(Topic ID: 282360)

Your favourite pinball memories - arcade nostalgia


By Tranquilize

62 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 38 posts
  • 27 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 57 days ago by uncivil_engineer
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

You

Linked Games

No games have been linked to this topic.

    Topic Gallery

    There have been 2 images uploaded to this topic. (View topic image gallery).

    image-6 (resized).jpg
    B1731A40-B62E-4F88-A73D-3089046CC2B3 (resized).jpeg

    #1 62 days ago

    One of my favourite arcade memories is the day that Cyclone arrived at my local arcade in 1983. I had never seen the inside of a pinball machine, and I was able to watch the arcade manager set up the game. I remember Lenny, the local weed dealer and pool shark, an Italian guy of about 40, always dressed slightly 70s pimp, was standing and commenting about the game to the manager. They were talking about the ferris wheel and how it was engineered and how the scoring appeared to work in relation to the ramps. A small crowd had developed around the game.

    After it was set up and ready to go, Lenny plugged quarters into the game and turned around, looking at the small group. I was thirteen and didn't smoke weed or know him, but he had seen me around the arcade almost daily.

    "You want in?" he asked.

    Stupidly not understanding his offer, I said, "I don't have any money."

    I'll never forget Lenny's big-toothed grin below his slender mustache.

    "You're in" he said, pushing the start button.

    "Hurry, hurry, step right up!"

    We played quite a few games, with him talking about the shots and debating the best way to approach the game. He destroyed me every game, which was my first lesson about ball control and serious strategy. I learned a ton from him.

    I was a lower-middle-class kid and could often be found in that arcade searching the coin-returns for a free quarter or two. Now and then, Lenny would come in through the back door, droopy-eyed, and he'd wave me over to play pinball with him. He was such a nice guy and funny as hell. Crude, but sharp and witty.

    I'm now a professional and find that almost everyone I work with is not from the lower-middle-class. It's funny that I used to be ashamed of my prior status, thinking that I was short-changed in some way (no pun intended).

    Now I fondly reminisce about the arcade days, the days when replays and matches enticed bonding celebrations, the days when I developed relationships over magical mechanical games.

    What about you? Do you have any cool arcade memories?

    #2 62 days ago

    Stealing money out of my mom's purse to go to the local arcade. Anyone else do that ?

    #3 62 days ago

    Going down the line of over a dozen a-list & b-list pins at the local arcade and playing just about every one.

    In another local (one-pin) arcade, seeing DESW for the first time when it was brand new.

    #4 62 days ago

    Telling my mom that a friend and I were going to the public library to do research for a school paper. Instead, we went to the mall to play pinball at the Flipper Flapper arcade. We were having a great time playing our favorite Evel Knievel machine when I felt a tap on my shoulder. Turned around and there was my mom with with a totally pissed off look on her face. Had to leave the game in progress and any credits that we racked up and head straight home. Got a full week of staying at home punishment for that little stunt.

    #5 62 days ago
    Quoted from PinballSTAR:

    Stealing money out of my mom's purse to go to the local arcade. Anyone else do that ?

    Pretty close. I used to steal from my sister (mid 70’s)when she was sleeping. She had a wicker basket next to her bed that she put change in. That worked well for a long time until she thought she was missing money and told our parents.
    I was then set-up as my parents counted and knew exact total amount of money that was in basket. I was confronted and then had to pay back what I think I stole(which I wasn’t even close) and grounded for 2 weeks.
    My Grandmother also had a border living at her house and I would occasionally steal from him until I started feeling guilty. Not proud but that’s my story. I was addicted back then!

    #6 62 days ago

    It was 1959 I was 9 and my family owned a pizza place on the boadrwalk in Seaside Heights N.J . I was to young to work near the ovens so i was a runner for the people who worked at the other stands and couldnt leave . It was like HEY KID TWO SLICES AND A COKE ,in return i could go on all the rides and especially the Arcaide Guy .He would give me a handful of quarters to play with,it was the time of my life. Oh Well .

    #7 62 days ago

    First game I ever played a ton was in some bar in New Jersey my band use to play in the 90s...

    They had a Funhouse and I used to play it constantly on breaks.

    I always wanted one and ended up buying one years later.

    I played older pins in the 70s and 80s but Funhouse was the first that really grabbed me.... once I owned one i got sick of it pretty quick though.

    #8 62 days ago
    Quoted from Elvishasleft:

    First game I ever played a ton was in some bar in New Jersey my band use to play in the 90s...
    They had a Funhouse and I used to play it constantly on breaks.
    I always wanted one and ended up buying one years later.
    I played older pins in the 70s and 80s but Funhouse was the first that really grabbed me.... once I owned one i got sick of it pretty quick though.

    It's crazy how awesome a lot of the older games were in the arcade but lose that charm in a home environment.

    #9 62 days ago

    I was about 5 or 6 years old at the height of the video arcade craze and loved PAC-Man, Donkey Kong and Q-Bert, but the pinball machines at the arcade terrified me. Their lineup (as I recall) included Black Knight, Medusa and maybe Xenon - scary imagery for a toddler. My dad encouraged my to try Black Knight and I gave it one game, but I didn’t understand what was going on or how to play. Seemed like a waste of a quarter.

    It was decades later when I discovered what I’d been missing. I found a local arcade and discovered that these games could actually tell a story and have characters and be just as engaging as video games.

    #10 62 days ago
    Quoted from TopMoose:

    I was about 5 or 6 years old at the height of the video arcade craze and loved PAC-Man, Donkey Kong and Q-Bert, but the pinball machines at the arcade terrified me. Their lineup (as I recall) included Black Knight, Medusa and maybe Xenon - scary imagery for a toddler. My dad encouraged my to try Black Knight and I gave it one game, but I didn’t understand what was going on or how to play. Seemed like a waste of a quarter.
    It was decades later when I discovered what I’d been missing. I found a local arcade and discovered that these games could actually tell a story and have characters and be just as engaging as video games.

    Interesting. I honestly can't remember when I first played...

    #11 62 days ago
    Quoted from PinballSTAR:

    Stealing money out of my mom's purse to go to the local arcade. Anyone else do that ?

    I always watched out for that. A kid that only had a quarter or two all of a sudden shows up with a ten or a twenty. I'd question them. You could tell pretty quick if they could have it to spend or not.

    If not I sent them out. I didn't need a pissed off parent screaming at me.

    LTG : )

    #12 61 days ago

    I got into pinball a few months before moving to where I live now, so imagine my excitement when I found two pins in the local mall! Big Guns and Lord of the Rings. I played those two machines a ton for years, and my most memorable moment was when I finally managed to win the Queen's Rescue jackpot and get a high score on the machine. I had been working towards that for years and was so excited when I finally pulled it off!

    #13 61 days ago

    Up until I hit 14 an occasional game on the Gottlieb at Kresge or the 3 machines at Dolphin fishing pier in Topsail was all.
    Then they put in a Fireball at the Zayre across the street so I wore that thing out.
    At 14 I was allowed to leave the house on my new Gitane 10 speed. We did 5 miles to Choosy Mothers Foosball at every opportunity.
    Most everyone was older than me and my friends, but it was ok, very few fights (this was the height of hippies and weed.)
    The next few years I grew up there, until they started serving beer and Foosball kinda waned.
    Can't remember a single machine but they had 15 or so and got every quarter I could scrounge..

    #14 61 days ago

    After Choosy Mothers and a few years I was 16 with a fake ID and hitting the new craze, Discos. This was a culture shock for me till I figured out what was going on.
    So the 4 Million BC in the back of the Trophy Room became a security blanket, I could be there, be doing something and not look stupid while I checked everything out.

    Quoted from Tranquilize:

    It's crazy how awesome a lot of the older games were in the arcade but lose that charm in a home environment.

    Perfect example. Loved that machine and counted on it being there, thought I wanted one for years, but it just wouldn't be the same. Still would like one to just look at but 4Million BC was a great crutch in 1976 and led to girls,clothes and breaking out of a shell.

    #15 61 days ago

    Gold mine was my go to for vids, system 11s and early WPC. Very cool ambiance and great memories. Worked at a pizza joint with a small arcade and one pin- BK2K. That BK attract music still plays in my head!

    B1731A40-B62E-4F88-A73D-3089046CC2B3 (resized).jpeg

    #16 61 days ago

    Skipping school in the early 80s (Jr. high) to ride our bikes , often in the snow, to play pinball and arcade games at the bowling alley in the next town. We used to shovel driveways for cash and when it snowed we knew the next day there was zero chance of us going to school. The funny thing is the owner/employees wouldn’t bat an eye at the four of us spending the whole day in the arcade as long as we were pumping quarters in the games. “Sir, do you have change for a $20? Sure!”.

    #17 61 days ago

    Two memories for me. The first was as a young child, being dragged to league night at the bowling alley. All the kids would go into the game room and hang out on the floor under the row of pins. Did that for several years. Second memory at about the age of 16, I discovered wizard modes. The game was Twilight Zone, and I spent the next 20 years trying to find one for my home. Having one at home now, I relive that moment every time I get Lost In the Zone.

    #18 61 days ago

    So many memories from many years in the arcades but out of all them my favorite memory was this one time were in between the usual bip bip noises and pixels, I heard a voice saying "Dragons Lair, a fantastic adventure where you become a valiant knight".

    I can still remember how I stared at that screen jaw dropped for am hour, looking at an actual cartoon on an arcade game.

    #19 61 days ago

    Just yesterday I wrote my profile story of growing up on the Jersey Shore in the late '70s and '80s and the memories and the sheer amount of arcade machines I managed to see in that time: https://pinside.com/pinball/community/pinsiders/valis666/stories/my-story-playing-for-decades-but-only-able-to-own-in-the-last-few-years

    Born in 1972, I was at the perfect age for video games to make more of an impression on me when every month or so a new classic would come out like Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Robotron, and so on, but I did enjoy EM pinball, particularly the pitch and bats. As I mention in the story above, Cyclone was the first pinball I became obsessed with thanks to its humor and personality and toys. That started my transition over to favoring pinball, along with all the B/W classics that would be released in the following years.

    Thinking back on those times are some of the best memories of my life. Rows and rows of woodrails next to wedgeheads next to mechanical arcade games and fortune tellers and skee ball, next to the newer solid state pinballs and video games. Most arcades would be packed, too. People crowding around the latest and greatest, ages 6 to 60, flashing lights everywhere and a roaring wall of chimes and bells and digital noises. And on places like the boardwalk in Seaside, NJ, you'd walk out of that sensory overload of a hundred or so games and people, take 20 steps down the boardwalk and go into one of the many others.

    #20 61 days ago

    I fell in love with pinball as a little tyke... My grandparents had a Gottlieb Mayfair in their house, and that was the game that started it all. My grandfather would always have the game serviced before we would come visit, and I would play that game for hours. We never had a lot of money growing up, and so as I would frequent quite a few laundromat's with my mom, and I would always be attracted to the games there because of that pin at GrandDads... Even though the laundromat had vids as well, the pins always seemed to be "adult" games, but I was never intimidated because I was "used" to pinball... Lol. I am sure I lasted about two minutes on that Whirlwind...

    Same deal at the dollar movie theatre my Mom used to take us too... They had a Stargate that I had to play--I am sure I stepped up to it like Babe Ruth indicating he was about to hit a homerun even though the reality was I played like trash, but Mom always had some quarters for me. Years later, I have both Whirlwind and Stargate in my collection, and neither will ever leave because they remind me of mom ... Still no Mayfair, though I would kill to have one!

    #21 61 days ago
    Quoted from Chisox:

    Skipping school in the early 80s (Jr. high) to ride our bikes , often in the snow, to play pinball and arcade games at the bowling alley in the next town. We used to shovel driveways for cash and when it snowed we knew the next day there was zero chance of us going to school. The funny thing is the owner/employees wouldn’t bat an eye at the four of us spending the whole day in the arcade as long as we were pumping quarters in the games. “Sir, do you have change for a $20? Sure!”.

    Forgot to mention that my early addiction was my dad’s fault. He taught me in the late 70s in the Wisconsin Dells on an old EM (I remember it like it was yesterday) not to monkey flip. Get control of the ball and aim! That was 40 years ago and I’m still flailing away like a 9 year old.

    #22 61 days ago

    I remember seeing a Haunted House in Neptune’s Arcade at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk when I was barely tall enough to look down through the glass. Noticed the cool art and upper playfield first, then noticed the lower playfield through the lens and was totally amazed. 3 legit playfields! We had an EM at home that was a little less cool after that.

    Also, I have the wonderful memories of many Birthdays at Bullwinkle’s in Santa Clara (long gone). That was the best place ever. Put Chuckee Cheese and other family fun centers to shame.

    #23 61 days ago

    Bullwinkles wow that’s a blast from the past never actually had the pleasure of patronizing I grew up in a chunky cheese family,now I feel like I missed out!

    #24 61 days ago

    Time Zone at the Capitola mall in Santa Cruz. I was around 8 years old when I first layed eyes on Black Hole. It really blew my mind just looking at it. I could see the flippers on the lower pf so I knew the ball had to get down there but I couldn't figure it out. My best guess at the time was that you had to knock it down the down the exit tube or something.
    I recently picked up a beautiful specimen from the Pinball Pirate but got bored quickly and traded it in for a deadpool. It was still there the last time I stopped by.

    #25 61 days ago

    Playing early "classic" solid state games and being able to make $1.00 last 2-3 hours by winning lots of free games. Some of my favorites that I was able to get good at: Night Rider, Evel Knievel, Strikes and Spares, Mata Hari, Hot Tip, Meteor and Hot Hand.

    #26 61 days ago
    Quoted from NorCalRealtor:

    I remember seeing a Haunted House in Neptune’s Arcade at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk when I was barely tall enough to look down through the glass. Noticed the cool art and upper playfield first, then noticed the lower playfield through the lens and was totally amazed. 3 legit playfields! We had an EM at home that was a little less cool after that.
    Also, I have the wonderful memories of many Birthdays at Bullwinkle’s in Santa Clara (long gone). That was the best place ever. Put Chuckee Cheese and other family fun centers to shame.

    Bullwinkles was awesome. Did yours have the water show? Super cool to watch while eating.

    #27 60 days ago

    1990,16 yrs old, Skipping School, Plantation Bowlerama, Hash Bots and System 11's. Jesus seems like a century ago.

    #28 60 days ago
    Quoted from Hazoff:

    1990,16 yrs old, Skipping School, Plantation Bowlerama, Hash Bots and System 11's. Jesus seems like a century ago.

    I remember skipping school to play 720. I used to be able to finish the game on a quarter. At that time, all the great w/b machines were in the arcade too!

    #29 60 days ago
    Quoted from Tranquilize:

    I remember skipping school to play 720. I used to be able to finish the game on a quarter. At that time, all the great w/b machines were in the arcade too!

    Yeah they were just starting to come out when I was going to arcades. I remember the first time playing a DMD, T2.

    #30 60 days ago
    Quoted from Tranquilize:

    Bullwinkles was awesome. Did yours have the water show? Super cool to watch while eating.

    Yes. Atmosphere to Walt Disney would admire and the best deep dish pizza and ice cream sundays I've had to this day.

    #31 60 days ago

    I first fell in love with pinball in 1964 at the age of 7. Once a week, my family ate dinner at a restaurant across the street from our apartment in Chicago. The restaurant had a side room with a bar that had a Heat Wave pinball machine. I put every dime I could beg for into that machine. I had to stand on a stool to play it. My goal was always to get the thermometer in the backbox to reach "Blow Your Top," but I never got it that far. Then, one day maybe a year later, the game was suddenly gone with no game replacing it. I was so bummed. I didn't see another Heat Wave until over ten years later. It was a beat-up one at an arcade in California. I didn't reach "Blow Your Top" then either.

    image-6 (resized).jpg
    #32 60 days ago

    It would have to be the owner sending me to Kentucky Coin in a rental truck to pick up a load of new machines. That was an all day trip. The next day was unboxing and set up. First time seeing Gorgar, Black Hole, Haunted House, or Centaur. There was always a crowd on the latest pin.

    #33 60 days ago
    Quoted from Tranquilize:

    I'll never forget Lenny's big-toothed grin below his slender mustache.

    Now I want to know whatever came of Lenny! Have you checked FB?

    #34 58 days ago
    Quoted from seshpilot:

    Now I want to know whatever came of Lenny! Have you checked FB?

    That's an interesting question. If he was 40ish in 1983, he'd be in his 80s. With his smoking, I doubt he's still alive. Sadly, I have no idea what his last name is and if Lenny is even his official name. I only knew him for about a year.

    #35 58 days ago
    Quoted from PinballSTAR:

    Stealing money out of my mom's purse to go to the local arcade. Anyone else do that ?

    Yupp, also going down a line of pins checking the coin slots for money, or credits.

    #36 57 days ago

    I worked at an arcade as a teenager. I had keys to all the games so not only played games for free but technically got paid to do it lol.

    #37 57 days ago
    Quoted from jawjaw:

    I worked at an arcade as a teenager. I had keys to all the games so not only played games for free but technically got paid to do it lol.

    Dream job! That's like the IGN guys getting paid to review Video Games.

    #38 57 days ago

    It was 1984 at a showtime pizza in Bakersfield. I got started playing a black knight. What really impressed me was the speech, and the fact the game would give me free credits! I learned what the match feature was that day.

    Promoted items from the Pinside Marketplace
    $ 39.00
    Gameroom - Decorations
    Concealed Art
    $ 17.00
    $ 12.50
    Various Novelties
    UpKick Pinball
    From: $ 99.99
    Cabinet - Other
    Lighted Pinball Mods
    $ 103.00
    $ 9.99
    Eproms
    Matt's Basement Arcade
    $ 43.00
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    The MOD Couple
    From: $ 33.00
    Gameroom - Decorations
    Rocket City Pinball
    $ 7,699.00
    Pinball Machine
    Classic Game Rooms
    $ 29.00
    Gameroom - Decorations
    Pinball Photos LLC
    $ 7,699.00
    Pinball Machine
    Gulf Coast Pinball, LLC
    $ 8.95
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    ULEKstore
    $ 221.00
    Cabinet Parts
    Tilted Pinball
    $ 229.99
    Lighting - Other
    Lighted Pinball Mods
    $ 229.99
    Lighting - Other
    Lighted Pinball Mods
    $ 54.99
    Cabinet - Shooter Rods
    Lighted Pinball Mods
    $ 40.00
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    UpKick Pinball
    $ 6.95
    $ 69.99
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    Lighted Pinball Mods
    From: $ 5.00
    Cabinet - Other
    Rock Custom Pinball
    $ 19.50
    Apparel - Unisex
    ArcadeMade
    $ 159.00
    Cabinet - Other
    Pinball Pimp
    $ 99.99
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    Lighted Pinball Mods
    $ 15.95
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    ULEKstore
    From: $ 33.00
    Gameroom - Decorations
    Rocket City Pinball
    £ 20.00
    From: $ 9.99
    Eproms
    Matt's Basement Arcade
    $ 40.00
    Gameroom - Decorations
    ArcadeArts
    From: $ 42.00
    Cabinet - Shooter Rods
    ModFather Pinball Mods

    Hey there! Got a moment?

    Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside