My games during many years and today
Game by game
50/50 (Bally 1965)
It is difficult to tell exactly when pinball madness strikes to a formerly sane person.
For me it happened in 1978 or so, when I got my first pinball. It was a Bally 50/50 from 1965,
sold by a local operator for spare parts at 33 e. Because it had a cabinet, backbox, playfield
and almost all other parts it was clear that the machine would not go to spares. It was
almost complete, and when I added a few missing relays and coils I was a happy owner of
a working pinball!
At that time there was no electronics whatsoever in pinballs, everything operated
with relays. This means new features could easily be added just by adding more relays and wire.
I did not make any major changes, only added an Extra Ball feature that the game did not have.
Hardest thing was to drill a hole to playfield for the "shoot again" light between flippers.
When player got Special lit in left outlane, the center mushroom target scored an extra ball.
Hootenanny (Bally 1963)
A couple of years later I swapped the 50/50 to a Bally Hootenanny from 1963. It was two
years older, and of that age that each ball must be manually served to shooter by pushing
a rod below shooter. The game had 5 balls, which you could play one by one or even all 5 at once,
which gave interesting possibilities and was kind of "multiball".
Those days I also got an evening job at a local arcade. They had about 30 pinballs,
which I then tried to maintain, more or less succesfully. It was a good thing that the
arcade manager did not realize I would have worked for free! Anyway I had a practically
infinite supply of spare parts, with which I began to build a more interesting machine
out of my Hootenanny. First to go was the manual ball lift. In goes an outhole mechanism
and a ball count unit. After that, a bonus system. Then double/triple bonus, Extra ball
and Special. My improvements used so many relays that there were no more room in the
cabinet. No problem, just put a cardboard sheet over the relays and make a new layer!
You can imagine how difficult the machine was to repair when finally there were loose
relays hanging from wires in three levels! I think there were nearly 300 relays when
I finally sold the machine to a friend - who probably never got it working anymore...
I feel ashamed now for destructing such a fine machine. If I ever get a second Hootenanny,
it will stay as it was leaving the factory.
Nothing to do with pinballs, but a coin operated game anyway, acquired at these times.
Jack In The Box (Gottlieb 1973)
After Hootenanny, it was time for slightly newer game. Gottlieb Jack In The Box from 1973
was simple but challenging to play and had lots of drop targets. The bumper placement was
also very interesting.
My madness with Hootenanny had made me a bit wiser - for this game I did not do any major
modifications. Only made all coils operate on DC and put a thyristor control for flippers.
That gave the game more speed.
Spirit Of 76 (Gottlieb 1976)
Centigrade 37 (Gottlieb 1977)
Now we are at year 1981. Operating pinballs in Finland turned into state owned
company "RAY"s monopoly. I had to quit my repairman job, but somehow got three new games.
Gottlieb's Spirit of 76 and Centigrade 37, and Recel's Lady Luck. Because I was at that time
still living in my parents' house, I did not have space for all games and sold Jack In The Box,
Spirit of 76 and Lady Luck. I left the Centigrade 37 for myself, it was the best machine
to play of those 4, even though only single player game.
All new pinballs were electronic SS machines. So out go the score reels from my
Centigrade, and get replaced by red LED displays. Making the scoring system from then
popular LS-TTL chips was a good lesson on TTL's noise sensitivity and curing it. On the
playfield I did not do any changes. Soon after that I moved across the country for studies,
and sold even the Centigrade. Now I did not have a single one pinball, and some time went
by without me even wanting one... but occasionally when playing at some bar, I started
to think that someday it would be nice to again have a machine or two.
In 1987 I came back to Tampere again. Operating pinballs was still a monopoly of RAY,
but allowed for private companies inside amusement parks. And both big and small amusement
parks have been built during the years, so I once again found a nice part time job
repairing pinballs. Some evolution had been done since my previous repair job, all games
were now solid state. Repairing did not seem very hard though, the same problems were
still there with the mechanic parts. From one company I got a Williams Space Odyssey, that
Space Odyssey (Williams 1976)
is a fine machine designed by legendary Steve Kordek. At the same time I found a Gottlieb
Dragon, which was made in both EM and SS versions. My game was SS. But now I began to have
a little shortage on free time, and quit the repairman job. The amusement parks were all
over the country and the job required too much travelling around to be done just on evenings
Dragon, even though a fine game, does get a little boring after a while. Because it
was a solid state, no more relay layers on top of each other were needed. I built a little
CPU board with Z80 processor and did some programming. The game had now some new features
but still was quite boring. So the Sys 1 CPU board goes back in and I sell the game.
I still have the Z80 board, maybe if I find another Sys 1 it will be in use again...
In 1994 the RAY monopoly in pinballs was removed. Anyone was again allowed
to operate with pinballs, and lots of new companies appeared. So there I go again, and get a
nice evening job as a repairman! The games were again developed, now they all had a dot matrix
display and multilevel playfield. Lots of interesting stuff to explore and learn.
Learning the game technology was not hard, but learning how to play was! At least most
of these machines do not feel boring after 5 games. And again, I got some new games at home,
Bally Truck Stop, Williams Police Force and a Bally Creature from the Black Lagoon came in
and two armchairs went out.
Truck Stop (Bally 1988)
Pinball popularity was decreasing while videogames were getting more popular. I never understand why!
My part time employer moved more and more to video game business, which did not interest me much.
Once again I leaved the repair job. Having four pinball machines in your living room is quite
nice, especially on long dark winter nights, but needing more floor space I temporarily moved
Police Force and Truck Stop to a friends home. Creature will stay, it is one of the best games
of the 1990's, besides TZ.
Creature From The Black Lagoon (Bally 1992)
If I ever move to a bigger house, those machines will be back but now I get along with one.
Nice game to play and maintain. Oh, by the way, now we are on the 21th century. No Y2K problems
with WPC machines. My Creature changed to year 2000 with no problems!
Twilight Zone (Bally 1993)
This was not surprising. One game is never enough. And when this legendary Bally/Williams game
was available, there was only one thing to do. Get it while you can. Unused floor space is
money wasted, I thought. And a Twilight Zone uses that floor space very nicely. This game
has interesting features for both the player and the repairman. Twilight Zone is kind of Williams
showcase on what can you do with the WPC system - or even slightly more, because 8x8 switch matrix
was not enough for this game, there is an extra board that makes 9x8 switches possible. Also all
64 controlled lamps are in use. Twilight Zone is a very popular game among collectors, and
especially the prototype version (which I dont have). There are some small differences between
the proto and production game, some of which have been left out probably for cost reasons.
One of those are the door panel GUM & BALL flashers, that are still supported by the game software.
I installed the flashers, they are easy to wire in parallel with the upper ramp flashers. I must
say they look really cool.
Flash Gordon (Bally 1980)
Summer 2001 is coming. And for the summer it would be nice to get another game. This
Flash Gordon is sure to give me lots of fun work. It is in miserable shape, but then it is
21 years old. It is the oldest pinball I ever had. My Hootenanny, even if it was built in 1963,
was only 16 years old when I got it. Like many other Ballys of this vintage, this machine
has lost much of its playfield paint. The cabinet looks bad. It has seen both light and water
during the years. All is not bad: the backbox strobe flash is bright and powerful. Also the
backglass is unblemished. Click on image to see some details.
Alien Poker (Williams 1980)
I have been thinking about getting an EM game for a change. So I went for a Bally Little Joe (1972),
and like it so often happens, I came back with a completely different game, 1980 Alien Poker
by Williams. This System 6 machine brings back lots of memories. 20 years ago I removed a new
one from its shipping container and installed it. Twenty years leaves some marks to a pinball,
but anyway this looks far better than my Flash Gordon did.
Even if I did not get an EM this time, these old SS games do feel completely different compared
to newer games. Flash Gordon and Alien Poker are both from 1980, time when there were no multiballs,
no multi level playfields, no DMD's. Having grown up with these kind of machines, they still
feel the 'right stuff' for me. So, whatabout my floor space? TZ and CFTBL stay in my living room,
and yet somehow there is now space for Flash Gordon and Alien Poker. I had to replace a dining table with
a smaller one.
Disco Fever (Williams 1978)
My EM classic Space Odyssey had been at a friends place for some years now. An apartement is
not really designed for EM pinballs, even though the noise can be damped. But the chimes and
noises are an important part of EM experience. So I decided to trade the Space Odyssey to a hobbyist
who can live with noisy games. From him I got a 1979 Williams Disco Fever. One of the first
Williams solid states, and feels almost like an EM. Only quieter. I had to move my FG to bedroom,
making space for Disco Fever, which goes pretty well with the one year newer Alien Poker.
Flash (Williams 1978)
Flash is a game, that I only had to play once to be sure that some day I would own it. As usual,
it took some time, but now, after over 20 years, my dream came true when a collector in Sweden was
selling some fine games in a reasonable price, including Flash!
In 2003 I rented some sapce for games with another collector, Mikko. The gameroom
Stellar Wars (Williams 1979)
Vector (Bally 1981)
Centaur (Bally 1981)
Now I finally found a nice gameroom with enough space. And to fill the space, I immediately got some
more games. We rented the gameroom with another collector, and as a joint venture with him we bought
a Stellar Wars, a Vector and a Centaur from a Swedish collector.
Frontier (Bally 1980)
Old pinballs can still be found in Finland too. We bought this Frontier without even seeing
it first. Was it a good deal? Check here for more.
Black Knight (Williams 1980)
Williams classic from 1980. Did not have to think twice about buying this.
Good games have to be seached farther and farther. These fine machines were bought from Germany:
Viking (Bally 1980)
Jungle Lord (Williams 1980)
Strikes and Spares (Bally 1978)
When you buy new games, don't stop while they are still available! These three great
games came again from Sweden. And for a change, one of them is an EM machine:
Champ (Bally 1973)
Time Warp (Williams 1979)
Gorgar (Williams 1979)
Paragon (Bally 1979)
Mikko has been many years searching for a Paragon. Now there were available not only one, but
two games! Not in perfect condition however, but from these two we should be able to make one
Trident (Stern 1979)
Rebuilding one working Paragon left us with one usable "project" game. A skillful collector
can probably make a fine game from it. And the skillful collector offered us a Stern
Trident, also from 1979 in return. It is in excellent condition.
Blackout (Williams 1980)
Blackout was a favorite game in my youth, and the first talking pinball in our local
arcade back then. Now it talks with its nine word vocabulary, in my own little arcade.
Six Million Dollar Man (Bally 1978)
Bally Six Million Dollar Man is a game based on old TV series of the same name.
Its specialty is the number of players, 6! Unheard at that time, and long after that
until in the end of 1990's Sega made some six player games.
Xenon (Bally 1979)
Xenon is the first talking Bally game, and even has a female voice. It also plays
New year and new gameroom. That means some new games also! Or, they are not precisely new and shiny
anymore but getting these 6 games up and running makes an interesting project and fun work for a while:
Casino (Chicago Coin 1972)
Chicago Coin was a company run by Sam Stern. Today the only pinball manufacturer left is Stern, a
successor of Chicago Coin, run by Gary Stern, Sam's son.
Casanova (Williams 1966)
A pinball game covered with wallpaper! Anything can happen when a game is owned by wrong persons.
I hope this will eventually become a nice game.
Top Score (Gottlieb 1975)
Cabinet is from a 2 player Top Score, backbox from a 4 player "300". That means some hard wiring
work mating the two.
Jumpin' Jacks (Williams 1963)
An old game? I was born in 1963, sure you dont mean I am old?!
Student Prince (Williams 1968)
One of the few Williams Zipper-Flipper games. Of course a must buy when available.
Comet (Williams 1985)
Amusement park theme. First game in trilogy Comet-Cyclone-Hurricane. Let's see if the other two
will end in collection also.
Dirty Harry (Williams 1995)
When the price is right, get the game no matter what condition it is in.
White Water (Williams 1992)
I have been thinking about getting a White Water for a long time. Now I found one.
Buck Rogers (Gottlieb 1980)
What's a collection without a Gottlieb System 1 machine?
Star Trek The Next Generation (Williams 1993)
I did not have to play many games on a friends STTNG, before I just had to get one myself.
Elvira and the Party Monsters (Bally 1989)
There are obviously two big reasons to get an Elvira ;)
Indiana Jones (Williams 1993)
Indy is a popular game, and it sure is fun to play. At a nice price, who could afford not to have it?
The Machine Bride of Pin*Bot (Williams 1991)
An excellent game, and really fits in with Jack*Bot. Did not need to think twice before buying.
Fish Tales (Williams 1992)
A fun theme, good gameplay, nice sounds. So a must buy!.
Scared Stiff (Bally 1996)
Since I already had an Elvira, this fits in well into my collection.
Twilight Zone (Bally 1993)
Since I sold my first TZ, I have been thinking about getting another. This machine is in very great condition, and I
didn't hesitate a bit in getting it.
Attack From Mars (Bally 1995)
Great game, in good condition, and a nice theme. A must buy.
Rock-Ola 451 (Rock-Ola 1973)
One jukebox is a must to have :)
Jive Time (Williams 1970)
And so is one another EM game, for not to completely forget the pinball history.
Eight Ball (Bally 1977)
This machine once made a new production record. So it shouldn't be a bad game at all.
The year 2006 started well, as already in January we found these nice games:
Theatre of Magic (Bally 1995)
Tales of the Arabian Nights (Williams 1996)
Next couple of games were acquired in March 2006:
Who?dunnit (Bally 1995)
Cirqus Voltaire(Bally 1997)
Revenge from Mars (Bally 1999)
I celebrated the SPO2006 pinball tournament in April 2006, by getting a Revenge from Mars at the end of that day.
In May 2006 I found a new gameroom nearby. Gameroom 2006
Festival 160 (NSM 1980)
A bigger single jukebox is needed since I have quite a lot of 7" records...
Safecracker (Bally 1996)
It is said that the most rare games are sold in summer. Maybe so, because I found this one in June
Fathom (Bally 1980)
Fathom is a beautiful game, that had to be bought from Denmark, there was none for sale nearer.
World Cup (Williams 1978)
World Cup was a good game in my youth. Let's see if it still plays nice.
Getaway (Williams 1992)
Getaway is a fairly nice game, and not only because of the catchy ZZ-Top background tune.
Dirty Harry (Williams 1995)
I used to own one, but sold it because of space problems. Because it is not a bad game, I now got a
Bram Stoker's Dracula (Williams 1993)
Very dark themed machine would probably not be suitable for those who just own one game. Fortunately I have also
others, that are more on the brighter side.
The Shadow (Williams 1994)
Game based on a flopped movie. But even though the movie was bad, the pinball is quite nice!
Go ahead and try it, if you find it!
Addams Family (Bally 1991)
Another nice game based on a great movie. Some say this is just a narrow version of Twilight Zone.
For sure they haven't played both games. They have very different and unique feeling.
Banzai Run (Williams 1988)
Very special game. Ball action continues in the backbox. Only 3 units are supposed to exist in Finland.
Flash Gordon (Bally 1980)
I used to own one, but this is in much nicer shape!
Creature from the Black Lagoon (Bally 1992)
I used to own also one of these, but having a momentary lapse of reason, I sold it. But now I have one
Gilligan's Island (Bally 1991)
The first dot matrix game from Bally/Williams.
Pioneer (Gottlieb 1976)
A two player version of Sprit of 76, a game I once owned, made for United States 200 anniversary.
Pokeri (Ray 1990)
Everybody knows this machine (at least in Finland!). This is a casino version of the well known game.
Corvette (Bally 1995)
It feels nice to say "I own a Corvette" even if it is only a pinball.
Golden Gate (Bally 1978)
Every gameroom must have at least one fruit machine.
Jack*Bot (Bally 1995)
Must have this, since I already have the Bride of Pinbot.
Baby Pac Man (Bally 1981)
Video game or pinball? Here are both in the same cabinet!
Taxi (Williams 1988)
A nice game featuring Dracula and Gorbatchow as taxi passengers.
Aztec (Williams 1976)
One of the last electro-mechanical pinballs.
Digital Thunder (NSM 1991)
A 100 CD jukebox is nice to have in your living room.
Popeye (Sammy 2005)
A Japanese Pachislo game.
Big Deal (Williams 1977)
A Williams EM game with drop targets, one of the few!
Farfalla (Zaccaria 1983)
Pinball games were also manufactured in Italy, and Farfalla is one ofe the most beautiful!
Junkyard (Williams 1995)
A fun late model WPC game.
Gorgar (Williams 1979)
Luckily I found another Gorgar to replace the one I sold!
Time Fantasy (Williams 1982)
Rare machine with quite extraordinary graphics.
Totem (Gottlieb 1979)
One of the best System 1 games.
Super Flipp (All American Amusements 1987)
Bubblegum vending machine, with marble option.
No Good Gofers (Williams 1997)
A golf themed pinball, not so bad!
Fireball (Bally 1972)
A legendary EM multiball machine!
Jacks Open (Gottlieb 1977)
One of the last Gottlieb "wedge heads".
Vulcan (Gottlieb 1977)
A traditional Gottlieb drop target game.
Black Knight (Williams 1980)
My second Black Knight. A classic with two-level playfield and multiball.
Paragon (Bally 1979)
Classic widebody Bally with outstanding graphics.
Monster Bash (Williams 1998)
One of the last Williams DMD's, very fun game to play.
Poker (RAY 1996)
Somewhat newer poker game in a RAY RTR cabinet.
Strato-Flite (Williams 1974)
Collect the letters is a theme for this EM game with two gates.