first pinball

After our visit to the Church, Robin wanted to get a pinball, so I was clear to get one. Prices of pins range anywhere from several hundred, to several thousand and beyond.

I did happen to see an for sale ad online for a Lethal Weapon 3 pin for a modest $1400. I actually had played this pin quite a bit when I was a teenager, so it had the nostalgia factor going for it and at the price seemed like a good entry level pin. It had been for sale for a couple of months. When I contacted the seller, he had sold it just the day before. My pinball dreams were crushed already.

At the same time, I had been spending a lot of time looking at Tron Legacy pinball, one of the most recent releases from Stern. The theme, music, lights, and whole package were a winner for me. Problem was the price. It was also out of production and becoming hard to find, none were available in Canada.

I had begun hanging out on Pinside.com, and saw a NIB (New In Box) Tron for sale. I wandered downstairs telling Robin “man, I really want the Tron but it’s so expensive”, to which she responded “Oh, just get it, it’s the one you want”. Just like that the decision was made.

Buying pins like this is a luxury, but people also spend money on other things, like golf, vacations, snowmobiles, seadoos, luxury cars, the list goes on…. so this was my luxury item. The side benefit is that they are so collectible, they don’t lose their value and most have increased in value. I’m not saying it is an investment, but I was able to rationalize the decision knowing I could get most of my money back if it came to that. And at the end of the day if I had to make a mortgage payment or something, the pinball can go.

I made the deal with the seller in the US, and arranged for shipment to Canada. Now all I had to do was wait.

Visit to the Church of the Silverball

My mom was visiting on the weekend and available to watch the kids, so Robin and I could have a date night.

“Do you want to go play some pinball?” I asked her. “Sure”, she responded, but she hadn’t played pinball in many years.

I discovered the Church online, just following some Toronto pinball links. It is a private collection housed in a warehouse by Mike & Christine Hanley. Every once in a while they open it to the public, and they happened to be doing one of their “Pinball Faith” nights this Friday.

We drove to the Mississauga warehouse, which was fun just to drive too… driving the car into a deserted warehouse district, but then seeing a bunch of cars parked in one area. Reminiscent of our old days.

We went inside, and were greeted by Mike. It was $10 per person, any games that had power were free to play. His collection spans from older Electric Mechanical games, on through solid state and DMD. The crown jewel of his collection was the complete “jpop” collection of pins, from World Cup Soccer, Theatre of Magic, Circus Voltaire, Tales of the Arabian Nights, and Star Wars Episode 1. I would find out later him and jpop are actually really old friends and Mike actually inducted him into the Pinball Hall of Fame the year previous.

Mike had a game open and Robin was immediately intrigued by all the guts, so she asked Mike to show her some more which he was happy to oblige. By the end of the night Robin declared “We’re getting one!”. Usually the wives are the resistance on any pinball acquisitions :-).

My new blog

Welcome to my blog where I will document my progression building a personal pinball arcade!

I played pinball as a kid and teenager at the arcade, and as an adult I had always wanted one. It wasn’t until recently though that I discovered others had been building home arcades with multiple machines.

Multiple machines seems to keep things more interesting than just 1 in the corner. You can have multiple people over all playing together, running tournaments, etc.

A pinball is like a piece of modern art, and great to show off and demo to people.

When I moved into my current house out of our previous 2-bedroom apartment, having the basement available meant I could finally realize the dream. The basement is on the small side (older house), but I think it will do the job for now.

When I move, a proper games room will be a big feature we will be looking for in our next house.

A private pinball arcade located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.