Author Topic: Sunday Pinball Questionaire - part 19 - Mr Pinbologist  (Read 358 times)

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Offline Strangeways

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Sunday Pinball Questionaire - part 19 - Mr Pinbologist
« on: April 04, 2009, 08:07:01 PM »


1. Earliest pinball memory?
2. All time favorite pin? Why?
3. Favorite pinball manufacture?
4. Favorite game in your collection? Why?
5. How long have you been collecting?
6. First game and how did you find it?
7. Do you still have it?
8. What are you currently working on?
9. Most wanted game to add to your collection?
10. Best all time bargain game added to your collection?
11. Worst ever miss – tell us about the one that got away!
12. Worst ever purchase – tell us about the game you wished you never bought
13. Describe your collection
14. Describe your gamesroom
15. Do you have other games other than pinball?
16. Where can you see the hobby in 10 years
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Offline Mr Pinbologist

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1. Earliest pinball memory?
I was a late starter getting into pinball, growing up in the 70s I was always into motorbikes and music. I lived outside of Port Macquarie (Hastings River Drive) so I wasn’t really exposed to them at all.
One vivid memory from when I was 6 years old was my brother making a small pinball game with a piece of plywood with nails and rubber bands and clothes pegs for flippers..lol. This was pretty impressive to a 6 year old!
I can remember coming home from school in the school bus every afternoon when I was in primary school in Port Macquarie, going past an amusement centre (Its been closed down for years now) and seeing pinnys inside the doorway, and being mildly fascinated with the look of them!
Also I remember being in a takeaway shop (in Taree I think) with my mum and dad and seeing a couple of pins there, I have no idea what titles they were but i can remember them having orange score displays so they were most likely Bally or Sterns, and being fascinated with the displays on them. I wasn’t game to ask my parents for money to play them..lol.
Anyway fast forward thru to, and after my high school years, music and guitar playing had well and truly taken over my life, I thought of nothing else..lol. After leaving school and playing in bands, in about ’87 I was in Macksville (NSW midnorth coast) doing a band gig at a pub ther, and they had a KISS machine!! One of my band mates talked me into having a game with him… a couple of games later… I was totally hooked! I was 19 at the time. I used to love that gig coz in the breaks id put all my spare change into that KISS. After that I regularly started visiting the Pinball Parlor in Port Macquarie to play the pins there, and anywhere else I found them to play.
Being an avid tinkerer by nature, it wasn’t long before I was trying to build my own machines. I’d made no less than four half size machines, building all my own bumper assemblies, flippers, electronics etc myself before finally buying the real thing. All but one of the small home made pins was eventually scrapped at this time. I still have the last one.. its in my shed in Port Macquarie in storage no longer working due to raided ic’s etc. maybe I’ll dig it out one day and fix it.
Naturally I thought one machine was enough!! Yeah right!!! Initially one was all I wanted but I kept coming across others for sale, and cheap too most of them so you know the rest..  :lol

2. All time favourite pin? Why?
That’s a tough question to answer, there are quite a few faves, but if I had to pick one I’d say KISS, as it was the one that got me hooked on pinnys! That and I’ve always been a KISS fan! Gtb Haunted House would be a very close second, that one totally blew me away when I played one for the first time! and it was a big inspiration when I built my Vortex machine.

3. Favourite pinball manufacture?
Another toughie… I’ll say Gottlieb for their mechanicals… (I’m talking 70s pins by the way) their mechanical assemblies are just so solidly built and the games just have a smooth, quality feel to them when you’re playing them. No wonder Gottlieb were called the Cadillac of pinball! I also loved the blue fluorescent displays on the system Ones, and still do! And for electronics, features and game play, Bally, hands down!
As for the backglass art, I can appreciate all games artwork for what it is, regardless of the title/theme etc. Though any with scantily clad, shapely women are always favourites with me! Gottlieb definitely had the upper hand in THAT department!!

4. Favourite game in your collection? Why?
Its hard to pick a favourite because I like them all for different reasons. Anyway I’ll say 6 Million Dollar Man. It’s a fairly low scoring game, so therefore challenging! Even with the up post between the flippers you can still come unstuck real quick!!  Its the one that gets played the most.. by myself and others as well.

5. How long have you been collecting?
21 years. I don’t really consider myself a collector in the true sense of the word, as I’m not really actively looking for more games.. more of an enthusiast id say. Almost every game I own is the result of is either someone else telling me about it, or basically just stumbling upon it in my travels, lol. A couple of them I acquired when I was asked to repair them, and the people didn’t want to pay when told their game would be expensive to repair, so I bought them for myself (for example, my 6million dollar man.. got it for $100 (in 1992). 

6. First game and how did you find it?
Stern Stingray. Bought it from the Pinball Parlor in Port Macquarie in about ’87 or '88 for $300. They were starting to sell off their older games at the time and it was the first one they put up for sale.

7. Do you still have it?
Hell yes!!

8. What are you currently working on?
Stern Dracula. Just working on the backglass now, the rest is pretty much done. This is a game I always said that if I ever found one for sale, id grab it as it was one of the first pins id played (second actually after KISS) when I got hooked on pinnys.

So at least I’ve got one of the games that originally hooked me in (actually several now). I can still remember the first time I ventured into the Pinball Parlor in Port Macquarie. Dracula was the first one I came to when I walked in. After several games on it I moved onto Buck Rogers which was sitting beside Drac. So I can actually say I have two of the first three games I played in my collection from when I got into pins. Actually my Buck Rogers is THE VERY SAME machine I played all those years ago!!! I know this as I bought it from Christmas Cove caravan park in Laurieton, (half hour drive from Port) and they originally bought it from the Pinball Parlor!

Oh btw my Solar Ride came from that caravan park as well, so it too is from the Pinball Parlor originally, and one of the first few id played, ie very same one!

9. Most wanted game to add to your collection?
There are several that I’d love to have, but KISS and Haunted House are the two at the top of my wish list. I don’t much like my chances of finding either of those cheap, and I refuse to pay the ridiculous prices that KISS machines are commanding these days! Anyway I need a bigger house with a bigger garage before I even consider the idea of getting any more. Though I’ve been saying that for years now, and I’ve always managed to squeeze in the extra games I’ve bought in the last few years..lol.

10. Best all time bargain game added to your collection?
That would be my Gtb MIBS, that I bought for $20! Though it was in a mess cosmetically, but in working order when I got it… and that was only because I fixed it for the guy who had it at the time.. next thing I knew he was offering it to me for the $20.. who was I to refuse!!

11. Worst ever miss – tell us about the one that got away!
That would have to be the KISS machine that was in the amusement centre in Laurieton that I only got to play twice. One day I went in there it was gone, I asked the guy in charge about it and he said he sold it for $375.. I never even knew he’d planned on selling any of his games  !!!

12. Worst ever purchase – tell us about the game you wished you never bought
A few months ago I would’ve said Dracula! But not now as it’s coming together nicely!! A few days after I got that home I went thru a “wot the hell’ve I done” stage!! Just looking at that playfield and thinking how the hell am I gonna fix that?? lol
A friend of mine had looked at it and called me to see if I was interested in it,he actually paid the guy the money for it and all I had to do was drive down and pick it up.. AND he gave me time to pay him the money back, as it was money I couldn’t spare at the time… what a guy!! It looked reasonable in the pics he brought back with him after he had looked at it and paid for it, but as I said after getting it home I started to think maybe it was beyond my skills. Its certainly the most extensive and challenging rebuild I’ve taken on yet!!

13. Describe your collection
A bloody mess at the moment.. lol there is crap everywhere in my garage, even on top of some of the games!!. I keep getting asked to repair TVs, stereos and guitar amps by friends, so some of them are stacked on the games (very carefully!). Anyhow mostly ‘70s games, (my favourite era for pins) is the best way I can think of to describe the collection.

14. Describe your gamesroom
See answer above  :lol

15. Do you have other games other than pinball?
No, not really interested in any other games besides pinballs.

16. Where can you see the hobby in 10 years??
Hopefully we’ll see more parts suppliers catering more for the older games (pre 80s, my favourite era of machines), there’s not nearly enough doing that at the moment… not locally at least. Its up to guys like us to keep these old gems working and in tip top shape so that future generations can (hopefully) enjoy and appreciate them.


Hope I haven’t bored anyone silly… lol

Cheers… Mitch
« Last Edit: April 05, 2009, 05:18:09 PM by Mr Pinbologist »

Offline Strangeways

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Great read, Mitch. Isn't it interesting that you have chased up the first games you ever played - and they are in your collection (except KISS). That's what I've basically done, but now I want to go FURTHER back - to some early EMs.

I often wondered where the inspiration for VORTEX came from - Now I know - and you picked a really hard machine to emulate in HH.

Thanks for that  ^^^
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Offline ajlaird

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Great read, interesting to see that you started out on pinball about the same age I did. I was in uni, though, not playing in bands!

The funny thing is there was a year or so where I was hanging out in Laurieton on weekends (and Port Macquarie occasionally) - around about 1991 it was. I didn't think to look for pinball machines when I was there; the pinball machine playing sort of stopped when I left uni. I would be very interested to know what year you picked up the pins from Christmas Cove caravan park.

Offline Mr Pinbologist

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I would be very interested to know what year you picked up the pins from Christmas Cove caravan park.

it was in 1994 that i bought the Buck Rogers (along with an empty Charlies angels cab, that i built Vortex from), and about 1995 that i got Solar Ride from Christmas Cove caravan park, along with a heap of Stern Dracula parts (everything except cab and backglass), and a Six million dollar man backglass which ended up getting broken.. and it was a near perfect glass too !!!

One of my mates father lived there (at the caravan park), and last i heard of that place from him was that all of the games are now long gone.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2009, 07:57:52 PM by Mr Pinbologist »

Offline Mr Pinbologist

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Great read, Mitch. Isn't it interesting that you have chased up the first games you ever played - and they are in your collection (except KISS). That's what I've basically done, but now I want to go FURTHER back - to some early EMs.

I often wondered where the inspiration for VORTEX came from - Now I know - and you picked a really hard machine to emulate in HH.

Thanks for that  ^^^

Thanks Nino. Im glad too that i managed to find.. rather stumble across some of the first few games i ever played %.%

yeah the idea of a lower playfield beneath the main one definitely appealed to me, and i was already thinkin of building my own game before i saw HH for the first time, so it was definitely an idea i wanted to include on Vortex.

Offline Ford Fairlane

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Thanks for sharing Mitch, that was a great read!

Offline illawarra_steelers

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No disrespect to any of the previous set of answers - but what a read! Best by far  ^^^

Mitch, there are ALOT of pins left around the Port Maquarie area. My Son while he played in the Under 16 and 18 NSW baseball teams used to train there and I lost count of the amount of trips we did there and back. I used to place wanted to buy ads in the Port region and I dragged back anywhere between 1 and 4 games per trip - EVERY trip.

Best hauls were Atari Superman for $100, Nugent for $50, Gottlieb Spin Out from 1976 for FREE, Top Score for $100, Cue Ball Wizard for $200 and Riverboat Gambler for $200.....and there were plenty more! Would of bought at least 30 pins back from around that area over a few years.

Now this wasn't all that long ago.

I pretty sure I still have some numbers of games 'left' up there if you are interested please PM me. Also know where there are some really nice EM pins in storage that I'm happy to pass the contact onto you.

There were 3 arcades full of pinballs in the 1980s - there was the crappy arcade opp the Court House, another down nere the whalf and the bowling alley had heaps of pins....including a KISS!

Offline Mr Pinbologist

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Thanks Tony, PM sent ^^^

Offline ktm450

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Great stuff Mitch  ^^^

Offline The pinballist formally known as Dean Morgan

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Nice read, thanx for sharing @@*
Im a Gottlieb Man - System 1 & 80 Rock

Offline ddstoys

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Nice read.  Love the home made pinballs specially the one with the pegs

Offline Strangeways

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Nice read.  Love the home made pinballs specially the one with the pegs

Mate - Haven't we ALL made a pinball with pegs and rubber bands  *%*
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Offline ajlaird

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Nice read.  Love the home made pinballs specially the one with the pegs

Mate - Haven't we ALL made a pinball with pegs and rubber bands  *%*

I remember doing that - good fun when you are a kid.

Offline Mr Pinbologist

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Thanks guys, glad you liked!!  #*# 

My early homemade games, as i said, were actually like half size "real" machines, ie fully electronic but very simple, solenoids from old cassette decks and yes they DID have rubber bands for the rubbers  :lol :lol