February 1988. My friend and I were at the local Putt-Putt. I was playing video games. He decided to play pinball. They had just gotten in an F-14 Tomcat. As I was playing After Burner, I could hear the F-14 Tomcat all the way across the arcade, so when I was done I decided to investigate.
After my first game I was totally hooked. It was about 6pm when we got to the arcade. We ended up plunking practically every token we had into that machine. By 10PM, we were still playing, and my mom was waiting outside to pick us up. We were still playing and didn't even pay attention to the time. My mom came in and was furious she sat there for half an hour waiting.
We went back the next weekend and by the end of the night, we literally owned the high score table. I moved away about 2 years later, but never forgot how much fun those two weekends were. About 3 years after that, I became hooked on TZ, and it always made me think of those nights at Putt-Putt. In 1996, I got a call from my friends mom saying he was killed in a car crash.
Again, I was taken back to the fun we had at Putt-Putt, and decided then and there, I needed a pinball machine. Fast forward to 2010 - a friend of mine had a Taxi he wanted to sell, so I immediately jumped on it. In June 2012, I got a Rollergames. In September, I got my grail - a TZ. I still want an F-14 Tomcat because I STILL think about my friend, and can relive all the fun we had.