CHASING THE DRAGON
Pinball enthusiasts will understand what I mean , chasing the dragon. It all starts with that first time you really PLAY a pinball machine. I don’t mean those times you thoughtlessly dropped a few coins in and plunged 3 balls while you and your friends joked about the artwork .. I mean that time you really felt the game. You will all remember what that first game was, where and when it happened. Since then you have been searching high and low in bars, bowling alleys and even laundromats, for every chance you can to get the next fix. I actually got to enjoy my “first” twice, because of PINBALL JONES . My 1st first was when I was a child , my grandparents owned a bowling alley in Herford CO. During summers we would live there with them while my father was finishing his masters degree at UNC in Greeley. There was a coffee can full of quarters under the cash register and all we had to do every day to have unlimited use was to fill up two 5 gal. pails with fresh cut french fries. Once that was done the day was spent “living the dream” .. equal parts burgers, fries, pool, bowling, bikes, roller-skates and of course PINBALL. I would not like to say how long it’s been .. but lets just say more than 2 decades and less than 4 since I remember standing in front of that machine. One day, probably 3 years ago now, wondering around OLD TOWN, I stumbled upon an interesting red and yellow arrow. Cautiously traversing the metal staircase, the sounds and lights, like a lighthouse on a foggy night leading me home, were cascading out of the window. In the front door, still not fully believing what was in front of me, and just just like that, I was 10 years old again standing in front of EVIL KNIEVEL about to begin my 2nd FIRST. Memories washing over me so thick I could see, hear and smell that old bowling alley. The rest is history now, my love and interest in pinball has grown every day since .. thanks to PBJ, KIM JONES and others all over the world that have kept the lights on while the rest of us were away..
This is an excerpt from a really nice, in-depth timeline of the history of PINBALL
The Epic History of Sex, Drugs & Pinball
If you haven’t played pinball lately, you haven’t played pinball. The newest machines combine sensory overload with a full-tilt physicality video games can only dream of. But although pinball design and engineering have long pushed the limits of human-machine interaction, it’s never gotten much respect.
Pinball machines are seen as trashy things that hang out in bars, showing anyone a good time for a few coins. Or addictive electromechanical drugs that suck up your time and produce nothing in return.
Here’s how pinball has used cutting-edge technology and pop culture to frame its rolling metal ball for over a century, while being trivialized, demonized and outlawed by people who just don’t get it.