What was the first pinball machine you ever played?



Yup. Pizza Hut used to be a cool place to go. :(.

Back when they had the all-you-can-eat pizza nights, and soda was a bottomless glass for less than $2.

It's where all the "cool" kids went to hang out on monday nights


New member
Nov 11, 2013
In the early 70s Goodies pizzeria in Setauket, NY where I grew up had a Skylab. I was a teenager and played it just enough to learn that there was skill involved. Unfortunately, I didn't catch the fever and never played again until the early 90s. I discovered how awesome pinball was in Ashland, Oregon at an arcade-restaurant called Goodtimes playing T2, Twilight Zone, STTNG, etc. There was a guy named Randy who had a business in back and he installed and maintained pinball and video games at local businesses. He and his coworker Jim really did a REALLY great job maintaining the tables! They were cleaned often (we know what a difference that makes) and kept in perfect working condition. I was spoiled and realized it after moving to other cities and the tables I found were never maintained that well. Maybe just bad luck (or good luck at first). The good old days when there were tables around to play... Practically none to be found here in North Carolina now...


New member
Mar 28, 2012
Frontier. Racked up tons of specials off 1 quarter and played for hours after school. Then Black Knight came along and I was in Multiball heaven. Couldn't stay away from tables that had a form of mulitball. Even in TPA I can't get into tables that don't have a multiball feature of any sort.


New member
Apr 19, 2012
I'm pretty sure I must have played some pinball machine when I was a young kid in an arcade or skating rink or some such, but I can't remember any specific machine. The first machine I REMEMBER playing explicitly was an old EM (can't remember the name of it) that one of my best friends in childhood had in his basement. We played quite a bit of it but because it was so old and simple, it kind of negatively shaded my opinion of pinball for quite some time. We always gravitated toward video games and just played a few games of pinball every now and then when we were really bored. Incidentally, though, I did get pretty deep into Pinball Fantasies on the PC for a while.

The machine that made me realize how awesome pinball could be was actually a Cactus Canyon at a movie theater when I was probably around 16 or so (it must have been right after it was released and I didn't know at the time how few were actually made.) The train toy and interactive mine really impressed me for some reason, and I spent an hour or so dumping quarters into it until I ran out of cash. It's kind of fitting that my interest in pinball was sparked right around the time Williams was about to go under.

So then in college I stumbled across Visual Pinball and VPinMAME, and through that got a really nice overview of the tables that were out there that I missed out on, and now I'm a virtual pinball addict. I play pretty much any real machine I come across in the wild (which are few and far between at this point), and I even occasionally go to an upscale game room store around here that has a bunch of machines set on free play for testing purposes (although many of them are in shockingly bad maintenance, which reminds me again why I love digital pinball, because while there will always be software bugs at least you never have to worry about physical parts failing or flipper coils weakening in virtual pins.)


New member
Feb 20, 2012
I can't remember exactly which it was, but had to be either Twilight Zone or Addams family. I'm not really sure because the only feature that I remember on it was a magnet holding the ball in place and moving it around which at the time seemed like magic. For a long time I thought it was TZ and it is my favorite table to this day because of that, but once I got into tpa and started to read up on pins I have a feeling it might have actually been TAF. The timing fits as the movie had come out and If I recall correctly I was playing in the arcade at a theater. Since then though I haven't played TAF, I have played several TZ's on location though and it's always fun.


New member
Jun 11, 2012
Haunted house, Black Knight, and Hercules at a corner store in my neighborhood when I was about ten.around 1980 or 81

Zombie Aladdin

New member
Mar 28, 2014
I hear about these stories, by the way, of people, when they were children, receiving quarters from their parents or somesuch at a supermarket, drug store, convenience store, laundromat, etc. while the parents do what they're supposed to do, and I feel jealous. My parents always insisted I stay by their sides at all times when I was neither at home nor at school, and my dad rarely gave me money to spend on things as frivolous as games. My dad actually kept me on an extremely tight financial leash when I was in my single-digit years: He gave me roughly $1 every 6 months, so even a 25-cent game was a big deal, an amount I could not lose. (The idea was that he did not want me spending money, presumably as a means of restricting my actions.) If I was at an arcade, he provided me $1 if he provided me anything at all while accompanying me around, and once the dollar was consumed, I had to leave, so pinball was out of the question. If he was in a stingy mood, he just told me to just entertain myself watching the others play, if he allowed me into the arcade at all. (It's not that he thought these arcades were immoral or whatnot--he just never understood why people liked playing games so much.)
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Oct 29, 2012
I was lucky enough to have a friend who had a pinball machine in their basement way back in the early 50's. I've searched for years and years through pinball databases and have never found the table's name. Perhaps it is a matter of memory "smear" or other distortion, but I simply can't find it.

However having access to that machine, set on free play, hooked me for life. I played them wherever I could from that point on all the way until the late 90's where my life became so hectic due to career responsibilities that I sort of lost contact. VP was my only source of pinball release from that point on until TPA.

Living in Chicago gives me many opportunities which I have previously not availed myself to in retirement. However starting the next few weeks I'm going to start to visit many of the places that still have pinball "in the wild" and hopefully knock a few silver balls into the proper trajectories. I anticipate a steep learning curve as I haven't played the silver ball IRL since about 1998, but I'm hoping that it's sort of like riding a bike.

I'll be bringing my trusty camera to capture the "scene" surrounding the location, hopefully reporting the experience in the podcasts, and passing the photos on to the Cap'n.

A shout out to Jeff Strong and Mudtoe for pushing me off dead center back onto the live pinball scene again.

Timelord ...


Sep 12, 2012
I honestly can't remember, but when I heard someone dropping tokens into the Addams Family I instantly fell in love with that pin. It has so much personality to it. I lived for SHOWTIME!!


New member
Aug 19, 2012
Had a nice line of em down at the local bowling alley back in the day. Playboy, KISS, Firepower, Mandrake and Buck Rogers. Also Timewarp at my local shop. Ahh them were the days.


Mar 25, 2013
Living in Chicago gives me many opportunities which I have previously not availed myself to in retirement. However starting the next few weeks I'm going to start to visit many of the places that still have pinball "in the wild" and hopefully knock a few silver balls into the proper trajectories. I anticipate a steep learning curve as I haven't played the silver ball IRL since about 1998, but I'm hoping that it's sort of like riding a bike.

There's a few barcades in Chicago where the pins are set to free to play: Emporium Arcade Bar and Headquarters Beercade

I haven't been to either yet as they're bit of out the way to get to them. If you're in the subburbs I just read about Underground Retrocade which is $15 all day (pins: Buck Rogers, Fire, Xenon, Black Knight, Space Shuttle). There used to be about 20+ pins at Enchanted Castle in Lombard but they recently got rid of them all since no one was playing - consequently it made it awesome to play there on the weekends since you pretty much had all the pins to your self.

If you're up for a trip then you might check out http://vfwpinball.com/ (MI) which is only open to the public a few times a year. They are selling a limited number of tickets to cut down on overcrowding and to make sure everyone has a chance to play. May 16-18th is their first public showing.

And you just missed the Midwest Gaming Classic (WI) where you can get an additional $15 ticket to the Tom Taylor pinball warehouse which has like 300 pins, most of them EMs or early SS - some 90's ones too, set free to play. You would probably get a kick out of that one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6qfJHjKMP4. The Midwest Gaming Classic is pretty fantastic for pin play too - this year in particular as they moved the arcade hall in to a larger room and filled it up with pins. More pins than the previous year and way more than what I found at the Chicago Expo. I'm hoping next year will be as good.


New member
Apr 27, 2012
We should do a fan forum Chicago barcade-crawl. We have plenty of people on here from Chicago.


Jul 7, 2012
T2 - Aldershot, Hampshire UK.
Was at a Laser Quest, you don't see them much anymore either!
Drained pretty much straight away if I remember correctly.


New member
Apr 25, 2014
Space shuttle for me. Williams version of corse at the wonderful dining establishment Casa Bonita on scenic Colfax blvd. god that place is a dive but my grandpa took me in there as a kid and it was all about the entertainment and game room after. When pinball hall of fame came out seeing that game on there sparked my childhood memory's and I've been hooked ever sense.


New member
Apr 20, 2013
First table I really remember was Gorgar, and that's because the artwork was downright scary for a five year old when that machine first came out.

Pinball really wasn't my thing until Summer of 1983 when a local arcade brought in about 10 EMs from the late 60s/70s just to fill up an empty wall. I was given some extra money while my parents were busy so I was in there a lot and had to make my money last. Five silver balls was much better value than 30 seconds worth of Defender or one minute of Phoenix. :)

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