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Dec. 19th, 2018 @ 09:09 pm Pinball
Current Mood: amusedamused
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I was reading through a set of articles about things that used to be A Thing and are not anymore — stuff like the walkman, VCRs and i-mode. Another one is the pinball machine.

Of course, being the age I am, I played my fair share of pinball. In my teenage years, we preferred the arcade video games, but during my time as a student, there were some bars that we frequented that had pinball machines. In the early 90’s, pinball machines were feeling the crunch from video games. In response, pinball machines were adding more and more digital effects, often using a LED matrix display. Wouldn’t it be fun to play pinball again?

It turns out that there is a Dutch Pinball Association. Their clubhouse, which houses 120 pinball machines, is in Veenendaal, which is only half an hour by car away… And they had a ‘Funhouse Friday’ coming up, just an open house from 15:00 until 23:00, with all the machines on free play. Entrance fee was EUR 10 for non-members, and I sent them an e-mail to ask if one could just go there as a non-member, pay the fee and play.

It was possible, but you’d have to get invited by a member first. And the person in charge of the clubhouse decided that he’d invite me! Such hospitality, I really liked that. But it turned out that there were more people interested in an evening of pinball: Klik wanted to come, as well as a friend of ours. And I didn’t feel like it was proper to take advantage of the hospitality by showing up with three people instead of one.

So we got a membership. And they have a semi-professional kitchen as well, so you could even have dinner there! Which is what we did.

The view from the bar area. There were three ‘corridors’ like this, and there was also a line of pinball machines along the far wall.
There was a good spread of machines: some really early ones, and more “modern” ones, including some that I played a lot in the early 90’s.
Left: Klik playing Black Knight 2000. Right: Friend O. playing Tommy.

Such good fun! We’ll definitely do this more often, perhaps we’ll get good at pinball eventually…

Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.
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From:kishenehn
Date:December 19th, 2018 09:25 pm (UTC)
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Oh, man ... I would absolutely LOVE that!!! Reason enough for me to fly all the way to the Netherlands.

I played pinball all through college, and actually have an old pinball machine in my basement. No modern video game will ever compare!
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From:fub
Date:December 21st, 2018 02:57 pm (UTC)
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I mean, if you do fly over, I'd love to take you there as my guest!

What machine do you have? Is it still in working order?
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From:kishenehn
Date:December 21st, 2018 03:28 pm (UTC)
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Next time I plan a trip to the Netherlands, you'll be the first to know!

Here's the machine I have:

https://kishenehn.livejournal.com/227700.html

It needs some maintenance right now -- a couple of the posts supporting the bumpers are failing -- but it still works!
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From:ashmedai
Date:December 20th, 2018 02:03 am (UTC)
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This post made me smile so much, because my job is working for a friend overseas who has a thriving pinball repair business (in Colorado, the pinball capital of the world).

We have thousands of customers, but not one who has a Tommy machine, but finally I get to see a pic. It's a converted, flipperless, electro-mechanical game, but it's unknown who converted it, i.e. manufactured the few there seem to exist. I wonder what it was like to play it.
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From:fub
Date:December 21st, 2018 03:17 pm (UTC)
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Had I known, I would have taken some more pics, or even a video of my friend playing. I had no idea it was such a rare machine -- I've played on it a lot when it stood in one of the bars that I frequented back in the day. So I wasn't at all surprised to see it in the clubhouse!

One of the neat things of the machine is that if you trigger a certain type of multiball play, a little fan unfolds, obscuring the flippers -- so you have to play blind, like Tommy!
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From:ashmedai
Date:December 21st, 2018 03:25 pm (UTC)
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One of the neat things of the machine is that if you trigger a certain type of multiball play, a little fan unfolds, obscuring the flippers -- so you have to play blind, like Tommy!

Ahhh - how cool is that! :D

Oh wait, I was wrong about this machine. I looked it up because to me it looks like a Solid State machine and not an Electromechanical one. And so it is; Data East manufactured it. The one I was referring to would have mechanical score wheels, and the playfield looks completely different.

Edited at 2018-12-21 03:30 pm (UTC)
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From:borchmadsen
Date:December 20th, 2018 11:55 am (UTC)
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I'm most certain that I've played before! But I can't remember where or when, hahaha! But it looks fun!
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