About 2 years ago I stumbled upon a rebirth in my life on arcade games..Maybe a mid life crisis.. I started collecting and restoring games that I played in my early teens.. I never played pinball during those years...During that time I didn't feel comfortable with rebuilding the monitors to my games and had another person local do a couple for me. While hanging out at his little shop he had that he did on the side (he is retired) we had some conversation. He was a pinball buy that did this stuff on the side for extra bread but his heart was pinball. He gave me reasons why he thought pinball was superior to arcade games in a casual way that left a little seed in my brain..
A couple months later I visited the an establishment he and some friends had opened called Houston Game preserve..I went there to play the video games.
I checked in on a few pinballs just to see what he was talking about..got my ass kicked on a couple so it didn't stir anything in my soul at first....but then I was playing Adams Family and it hit..The sound..the sense of reward (even though I didn't deserve it) The machine rewarded me more than any arcade game had ever had and I became awake.
The spark was there...I was the only guy in the neighborhood that had multiple arcade games in his house but people had told me there was some guy in the neighborhood that had pinball machines in his house...After researching how much pinball machines cost I felt like this guy must be god compared to my collection.
I put a blast out in the neighborhood for him to present himself to me. lol
He responds..Turns out he is the only other guy in our neighborhood that drives a Chevy Volt besides myself...Weird... Fate?
They are in tip top shape and he does all his own repair work and he repairs copy machines for a living...
I have done minor repairs on arcade machines..Couple of cap kits replaced some chips..re-flowed solder..Mostly cabinet rebuilds are my thing...
Pinball machines I knew were WAY more labor intensive than my arcade machines but I knew having him as my mentor I could take it on.
6 months ago I brought him along to look at a Pinbot machine that fit my price range I felt comfortable in and testing my newly found pinball interest..was not fully convinced to leave the arcade reservation yet especially at pinball price points...
Sold two of my machines to finance the Pinbot basket case plus a little cash...
After I got it home and about 10 games in my garage it had boot up problems...lol
long story short I tore the game down and restored the cab...clear coated the play field and watched my friend trouble shoot the electrical problems.
I have been cutting my teeth on mastering Pinbot and have a second game on the way Tales From the Crypt.
I am kind of pissed that I found this hobby at 48 and not sooner..I was into cars before my midlife crisis into 80's arcade games.
I really wonder if my high school had a pinball machine that the trade shops in our school could play and fix would things have been different...
Would I have found pinball sooner?
Maybe Stern and others donating pinball machines to high school to teach repair skills would benefit the pinball community?
Computer class could alter code...Wood shop could build the cab...Electrical and metal works could build the rest?
I really think pinball needs a little exposure to bring out the pinball in people and paying a dollar to drain a ball in 2 minutes to does not do it.