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(Topic ID: 171327)

Pinball is People

By jwilson

3 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 29 posts
  • 25 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by klr650
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders


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#1 3 years ago

Like many others, I was watching the live stream of the JJP #3 announcement, and like many others, I came to Pinside to express my opinion the various threads. I was angry and disappointed, and I wanted to express that with others in the community and join in the collective to have my voice heard. At the time, I felt like I had considered my words and that what I was saying was justified - I would say the same in person to anyone involved with the game, so that made my comments acceptable and appropriate.

Over the weekend I discussed it with a number of people who opened my eyes to what I had done, and made me realize something - pinball is people. It's not just machines, or themes, or parts, or even playing - the games themselves aren't created out of thin air by magic, they're made by people.

Designers, artists, programmers and engineers - each one of them is a person who has feelings and a passion for this game. No one working in pinball today is just putting in a 9-5 desk job, because pinball isn't a thriving business despite what others might think about the price points now. Pinball is barely a blip compared to other industries. Every one of the people involved in the design of pinball could probably go make more money designing slot machines or something else. They choose to do pinball because they love what they do.

When I made my comments, and when others made their comments, what they said hurt those people. It's not the specific comments themselves or who said it - I am a complete nobody with zero impact on the hobby or industry - but I was part of a wave of outright hatred and derision for a project that real people, with real passion, poured their hearts and souls into for over a year.

For me personally, having grown up online, I often forget that there's a difference between something said in person, as a friend, and something posted on a forum, in public. Even if you're not the most tactful person, at least in person there's a direct connection between you and the person you're talking to, and there's cues to pick up that help you pick up empathy for the other. This is gone online, and then compound it by hiding behind silly nicknames makes it so much easier to dismiss or ignore other people's feelings, or to reduce something to an abstract "other" that doesn't even seem real in the moment when you're dumping all over someone's hard work.

In all the negativity, barely anyone has taken the time to point out these guys busted their ass to prepare FIVE prototype games that not only survived a weekend of hard abuse from highly skilled and critical players, but also managed to really impress the vast majority of those hard-to-please hobbyists. It's an amazing accomplishment that is buried under the anger and hatred.

This goes for the other game teams involved - both Stern and Heighway brought prototypes for the public to see and play, and have real people who are as passionate about this hobby as well are, if not even more so. Even if I didn't comment on those games directly, my actions were still hurtful to them.

I am deeply ashamed of what's I've been involved with here. I am a 44-year-old man who posts on an internet forum behind a stupid nickname about pinball, who has essentially zero industry experience, and I let my passion and tactlessness get the best of me against people who did not deserve it and have accomplished more in this business than I will, ever. I have a 2-year-old son and when I look at him, I wonder what kind of example I am setting for him.

As part of that, I've asked Robin to change my nickname to my actual name, to stop hiding behind an alias, and to offer up my sincere apology to the entire Dialed Up team for my tactless participation in a shameful flamefest. It's time to grow the hell up and stop acting like a child. Thank you for making a new pinball machine in 2016 when many thought pinball was dead and gone forever.

I don't expect anything I've said here to make any difference - as stated previously, I am not anyone of note - but I hope it might help others look at their own participation more critically. We are all passionate, we all love pinball, but most importantly we should remember that we are all still human and have hopes and feelings.

Pinball is people.

#2 3 years ago

I'm with ya'.

Look, there will always be games that don't quite "do it" for us. There are games I love that others may hate, and vice-versa.

I just never quite understood why some have to be so VOCAL in making sure they beat us over the head with their opinion. Like, if I somehow don't agree, it invalidates their existence.

If I see a game that doesn't quite hit me right (because of the theme, artwork, gameplay...whatever), I just shrug and move on...and let others enjoy it if they want.

Ruining someone else's idea of "fun", just because it doesn't match up with mine is pretty poor form.


#3 3 years ago

Really excellent post, Mr. Wilson.

I agree that the thin line of "constructive criticism" and downright flaming and offending for the sake of "winning" an argument is often lost behind the thin black and white words we type up.

Words most of us would never say in person are easy to type up hastily with minimal reprocussions. I often think: Our conversations here will be up for as long as the website exists--hopefully for many years to come. Future hobbyists will look to these pages for help and answers, or just to see "Hmmm what was the launch like of *insert game here* like 10 years ago?" and see that a lot of us were probably assholes (to put it frankly).

While I've been in this hobby for hardly a sliver of time compared to the veterans, and even less time on these forums, it's easy to see the nonsense regardless. Life is just too damn short.


#4 3 years ago

Well said Mr Wilson. I only own two EM machines but with that being said I appreciate them and other pins completey. One particular pin might not be another's cup of tea but we must remember there are MANY other things ( especially less expensive things ) people could be doing other than spending money on this more addictive than crack hobby. Though that thought was probably in the back of my head, you were spot on by saying that this is a person (s) heart and soul going into designing, creating, marketing, and selling pins. I appreciate EVERY pin that I've been able to see or play. They are all unique in their own right and to a degree are expressions of people and their talents. Keep in mind one thing folks, pinball machines though popular with a majority of us ( I'm sure that they're are more middle aged people collecting these not in the 20 yrs. of age realm ) that would find in more cost effective to pick up an Xbox or PlayStation than a pinball (cheaper too hehe. ) If nothing else i'm sure we can ALL agree upon is the price of some of these but that's another thread.

#5 3 years ago

Nice post brother!

#6 3 years ago

Go to meets, go to conventions

I have found it hard to take cheep shots at people that I have actually meet

But then again, this is a forum, a place of discussion.
Not every game that gets made will be a winner in everyone's eyes. You are allowed to have and express an opinion. But tooo many people feel the need to express their negative opinion, every day, of every week, of every month. These types need to get over it

#7 3 years ago

Groovy. Obviously I give much more credence to people who use their real names in online posting. Aliases and anonymity just serve to demean integrity, IMO.

Well said, well done.

#8 3 years ago

Well said, and thanks for saying it.

#9 3 years ago

Good post! Welcome to the real name club.

I wrote something along these lines last year, after last Expo when I had a chance to talk with Greg Freres about how personal people got with the GOT criticisms, and I apologized to him if I had any role in that. I remember he talked about how someone said the art looked like someone had just taken a shit on the playfield. He read that, it wasn't just stupid internet banter that went nowhere. It was obvious his feelings were hurt, and who can blame him? I never said anything like that, but I still felt like an ass.

I've been a lot more careful about how I post since then when discussing games.

Keep that in mind, Stern, whoever, they're reading. Which means your voice is heard, and that's great, but it also means when you're a giant dick it comes across too.

Speaking personally I don't really care if someone criticizes my art. You don't like Alien or whatever feel free to say so. But I appreciate it when people don't make it so damn personal. I have thick skin, but it wears on you after a while, all the negative energy. When the criticism is constructive I take it to heart, being thoughtful and taking a moment to compose your thoughts honestly does get your point further, if you actually care and aren't just looking to take shots at someone.

#10 3 years ago

Bravo! Keep in mind though that from good constructive criticism of an idea, improvements can happen. Most of the established pinball designers I know have a thick skin but they do listen to us and they can sometimes make changes to games to make them better.

As a side note, i use the nickname blownfuse because it was given to me by the people/friends/boss I worked with while learning to repair pinballs in coin op back in the early 70's. Pinball has been in my life since '72 and I've never regretted it because of all the people I've met along the way, be they players, collectors or designers. All, I consider friends to this day.

I do however sign my name at tbe end of each post because I believe it makes things a little more personal and can help defuse a bad post that can be read with two different directions of thought.


#11 3 years ago

Great post.

#12 3 years ago

Thank you.

It's Always been about the people.

I am so lucky to have 45 years in the hobby
and recently to be in a position, to affect it

I started drawing playfield and mailing them
to Chicago on the 60s.
It was about the people then, as it was at expo.

I retired for health, but also people.
Truth be told, 90% of pinball is positive,
and the hobby is blessed with wonderful people.
But the 10% hurt.

A pleasure to read and share, and my
hopes to those reading this thread, that
when you type, take a few minutes, walk
away, and read again. Maybe it's a bit too
much, and we can all do better for each other.

#13 3 years ago

well said . And will say so in person next time I see you .

#14 3 years ago

Nice thoughts, thanks!

charltonheston (resized).png

#15 3 years ago

Well said Jeremy!

#16 3 years ago

I agree. Before the whole nickname thing comes up, a nickname is more or less a little piece to the puzzle, how you conduct yourself is the important part. Although I support his name change, that was probably not necessary, although being a great nod to his own statement.

#17 3 years ago

I'm with RCA1 - the title of this thread reads like it's soylent green-ish. Like if you lift up the playfield on a game, there's actually a person in there. A slave. Activating lights and VUKs and whatnot. I can't help it. That's just how the title reads to me.

I agree with the idea behind it - I just can't get past how my brain reads the title every time I see it

#18 3 years ago

Thanks for sharing OP.

It's important that people share both their good and bad opinions. And with both its important to communicate clearly. When you say "this game is cancer and the sound effects literally give me AIDS..." that's just rude and people should just put that noise on ignore.

The JJP3 threads have been great for building up a good ignore list. Why people even bother engaging with the trolls I'll never understand. Don't feed them, ignore them!

#19 3 years ago
Quoted from epthegeek:

I'm with RCA1 - the title of this thread reads like it's soylent green-ish. Like if you lift up the playfield on a game, there's actually a person in there. A slave. Activating lights and VUKs and whatnot. I can't help it. That's just how the title reads to me.
I agree with the idea behind it - I just can't get past how my brain reads the title every time I see it

That sounds better than me hearing the title read out loud by Mitt Romney every time I see it!

Pinball is people my friend.

#20 3 years ago
Quoted from blownfuse:

Keep in mind rhough that from good constructive criticism of an idea, improvements can happen. Most of the established pinball designers I know have a thick skin but they do listen to us and they can sometimes make changes to games to make them better.

I agree. I'm not saying that you should only say positive things, but realize that when you are criticizing a game, there's a real person who put real work into what you're talking about and maybe frame it in a way that, if you were on the receiving end, you'd be more appreciative, and to consider that other person's feelings.

And also, to remember that online is public and forever, and different from face-to-face conversations where you could be more candid without leaving a digital footprint for everyone to see.

I have to say I was expecting some negative backlash to my post, but I'm really heartened to see people understand what I was trying to say. I've been part of the problem and I hope to stop being part of the problem going forward. It's a shame I came to it after instead of thinking about it before.

Imagine how these guys feel after reading some of the stuff we wrote. Puts it all into context for me.

Pat Lawlor and Ted Estes

#21 3 years ago

I have nothing against the designer, Pat. He obviously did come up with an original theme.

For me; it's the money grab by JJP. Nothing can excuse that ass-o-nine price tag at the volumes he's selling those LEs at.
6K units for 9K... how is that limited? How is it a justifiable price other than a money grab when we all know that volume = better pricing.

When JJP, PPS, and Stern come to their senses and stop silly price increases - then well; I'll calm down a little and thank them for their effort.

#22 3 years ago

Pinball is like sausage.

Maybe we don't want to know how it is made.

#23 3 years ago
Quoted from Zitt:

When JJP, PPS, and Stern come to their senses and stop silly price increases - then well; I'll calm down a little and thank them for their effort.

I think the issue is that it's not black and white like that. I can think the price is too high, but I can also realize the amount of work that goes into making a pinball machine, and maybe acknowledge that as well.

There's a difference between "You guys did a great job on this game, it's really fun but I'm having trouble with the price" and "This game is an overpriced piece of shit". I was doing a lot of the latter and that's just not cool, it's upsetting and not constructive. I wouldn't want to be spoken to like that so why did I think it was okay to do it to them via Pinside?

#24 3 years ago

Good read,and great message. May we never stop the dreamers from dreaming. And may there always be a pinball game at everyone's price point,new and old.

#25 3 years ago

This is a truly great post to read with a positive message that all of us can appreciate. Thank you Mr. Wilson!

#26 3 years ago

I think I get the drift of what you are trying to say.

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#27 3 years ago
Quoted from jwilson:

Imagine how these guys feel after reading some of the stuff we wrote. Puts it all into context for me.

I truly hope they don't come on here and read this stuff. I accidentally called it "bitchside" the other day and then realized it maybe wasn't so accidental. Excellent post brother.

#28 3 years ago

Well, those guys have been around for a minute and know first-hand how passionate and a-holish pin fans get. They should know by now how to roll with the punches. Heck, Steve Ritchie Lit Me Up once for something I wrote. I don't remember now what it was, and I hope he's forgotten too, but I'm still steerin clear if we're in the same room at a show!

My point being, those guys should be able to "take it". They've been in the trenches so long I'm genuinely surprised they would get more than mildly annoyed for a few seconds about what we post. They are royalty (and not in a bad way!) and we are the huddled masses (not in a bad way!). We ALWAYS have to pick at the royals. Things can ALWAYS "be better", and we have the benefit of hindsight. We LOVE the royalty, but sometimes you wanna chuck rotten lettuce at them. They pick the lettuce off and go back to the castle and make more games for us to love or hate.

Not a horrible system...

#29 3 years ago

Thanks OP for starting this topic. I was thinking a lot about this over the weekend. But I honestly didn't have as much of an issue with people's Pinside comments as I did with the comments that were popping up live during the Periscope broadcast. I had never even used Periscope until last Thursday night. But immediately after "tuning in" all I wanted to know was "How do I turn off these forking comments?" Seriously, who are these ass-hats who feel the need to keep criticizing every little thing? Are these trolls my Pinside kin? I tried to get past it but it was just impossible to ignore (literally, cause the comments were blocking the view). It was a complete troll-fest. I felt bad for Pat, for JJP, and that poor fellow in the front row of the audience. Everybody (even the camera person) was a target. It was really, really sad.

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