Jump to content

Pinball how did it start with you.what was the attraction

Recommended Posts

I always like seeing how stuff worked
Across the street from where we lived as kids was a fish & chip shop that had one pinball machine 
(looking back, they had games that were new releases, mainly Gottlieb from the end of EM to the Sys1 era)
One day i was playing and the ball got stuck, the guy behind the counter had the keys so he took off the glass and encouraged us to hit the targets with our fingers

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Pinoffski said:

What was the attraction..??


Was it a passion..

Maybe A escape ..

Working in the industry..

Just went and played them..



For me it was a escape ..

I would stay out till 10.30 pm at that was closing time  ..

I was 13 at the time..

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first time playing a pinball was 

I when home with a girl and she fell asleep and I played the pinball that was in there living room..

It Was a em one player..

I Was stocked..


  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good question. I started working in 1981 as an apprentice plumber with my Father. I started going to the local shopping centre after work and discovered pinball and arcades. I could play them and also hang out without it being weird. It was like a social lubricant. I could fit in so to speak without having to socialise. I met some nice people and had some fun times and I still have this nostalgia today.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The seed of my pinball addiction was sown at Chevron Bowl on the Gold Coast by my Mum and older Brother keeping a 4 year old me occupied while my Dad was bowling. I was stood on a box and constantly told to "flip, flip" if I stopped flipping. Then there was the Gottlieb Lawman in the snack bar opposite my first primary school in Canungra.

Admittedly I'd play anything with a coin slot back in the late 70's- early 90's. Being the fat kid who sucked at football (either kind) and cricket or any sport to be honest gaming, either pinball or video, turned out to be something I didn't totally suck at. Having a local pub in Melbourne from 79 to 82 with a fantastic selection of both classic pins and arcade games just added fuel to the fire.

Worked at Timezone for a few years around the time that the last few system 11 pins then the likes of T2, Addams and Getaway came out which restarted my love of pinball and things just kicked on from there.

Edited by RMacauley
  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never played them as a kid or a teenager, they were all but gone by the time I spent a lot of time in arcades in the late 90s. I was born in 1982, so I missed the golden age of pinball and arcade by a good margin. 

Collected consoles, then moved to arcade machines, (which I did play a lot of as a kid) then that introduced me to the world of pinball via people on this forum.

Realised that pinball was awesome and started playing more, then buying my own.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It started for me unbeknowns in the late 70s. Mum and Dad opened a record bar with full chrome and red shagpile trimmings..

Dad always let us open the boxes at home from the record companies (I was was the first kid at school with Kiss Dynasty cassette and boy was I popular at age 9!)

Anyway he had a swag of these booklets with a red demon on them and promo for Gorgar...I was in awe. Played it non stop on my turntable. Dad took me to the local pool hall to see the game but I was a bit blown away by all the teenagers and smoke and girls so pinball never grabbed me. The girls were amazing!

It was a couple of years later, Clancys takeaway in Caloundra had Firepower and Stellar Wars, the milk bar at Currimundi had Flash and Kiss. Ultimately, Firepower had me hooked and I dropped lots of 20s into that beast.

I think its stayed with me...I have a penchant for the early Williams stuff over the other brands...they just grab me.

I played later at Grundys and through my Army years as the bases always had pins.

I was determined to one day own a pin or two, but family, moving, house renovation and other hobbies always took over.

About 8 or so years ago I finally did it and boy have gone hard ever since....

Owned prob about 70 titles, most I ever had was 24, been slowly weening myself down and now find working on and bringing and customising is my passion. That and small get together with great mates. I think actually meeting some great people and new friends has been as much as a highlight or more. Also met a fair share of tools to be fair! Like any hobby I guess but the force is strong in pinball !

I love helping people out with custom stuff and bits and pieces.

Currently I am at 4 pins....Jaws, Mad Max, Creature, Afm original build, and 2 more projects in preparation....one I am extremely excited about purely for selfish reasons!. More on that later.

Pinball's great!




  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Played my first game of pinball in 1979 when i was 5 years old our friends down the road had a gottlieb mustang i was hooked from the very first game i was always pestering the owner for a game the lights the rolling ball the sounds crikey i love the sounds of the score reels resetting i knew then that one

day i would own my own pinball machine

even in the mid 80s when arcade games ruled the roost whenever i went into the colony in foster or hoyts george street in sydney i would pump  the majority of my 20s into the pinballs as much as i love video games i love pinball even more

the first time i played Flash Gordon was in a fish n chip shop in the early 80s and to this day when ever i play the good old Flash gordon i  swear i can smell hot chips

it was playing a lot of  pinbot at the north wollongong hotel that finally made go n buy my first pin being an apprentice back then i couldnt afford pinbot so i forked out 795 quid n got the mighty Flash Gordon my boss would pick me up for work at 20 past 5 in the morning so i would get up at 4 30 and jam in as many games as i could before work 

6 hours ago, KJS said:

through my Army years as the bases always had pins.

The school of artillery boozer down in pucka always had at least 2 pins i spent many a friday n saturday night there on the rinser playing the pins whenever i was down at pucka on a course i was always super keen to see what pins the boozer had i must say i was a touch upset when the addams family was no longer there i cant remember what they replaced it with but i do recall playing nightmare on elm street data east batman bram stokers dracular n many others  


6 hours ago, KJS said:

 I think actually meeting some great people and new friends has been as much as a highlight or more. Also met a fair share of tools to be fair! Like any hobby I guess but the force is strong in pinball !


6 hours ago, KJS said:

I love helping people out with custom stuff and bits and pieces

The people i have met and yet to meet thru the power n passion of pinball have been the best people i have ever come across 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess I started playing in the mid 70's. The local corner shop had  a single pinball in the front corner of the store. Earliest memory was of Gotlieb machines, 5c 1 play 5 balls, with the opening in the apron so you could see the balls remaining and the lift arm to put the ball in the shooter lane. My mate and I spent hours in that shop. Every time the guy was there to clean or service or empty the machine we would watch him work and hope for a free game or two. Every new machine we would play with any cash we had. I dont recall any solid state games in that shop and by about year 11 and 12 my mate had started an Aprenticeship and I didn't play as much. My signal to come home was when the street lights came on. Invariably we had some replays remaining when the lights came on and sometimes mum would send my brother up to get me because I had not come home. I would complain that there were still games left to play but to no avail.  Later when I was working I swapped a scalextric set for an Abra Cadabra EM, because I wanted to see how they worked. I kept it for a while and eventually sold it for $250.  I always liked to but a few bucks in a machine when I came across them in a bar or somewhere. Some 35 years later i wanted to restore a machine and went on the hunt for one, first one was a Data East Star wars, then STTNG, then Indian Jones, then White Water, Then TOM, then Getaway, then Road Show. I would still like to restore more but prices of beat up stuff is over the top so I have bought NIB instead. I still cant decide if I like playing or restoring more. If I could find one at a realistic price I would likely do another one. Its a bit obsessive really. Anyway that's my story.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

First machine played, Gottlieb Pro Football, 10c 1play or 20c 3plays. On holidays with the folks for 2 weeks at Nambucca Heads in a caravan park that had this machine. Played a few other machines back in Sydney and that was it.....addicted as my mother called it. Year 5 at school at this time. Year 6 and a hell of a lot more practice. Didn't get much chance but get better with our training ground.......The rules we played by...... there are 6-7 of us and only 4 player machines so highest 2 scores play on, lower two scores watch the last two reserves play. Didn't matter if got a special or two or a lucky number or ever a score replay. If your total game score was 3rd or lower, you bow out and your credit, credits you may have got are used by the highest scorer, then the 2nd and so on if they didn't get a credit.

Needless to say, you were paying to play your next game after you get to watch for the sideline.

Started visiting pinball warehouses around Sydney after parts for "A high school project". Ended up with a few populated or semi- populated playfields from EMs. Brought then home on the train. Stripped them with a mate and I still have some of those parts. The parts were for that "high school project". That project become my 1st homebrew playfield. Machine was called DemiGods. No power to power the playfield so back into Sydney to get a transformer. Hooked up the two wires 24vAC to the newly acquired (dangerous as all hell bare windings) transformer and bingo, a powered playfield that we would play ball for ball for hours.

Couldn't hold the flippers up as I hadn't worked out EOS at that time and your score was you mates dodgy adding up in his head as it had no scoring but you were playing knocking around a pinball with powered flippers and bumpers with standup targets to hit. Did have two kickout holes but no delay to let the ball settle, just a random kick when the switch got made. Hadn't worked out time delay yet either.

This was all done at home so far but school woodwork become the opportunity to make a cabinet. Made the cabinet as a school project, brought in the playfield and that become an award winning project at school. DemiGods had the whole school talking and that machine could be played that day at school for a modest fee of 5c a ball that lunchtime. Shit, this operating is cool, gotta do this later on and did a year or two later still at school.

That DemiGods machine was mentioned in a phone call to Goddards, ( Sydney's largest pinball distributor at the time), in a call I made regarding working there for school work experience. Worked for the two weeks and was told come back after leaving school later that year for a job working on pinballs.

That started a lifelong career as an amusement technician.

Regrets?...... Should have got into automation earlier, (money was 10 times that of the amusement industry), and the equipment is 100 times more relaible.

Pluses and momentus occassions....pulling brand new machines out of boxes, assembling and testing before them being sited while I was very much as my mother said, addicted to pinball.


  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm pretty sure I've answered similar questions with a similar answer elsewhere on this site but my story goes something like this.

I was more of a video gamer than a pinball player. I loved Space Invaders, Pacman, Gyruss, Galaga, Galaxian, Asteroids and others. I rarely got to play them, but I would hang around and watch others play when Dad ordered Fish and Chips for dinner. Occasionally getting 20c to have a game was always a highlight to a day, even a week. I have plenty more video arcade memories, but this post asked about pinball.

The first time I recall seeing a pinball machine was in Charcoal Chicken at Belmont South. I don't know what the game was but it was an EM with a backglass of people dancing as I remember it. I think I had a game, but never really got into it. My next memory of Pinball was seeing my cousin play the last ball on a game of Haunted House when we were on a day trip somewhere, I have no idea where. I asked him if it was good and his answer was I don't know, I didn't last long enough and that was enough for my parents to decide to not to let me waste any money on a turn. I stood and stared trying to work out what was in the lower playfield as I couldn't see it with it being unlit. I wasn't at that stage attracted to pinball, the video games still had my attention at that time but that particular game is still one that I'm attracted to even though I never got to play it until I was about 40 years old.

I have a memory that one day I was in the car with my brother and parents and Dad pulled up in the car park of a Roller Skating Rink at Kotara. I thought we were going skating but was told the stay in the car with my Mum and brother. I asked Mum where Dad was going and she said, "I think he is going to buy me a pinball machine". I remember being excited for a few minutes before Dad came out, and said said no, the are too expensive and we left.

My first feeling of been addicted to a pinball game was when I was at a bowling alley in Bennetts Green. I played a game of Fish Tales. I had no idea that pinball machines had rules to follow, I thought it was just about keeping the ball in play and hitting the pop bumpers, drop targets and spinners. Playing that game flipping for the sake of flipping the game spoke to me and asked the question, "How big was it?" and by pure chance I hit the ball through the spinner and I told a total lie. I laughed and thought it was amazing. For weeks I could hear the "How Big Was it?" question ringing in my head.

The same bowling alley had a Last Action Hero. I played it and was fascinated by a crane that moved and Arnie telling me to Come Back Later. I had no idea what I was doing, but had an understanding that there was more to it than just flipping. The "Come Back Later" call out staying in my brain forever.

The next experience was at an arcade at Charlestown next to Hoyts cinema. I think it was called Time Out or something like that before being changed to Timezone later on but I might have the names wrong. I walked in with my girlfriend (now wife) and I could hear above all other noises Guns N Roses blaring out. I had to play it. I couldn't tell you anything about the game other than I was singing along with it.

All these positive experiences and I still would say I was more attracted to video game than I was pinball but I always still wanted to own one. Watching the price of Fish Tales on eBay for many years and thinking they were too expensive (and to be honest they were for me).

My real addiction to pinball came after attending Newcastle's Pinfest. After they fed me all those games to play on Saturday. I had to go back and do it all again on Sunday. From that point forward, my liking of playing the games became much more than that and I was addicted. I don't think it made me like pinball more, just made it more accessible and then I got my hands on a virtual pinball machine and my obsession grew.



  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

They were magical at the time, cutting edge technology that few people understood, a window of time when it was all possible, And those of us that did understand it were truly rock stars...Not just some cheap dope smoking U/tube clone hacks being over moderated on some random fourm, in a world of nostalgia over innovation, But true visionaries.

Edited by CandyLand
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...