(Topic ID: 168276)

Will this be the death of mechanical pinball?


By Davidus56

3 years ago



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  • Latest reply 2 years ago by klr650
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    #201 2 years ago

    Not in 5 years but eventually, young people today will never get into buying mechanical pinball machines but may embrace it via VR and as that tech matures companies could decide to give up on making pins for an easier money making operation. I don't really care as theres enough out there to last me the rest of my life and I really enjoy PinFX, the new Doom table is amazing, if I could play that with VR tech that really shines it would get a lot of playtime.

    #202 2 years ago
    Quoted from Hazoff:

    Not in 5 years but eventually, young people today will never get into buying mechanical pinball machines but may embrace it via VR and as that tech matures companies could decide to give up on making pins for an easier money making operation. I don't really care as theres enough out there to last me the rest of my life and I really enjoy PinFX, the new Doom table is amazing, if I could play that with VR tech that really shines it would get a lot of playtime.

    totally disagree. VR will be huge, but it won't hurt pinball. in fact, just like The Pinball Arcade, VR pinball will only stoke MORE interest in real live pinball, not less. it's probably physical pinball's best hope for hooking a new generation.

    #203 2 years ago
    Quoted from pezpunk:

    totally disagree. VR will be huge, but it won't hurt pinball. in fact, just like The Pinball Arcade, VR pinball will only stoke MORE interest in real live pinball, not less. it's probably physical pinball's best hope for hooking a new generation.

    I hope ur right but its tough for pinheads to not be optimistic, I mean pinball all but died in the late 90's just due to home consoles and arcade games, I doubt it would survive the rise of quality VR, the vast majority of people out there will never buy or seek out pinball machines, JMO and man do I want to be wrong.

    #204 2 years ago
    Quoted from Hazoff:

    I hope ur right but its tough for pinheads to not be optimistic, I mean pinball all but died in the late 90's just due to home consoles and arcade games, I doubt it would survive the rise of quality VR, the vast majority of people out there will never buy or seek out pinball machines, JMO and man do I want to be wrong.

    like i said, playing a pinball machine in VR will only make people more interested in the real thing, not less. look at The Pinball Arcade and the effect it had on the hobby (me and many others are only here because of that app). Pinball's appeal is its physicality. if someone likes playing it in VR it will only make them want to play real pinball more, not less.

    home consoles killed interest in dropping coins to play anything, video games and pinball alike. and now smart phones have come along and put another bullet in the brain of casual coin drop. that model's not coming back as a primary means of earning money or gaining enthusiasts.

    but luckily, pinball has evolved beyond casual coin drop being a first-tier necessity. right now, it's the least successful aspect of the current pinball world, and really only makes up a small part of what's going on in the hobby today. Pinball is thriving from a perspective of in-home collecting, and thriving in terms of competitive tournaments and leagues. casual coin drop is still more or less dead and will likely remain so.

    pinball's advantage is that it is uniquely physical and mechanical in a world where almost nothing is anymore. that gives it a way to genuinely stand out from other forms of gaming and entertainment. I don't think "kids today" are inherently any dumber or lazier than any previous generation. i think if exposed to pinball (through VR), a lot of them will recognize what makes it cool and amazing, same as us.

    #205 2 years ago

    I totally agree pezpunk, VR pinball will create more interest in the real deal. The more I play the more I realize just how much better it is in VR then playing on my Ipad. Which I enjoy and credit for the most part in getting me into the hobby.

    1. First, the technology is early. Headsets need to be cordless and lighter. The resolution is good, but when the screendoor effect is eliminated and your looking at a 4k image it will be amazing.
    2. I agree the feel of pinball is important. I plan on making a cabinet like others have. I think ths would make a huge difference.
    3. What i consider somewhat cheesy now, the extra stuff going on outside of the game. Being in a plush living room. Having a themed character standing next to the game, has so much potential IMO. It would be awesome to play remotely with friends online. You could have players avatars standing next to the pin watching, talking shit or whatever.
    4. The physics and speed of the game in VR needs to be improved. Mostly the speed to make it smoother.
    5. The ability to have completely unique modes is what intrigues me the most. I don't want to take away from the pinball, but it lends itself to really telling a story with crazy effects and animations.

    I wouldn't necessarily recommend going out and dropping a bundle on a headset a computer to run it, but when the tech improves and the price comes down in a couple years. I could see this changing alot of peoples minds that might think otherwise now.

    #206 2 years ago

    What I find funny, and frustrating, is that the "Stern Pinball Arcade" seems very inferior to the standard Pinball Arcade by Farsight, especially in VR. Everything in the Stern specific version seems off and not as polished as the standard game which appears to be higher quality.

    #207 2 years ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    What I find funny, and frustrating, is that the "Stern Pinball Arcade" seems very inferior to the standard Pinball Arcade by Farsight, especially in VR. Everything in the Stern specific version seems off and not as polished as the standard game which appears to be higher quality.

    I guess they are just trying to be accurate to real life?

    #208 2 years ago
    Quoted from FlippyD:

    I guess they are just trying to be accurate to real life?

    Lol! That seems to be the case. Now waiting for a code update for the game, will check back in 6+ months...

    #209 2 years ago

    In the beginning of networked gaming, we assumed technology would bring us all together. It did at first (LAN parties), but soon after the debut of high-speed internet everyone split off to do their own thing. Multiplayer deathmatches are fun and popular but they're not social and rarely does cooperative play take precedence over a single-person adventure catering to your every whim.

    The only exception I can think of are those fantasy-type RPG's where people team up to defeat enemies and achieve common goals.

    #210 2 years ago
    Quoted from Hazoff:

    I hope ur right but its tough for pinheads to not be optimistic, I mean pinball all but died in the late 90's just due to home consoles and arcade games

    The same thing was said in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s regarding computers and technology. This is four generations of the same explanation for many that were not around to see developments. The 1950s and 60s were a bit different due to limitations.

    Pinball has lived on, and continues to return.
    For those that remain collectors, they will see it again.

    "Pinball is not everlasting, but eternal. It is something that is physical and visceral, and has never been successfully replicated by other amusement devices in nearly 90 years since it's modern creation."

    - TBK

    #211 2 years ago

    I really don't like the vinyl ANALOG argument. Yes, there are SOME people that still collect vinyl, or hold onto their physical CD's. I'd say based on all music sales, vinyl is still probably only 1-2%.

    Personally, ALL of my music is in mp3 format on a network drive (a loss format) because my ears will never tell the difference. Any song I've collected that I want to hear, all I have to do is open a search box instead of getting up and browsing a shelf (also taking up physical space).

    I'm sure at some point someone argued nothing beats an analog filmstrip, but nobody would argue that 4k blu-ray (a digital format) is the best for viewing today.

    I think pinball will always have a place, but for the 95% of the public maybe virtual pinball (with reasonably good physics, good resolution, and never having to worry about stuck balls, worn coil sleeves, bulbs burning out, switches going bad, capacitors going bad, wires shorting out) is good enough.

    #212 2 years ago
    Quoted from pezpunk:

    totally disagree. VR will be huge, but it won't hurt pinball. in fact, just like The Pinball Arcade, VR pinball will only stoke MORE interest in real live pinball, not less. it's probably physical pinball's best hope for hooking a new generation.

    This was more what came to mind when I saw the original post. Had I not stumbled onto Pinball Arcade (nostalgia/being reminded of how much I liked pinball), I wouldn't have ended up at TPF '15 (or the several shows after) and have 6 mechanical machines in my house right now (heck, the pieces weren't even in my face to figure out that owning a pinball machine was an option [more or less a forgotten game in general]).

    #213 2 years ago
    Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

    The same thing was said in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s regarding computers and technology. This is four generations of the same explanation for many that were not around to see developments. The 1950s and 60s were a bit different due to limitations.
    Pinball has lived on, and continues to return.
    For those that remain collectors remain around, they will see it again.
    "Pinball is not everlasting, but eternal. It is something that is physical and visceral, and has never been successfully replicated by other amusement devices in nearly 90 years since it's modern creation."
    - TBK

    You may very well be right, but the 2010s are a bit different than even the "2000s" to an extent. The amount of DIY help content on the internet has expanded greatly since the 2000s, partially due to the average person now having a capable camera that hooks up easily to a computer to load up to Youtube, etc. Thus, we now expect to find information on fixing just about anything. Owning a machine in the 90s seems as if it would have been quite daunting for the average joe, to the point of no chance of consideration. Now we have a greater sense of comfort with active forums and accessible videos to protect our investment (often times cheap/DIY).

    #214 2 years ago
    Quoted from toyotaboy:

    I really don't like the vinyl ANALOG argument. Yes, there are SOME people that still collect vinyl, or hold onto their physical CD's. I'd say based on all music sales, vinyl is still probably only 1-2%.

    actually it accounts for 5% of all music album sales, and 10% of all physical album sales, and both its volume and relative share are growing.

    vinyl-records-growth (resized).png

    also, keep this in mind: the music industry does about $6 billion in sales per year. The gaming industry does about $44 billion per year. if Pinball could carve, say, a 2 percent niche out of that industry, that'd make pinball a billion dollar industry. it doesn't have to dominate or be anywhere near the most popular form of gaming in order to thrive.

    #215 2 years ago
    Quoted from toyotaboy:

    I think pinball will always have a place, but for the 95% of the public maybe virtual pinball (with reasonably good physics, good resolution, and never having to worry about stuck balls, worn coil sleeves, bulbs burning out, switches going bad, capacitors going bad, wires shorting out) is good enough.

    VR pinball might never replace the real thing for hobbyists such as ourselves as long as we keep it (and ourselves) alive. But, think about what I've quoted above from "toyotaboy".
    The maintenance issue was one of the major reasons video games replaced pinball machine in the late '70s and into the '80s.
    As technology evolves, VR pinball could very well supplant actual pinball machines in commercial use for this very reason, and because they'd likely be cheaper for operators to buy, and they take up a lot less space. Then, future generations of players would come to know this as "pinball", and physical pinball machines could eventually become quaint relics of the past. What we know as "pinball" today is a far cry from what it was, say back in the 1920s, and considering the ever rapidly increasing pace of technology, it's certainly possible that VR pinball will take hold in a much bigger way than we can see today.

    #216 2 years ago
    Quoted from jrpinball:

    The maintenance issue was one of the major reasons video games replaced pinball machine in the late '70s and into the '80s

    Let's also not forget how Jamma connectors changed everything in 1985, which allowed operators to simply re-use old cabinets and put new pcb's, lowering costs even more. Now take that to the virtual pinball world. Who needs to buy the latest pinball, or even move the cabinet? Just upload the latest table with a usb stick, and customers want to come play.

    The big question is, will old tables ever get licensed, or will it only be new tables like Zen or pinball FX?

    #217 2 years ago

    Not a chance. VR pinball will not replace actual pinball any more than The Pinball Arcade did.

    #218 2 years ago

    And 8-tracks will never replace vinyl.

    #219 2 years ago
    Quoted from toyotaboy:

    Apparently the Stern pinball arcade has just as many issues as the real thing. I've heard the cannon isn't working, and someone posted a stucky ball less than 24 hours after it dropped:

    Authenticity checks out.

    #220 2 years ago
    Quoted from Medisinyl:

    Now we have a greater sense of comfort with active forums and accessible videos to protect our investment (often times cheap/DIY).

    Do we?
    There is a pinball "trap" in your belief, no offense.
    Websites and videos are not the means to teach repair skill sets.
    You cannot learn how to properly solder via a video, it takes practice.

    There are more guides, no doubt.
    There are people here (some that post, most that don't), if you know them that wrote the guides themselves or significantly contributed.
    It just supports my standpoint that pinball will to continue to survive.
    But who really did it?
    The manufacturers?
    No, it was those collectors that came long before those on this forum.
    What happens if some of these sites are "removed" (as they have been in the past and people did not know existed).

    However, anyone should be cautioned that not all online video guides are "good", either in video quality or material.
    I have equally seen some seriously $#@!ed up repairs of people doing things they should not do to games out of ignorance.
    Some people should never have touched a soldering iron, let alone a paint brush.

    Improperly demonstrating "mylar freeze method removal" on a Cactus Canyon that ruined the playfield?
    Use of saran wrap and Krylon Triple Thick on a marginally damaged backglass?
    Repairing backglasses with masking tape?
    Using shrink wrap as a primary means to seal high voltage lines?
    Using varathane applications or clear coats in your garage without proper ventilation?
    Working on EM pinball machines in high voltage areas with the the game plugged in (it is not "on" right?).
    Lowering playfields with the game power on, and watching the short circuit light shows?
    Installing alligator clips on capacitors for power connections?

    Guess where those "expert" tips originated?

    As the even the Pinball Ninja will tell you, watching a repair guide does not qualify a person to conduct either board repair, rebuild a score reel, or even conduct simple game repair on a pinball machine, as it gives a sense of false experience.
    "Pinball Mods" are not a technical skill.

    However, I challenge budding enthusiasts to find manufacturer repair guides for Jeutel, Game Plan, AMI, WICO, Mr Game, and even Atari.
    They simply do not exist, and not all boards were copycats or created equal.
    I am studying Bromley documents right now to get a feel for how they designed the MPU signal processing because I have looking at picking up two "Little Pros", one that is working, one that is parts, out of roughly 250 made.
    I don't see anybody coming to the rescue for me here, if the game fails.

    Zaccaria was saved and is a GREAT EXAMPLE of potential "lost knowledge", one person of which I will mention below.

    I started to document AGC games, as there are only a handful that really understand the PCB design circuitry.
    Literally we are talking about less than 100 people.
    EM repair has been in decline for over 10 years, however small groups of people keep the knowledge around.
    The old techs are retiring and passing on.
    Dealers do not care anymore.

    If it was not for a collection of people, most of the experience and knowledge that exists would never have happened.
    David Gersic for example saved Zaccaria, as there is no single source of information other than his website.
    None, and initially he was the only person who gave a $!@#.
    Steve Charland (and a handful of others) provided critical details for GTB Star System 80, grounding mods, new pop bumper boards, and connector failures, or many would have ended up in the trash.
    The same goes for GTB System 1 problems.
    Kerry Stair, Clay Harrell, Dave Johnson, and several other dozen I can quote provided most of the CATALOGED repairs that most of the GTB, BLY, WMS, DE, Stern, and Sega alone.

    The internet is a good reference tool, but not a replacement for actual hands on experience with a technician.
    Unfortunately, it contains equal amounts of VERY POOR OR DANGEROUS information exist regarding pinball repairs, which a new person does not know how to filter. This includes this website.

    #221 2 years ago

    Ooooo that Saran Wrap/Triple Thick video... I shudder every time it comes up. Sealing loose/rotating paint chips in the wrong position is the stuff of nightmares to OCD people.

    I need to contribute some EM-knowledge vids. 2017 is the year, methinks.

    #222 2 years ago
    Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

    Do we?
    There is a pinball "trap" in your belief, no offense.
    Websites and videos are not the means to teach repair skill sets.
    You cannot learn how to properly solder via a video, it takes practice.

    Hence my use of the word "sense" It can most definitely be a trap, but that sense can be enough for someone to dive in (presumably with some similar repair experience if they plan to go the DIY route).

    My point was that many people that (re)discover pinball (as it continues to pop up in bars and video games) will have likely already experienced the help they can get from car forums or perhaps some other hobby forum, etc. It's more widely known that help can just be a click away. That "sense" alone may motivate someone to research the possibility and risks of owning a pinball machine in the first place (and the information...is just a click away these days).

    #223 2 years ago

    Virtual Pinball will replace physical pinball in the same way that Ping Pong/Tennis/Golf/Fishing/Car Racing have been replaced by virtual versions. There are definitely fun virtual versions of all of those to play, but it will never be equivalent to doing it "for real."

    -1
    #224 2 years ago
    Quoted from Baiter:

    Virtual Pinball will replace physical pinball in the same way that Ping Pong/Tennis/Golf/Fishing/Car Racing have been replaced by virtual versions. There are definitely fun virtual versions of all of those to play, but it will never be equivalent to doing it "for real."

    That's really an invidious comparison. A real pinball machine is a coin operated amusement device. A VR pinball "machine" would also be a coin operated amusement device.
    When you are fishing, golfing, playing tennis, auto racing or playing ping pong on a video screen, obviously it's intent is not to replace the actual activity, but to simulate it in a coin operated amusement device.

    #225 2 years ago
    Quoted from jrpinball:

    That's really an invidious comparison. A real pinball machine is a coin operated amusement device. A VR pinball "machine" would also be a coin operated amusement device.
    When you are fishing, golfing, playing tennis, auto racing or playing ping pong on a video screen, obviously it's intent is not to replace the actual activity, but to simulate it in a coin operated amusement device.

    nah, it's still a simulation of a real, physical thing.

    #226 2 years ago
    Quoted from pezpunk:

    nah, it's still a simulation of a real, physical thing.

    Yes, but something that is just a coin operated amusement in the first place. You see my point?

    #227 2 years ago
    Quoted from Toasterdog:

    You've designed VR pinball? Not much content out there right now. I would love to see it.
    I have Zacarria and Pinball Arcade VR on my HTC Vive. It's cool, but has along way to go still. I want to see games designed specifically for VR though, not converted. Modes that trigger FPV inside the game would be a cool feature IMO. So many possibilities?

    Whoops - I meant that I've designed both digital and physical pinball. Not VR (yet). Although I was personally surprised at actually being able to use VR adequately without blowing a brain fuse or throwing my guts up.

    #228 2 years ago
    Quoted from EalaDubhSidhe:

    Whoops - I meant that I've designed both digital and physical pinball. Not VR (yet). Although I was personally surprised at actually being able to use VR adequately without blowing a brain fuse or throwing my guts up.

    And you have done some very fine work sir. I remember playing some of your Visual Pinball 8 & 9 tables (back when I was still technically proficient enough to properly load those programs). Keep up the good work!

    #229 2 years ago
    Quoted from jrpinball:

    Yes, but something that is just a coin operated amusement in the first place. You see my point?

    No. Virtual pinball doesn't replace actual physical pinball any more than WCS replaces actually playing soccer.

    #230 2 years ago
    Quoted from pezpunk:

    No. Virtual pinball doesn't replace actual physical pinball any more than WCS replaces actually playing soccer.

    But will VR soccer replace actually playing soccer?!!!

    #231 2 years ago
    Quoted from pezpunk:

    No. Virtual pinball doesn't replace actual physical pinball any more than WCS replaces actually playing soccer.

    Thanks, who isn't aware of that? the question is will manufacturers down the road as we die off or get to old to play won't ditch mechanical for virtual, if the market isn't there then it will die but I can appreciate both right now, love to play pin FX, love to play the real thing and when the VR becomes a viable option I will embrace it, why not? I like pinball is all forms, will VR ever be as good as the real thing, no way, well at least not for the foreseeable future, to the OP this might be the worst place to ask this question, nobody wants to admit it but we are on borrowed time.

    #232 2 years ago

    Should I be convinced to sell all my games quickly to new collectors right now out of fear?
    Is everything lost?
    Have I been in a state of pinball denial for 3/4 of my life watching the various iterations of pinball history since the 1970s?

    There is no borrowed time, unless someone is referring to operators, which is true, again.
    This posting is an example of exactly why I need to provide commentary, education, and experience to new enthusiasts so people are properly informed on this website.
    Otherwise people are feeding an artificial frenzy.

    "Retro", "Classic", or "Vintage" continues to become more popular today, and is not slowing down in every reflective form imaginable.
    Now, dozens of TV shows to "feed the need" just due to interest, some good, some not so good.
    I am not particularly impressed when American Pickers or Pawn Stars shows a pinball machine on television, because I already know what happens.
    Go to an antique show and watch the people with "googly eyes" when they see any pinball machine.
    Watch the sellers ply their trade.
    Devices, signs, parts are being "remade" not just exclusive to pinball, but the originals are preferred and even coveted.
    The Nintendo Classic fiasco this Christmas was just insanely stupid due to artificial scarcity (AKA Stern BM66 analogy) but is an example of several factors.
    This aspect is not a fad due to being "hip".
    I have watched this growth for well over a quarter century.

    Pinball machines continue ride of this same mindset.

    They continue to be a "requirement" for things like hollywood and theatre films.
    Games are actually requested to be rented for stage sets continuously, especially if a game includes any type of bar scene.
    A good example would be my Joust game for Deadpool (2016).

    BTW, this was one of the highest sales of used pinball games for Christmas periods since the early 2000s.

    Long after many are gone, others are becoming the proteges carrying the the same understanding.
    I see it everyday.
    It is not just older people in their 40-60s buying games from their youth due to available disposable income.
    It is not like games from the 1950s and 60s are exclusively relegated to museums.
    They remain in people's possessions.
    One of several reasons there are lower numbers available is age relative to production, the "great pinball purge", and changes in technology.
    But, it never made them "obsolete" like 90% of other devices of equal age.
    1000s of machines from the 1970s and 80s are very safe in private collections and not being emptied into garbage dumpsters and landfills.
    More are being saved everyday by those here that call us "hoarders".

    I can say this as a fact for one primary reason.

    If the growth and interest was not sustaining, pinball would never have survived the four periods of "hard times" that have occurred alone in the past 30 years due to waning "pinball interest", economy, or culture.
    That is quite an accomplishment since technology has "moved on without it".
    Pinball as a nostalgic pop cultural icon saved its place in history as a "classic".
    Even more so than any video game.
    It will not even matter if every single pinball manufacturer stops producing games entirely.

    As an offset that I also can share one other fact.

    Pinball games made in the past 15 years are not on par in terms of durability than ANYTHING made before 2000.
    This is contrary to any manufacturer may try to tell buyers.
    That is a case of borrowed time.
    Games are less than 3/4 the quality of games made by BLY/WMS in the 1990s
    Games are less than 1/2 the quality of games made by GTB/BLY/WMS in the 1970s.
    The metal is thinner for legs and assemblies, plastic parts are thinner, and the parts are many times not fully industrial quality.
    Even the soldering quality is different, sometimes worse.
    There is incredible reliance on electronic boards which is some cases cannot easily be repaired.
    Stern and JJP policy on failed electronics is "swaptronics".

    Combining this with lower production numbers made directly cause many modern games to have questionable longevity for survival.
    This is highly evident from many of the games Stern for example made before 2004.
    Every pinball manufacturer prior to 1999 provided support for there games for decades after being produced, unless they closed their doors.
    You could still buy parts for games bought 25 years before.
    Stern supports their games for 5 years, and a maximum of 10 years for parts dependent exclusively on production numbers.
    The rest of the current manufacturers are unknown at the time, as none have operated for 5 years and all have less than 3 titles.
    It is not particularly hard to stock parts for three games in comparison to dozens, but you do still need the space and overhead cost for purchase.

    What makes the situation rather silly when you really deep down thing about things is this:
    Stern, JJP, and all the rest of the manufacturers say they are moving as a "boutique" supplier of pinball machines to private ownership.
    This is absolutely wonderful.
    So where is the long term support for replacement parts are the title production has ceased?
    Private collection ownership means aftermarket parts, not exclusively mods.
    In that respect owners are being extremely shortsighted, and the manufacturers simply don't care, because the mindset of a pinball machine being "expendable toy" remains from the operator days.
    Quite an ironic point to consider?
    A $15K expendable and consumable toy?
    Not even motorcycle collectors think in this manner, and neither does Harley Davidson.
    That is the "cash grab" of today, and what is often overlooked, minimized, or not mentioned by manufacturers.

    Antique.jpg

    #233 2 years ago
    Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

    Pinball machines continue ride of this same mindset.

    They continue to be a "requirement" for things like hollywood and theatre films

    Pinballs in movies are props. there's no reason they couldn't be replaced by pool tables, air hockey, or arcade games.

    Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

    If the growth and interest was not sustaining, pinball would never have survived the four periods of "hard times" that have occurred alone in the past 30 years due to waning "pinball interest", economy, or culture

    Except all 4 of those times they were replaced by something else (video games in the early 80s, internet and playstation in the early 90s). All of those periods never had decent 3d pinball simulations (and certainly not the giant catalog of recreations we have now), it's a different landscape today.

    I don't think anyone is saying pinball is completely going away, but for many young people that couldn't fix an xbox unless it involves smothering it with towels for 20 minutes, how do you expect them to take over the reins of keeping pinballs working? When Tim Arnold dies, what do you suppose will happen to the pinball hall of fame? I'd argue it'll get sold off to his volunteers, who will keep them in their personal collection until they die, then who knows where they'll end up.

    Even if things got really bad where every pinball disappeared, eventually there would be a future generation that would be playing that classic pinball arcade on that old xbox console and go "hey, wouldn't it be cool to build a physical one? Like with a real metal ball? I bet I could model that up and 3d print one out"

    #234 2 years ago

    It depends on the technical level of the virtualization. Mp3 took over vinyl and cds because they are a very close copy of the original. Not idintical, but very very close. A selected few can tell the difference and appreciate analog, but digital definitely took over, no question. When we talk about pinball survival, we refer to a certain amount of people in the hobby like it is today. When there will be only few hundred people left in the hobby, that will be archeology, and not a niche hobby anymore. Everybody will be able to get any single title they wish, and prices will crash.

    Pinball is a coin operated game, but also a phisical one. I think an emulation at the same quality level as mp3 for music (which is not exactly "3D") is very far away. But when/if it will happen, pinball will become something for archeologists.
    Also, when that will happen, I believe many other things of this world will go digital and we will be living in an entirely different world. Even humans will be something else from what we are now.

    But this is close to sci-fi. I guess that for several decades at least real pinball will still be way better than virtualized versions. So I think the hobby will be fine over the next decades. I do not know if it will grow or shrink: lots of hardcore players will get old, maybe their children will continue with the hobby, new generations will enter the market but hard to say to which extent (will they collect a few, or tens of machines?). My guess is that probably all in all the market won't change much from how it is now.

    #235 2 years ago
    Quoted from toyotaboy:

    how do you expect them to take over the reins of keeping pinballs working?

    When Tim Arnold dies, what do you suppose will happen to the pinball hall of fame?

    I teach them, just like others do now.
    There is major Pinball Outreach Project (POP) operated in Portland already now.

    Plans are already being made (finally) for other collectors to assist in disposition of the games at the PHoF, so they do not get "sold off" and broken up. Tim still owns over 800 games not on display. My bigger concern are other collectors like Sam Harvey and others with substantial historical documents with no plan.

    I already started dealing with the comments in the past from new generations of "hey when did start making real pinball machines for real". It was education that carries the day, built memories, and started their electromechanical and solid state journey.
    The first time I heard this was 1998, nearly 20 years ago.

    If anyone wants to see a "pinball prop" in action, watch Dazed and Confused. Fireball is not just for a pretty backdrop.

    #236 2 years ago
    Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

    My bigger concern are other collectors like Sam Harvey and others with substantial historical documents with no plan

    you mean the file cabinets filled with part numbers that nobody seems to have? Or the serial number database?

    Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

    There is major Pinball Outreach Project (POP) operated in Portland already now

    Can't wait to move there

    #237 2 years ago
    Quoted from toyotaboy:

    you mean the file cabinets filled with part numbers that nobody seems to have? Or the serial number database?

    No, the 500+ NOS backglasses he owns in his back room.
    This does not consider blackline artwork, lithographs, or drawings that are contained in his archives.
    He is is one of several people who have stocked shelves like Steve Engel in the old days.
    Duncan Brown is another person who I am unsure what the disposition is of some of his more rare items, just like Mike Pacak.

    There are more objects of historical documentation importance than just paper.

    #238 2 years ago
    Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

    There are more objects of historical documentation importance than paper.

    That paper is very important, though. With my project, I've found schematic and manual inconsistencies and problems even with the blueprints on some units that Bally produced. I've been able to engineer around each problem digitally, but in some cases, those blueprints would answer a ton of questions.

    How about exploded drawings of various units? Most are and should be available in parts catalogs. But think of small manufacturers from the 1930s, not the guys who were making games 20 years ago.

    There are also interesting documents regarding the business side that would be fascinating to read. Information about the development of the games. Initial drawings vs final production. Much has already been lost, and some will hopefully resurface.

    #239 2 years ago
    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    That paper is very important, though.

    I concur, hence the my direct reference notes regarding additional blacklines, lithographs, and drawings.
    This also considers blueprints, original backglass artwork, design shot maps, and other aspects of the industry.
    There was more information lost in the 1990s than every single pinball period in history.
    Multiple manufacturers emptied files into the trash including GTB, WMS, AGC, and DE/Sega.
    Why?
    Because people did not care, or it was a quick "get out".
    I still remember enthusiasts dumpster diving in the back of the WMS factory before they put locks on the trash receptacles.
    Some even tried to follow the trail to the landfills to negotiate "sifting time" (unsuccessfully).

    Many of the older schematics are "copies of copies, of copies, of copies...", incomplete, missing pages, and have no source notes from the original designers or technicians.

    People need to ask themselves where do the originals come from now when writing is so blurry and unlegible from photocopies?
    The repositories are copies, the IPDB are copies in many cases.
    PPS made it extremely hard to permanently access files with their online system to try and "protect paper" copyrights.
    The Steve Kordek library that is held by several others only a fraction of documents has been scanned.
    The internet does not solve everyone's problems anyway.
    Only a few owners and historians have the originals.
    New enthusiasts in the past 10 years may not understand yet, but they will in 25 years, they will, if they are still collectors.
    Those that restore older games already do.
    The notes contained in manuals provide information well beyond what was initially provided at the factory.
    Even technical bulletins have been lost.

    Here is example of something in photo form below of why there is relevance in cataloging history, with this set of specific technical notes, but you have to understand what game they are for and why they are important. You are not going to find this guide information in any book. It is a hand written technical bulletin.

    "All pinball is mechanical, not just EMs. This is a misnomer of modern technology understanding based on how the games actually work."

    - TBK

    Keep flipping.

    Tech Notes (resized).jpg

    #240 2 years ago

    Thinking about it some more I realized the primary attraction to pinball for me is in the physical aspect of it. I've never actually enjoyed playing virtual pinball. Part of the reason is that it tries too hard to emulate physical games, when it should throw out physics, mechanical constraints, and size constraints, and use more imagination to do things impossible in real world pinball.

    #241 2 years ago
    Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

    No, the 500+ NOS backglasses he owns in his back room.
    This does not consider blackline artwork, lithographs, or drawings that are contained in his archives.
    He is is one of several people who have stocked shelves like Steve Engel in the old days.
    Duncan Brown is another person who I am unsure what the disposition is of some of his more rare items, just like Mike Pacak.
    There are more objects of historical documentation importance than just paper.

    Hey, I'm working as fast as I can...

    I have BURIED Jay @ ipdb with scans of things that there are obvious places for on their website, and a good bit of stuff they are going to have to create new places for on their website. Jay is working as fast as he can...

    The ultimate long-term disposition of my portion of the Kordek archives is probably The Museum of Play at The Strong. I know this irks some people because they aren't known pinball collectors ("one of us"), but better there than at any one of the failed collector-run pinball museums of the past, or buried in Sam Harvey's house, or Pacak's leaky warehouse, or still in Kordek's mouse-infested garage, or wherever. The Strong has actual archivists, actual archival storage techniques, etc.

    I know they're bummed that I've only sent them a little stuff so far (mostly the utterly non-pinball non-Williams related stuff that Steve had hoarded over the years) but I think it's absolutely critical that I be the one to triage and organize it first. I'm in the unique position of actually being able to recognize almost everything for what it actually is, and its level of significance, and the ability to contact the actual people involved for further details or clarification or if I don't know what something is I can find someone who does.

    I have 3 tall, wide lateral files for the paper and they're overflowing. I'm still going through all that. I have other non-paper items here, plus a big cache of non-paper stuff stashed at Raw Thrills since Eugene has more spare space than we do here at work, and he's generously allowed us to use a little corner of it. It is my intent to complete this project before I die and someone ELSE has to make sense of MY hoard... I think I can do it.

    #242 2 years ago

    Amazing effort. It's going to be part of the history of pinball. It looks like there are only very few people that can do it, it's essential to archive and digitize it soon.

    #243 2 years ago

    ...maybe once they develop "holodeck" technology. lol

    #244 2 years ago
    Quoted from LongJohns:

    ...maybe once they develop "holodeck" technology. lol

    Its pretty much here (HTC Vive).

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