Mark and I made it to Allentown. We drove down on Friday night, and stayed somewhere in NJ. Ended up pretty nice because we found a plaza that all the restaurants were BYOW and there was a liquor store. Mark and I grabbed a four pack and enjoyed the warm muggy night while eating our supper at about 9:00 pm.
I went to the show expecting to find out what people were paying for pinballs, and seeing what the possibilities of selling a pinball at a show were. There were supposed to be about 200 free play pinballs there, and it seemed like 80% of the machines were for sale. We hit the show about 9:15 and played a lot of good games. We mostly focused on Williams machines, and some of the newer DMD games.
My take on most newer pinballs is that they all have a really similar feel. We played T3, Tron, LOTR, Spiderman, bunch of other games, and I don’t think I could really tell the difference. Most of the shots were the same between games with not much different than some theming changes between them and maybe one toy. Don’t get me wrong, they are a blast to play, and I’d love to own any of them, but I only want to own one of that type. Why own any others. I did get a chance to play a round of Medieval Madness which strangely enough had almost exactly the same shot layout as these machines. All of them are great “shooter” games, but there just didn’t seem the be the breadth of different styles as the old games. Of course that being said, if I owned one of these machines, it would probably quickly become my go to machine for playing most frequently.
We probably played a couple hundred games of pinball. All different varieties and different ages. It was really fun. It did make me think that some of the ideas that I have for Disaster have not been done before. At one point we kept playing games with shaker motors, and it simply seemed like somebody figured out how to install a motor and everyone needed to add them to their machines. Most of them didn’t add to the game play.
I was looking for a playfield that I could use to test my solenoid driver boards. Found an Atari playfield complete and in great shape for $50, but somebody had already paid for it. I ended up focusing on a Shaq Attack playfield with most of the stuff but missing the drop targets, and the rotating basket assembly. It had all the wiring and was in good shape. The guy wanted $100 but I ended up getting it for $60. It is also nice because I can look at a modern playfield which, judging by the wiring on the bottom is no more modern than the early 80s. It continues to amaze me that pinball architecture hasn’t been updated since then. Who pays the guy who spends a 3 days wiring a single machine. Maybe that is why machines are so expensive.
The drive to and from Allentown was long, but I’m glad we did it. I just found another pinball show up in Ottawa in September which is only four hours away. That might make a nice weekend trip. Maybe I could sell a couple of machines up there. I’m doubtful I can get Disaster running by then unless I start working a lot harder.