(Topic ID: 198293)

Vote - who saved pinball?


By onetaste

1 year ago



Topic Stats

  • 94 posts
  • 74 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by robotron
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    Topic poll

    “In your opinion, who saved pinball?”

    • Roger Sharpe 72 votes
      24%
    • Josh Sharpe (& the IFPA team) 11 votes
      4%
    • Gary Stern 126 votes
      42%
    • The Pinball Arcade 48 votes
      16%
    • Pinside 44 votes
      15%

    (Multiple choice - 301 votes by 262 Pinsiders)

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    There are 94 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 1 year ago

    We all know the legend, Roger Sharpe saved pinball. There is no question we owe him a debt of gratitude. However, I would like to make a case for some other contenders and get your opinion (and vote).

    In my view, if Gary Stern had not kept the lights on at Stern during the 2000's there would no longer be any pinball. All of the skills and infrastructure needed to design, manufacture and sell pinball machines would have disappeared and following a 10 year break or more it would be near impossible to start from scratch at the quality level necessary to make it a success.

    Josh Sharpe (Zach and team) have been instrumental in building competitive pinball from 500 players to 50,000 in the last few years. This has brought pinball enthusiasts together in the flesh and introduced new players to the hobby. Thanks to the IFPA I bought 8 machines 3 years ago, put them in a games room and started running tournaments here in South Australia. This has helped to build a pinball community here and now we have a pinball tournament somewhere here every 2 weeks.

    The reason I got back into pinball after a 20 year hiatus (and many others I talk to) is rediscovering pinball on The Pinball Arcade on my smartphone. I had so much fun with this app that I decided to take a look at what was happening in pinball and discovered Pinside and the world of IFPA competitive pinball. That got me started again.

    Pinside is another worthy contender, creating a global community around pinball.

    Please vote, you can select more than one option if you want.

    Who do you think saved pinball?

    images-2 (resized).jpeg

    #2 1 year ago

    I tip my hat to Gary, they all probably have a hand in it.. but keeping stern alive through the 2000s is pretty huge.

    37
    #3 1 year ago

    People like me who are still stupid enough to pay 8k+ for a pinball machine.

    #4 1 year ago

    For this round of saving pinball, I'd say the jury is still out. Could end up being JJP, Spooky, Multimorphic, Stern, American Pinball, only time will tell I think.

    --
    Rob Anthony
    Pinball Classics
    http://LockWhenLit.com
    Quality Board Work - In Home Service
    borygard at gmail dot com

    12
    #5 1 year ago

    I have saved several machines that otherwise might have ended up in a dumpster.

    26
    #6 1 year ago

    Barry Ourlser with Space Shuttle

    #7 1 year ago

    I remember them wheeling Space Shuttle into our arcade whan we were playing video games. Everybody stopped what they were doing and just said "whoaahh" like all
    kids in the 80's did.

    #8 1 year ago
    Quoted from onetaste:

    In my view, if Gary Stern had not kept the lights on at Stern during the 2000's there would no longer be any pinball.

    I'm going to pick nits on this one. There would still be pinball. Don't confuse new games with the hobby.

    #9 1 year ago

    I also have to mention that pinball was alive and thriving in most places when Roger Sharpe did his courtroom shot. Even in the few places it was outlawed as gambling, there were still add a ball games.

    #10 1 year ago

    JJP plus Stern = Tron LE, WOZ, and holy crap things got interesting (and expensive).

    #11 1 year ago

    The Pinball Arcade has had a hand in all this. Lots of millennial hipsters with deep pockets and no kids driving cost thru the roof!

    Other than that. People that bought up restored and preserved all the games when you couldnt give a machine away.

    #12 1 year ago

    Why isn't Al Gore listed?

    #13 1 year ago

    made a killer save on gorgar earlier tonight.

    #14 1 year ago

    I think it was the guy who invented LED's

    #15 1 year ago

    Everybody, really.

    There are certain key moments here and there, yes, but a lot of people are responsible in both big and small ways. Many of which are probably not as well known as some of the big names.

    18
    #16 1 year ago

    Pinside?

    Really?

    R.G.P. Did more than pinside did. It was around when Williams shut down, and was pretty much the only place to find people into the hobby, tech help, AND parts for quite a long time. There weren't guys cranking out reproduction parts back then either.

    #17 1 year ago

    Don't forget about your local operator who keeps the games alive for the public to play...this poll needs more voting options.

    #18 1 year ago

    Steve Ritchie SAVED pinball in 1986, with the release of High Speed.

    #19 1 year ago

    Got to give this one to Harry Mabs. Flippers ended up being pretty important...

    http://www.ipdb.org/machine.cgi?id=1254

    #20 1 year ago

    ALL OF US!

    We the proud people of the pinball community.

    #21 1 year ago
    Quoted from pinballkyle:

    Don't forget about your local operator who keeps the games alive for the public to play...this poll needs more voting options.

    Operators & Gary Stern . I am an coin-op (operator) in 1999+ I ran Midway pinballs And SEGA South Park later made by STERN once Gary purchased SEGA on route lots of them . That helped to the public into pinball at my accounts. Then 1999-2001 STERN put out four Pinball that were just ok in my book compared to the B/W I had been operating . Then STERN put out Austin Powers in 2001/2002 that theme did very well in the coin box. Then STERN started to get in the groove and I started buying more STREN machines . So to recap I feel That (Gary Stern) and the local (Operator ) Saved pinball after Midway and SEGA closed there doors to pinball in 1999.

    #22 1 year ago
    Quoted from Kneissl:

    I tip my hat to Gary, they all probably have a hand in it.. but keeping stern alive through the 2000s is pretty huge.

    I would say the operators who kept pinball alive on the streets and continued to support Stern in the 2000s would be the ones. The home market was still just a glimmer so cant really be due to that crowd.

    #23 1 year ago

    I don't know about "saved," but if you want to talk about "resurgence" I'd posit that PAPA, the IFPA, Farsight (with their PHOF for Playstation even before The Pinball Arcade), simple 'nostalgia' from us old guys who played back in the day and I'll add one to the list that some may quickly discard, but along with all the other things you listed in the choices, it's what got me to PAPA for the first time-- and that's the documentary "Special When Lit." Sure it has some goofy bits (Pingeek sub story being chief among them- it should've been on the cutting room floor) but it also had some high points in the interviews of designers, former arcade owners, operators, and competitive players etc. But more importantly, it showcased PAPA and competitive pinball for folks like me that didn't even know such a thing existed anymore. So, I'll tip my hat to that documentary, even with its flaws.

    #24 1 year ago

    "WE" saved pinball.
    Neither the manufactorers like Stern or JJP, nore Pinside, RGP, Ausdie Arcade or other forum groups.
    Without the customers, Stern wouldnt had survived.
    Without Stern, it wouldnt had been so "easy" for JJP, Spooky and other to start their business, because there still was a market.

    #25 1 year ago

    Anyone who put a quarter or a dollar into a pinball machine saved pinball. Any pinball lover who bought a pinball machine, new or used, for their own personal use helped too.

    #26 1 year ago
    Quoted from Borygard:

    Could end up being JJP, Spooky, Multimorphic, Stern, American Pinball, only time will tell I think.

    If companies building 7K-10K NIB machines is considered "saving pinball", God help us all. Agree with others who believe the community deserves more credit. plus we could have been trading existing machines at more reasonable prices in the absence of NIB price inflation.

    #27 1 year ago

    In the 80's pinball was losing popularity to video games, which needed less maintenance, took up less space and attracted players with flashy graphics. All of the pinball manufacturers tried desperately to stay afloat by making cheaper games, using video game themes, recycling successful designs and creating wild new concepts in ball-and-flipper based games (i.e. Spectrum, Joust, Orbiter 1).

    In 1984, designers Barry Oursler and Joe Kaminkow tried a new approach, giving players something that video games couldn't - a real 3D experience under the glass. Using custom-made toys and a cutting-edge theme, they made Space Shuttle, which was so popular that it was able to keep Williams afloat.

    Other games (from all the manufacturers) followed suit, with bigger ramps, more diverse shots, story-based themes, modal gameplay and innovative mechanics. Space Shuttle changed pinball by making it a unique experience, completely different than a video game or home console experience. The new resurgence set up the high water mark of pinball popularity in the 90's.

    tl;dr: Oursler & Kaminkow saved pinball.

    ED: Roger Sharpe helped to open pinball to a wider audience but it was very popular before the court ruling and it was very popular after. Stern has kept the industry alive with new games, but he also makes games so complicated that they confuse and intimidate the uninitiated, casual player. Pinball has never reached the mainstream success of the Bally/Williams glory days. The IFPA caters to competitive players, who are a subset of pinball enthusiasts which are still a tiny portion of the general public.

    Space Shuttle came along at pinball's darkest hour - the format was on the verge of extinction at a time when there was no home market to fall back on. If it had not been successful, the manufacturers would have fallen like dominoes and pinball would have ended then and there. Instead, it sparked an age of creativity and unprecidented success.

    12
    #28 1 year ago
    Quoted from Kneissl:

    I tip my hat to Gary, they all probably have a hand in it.. but keeping stern alive through the 2000s is pretty huge.

    Gary, no question. There's about a 10 year period where pinball could have easily died, for good, had Stern shut its doors. Stern saved the pinball industry.

    The pinball hobby? I always said I was a fan of pinball, not the industry. The hobby, as I entered it in 2001, would have easily continued without the pinball industry being around. Clay, everyone on RGP, Steve Young, Tim Arnold...all these folks played a part in that. The hobby - on a smaller scale - was thriving in the early 2000s, and really it was independent of any new pinball machines being produced.

    #29 1 year ago

    I give a lot of credit to the movie, "The King of Kong". Although not a pinball movie, I believe it sparked a lot of interest in the old games we played as kids. I remember seeing it the first time and immediately afterwards thinking how cool it would be to have my own "arcade" at home. I started searching games on eBay/Craig's List and that's when I stumbled on pinball too. I thought it would be cool to own a couple arcades and a pinball machine at home. I hadn't thought about arcade games or pinball for many years until I saw that movie.

    #30 1 year ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Gary, no question. There's about a 10 year period where pinball could have easily died, for good, had Stern shut its doors. Stern saved the pinball industry.
    The pinball hobby? I always said I was a fan of pinball, not the industry. The hobby, as I entered it in 2001, would have easily continued without the pinball industry being around. Clay, everyone on RGP, Steve Young, Tim Arnold...all these folks played a part in that. The hobby - on a smaller scale - was thriving in the early 2000s, and really it was independent of any new pinball machines being produced.

    I agree with this. But even if the industry had died, the hobby would have flourished and eventually brought back industry.

    Pinball is not going to die.

    #31 1 year ago

    All of us pinball hobby-ists who bought these machines.

    #32 1 year ago

    The names on the list are all decent for this poll and worthy of discussion.

    But only being able to pick one, it has to be Gary Stern.

    #33 1 year ago

    Hagerty Peterson.

    Quoted from jbrady65tv:

    Why isn't Al Gore listed?

    You are hearing me save pinball.

    This calls for a celebration.

    #34 1 year ago

    I voted for Roger. Without pinball being legal Stern would have had to close shop!

    How was Clayton Harrell left out for keeping Pins alive?

    #35 1 year ago

    It was actually Barry Oursler who saved pinball with SpaceShuttle.

    #36 1 year ago
    Quoted from onetaste:

    We all know the legend, Roger Sharpe saved pinball.

    In May of 1976. When pinball was legal in almost every city in the United States. And many cities had already lifted age bans so anybody could play them. He helped in one city, where Steve Epstein's arcade was and where PAPA was born.

    His claim to fame is in great licensing work for Williams, and years spent in the industry.

    I voted Gary Stern. In the worst decade in coin op ever, not just pinball. He survived. Kept pinball going. And made some of the greatest games like The Simpson's Pinball Party and Lord of the Rings.

    LTG : )

    #37 1 year ago

    I agree with all of the posts that make clear how many viable candidates the poll ignores. Not sure I would vote for anything on the list in the poll. Possibly Stern for keeping at it. But Stern doesn't get 100% of the credit in my personal opinion.

    #38 1 year ago

    Wade Krause.

    #39 1 year ago

    We saved pinball by buying pinball machines.

    #40 1 year ago

    Jersey Jack all the way!

    #41 1 year ago
    Quoted from ASOA:

    ALL OF US!
    We the proud people of the pinball community.

    I agree without all of us this hobby would be long gone.

    #42 1 year ago

    I agree that we need more nominees. Harry Mabs comes closest of the ones named so far, IMNSHO. You need to think about what perils pinball faced at each critical time, then consider if there was a person (or a team of people) who rescued pinball from a particular peril. Maybe Pete Townshend/Nik Cohn rescued us from pinball having a bad image. The direct-to-home market rescued pinball from declining operator interest, but I can't pin down particular people as responsible. What peril did Pinside rescue us from?

    However, I do feel strongly that if all the manufacturers had closed down, the hobbyists would not have been able to organize to keep the hobby side going as big as it is today. If there were a non-expanding supply of pinball machines continually getting older, the hobby would be more like what we see with mechanical slot machines or 45/78-RPM jukeboxes.
    .................David Marston

    #43 1 year ago

    I believe 'we' saved pinball and will continue to do just that.
    Too many key players to name, more showing the way everyday.
    Pinball is returning to the mainstream for good.

    #44 1 year ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    I also have to mention that pinball was alive and thriving in most places when Roger Sharpe did his courtroom shot. Even in the few places it was outlawed as gambling, there were still add a ball games.

    Agreed. Shouldn't Roger Sharpe really be know as the person who saved pinball in New York?

    #45 1 year ago

    I'm pretty sure it was pin2k

    #46 1 year ago
    Quoted from woz:

    Agreed. Shouldn't Roger Sharpe really be know as the person who saved pinball in New York?

    Don't know. Never been there. But from the pictures I saw of the pinball smashing carnage by LaGuardia and company in NY before that, it may have been a little too late.

    #47 1 year ago

    And where is the option South Park saved pinball?

    or

    South Park saved pinball.

    #48 1 year ago

    I couldn't agree more with all of the posts. Clearly my poll needs quite a few more options and I guess it is too late to change it now that people have voted. Reading this thread is an edifying experience for me.

    Thanks to all for a respectful debate!

    p.s. Barry Oursler is a big favourite of mine, BSD was my first machine getting back into the hobby and I rate it one of the top 5 of all time. So I am pleased to give him a nod for Space Shuttle.

    #49 1 year ago

    Many people contributed, but my vote is for Gary Stern on this one. He hung in there for a tough decade and had to keep his company going through a real bottoming out period when CSI and NBA sold only a few hundred games each. I'm not happy with a lot of things about Stern right now, but Gary kept the pinball manufacturing lights on when the other companies didn't.

    #50 1 year ago

    My vote goes to hipsters. Barcades wouldnt be a thing without them.

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