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?