinball hero of mine....John Wart jr.

He does awesome board repairs...and really knows his stuff.

#10 4 years ago
Quoted from Kineticross:

My major heroes are all of the pinball streamers who I've watched and enjoyed. Specifically Dead Flip and Buffalo. I'm glad they're bringing pinball to a wider audience and they're partly the reason I got into both livestreaming and playing pinball.

Aww man. I love to hear this!
This is why I started streaming full time over a year ago. To help build an audience for new streamers to tap into and viewers to enjoy.

<3

#11 4 years ago

Time to add yet another Hero into the halls of Pinball Glory. My next Pinball Hero is sometimes known as Clay, sometimes known as Shaggy and sometimes he is known mysteriously as The PinballNinja. Clay is one of my Pinball Heroes because he opened the door the secret vault of pinball fixin' knowledge like no one else before him. His first (http://pinrepair.com/) website was a lexicon of pinball information, that while is not as deep and thorough as it used top be... is still absolutely essential for someone getting into fixing pinball games. Unfortunately, shenanigans took place and the original site was "reduced" for various reasons. The good news is that he couldn't stop rockin' and now he has a subscription site (www.pinballninja.com) that is completely his and under his direction. Now if you like to fix pinball games, for the price of a single solenoid, you can look at nearly 1000 cases of pinball repair, stories, vidjas of him explaining what he did and why as well as various events and opinions. Pinwiki is awesome, but Clay did it first! Many first time pinheads who would shake their heads at the operational issues of pinball games (someone like me!) were saved through this invaluable resource!

If that isn't enough... Check out the This Old Pinball vhs/dvd's. Rather than the classic droning Ben Stein presentation of technical diagnostics and repair, Shaggy (and his faithful sidekick Norm) pepper the awesome technical info with awesome politically incorrect humor. Each DVD is 2 hours long and is full of awesome info that you can watch because it is fun. You can get copies of all 8 videos here at the This Old Pinball website order page (http://www.pinrepair.com/top/). All monies from this sale head to another pinball hero Tim Arnold and the Pinball Hall of Fame. That's right kiddos, he did it for the love!

Not only all of this... but he was the ORIGINAL pinball podcaster. Now pinball podcasts are everywhere now a days, which is most awesome, but his podcasts were done between 2007 and 2010. No one else was doing this and he was able to get the crème de la crème of pinball royalty on his show. They are AWESOME. The highlights for me were the interviews with: Python Anghelo (RIP) absolutely hilarious, Pat Lawlor, who lays down some SERIOUS truth about the pinball industry, Tim Arnold (Timmah!), who evidently gives zero fooks about what anyone thinks, the eloquent Roger Sharpe, Master designers Wayne Neyens & Steve Kordek and a host of dozens who in many ways... made pinball what it is today. The info for these programs can be found here: http://www.pinrepair.com/topcast/. You can download the episodes here: http://www.pinrepair.com/topcast/past.php . They are not on iTunes anymore, but you can pop them into any mp3 player of your choice and get a serious schooling on pinball. Any time, any where!

But wait... there's more! This guy is like a frikkin' Ronco (tm) advert from the 70's. He slices, he dices... He also started Tilt-town "club" of sorts that ran into zoning trouble and was closed down. So, being the force of nature that he is, he kickstarted the VFW (Vintage Flipper World/Midwest Ann Arbor Pinball Museum - 8891 Spicer Road, Green Oak Township) and put over 100 decks in there Some are from the 1930's. Way sweet! There are rumors of camping onsite/nearby for events there. I may actually have a reason to go to Michigan now. When is the next open house?

On top of all of this, Clay has also been a regular speaker/presenter at many pinball events sharing the knowledge that he has for pinball. Not only this, but he restores antique guitars as well. I once had a friend here in Colorado who described him as someone who "manufactures time". Seriously, how does he do it all?!? Now whenever I meet him, I ask him can I give you all the money in my wallet? He smiles, and politely declines. Every time.

Clay if you are listening, I'd love to sit down with you and have a drink or 17. It's on me.

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#12 4 years ago
Quoted from Caucasian2Step:

Time to add yet another Hero into the halls of Pinball Glory. My next Pinball Hero is sometimes known as Clay, sometimes known as Shaggy and sometimes he is known mysteriously as The PinballNinja.

Funny I was going to be a jokester and post "Never meet your heroes ha ha" the other day....I'm glad I waited till now.

#13 4 years ago

This guy looks like he's "Silverballing"

I've only been playing for a couple years, but I have to agree that the great people in the hobby outweigh the bad. To the Heroes!

#14 4 years ago

This guy looks like he's "Silverballing"

That's Zen.
He always looks like that.

#15 4 years ago

Mmmm, love the Silverballing

#16 4 years ago

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#17 4 years ago

I love it!

I want a shirt with that on it.

#18 4 years ago

I may be defiling the "sanctity" of Pinside... aw hell...

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#19 4 years ago

OK. If nominated, I must serve.

My current hero is Chrizg near the Des Moines metropolitan area. He supplies pinball machines to at least 3 different barcade type facilities. (OK, I think one isn't an alcohol drinking place but it is also the one with the most games.) The exposure he brings to the hobby is unmatched in my humble little state.

Chris, in addition to his "real" job, keeps the games in very nice shape. He has also given me assistance in fixing things beyond my abilities, brought a truckload of titles to my own pinball expo and, though he seems quiet in person, is actually a really funny guy.

My other local hero is Pinballer22. Justin was just another collector starting out about the same time that I was. I met him through CL. He has now retired from his "real" job and just opened a store in Omaha that sells all kinds of arcade games, signs, neon etc. He is living the dream, even if that dream is not an easy one to accomplish in our current time.

He also taught me the difference between a "most people shop job" and a "really picky person shop job" He is meticulous, opens his wonderful home and personal collection to friends and pinsiders (some are one and the same) and makes a really bitchin' Buffalo chicken dip.

I have 2 of the coolest friends in the world. Too bad they can't feel the same way about me. I suck.

#20 4 years ago

My next entry into the Hall of Pinball Glory is the man who put together the Pinball Hall of Fame. Mister Tim Arnold! Tim is a former arcade owner and the spreader of awesomeness in all directions through pinball. After he made his $$ with his brother and his arcade in Michigan and then he retired to the warm climate of Las Vegas.

All of the monies from the PHoF go towards the Salvation Army. That's right, Tim is making the world a better place through pinball. This all started years ago with "Fun Night" and once the word got out, it was an unstoppable force. I would have loved to have seen it, but since he got tired of having hundreds of people running through his home, he fundraised (pre-kickstarter y'all) enough money to purchase an entire building in LV and filled it with pins! I believe there are over 200 games on site. Someone also told me that he has a copy of EVERY GOTTLIEB EVER PRODUCED. (Can this be verified?)

As you may have noticed, I love to write pinball reviews. This single location contributed to at least 80-120 of them. Specifically older games from the 40's 50's and 60's and 70's. And even a few from the 80's and 90's. The rows and rows of pinball games are from various vintages, in various states of operation, have real character and are vital to the "history" of the game of pinball as we know it. Not only that, but in some cases, are truly unique. Ask anyone who has played one of the two known copies of Pinball Circus that are known to exist. You can find one of them, here. Other games like Lady Robin Hood may be about, in half a dozen spots in the rest of the world and are most likely hidden away in private collections. PHoF games are all for coin-play and out there for the pin-faithful to come to and enjoy! Where else can you get a day of entertainment in Las Vegas for a couple or rolls of quarters? Hmmmm? I'm serious. If pinball is yer' religion... The Pinball Hall of Fame is Mecca. From just about anywhere in the world, you can gits a cheap ticket and check out row after row after row of awesome games.

One thing I must mention about Tim is that he has a super-power. He has the ability to seem incredibly distant and un-involved with your presence at will. Do not be fooled by this facade. Just understand that he just has more important things to do than to be bothered with people... He's busy running the PHoF! So be like Timmah. Don't talk shit. Get shit done.

There is one more thing I have to say. (Warning, warning... incoming rant!) I hear lots of people complain about getting the the PHof and the games are not in perfect working order, if they are working at all. REALLY? I only am a two digit collector and my games are always giving me trouble. I can't remember the last time when all of them were working. Ummmm... maybe 5 years ago, when all I had were 4-7 of them? So, before I have to do the Caucasian2Step on yer butt... Quitcher' bitchin'... Bring your fixins' box to the PHof and gits in the mix! Consider what another Pinball Hero Clay Harrell did. He put lots of time and money into a pin-fixin series and GAVE THE MASTER TAPES to the cause. Now all of his (This Old Pinball) vidja proceeds go to this awesome Hall of pinball righteousness! Also make sure to check out the ToP podcast with Tim's interviews. They are absolute GOLD! Tim's ability to tells it likes it is whilst giving zero fooks about what anyone else thinks is an awesome sight to bear witness to.

The Pinball Hall of Fame is completely Tim and his Merry-Men (volunteer) run and operated. That means that he (and his posse) is doing it for the love. Tim's mission is the betterment of humanity through the vessel of Pinball. I find this to be utterly inspiring and that is the reason why Tim Arnold is one of my Pinball Heroes.

The Pinball Hall of Fame is open 7 days a week starting at 11 am. The physical location is at 1610 E Tropicana Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89119. For more information, check out: www.pinballmuseum.org

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1 week later
#21 4 years ago

I'll second Al Warner as being the first in-home arcade invite I got. A couple of years back I remember getting really obsessed with pinball. I can't pinpoint exactly why, but I did. My wife and I drove down to Panama City, FL for a yoga workshop she was doing and I spent my time trying to find a pin on location. I was disappointed to find only 1 - NASCAR. Not being a fan of NASCAR at all, I was disappointed, until I started playing. For less than $3 I played for an easy 90 minutes and had a blast. I didn't know what the knocker sound was for, but heard it a few times and the people at all the cash suckers around me kept giving me and the game strange looks.

Fast forward a couple weeks and I had done some online searching and found quite a collection of collectors/pinheads in the Atlanta area, about an hour and a half away. I hit up Al about an open house he was having and never having met me he said we should come on up. His collection was really impressive, pins, vids, and a super awesome 6 player EM bowler. That was it for me. After that I was hooked.

Really the entire Atlanta community is great, tons of really great collectors, players, and many of the first friends I'd made in ages, mostly because I found something to really share with others.

1 month later
#23 4 years ago

The next Pinball Hero is a man who has quietly brought pinball back into the spotlight through competition. Kevin was a kid when he started playing pinball, and like many pinheads, he never stopped playing once he was bitten by the bug. As he got older, he kept on playing, met other like minded programmers and even programmed some pins and video games at Data East. But pinball is where it is at for him and that is what he has brought to us through his own efforts and passions. Not only is he purveyor of PAPA, Pinburgh and other competitive pinball awesomeness, but he is also a damn fine player in his own right.

You can say what you want to about the competitive environment, but it brings out people to play. When PAPA was sold, Kevin Bought the rights to it and started to put together the 30,000 square foot Mecca that we know of as the PAPA facility. Not that this was enough as evidenced by Replay F/X. Not that this story is all fun and games. Less than a week after PAPA 7, Hurricane Ivan came through town and flooded the games up to the bakglasses (at least), destroying two hundred and thirty two pinball decks. But this did not stop him and his band of merry men (and beautiful ladies). In less than a year, PAPA was held again with even more pinball machines than before! Kevin is one of the biggest reasons why pinball is experiencing the resurgence it is right now.

The first time I went to PAPA, I was stunned. I had never seen so many pinball games in a single place at one time. Arriving Thursday morning, I promised myself that I would not compete until I had played all the games that I had never played before. A great deal of the reviews that I write on this site are from playing a table for the first time at the PAPA facility. Just under 100 games later I started competing in the "C" division late Saturday morning. My first big event outside of Colorado. It was GREAT!

As a side note, last year I had some "issues" with my admittance to Pinburgh. With less than an hour of the event start, this Pinball Hero of hero taps me on the shoulder and says "Come with me". The issue was addressed and I got to play at Pinburgh. I most sincerely appreciate the lookout!

You can find out lots more about PAPA and Replay F/X here:

http://papa.org/about-papa/

http://replayfx.org/

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3 years later
#24 1 year ago
Quoted from Caucasian2Step:

I'd like to take a grateful moment to thank the pinball heroes that I have in my life. There are many of them. Some of them are people who are well known within the industry and others are people who just happen to love to play pinball. Some of them don't even know how awesome they are for So I am going to take a moment and write about some people that I have met through pinball that have made a positive influence on my life.
When I tell people about pin-heads and describe them as "Big kids. They like to have fun. And in all of my pinball travels I have met some characters and even a few jerks, but I have never ever met a pin-head that I would call mean." That's a pretty good slice of humanity right there.
So, I am going to start with the people who brought pinball back into my life and made me realize that the kid inside was still alive and well. I'd like to talk about Kevin and Carole Carroll. So these two opened up Lyons Classic Pinball nearly 12 years. I remember going there when the joint first opened up. You could hear crickets, and it wasn't Frontier either. So living just down the road, I stopped by a few times a week. Then a few months later I asked them if they had put together a pinball tourney. They said they hadn't and I ended up starting their monthly double elimination event. It is still going strong and they still pull the names of games out of the Mad Hatter top-hat that we started using years ago. Through this event I was introduced to the best players in Colorado and realized that pinball was out there and was to be searched out! The quest was now on! I have met many many other great pinball heroes since then, but these two are getting the first mention, because they were the catalyst to get me back into pinball like I never had before. My first pinball shirt was an orange LCP embroidered design from their first batch of designs. I still have it! I also remember one of the vidjas Tim Arnold's early Las Vegas events events where he pulled a winning name out of the jar and said "and the winner is Carole Carroll... Carole Carroll, what kind of name is that?!?" Ha-HA! Poor Carole, she gets the Rodney Dangerfield Respect award for having to deal with the Timmah shenanigans.
Over time I have played over a hundred new (to me) games at their location, at their home or in the Evil Scientist's basement workshop that they were good enough to share with me. All those reviews that I write... many of them were based on games that these two have in their collection and I may not ever have played otherwise (Balls-A-Poppin and Kismet immediately come to mind). So once again, Pinball Heroes making a difference.
So, doing what I could to help the cause, I'd paint PF's for them. I don't paint that often anymore, but I think I am going to get back into it now that my own collection seems to be getting under control. It has been a while, but for a bit, ever second or third game in their place had work on it that I had done. I was happy and proud to help when I could. Now I live a bit further away and don't get there as often as I can, but it is always a treat when I do. And this wasn't just at LCP, they were very open to share their collections with other pinheads or introduce people to the game. When people come to Colorado and ask where to play, the first place I tell them to go to is "Lyons Classic Pinball, there are some other great places to play, but this is the best one in this time zone." For real.
Now, the Lyons Spring Classic is one of the stops on the PAPA Circuit. Music Festivals through the summer bring new people into pinball that normally wouldn't even know pins are still here. League has been there for at least 6 years and is going strong. Every competitive event in the square state is listed on their website. Their games are all in competition shape and even a single switch error is addressed as immediately as possible. If you have not been there, you owe it to yourself to check out: www.lyonspinball.com.
I am sure to add to this story as I am obviously missing important details. But I will be adding more heroes to this post as well.If you have any other Pinball Heroes stories you'd like to share. I'd love to hear them. ROCK ON PINBALL HEROES!

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I guess I missed this 3yrs ago. Thank you Kevin and all of you for coming to LCP for 17yrs now!

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