PINBALL EXPO '91
- The Seventh Year -
By Russ Jensen
For the seventh year in a row, the world's greatest "all pinball" show occurred in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Illinois on October 25, 26, and 27. The site was again the Ramada O'Hare hotel with it's nearby reasonably priced diner, "Snack Time", where many of the pinball fans go to eat at all hours of the day and night (there was even one time at 3 AM when three of us could not get a seat together, even at the counter!). By the way, this was the first year that the show officially lasted 3 days, ending at 4 PM on Sunday.
As was the case last year, for an extra $20 attendees could get a "preview peek" at the Exhibit Hall goodies on Thursday evening, during set- up time for exhibitors, before the show's official start on Friday morning. I again attended this preview to get an early chance to meet and talk with many old friends and meet new ones. It was apparent at that time that there were to be many nice pingames on display and for sale in the hall, but more about that later.
This year the opening remarks began a half-hour earlier than in the past and, as was done last year, a foreign visitor, a young Canadian named Aaron Benditt, presented the first greeting to Expo attendees. He began by welcoming us all and then saying that there were "two main reasons" why we were there. First, he said, was to "experience the very best in pinball", "talk about it's status in today's world", "discuss it's rich history and heritage", and "talk about it's future". The second reason, he told us, was "to have the very best time you've ever had in your life!" He ended by saying that we should "expect the unexpected".
Aaron then introduced Expo host Rob Berk who welcomed us to this seventh year of Pinball Expo. He then described this year's "three day format"; announced an extra seminar, "$1 Pinball", which had been added since the program was printed; and told us of the Pinball Art Contest as well as the designers/artists/authors autograph session which was to be held Saturday afternoon.
Rob then introduced his co-host, and Exhibit Hall Chairman, Mike Pacak to say a few words. After asking the exhibitors to help by keeping their displays within their allotted space and the show attendees to stay away from the exhibit area when the hall was not open, Mike ended by saying "let's all have fun!"
At this point Aaron again came up and conducted a special fun contest. He himself imitated speech segments from 25 different modern pingames, asking each person in the audience to try and identify from which game each came on a special form he had passes out to us. The prize, which was to be awarded later after the scores were tallied, was an Expo sweat shirt.
Rob Berk next introduced the first seminar speaker, Phil Burnstein, to give his talk titled "RICAR Industries, Custom Manufacturer For The Pinball Industry".
Phil told us that in the past he had worked for Stern Electronics in 1981 and 82 and then at WICO for awhile. He then said that there have been many changes in the pinball industry in the past 11 years. Between 1981 and 1991 he said the prices of pingames have increased by 25 percent.
During this period, he then said, there has been a marked increase in the number of parts on the playfield, resulting in more "bang for the buck" for the player, but also increased cost for the manufacturer. Therefore, he continued, the manufacturers have farmed out to subcontractors ("custom fabricators") to make playfield parts in order to cut production costs. He said he was going to describe the various processes used by these outfits in producing these parts.
The first process Phil described was "injection molding", the process described in much detail at last year's Expo by Foremost Plastics. During this process, he explained, plastic was heated and injected into a mold to form the part. He then said that many types of plastics were used to create many types of playfield parts, an example being the shooter handle. The molds used were said to be expensive and there was a long "lead time" involved in producing them; however, they allowed complex shaped parts to be produced.
"Vacuum Forming", which was used to produce playfield "ramps", Phil said was a simpler and cheaper process, but was "labor intensive". That process uses an Aluminum or Epoxy mold, with the plastic being heated over the mold and then sucked into it using vacuum, holes then being added where needed. He said the tooling cost was about half that of injection molding, with the lead time also being much shorter.
The third process Phil described was "metal fabricating" using a tape/computer controlled punch press. This method he said can produce complex parts quickly, with no tooling costs, and a very short lead time. The parts, he said, are made on a sheet of material and punched out later, also being formed if necessary.
Phil then described "metal stamping" which is used for parts which can't be done any other say. In that process a "4 stage dye" does various things to the part such as punching, forming, etc.
The use of an "automatic screw machine" was next described in which a bar of material passes through the machine with different tools being brought to the part, each performing a different operation on it. Phil said that an example of a part produced this way was the "shooter shaft". The tooling for this method was said to be quite inexpensive.
For producing parts when a fairly low volume was required Phil said that a "computer controlled lathe" was often used. The lathe is programmed for what you want it to do to the part, and there is no tooling, no lead time, and a "quick turn-around" in producing the parts.
The final process Phil described was the "Cold Heading Process" which used dyes to work on wire stock fed into the machine, which is deformed in a "cold state". This process was said to be very inexpensive for large volume production. It does, however, require long set-up and lead times, but is very cheap for high volume items such as fasteners.
After describing these processes Phil showed us examples of the parts he was referring to. He then said that today companies, such as RICAR, are often required to develop special processes to satisfy the needs of the pinball industry, an example of which he said was "laser cutting" which could allow them to make parts that years ago could not be made at all.
When Phil asked for questions from the audience two questions were asked, both involving "laser cutting". When asked what thickness of material could be handled by it Phil replied "a 48 by 96 inch sheet of 1/2 inch steel". When asked if it was a "manual" or "automatic" process, he said it was a manual one.
Rob Berk introduced the next speaker, Dan Goodman, who founded an organization known as "The Silverthorne Group", to give his talk "Arcade Access; Pinball For People of All Abilities". After that, one of the specially modified pingames Dan provides was set up on stage.
Dan began by telling us that in this country there are presently 43 million "disabled" persons, many of whom cannot operate a standard pingame. He then remarked that "new activity can give them a 'new window on life'".
Dan next described the modifications he makes to a standard pingame to allow people with various disabilities to play it. The front of the body is first cut out to allow wheelchair access and "wrist supports" are added. The game's controls are also modified in different ways to allow people with various disabilities to operate the game.
For example, the game can be modified to be started by "touch", with the balls being shot in the same way. A "remote control" unit is often used which is operated by "touch pads" with the touch adjustable so it can be operated by almost any body part (elbows, fingers, feet, etc.).
Dan went on to say that for people with even greater disabilities games can be made to operate by such things as biting or even by the breath. Joystick controls are also often used. His games, he said, can be operated by people with almost any degree of disability. Dan then told us that he provides some machines to the National Institute of Health to be used for therapy.
He then told us that he first got stated doing this by fixing up a game for a friend's son who had been injured in an accident. Dan then said that some of his machines are used in hospitals to help people who have sustained brain injuries to improve their "interest in life", it helping these patients to re-learn to use their muscles, minds, and eyes.
We were then showed a video showing a boy who had suffered a severe brain injury using one of the games. His mother described how he had used the game to help him start using his arms, etc., and also how it was helping improve his "short term memory". She told how the game also helped with his "hand/eye coordination" after playing it for about 2 months. The machine "talking back" to him (because of it's speech feature) she said also provided needed "feedback" to him during play. The game the boy was using, by the way, was a modified version of Data East's MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL.
Dan next asked us if we had any questions? When asked if his games were used in any "public places", Dan replied that they were only used in institutions and private homes. When someone asked about the cost of a modified game, he replied that it varied from game to game, but that it was usually around $6800. Dan then remarked that he had not gotten very good response from the game manufacturers when it came to providing games for him to modify at a reduced cost. (All I can say to that is "shame on them!")
It was then asked if this type of modification could be done to electro-mechanical games? Dan replied that it was possible, but that it was much easier using solid-state machines. When asked how many games he had modified so far, Dan said about 10 or 12. In response to a question on how long a modification takes, he said approximately a week.
The final question asked was what technology was used? Dan answered that it was "infra-red" with a "5 millisecond response time". He ended by telling us that the game he had with him would be available in the Exhibit Hall for us to try if we wished.
The next speaker was supposed to be pinball artist from the 1960's, Jerry Kelley, but after introducing him Rob Berk discovered that he was nowhere to be found! So after a few brief announcements it was decided to let Steve Young and Gordon Hasse begin their presentation which was scheduled for the next morning.
STATE OF THE PINBALL HOBBY (PART 1)
Rob introduced Expo regular Steve Young who began by telling us that he was going to "bring us up to speed" on what is happening in the pinball collecting hobby, and then tell us "what we can do to help". He then remarked that he would like to do a similar thing at future Expos.
As far as collecting itself was concerned, Steve said a lot was happening. He said there are several "large" (400 plus games) collections, remarking about Tim Arnold's idea of using his large collection to earn money for charity. He then said that there are also many new collectors, some with only one to five games, usually ones they had played as kids.
Steve next remarked that he thought that prices of $500 to $1500 for games were not a deterrent to new collectors, and that those people are the "primary drivers of price", with the modest collectors being the "secondary driver". He then said that scarcity was also a factor in price increases.
Pin prices, Steve then said, are escalating rapidly, especially for 1960's games with backbox animation and baseball machines. "Locality", he said, was also a big price factor, prices for games being higher on the West Coast. Steve then said that "popularity" (the "hype factor") was a major driver of price. He next told us that price corrections may occur in the future, adding that a price guide can't stay accurate for long.
Steve next discussed the subject of "value", citing a list of value factors which he thought needed to be defined. These included: Classes (themes, ages, etc.); a Rating System for game cosmetics; and a "relationship between the elements of aesthetics." He then said that "detractors" from value and price need to be defined, along with the relation between these detractors and a game's value/price.
This type of information, Steve told us, needs to be published, as it is in other hobbies. He added that questions of "touch up" of a game's cosmetics (reproduction/touch-up of backglasses, playfields, cabinets, etc.) need to be addressed. Steve then volunteered to "coordinate" the collection of such information.
On the subject of "history", Steve began by saying that too little is currently recorded. He then quoted a Smithsonian historian on the need for accuracy in all recorded written history. Steve then gave us an "assignment" to aid Dick Bueschel in the preparation of his series of pinball books, chiding Dick to lay off other types of machines and concentrate on pinball. This drew a large round of applause from the audience.
Steve ended his part of the presentation talking in more detail regarding restoration of backglasses and methods for reproducing them. He also told of his and Donal Murphey's efforts in reproducing playfield plastics, etc., adding that for that type of effort to succeed support of all in the hobby is required.
At this point Steve introduced Gordon Hasse who said he would tell us why pinball is different from other collecting hobbies.
Gordon began his list saying first that "pins are not easy to collect", because of their size and difficulty in repairing. A second factor, he said, was a "lack of 'public experience' with the game", remarking that many Americans had never played a pin because they were illegal for many years in many localities.
Gordon's next point was that there was "no observable history of collecting", adding that Tim Arnold's "charity project" might help that situation. He next said that there were "no points of entry" for the new collector because people don't know that pin collectors exist. He next said that we have a "network" of collectors but no collector's organization.
Gordon's next point was that pin collecting has not been recognized by the "poplar culture community" primarily because we have not let "academia" know about it. He then remarked that we need published papers on the subject of pinball and also should "court the media".
His next point was that there were "no famous collectors". Gordon then said that we "need higher prices to 'bring out' more machines" like has happened with jukeboxes and slots. He then remarked that there have been "no auctions of good pins" like occur in other collecting hobbies.
The last three differences Gordon mentioned were: "lack of a comprehensive support system"; "no standards"; and "no price guides". He then closed his talk by asking if anyone could share any information with him regarding pin artist Roy Parker, as he was working on a book about him.
PINBALL FIRING LINE
Rob Berk then came up and introduced the four panelists for the next seminar event, "The Pinball Firing Line": pinball manufacturing executives Alvin Gottlieb, Gil Pollock, Gary Stern, and Joe Dillon. Rob then asked each of them to give a brief statement as to "what they do".
Joe Dillon told us that his primary job was "selling Williams/Bally/Midway products". He then said he used to work for Seeburg and joined Williams in 1979. He said he now travels all over the world to "see what pingames are doing".
Gary Stern said that he was Vice President and General Manager of Data East Pinball and that he "runs design" (but maybe not Joe Kaminkow, he quipped) and also handles export sales.
Gil Pollock then told us that he was President of Premier Technology who makes Gottlieb games and that he bought the company when Coca-Cola "let it go". He then said that he started working for Gottlieb in 1972.
Finally, Alvin Gottlieb told us that he had just "re-entered" the business and was now President and CEO of A. Gottlieb and Co. which does design and engineering of games, working in conjunction with Premier.
Rob next asked for questions for the panel from the audience. The first question asked was "where do the people on the panel think the industry is going in the next 10 years?"
Joe Dillon responded first and told how arcades are located in most foreign countries (even in the Eastern Bloc now) and are especially popular in France, then describing the price for playing a game on pinball in various countries. He then said that the future is "left to the imagination of today's designers", but that it should be "bright", adding "competition for the 'entertainment dollar' must be considered".
Alvin Gottlieb responded next, first telling of his father Dave's saying that "the tavern is the working man's country club" and telling of Dave's early days in the pingame business. He then remarked that "new players are being born every day", adding that in the future "directions of the industry will vary", "prices will surely increase", and that the future will certainly depend on "the ingenuity of the game designers and engineers."
Lastly, Gary Stern told us that "pinball is a business and must make money", and that he sees an increase in pins and a decrease in videos. This however, he said, would also depend on "European economic conditions". In this country, he told us, some locations have been lost due to "urban renewal", etc.; that there is some growth now; but that it could change in the future.
In was next asked, "what changes have you noticed in arcades"? Gary Stern replied that they were not really in the "arcade business", saying most of their games were in "street locations" (bars, etc.). He then told of the arcades in Europe and how they had a mix of "light gambling" and "amusement" games.
Joe Dillon then elaborated on this, saying that many European machines were considered "amusement gambling" which he defined as "gambling which won't change your life if you win". In this country, he then said, as the video marked gets "softer" there will be more pins in arcades, which will be an opportunity for the pingame industry.
When the panel was asked "what do you think is 'today's market'"?, Gary Stern responded that "licenses" appeal to the current player and have "broadened the player base", and also are "uplifting the image" of pins, giving them more of an "entertainment look".
Gil Pollock then said that he has not seen a great change in the "player base", which he said was primarily males 18 to 40 years of age. A few games, he said, appeal to the "female market", but most game themes still exhibit a "male macho image".
When a women asked if some games would be designed to appeal to women, Gary Stern replied that the manufacturers were trying to broaden the player base, but added that this was really up to the operators. Gil Pollock next remarked that the Eastern European Bloc market could "explode" soon, saying that this was primarily a "mature market".
Someone next asked Joe Dillon of Williams why his company was getting into the "video lottery business", and how he thought that might impact the pingame market? Joe replied that this might have a "short term" negative influence on pins, but in the "long run" it could be beneficial, hoping that operators can understand that amusement and gaming can exist side by side as they do in Europe. He then said that they needed the lottery business to "keep the company profitable".
When the panel was asked how many people in each company were involved with pingames the answers given were: Williams/Bally/Midway - approximately 1100; Data East and Premier - 250 to 300; and at A. Gottlieb and Co. - 5!
The next question asked was on a subject that has been widely discussed at the last several Expo's; "what were the panelists' views on 'One Dollar play'"?
Gil Pollock first said that it was "the only way to move in the future". Joe Dillon then remarked that the manufacturers are not trying to "fix prices", but only to suggest to operators that they "look at the economics" of the business and then decide on play pricing. He added that he thought "the 'entertainment' is worth that price".
When someone asked if foreign game manufacturers were any threat to the U.S. companies, Gil Pollock replied "no, it's a 'Chicago Industry'". Joe Dillon then remarked that there was really only one significant European manufacturer in Spain.
Old-time Philadelphia operator Stan Harris from the audience next told of games he had received back from locations whose playfields had been completely worn out; then asking the panel what their companies were doing to help playfields to last longer and be easier to clean?
Joe Dillon began by saying that in the past operators would clean playfields, but as they got more complicated this became hard to do, one almost having to take them apart to properly clean them. He then said that today's designers have to make their games both "fun to play" and also "serviceable". He then added that Williams is using "hard coat" to try to help with those types of problems.
After several comments from players in the audience saying that the operators must keep playfields properly maintained to attract players, Alvin Gottlieb commented that much attention to this by the manufacturers would force them to raise prices for games and make pin operation less profitable for operators. He then added that operators can't afford to spend much time cleaning playfields. Finally, Gil Pollock remarked that this would keep pinball from being competitive with other forms of entertainment.
The panel was next queried regarding the "family and humanitarian approach", and about donating games to the handicapped (an obvious reference to a previous talk). Expo host Rob Berk made the only comment on the subject, saying he had talked to Alvin Gottlieb about it, and that the Gottlieb Memorial Hospital is trying to help in that area.
A question regarding the use of a protective playfleld coating used by some foreign manufacturers was answered by Gary Stern, saying that OSHA regarded that compound as "carcinogenic", but adding that his company was looking into the "hard coat" used by the automobile industry.
When Alvin Gottlieb was next asked for an "update" on his new company's endeavors, he replied that they have some "games on test", but that they were embarked on "an extensive testing program" which would take some time. He then added that they would have more information early in 1992. The panel was next asked if all the games tested by a company were eventually produced? The answer given was "not always".
A collector in the audience next remarked that he often found it difficult to get parts for newer games (sometimes only 2 or 3 years old) and asked the panel to comment on this? Joe Dillon then told us that (except for playfield ramps) it was difficult and expensive for the manufacturer to make "short runs" for parts after production of a game had ended. He then added that there was a "long lead time" involved with their suppliers for this type of thing. When Rob Berk then asked for a "rule of thumb" as to how long parts are generally available for a game, Gil Pollock replied "5 years, and sometimes longer" for his company.
The panel was then asked if the manufacturers could "clean up" game themes (eliminate "demonic" or "satanic" themes, etc.) to make games more "family oriented"? Joe Dillon replied that a large part of their market is in Europe where these things were not so objectionable. He then said they sometimes try to "play down" certain themes, but that the bottom line was that "violence sells", especially in foreign countries. Finally he added that they have to sort of "average things out" between the U.S. and foreign markets.
Alvin Gottlieb then reminded us that one of their past games, MONTE CARLO, had his picture on the backglass which was pretty mild. Gary Stern then commented that they have to "deal with modern society's taste", and that pins were "grown-up entertainment" and "we have to appeal to them".
A final question dealt with the number of designers each company uses on a game. Gary Stern replied that some companies use individuals (or small teams) on a game, while others use "large teams".
Rob Berk next introduced Joe Kaminkow of Data East Pinball and Larry DeMar of Williams for the special added presentation Rob had told us about earlier. Larry began by telling us that a standard play price of $1 for pinball is very controversial and that he can't wait for it, although it will probably meet with some resistance.
Larry then said that pingame manufacturers don't seem to be able to agree on anything. For example, he went on, Data East has 2 tilts on their games and Williams has 3. He then proceeded to ask and answer four questions about his new idea for "$1 pinball": How many for $1? - "One"; Will it require a $1 coin? - "No"; Will there be competition? - "Don't care"; and will it target more players? - "Yes, it will allow more women and children to play".
At this point Joe and Larry unveiled a large trophy which they said would be presented to the winner of their game. They then told us that their game was similar to "Liar's Poker", could be played anywhere, and could be played either "manually" or on a computer, using a program on a disk which they could provide.
At that point they described how to play the game in detail. It was played using any one dollar bill; using the serial number, and other things on the bill, to determine your "pinball score". They then went through an example using a dollar bill and their computer program. After that they had people from the audience call out numbers from bills they had, with Joe and Larry determining each one's score using the program. The person with the highest score was awarded the trophy.
For the next presentation, "The Future of Pinball: Design, Development, and Licensing", Rob introduced Joe Kaminkow (again), and Tom Nieman, Steve Kordek, and Roger Sharpe of Williams/Bally/Midway. Joe began by telling us the sad news (which many of us had already heard on TV) that Star Trek creator Gene Rodinberry had just passed away; then telling of a "condolence" FAX Data East had sent to Hollywood, and adding that they were making some changes to their STAR TREK pingame in Gene's memory.
At that point Joe showed us a video made by his company highlighting their pinball licensing efforts. The game themes illustrated in the video included, among others: Monday Night Football, Back To The Future, The Simpsons, Home Alone, Star Trek, Freddie's Dead, and Hook.
After the video Joe talked more about Data East's "licensing philosophy". Themes like "Freddie Krueger" and "Home Along", he told us, help "expand the player base", and "keep pinball clean and wholesome". He added that the license has to be "implemented well" and that it gives their designers plenty of "food for thought" when it comes to creating the art, sounds, etc., for the games.
Roger Sharpe from Williams then said that they are beginning to get into licensing more nowadays, but using a "selective approach", then mentioning their recent licenses: BUGS BUNNY, GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, and TERMINATOR 2. He ended by saying they will be doing more in the future, but that they were not as "overt" with their future plans as some of their competitors.
Tom Nieman began by telling us that he had previously worked for Bally for about 14 years, and was involved during the 1970's with "third party licenses". He then told of Bally's experiences with the "Tommy games", WIZARD, and CAPTAIN FANTASTIC.
Tom said at that time he thought that "there must be a better way to market a pin". He said that he thought you should introduce "personality" into a game as a "hook" to attract players. Tom then told us that he thought of using music (telling us he was a "Who fan") so he contacted Columbia Pictures who he said was "an easy sell". But, he told us, selling the idea to Bally was somewhat harder, then telling us that Bally in turn allowed "The Who" to use it's company name in the song "Pinball Wizard".
After telling of meeting the Columbia representative in New Orleans to finalize the deal, Tom said Bally gave Columbia six machines, plus another 12 to be used in a "promotional pool". He then told us that Dave Christensen did the art "basically blind".
Tom then said that he had a "great time" promoting the game. He ended by quoting from a Replay Magazine article of the time (written by a "so- called pinball expert" - Roger Sharpe) which told of "foresight into the future of the industry" when referring to CAPTAIN FANTASTIC. Tom then showed a T-shirt he had which was autographed by the stars of "Tommy". Joe Kaminkow then remarked that Tom was sort of a "hero" to him, and complemented him for his fine work for the industry.
Steve Kordek then told us that Williams has had success with their "licenses", adding that they are working on others for next year. He then said that "the future of pins will be exciting", but so was his involvement with the industry in the past.
Steve then told of some "ups and downs" in the pingame business during the 1940's and 1950's; such as when "roll-downs", shuffle alleys, and gun games brought a "lull" to pins in the later Forties, like happened with "bumper pool" in the Fifties and video games in the Eighties. Steve ended by telling us that the future "gets more exciting with each new game", and that today you can do things in games that once were impossible.
At that point the audience was asked if they had any questions? When Roger Sharpe was asked if he designed the "Bugs Bunny" game he replied, "No, it was done by John Trudeau and Python Angelo." When Rob Berk asked if licensed game would increase in the future, Steve Kordek answered "yes".
Roger Sharpe then commented that we need "good games" in addition to "good themes", adding that they have had "solid success" with non-licensed games such as FUN HOUSE.
When my friend Sam Harvey asked how the licenses were paid for, Tom Nieman quipped "they normally start with a 'body part'". Joe Kaminkow then said it could happen in several ways, sometimes by paying money directly, and sometimes with games. Tom then remarked that the "license deal" may not always be a "good deal" for the pingame manufacturer.
The final question asked was "at what point in the process do you usually get in?" Roger Sharpe answered saying that in the case of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND it was obviously long afterwards since that was an old show. He went on to say that the "design team" had the game already thought out when they met with him and wanted to call it GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, Roger himself preferring ROBINHOOD. With TERMINATOR 2, on the other hand, he said it was "early", him first meeting with the producers in July 1990. He then added that they had "good cooperation" with the TERMINATOR 2 people, working "hand in hand" with them throughout the process.
After the questions were over Tom Nieman asked the audience to indicate by a show of hands if they liked "licensed games". The audience seemed to agree that licensing was good. As a final statement, Joe Kaminkow remarked that they had a "good home market" for their SIMPSONS game, adding that he thought that "celebrity games" would become "collectable" in the future.
For the next presentation Rob introduced pinball artist Jerry Kelley (yes, they finally found him) to present his talk, "Contemporary Pinball Art of the Sixties". Jerry first set up a display of four backglasses he had done: Bally's CAPERSVILLE (1966), MINIZAG (1968), and ROCKMAKERS (1968); and Williams' A-GO-GO (1966). He then told us that he had made up a bookmark, which he was going to give us, on which was printed the names and dates of all the glasses he had done. He then said he would give us an idea of "what it was like in the Sixties".
Jerry then told us that when Rob Berk once showed him a list of pinball artists from the past he told Rob that he had no idea what the others had done, adding that at that time he was sort of a "loner".
Jerry said his first job in the coin machine industry was doing art for United bowlers. He then said that when "shuffle alleys" came in United asked him about doing the art for the sides of the cabinets. When he criticized the "30's style art" they had been using he was called in to talk to company President Lyn Durrant. Jerry said he told him "you can't do this 'Thirties stuff' all the time, you should go 'contemporary'". When Lyn invited him to go to lunch with him Jerry said "I knew I was in".
Jerry next told us that Advertising Posters did the screening for his backglasses and that he worked closely with their people, adding that he always thought they did "good work". He then began telling of the steps he went through creating a new backglass.
First, he said, he was given an "engineering drawing" of the field and backglass, indicating the positions of the "score reels" and the items on the playfield he had to work his art around. From this, he told us, he created a "black plate" which he would then add colors to.
Jerry then told us that he liked to use some black in his art, but that the industry objected to this because they felt that black connotated "death". But, he said, it took a lot of convincing but he finally was allowed to use more black in his artwork.
Jerry then told us that he also convinced the manufacturers that games should be "exciting". He next told of receiving his first "fan letter" in 1977 from a man from Florida who even called him a "genius".
He then told of "little things" he would put in his pictures and described the characters on the ROCKMAKERS glass and what each was doing. He also told how he "balanced" his use of black by putting color around it. Jerry then showed us pictures of three of his glasses in Michael Colmer's book "Pictorial History of Pinball" which came out in the 1970's, remarking about the good quality of the color in the book.
Jerry then told us that he created the names for all his games, and that he "tried to give a 'message' in his art". He then told of creating the art for Williams BEAT TIME in 1967, using caricatures of "The Beatles", but calling them "The Bootles" probably to avoid a lawsuit.
When it was asked if there were any questions from the audience, the only thing asked was "did Ted Zale design most of your games? Jerry answered that he did not know who designed any of the games.
Jerry ended by telling a story about Sam Stern of Williams and his preference in colors. He said that Sam liked a lot of red, white, and blue to be used in the artwork, and did not like it when Jerry used other colors on POT OF GOLD. When he and Sam were discussing this, Gary Stern, Sam's son who was in college at the time, came in and overheard the conversation. Jerry said that after Gary told his father that POT OF GOLD was getting all the "action" on location and other Williams games were not, Sam never argued for red, white and blue again.
Before stepping down, Jerry told us that the only thing that "saved him" after World War II was over was going to an art institute and getting a degree.
After Jerry's talk it was only a short time before we had to board busses for this year's Pinball Plant Tour. It was "hyped" to be a tour of the "Bally Pinball Manufacturing Facility", but since "Ballygames" are now produced on a second assembly line at the Williams plant, we actually got a tour of both the Bally and Williams production facilities.
During the bus trip a company representative told us that at the present time Bally PARTY ZONE and Williams TERMINATOR 2 were being produced at the plant. After passing through some "old Chicago neighborhoods" we arrived at the plant. We had to wait outside for about 20 minutes this year, but it was not nearly as cold as last year waiting to get into Data East.
The tour guide for our group was a very congenial long-time Williams employee. He began by telling us that the same cabinets were used for both the Bally and Williams games, and that they were manufactured at another plant. After telling us that different coin mechanisms for American and several types of foreign coins were used, depending on where the game was going to be shipped, he showed us where the new cabinets were being drilled.
The next area we were shown was where parts for the games were being received, the trucks delivering them backing up to doors where the parts could be unloaded by personnel inside the factory.
Our guide next showed us the "mini line", an assembly line where a limited number of games could be assembled. He explained that this was usually used to test the assembly process for new games, but at this time was being used for limited production of additional Bally HARLEY DAVIDSON games.
After passing the locked door of the "prototype room" (which we were told we could not see) we were shown the "print room" and then taken to the "parts stocking area". Our guide told us that there were up to about four thousand parts used on a single game. He then told us that the company had a "sell before make" policy, meaning that they did not make any games for which they did not already have orders.
We next saw the area where new blank playfields were being readied for assembly. Our guide told us that they used very good plywood, and that they were "coated" for longer life. After showing us a machine used to punch holes in the playfields, our guide told us that there was not much "machine shop work" done at the plant anymore, most of it now being "farmed out".
After passing an assembly line area, we were taken to the area where the cabinets, playfields, and backboxes were merged, and then to the "final test" area. After that we saw where the finished game was packaged ready for shipment.
Finally, we saw where trucks were again backed up to the plant, this time so that the finished machines could be loaded for shipment. Our guide said that they had a "truck to truck operation", referring to how the parts came in by truck at one end of the plant and the finished games were loaded into trucks at the other.
After the tour was over we were treated to free "soda pop" and then boarded our busses for the trip back to the hotel.
After returning from the plant, we again went to the lecture hall to continue with the seminar presentations. First up was COIN SLOT's own Dick Bueschel to give his presentation titled "The History of the Pinball Flyer".
Dick began by remarking that he was in "deep trouble" because he had not come out with his "Pinball 2" book yet. He said he had "blocked out" all 10 volumes, and that he expects to really get into "Pinball 2" early in 1992.
Dick then told us that his subject today was "the pinball flyer", remarking that the flyer was really "a matter of marketing", adding that "pinball is a business like any other" and selling games is "a matter of competition". Dick then told us that the pinball machine is a combination of technology and art, and is designed to give "entertainment for money".
The brochure, he went on, must "sell the game" and is "the first expression of the game." Dick then told us that at first flyers were only one sheet, but later got up to as many as four pages. Dick then remarked that the flyer must try to make the game "irresistible" to the operator, causing him to make an "emotional buy". To accomplish this, he went on, requires a combination of good "copy", art and photography.
Dick then remarked that many pinball collectors today also collect flyers, which he described as "the 'baseball cards' of the hobby", which, he added, you can really get "hooked on". Getting back to the business side of flyers, Dick remarked that the flyer often "drives game sales".
Dick next said that he would take us "behind the scenes" of the preparation of a pinball flyer. As his first example he used Williams' 1990 game WHIRLWIND, showing us the 4 page brochure which used the phrase "feel the power of the wind" to draw attention to the game. He then showed some sketches from which the flyer was developed. Roger Sharpe, who had provided this material to Dick, then told us how some of the changes which took place between the original sketches and the finished brochure came about.
Dick next showed the brochure for Bally's GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, saying that TV shows are "the hottest things in 'pop culture'". He then showed how they incorporated the TV show theme into the brochure. Roger Sharpe then told us that one main purpose of the flyer was to sell games to operators who don't get the trade magazines, Dick adding that they are used as "direct mail advertising" and for the distributors.
We were next shown the flyer for Bally's latest game PARTY ZONE. Dick then showed some "boards" with examples of the ad for the game. He then told how this original concept was changed (the "correction process") to produce the final brochure.
Dick then asked the question, "who are the people that produce the flyers?" He then remarked that these talented people should be given credit, adding that the collectors should know who was responsible for the flyers in their collections.
On the subject of "where the idea for the brochures came from", Dick said they "had been around for as long as the games". He went on to say that cost was always the "determining factor" in advertising, saying that magazine ads were usually quite expensive. In 1931, for example, Dick told us that a page in a trade journal cost between 60 and 90 dollars, a major "ad campaign" of several months running over $1000. Today, he told us, the cost is about 20 times higher.
Dick next showed us slides of early pingame brochures. He first showed the single page flyer for the 1901 pin-like trade stimulator LOG CABIN, quoting from the ad. He next showed the flyer for Gottlieb's 1931 pin BAFFLE BALL, again quoting from the text. After showing a "lease brochure" for Keeney's early game KEEN BALL from 1932, Dick showed the 4 page color brochure for another early pin WHIFFLE ZIP.
Dick next showed the color brochures for 3 important games of the early 1930's. These included Rockola's 1933 "classics" JIGSAW (70,000 of which were sold) and WORLD SERIES, and a nice color flyer for the first "automatic payout" pingame, Bally's ROCKET, which Dick said was "an enormous hit" even though it was not "run in the media".
After remarking that sometimes the flyer came before the game and sometimes after, Dick showed some more 1930's pingame brochures. These included: the 2-color brochure for Western Product's game HELL'S BELLS, Exhibit Supply's ELECTRO, Bally's SIGNAL, and MAJIK KEYS KICKER by Allied Amusement Co., all from 1934. Dick then ended his showing of 1930's brochures with one for a rare game called JIMMY VALENTINE, and another for Rockola's JIG JOY which had a jigsaw puzzle on it's backglass, Dick remarking that the latter game was also not publicized in the media.
Dick then mentioned the fact that no new pingames were manufactured during World War II, only "revamps" of pre-war games by outfits such as one calling itself Victory Games. When the war was over, he went on, there were still a few companies "revamping" pingames such as Victory Sales which converted pre-war "one-ball horserace" games. Other post-war "revampers", he told us, included Marvel, P and S, and Nate Schneller Inc. which converted United pre-flipper pins into flipper games, such as SINGAPORE into MADAM BUTTERFLY.
Dick next showed some Gottlieb flyers from the 1950's and 1960's which, he remarked, looked very much alike in format. Bally, he said, had more money and produced 4-color flyers, then showing us some later ones, which included the "Feature Gram" - a detailed playfield layout with feature descriptions next to it, which they had on the backs of many brochures.
After showing a Stern Electronics flyer, and one for Game Plan's 1979 game SHARPSHOOTER, Dick ended by showing the elaborate multi-page brochure for Williams' 1980 hit BLACK KNIGHT. Dick finally remarked that this brochure "set the pattern for most flyers to come", adding that there hasn't been many changes in the pinball flyer since then.
DESIGNING A PINGAME
It has been an "Expo tradition" for the past several years to have an "audience participation" seminar during which the audience "designs" a pingame, aided by personnel from one of the game manufacturers. (One year a 'prototype' was even constructed from our design and brought to next year's show for us to try out.) This year we again had Data East Pinball's chief designer Joe Kaminkow conducting the design seminar.
Joe began by telling us that we were going to design "a pingame for the future". He then asked for suggestions from the audience as to the game's theme, which he said could be "original", a "license", a "card game", etc.
Suggested themes included: Landing on Mars, Green Acres, Shakespeare (we had a college English professor in the audience), The 3 Stooges, Horse Racing, World Cup '94, World Series, Titanic, Pee Wee Herman, Fire Fighting, Demolition Derby, Skateboarding, Health Clubs, and Hook. The theme selected for use by popular vote was "The 3 Stooges".
The game's "format" was next chosen to be a "46 inch 'wide body'". It was then time to choose the game's "playfield layout". For a "skill shot" the following were suggested: a "rotating ramp", 3 rollovers (for Larry, Moe, and Curly), a "ramp shot into the mouth", a "slapping hand" to move the ball, a "hand poke in the eyes", a "pie in the face", and a "sandwich shot" (don't ask me what some of these things mean!). The audience then voted, picking the "ramp shot into the mouth".
The number of flippers was next chosen to be 3 (for the Stooges, of course). It was also decided to have 3 pop bumpers and also 3 lanes at the top of the field. Joe next asked for suggestions for a "playfield gadget", but as far as I could tell these were never voted on.
The gadget suggestions included: a spinner, a 'maze' in the backbox, a 'gobble hole', "hold ball and give player 3 seconds to make a decision (??)", laser beam for ball to pass through, player must 'qualify' to use 3rd flipper, spinning pop bumper, a 'deferred mode' (??), an eject hole to start the pie throwing, a "black hole thing", and a "flame thrower".
Joe next asked for suggestions for a "ramp shot". The audience's ideas included such things as: two hills; a target with a hole in the ramp which the ball might drop into; tiered 'gobble holes' on ramp; a high slope ramp; a short, steep ramp; a ramp with a gap; a ramp to steer the ball outside of the game; ball disappears and reappears in various places; loop the loop; a ramp over and back up; and a ramp going half way around the game. The shot finally chosen by the audience was "ramp to steer the ball outside of the game."
Joe then drew the proposed playfield layout on a large sheet of paper. He then told us that "pinball design is a matter of 'trial and error''". He next remarked that "there is no such thing as a 'bad idea' for a game, it only being bad if not mentioned at all".
As far as music for the game was concerned the "Curly Shuffle" was suggested by Joe. Various "stooges sound effects" were then discussed and demonstrated 'vocally', all being decided to be appropriate for the game. It was also suggested that the backglass start out as "black and white", it being "colorized" during play of the game (the "Ted Turner Mode").
A "laser kick" and "zipper flippers" were also suggested for use. The final suggestion for the design was a "jackpot" with a "pie in the face" motif. Joe then completed the drawing for the playfield and that concluded this session and also the Friday seminars. That evening the Exhibit Hall officially opened, but more about that later.
STATE OF THE HOBBY (PART 2)
When the seminars began again Saturday morning, Rob Berk re-introduced Steve Young and Gordon Hasse to continue the talk they began Friday morning, "The State of the Pinball Hobby".
Steve began by saying that he hoped to recap what was said yesterday. Then, he said, he would like to start a 'dialogue' with the audience, who he said represented "the community of pinball" and were responsible for "driving the hobby".
He next told us that this must be "a two-way thing", that he is only a "reporter", that he did not want to hoist his personal views on anyone, and just wants to "tell it as he sees it". He then told us that what we do will "set the vision/direction of future movement of the pinball collecting hobby".
Recapping from yesterday, Steve briefly mentioned the four areas he spoke about. Regarding "collecting", he said there were all sizes of collections, and that new collectors are coming in, many of which don't understand how to get parts.
Regarding the relation between price and value of games, he began by remarking that "play value" appears to be secondary as a "price factor", outweighed by "cosmetics" and the availability of games in a particular area. He added that "overall popularity" of a game was also important when it came to price.
After again mentioning the necessity of Dick Bueschel getting his new book out as soon as possible, Steve talked briefly about "restoration", talking about reproductions of backglasses, parts, etc. On the subject of price once more, Steve ended by saying that he "was not here to 'push up prices'".
At that point Gordon Hasse began reiterating Steve's statement that they were not there to "hoist their views on anyone", but only to "establish a dialogue" to "see what we think". He then said that a few good points had been expressed to him after yesterday's talk.
Gordon then began recapping the reasons he had previously given as to why pinball collecting has not achieved the status of other "collecting hobbies". Rather than repeating these here I will only mention those points where Gordon (or the audience) had some new information to ad since the previous day's talk.
When he talked about their being no displays of pins in museums, etc., Dave Marston from the audience reminded him of the new "video game and pinball museum" which had recently opened in St. Louis. Stan Harris' private collection was also mentioned which could be viewed "by appointment only".
When Gordon again mentioned "getting media attention for the hobby", he stated that we should try and contact local papers with pin-related stories. When he again talked of getting "academia" and the "popular culture associations" involved, he told us that Dan Fuller was "trying to help with that".
When Gordon again brought up the point that "no famous people" collected pins someone said that Walter Cronkite and Hugh Hefner had pins, as well as other "celebrities". When talking about the "lack of a significant marketplace for pins", Gordon remarked that the auction being conducted Sunday at the Expo was starting "a positive trend" in that direction.
Gordon ended his part of the presentation by challenging us to "do something positive to 'spread the word'". The audience was then asked if they had any questions or comments?
Steve was first asked if he is putting some type of article together to help? Steve answered, "no", saying that one person alone can't possibly do it and that he hopes others will do it. He then commented that there are more people writing about pins now than even before, but that most are writing about "their own personal feelings".
Gordon next said that he wanted to thank collector Bob Spieler for bringing part of his great pin collection to the show for all to enjoy, this drawing a big round of applause. He next told us that in the future he will be preparing an article on "backglass restoration" describing the results of a project he is currently engaged in using a professional artist.
Someone from the audience, who said he was "new to the hobby", then made the comment that he had never seen "such a bright group of people", suggesting that more of us write articles for the pin magazines. Steve then made what I consider to be a very good suggestion, that the magazines print lists of topics that people could write about. When someone made the comment that he did not write because he would not get paid for it, Steve responded that he always "donates" his articles.
Steve and Gordon were next asked "what is the advantage of higher prices for pins?" Gordon answered that the games in the Exhibit Hall this year were a good example, saying that the reason people brought so many great games to sell was because they thought the higher prices made it "practical" for them to do so.
The question was then asked if the International Flipper Pinball Assn. (IFPA) was really helping with media publicity for pins? Steve replied that a "national organization" for collectors could also help, adding that Sharon Harris would have more to say on the IFPA in the next seminar.
John Campbell from the audience next commented that "personal computer networks" (COMPUSERVE, etc.) could also aid in "getting the word out", asking if a dedicated pinball computer "bulletin board" might help? This, he went on, could provide "conferencing", ads, "chats", etc. on pin-related subjects. Steve commented that this was an "excellent idea", saying he had forgotten about that even though he had himself received information in that manner. Dave Marston then told of a pin-related area on an existing system, but saying at the present time it seemed to be mostly used by "solid-state fans".
Steve ended the presentation by encouraging people to contact him with ideas on "what people can do" to help publicize the hobby. Dick Bueschel then suggested that this talk be contributed to a magazine, which Steve said he would probably do.
Before beginning the next talk Rob Berk told us that, starting with next year's Expo, he planned to initiate a "Fireside Chat" session with a well-known pinball personage such as Wayne Neyens. He then reminded us of the "autograph session" scheduled for that afternoon, the "Art Contest", and also to sign a special giant card to be sent to Expo regular Harvey Heiss who could not attend this year due to illness. I, for one, sure missed this great gentleman, him being one of my all-time favorite "pin people".
Rob Berk next introduced Sharon Harris of Philadelphia who would be the "guest moderator" for the upcoming panel discussion, "Pinball Promotions, Tournaments, and League Play".
Sharon began by introducing herself, saying she was in her second term as President of the "International Flipper Pinball Assn." (IFPA). She then said that last year she described the IFPA to us, but that a lot had happened since then, the organization now having 36 "charters" even in the countries of Canada, Spain, and Yugoslavia.
Sharon then told us that the tournament they sponsored last year had over 400 entrants, and that the 1992 tournament would be held March 22-25 in Milwaukee. She then introduced her panel consisting of Steve Epstein of the Broadway Arcade in New York City who was also President of the "Professional/Amateur Pinball Assn." (PAPA), and Doug Young the Executive Director of IFPA.
At that point Steve told us that this was his 6th Expo and that this was the second year for the PAPA leagues. He said they now had leagues in Chicago, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and New York, and were expanding into Canada. Steve then told us that pinball was "a love of his" being basically a player. He next said that he had been playing pinball since 1955, and in 1964 began running the arcade started by his father many years earlier.
Steve then went on to say that the idea of having pinball leagues started with the competition he had always had playing against Roger Sharpe, realizing how the 'competitive spirit' can be motivating. Steve then told us that his first tournament was held in New York City, was open only to PAPA members, and was covered by the media (MTV, CNN, New York Times, etc.).
Steve next showed us a video of his first tournament. He then announced that the winner of this year's Expo "Flip-Out" tournament will be given a free trip to New York to participate in the next PAPA tournament, which he said would be "open to the general public". Finally Steve said that there is a need to establish more pinball tournaments all over the country, adding that pinball in the future should be like bowling is today.
Sharon next remarked that the "main goal" should be "to get the word out" about pinball, mentioning some recent publicity on TV, in the newspapers, etc.
At that point Doug Young began giving us some background of the IFPA. He began by telling us that it is "operator focused" (operators being given all the information needed to help promote tournaments), is "non-profit", and was started in July 1990. Funding, he went on, is from AMOA and the game manufacturers. He then said IFPA was run by a Board of Directors consisting of the President (Sharon) and four AMOA members. Doug then added that he was only an "employee" of the organization.
Doug next remarked that with tournaments "reward is what it's all about". He then said that for their first tournament the game manufacturers provided 80 games. Doug next told us that their tournaments are open to men, women, and youth; and to players of "all skill levels". He then remarked that "promotion is the key" and that his job is to get publicity, get new members, and to "solve problems", adding that he is always getting calls from people who want "new and different things".
Doug next told us that IFPA needs the cooperation of the manufacturers, the operators, and the players, and requires a "grass roots effort". He ended by telling us that he thought we were "on the threshold of something bigger", but that they have to work through the operators, adding that he "works from the top" but that we (the players) must "work from the bottom" if we want tournaments to be a success.
Steve Epstein then said that with PAPA they attempted to go "directly to the player", saying that a player can start a league at a bar, etc. He then talked of their "handicap system" for all skill levels, then telling of their "prize package" which consists of jackets, trophies, etc. Steve then told us that he feels that the operators have to be "pulled along" and that this was a "labor intensive promotion".
After describing his location which has 65 games, 18 of which are pins, and high rent and an immense overhead, he remarked that this should prove to operators that you can make money with pins. He ended by emphasizing "we really need player support" for PAPA to be successful.
Doug then told us that the players should "sound their horn" to the operators to let them know they want tournaments. He then quoted Sharon regarding the "excitement of playing", adding that "we all have the opportunity".
Sharon then told us that she was the "league director" of their company and that it was "grueling work". She then suggested to players that they be "sure of their commitment" before approaching an operator regarding tournaments. She added that, speaking as an operator, if operators have dedicated players it will work.
When the audience was asked if they had any questions for the panel, the first question asked was that always controversial one "what are you doing to correct the problem of badly maintained games in arcades?"
Steve began by saying that it is tough to get operators to maintain their games, calling it a "boom or bust situation". When Roger Sharpe commented that leagues can help when players demand that the games be working properly, Sharon agreed saying there's always "strength in numbers".
Doug then said that IFPA is a "conduit of information" and that operators will be required to participate in seminars on game maintenance subjects. Sharon added that IFPA also gives "helpful hints" to operators including "10 things to do to games in the shop" and "7 items to check on later on location".
Despite these comments from the panel, people in the audience voiced more "negative comments" regarding the subject of "on-site maintenance". Steve then commented "we can't dance around this issue", saying that one thing that can be done is for players to get together and boycott locations with badly maintained games.
When Sharon remarked that "street locations" were better than arcades as far as the problem was concerned, someone from the audience commented that those locations were just as bad. Another person then commented that in bars, etc., where they have only one or two games, that the operator was more inclined to keep them up because if he didn't the patrons wouldn't play and he would lose money. In arcades with many games, he went on, if one or two don't work properly players can always play another machine.
Another critic from the audience then told the panel that they were "missing the boat", saying that bowling leagues have forced bowling alleys to "give them what they want", so why can't pinball leagues do the same? This again got back to the "strength in numbers" idea.
After that long discussion resulting from the first question, the next question was far less controversial it being "how can leagues be conducted in bars?" Steve said that "bar leagues" are definitely possible, telling us that IFPA is oriented toward that type of location. Doug then commented that IFPA tries to follow a "program" similar to that used by darts leagues; what he referred to as a "traveling league". Sharon then told us that Doug himself is actually playing in a league. Finally, Steve said that PAPA can "blanket any type of location".
Doug was next asked if there were any operators in Chicago running tournaments? He replied that some operators in the area are getting started, but that there are not any tournaments set up yet. He then told us that the game manufacturers are taking a "firm roll" in encouraging operators to participate in tournaments.
Doug then told the person who was interested in Chicago area tournaments to see him for a list of local operators holding "IFPA charters". Sharon then commented that she uses every opportunity to "get the word out", telling of once when she brought up the subject during a city council meeting.
The panel was next asked what the difference was between IFPA and PAPA? Sharon replied that PAPA was "player oriented" (working "from the player up"), and IFPA is "operator oriented" (working from the operator "up to the manufacturer" and "down to the player").
The final question was "are any of your organizations sending out flyers?" Sharon answered that both have flyers, Steve adding that PAPA also advertises in the "trade papers".
Steve's final comment was that PAPA will have four different tournaments between February and April of 1992. Sharon ended by reiterating that a "grass roots effort" was required if tournaments were to succeed, adding "we need your help!"
For the next seminar Rob Berk introduced Don Patzke and his son Mark of Multi Products, a company which has been making motors for the coin machine industry for many years, to give a talk titled "Pinball Score Motors". Don began by thanking Rob for inviting him to the Expo, and the coin machine industry for supporting his company for over 45 years.
Don first told us that he got into this business 45 years ago working for a company called Electric Motor Corp. He said that motors in those days were "low torque" and used brass gears and pinions. As the machines got more complex, he went on, clutches, etc., were added to the motors.
Don then told us that over the years they sold motors to most of the game manufacturers such as Genco, United, Williams, Gottlieb, and Midway. He then said that when it was found that the gears they originally used tended to wear out, they switched to heavy duty gears employing steel gears and pinions, and that they "continually upgraded their products".
Manufacturers today, Don continued, are working for a "quality product". He said his company sometimes supplies 5 to 7 thousand motors a week with very few being returned to them as being faulty. In the old days, he then told us, he used to visit all the plants.
Don then told us that today many companies have special requirements. For example, he went on, four years ago Williams needed a very small 12 volt D.C. motor, and when his company was given the requirements they were able to modify an existing product to fit.
Don went on to say that their company often makes improvements in their products when a customer has a complaint or gives them a new requirement, always "adjusting to the customer's needs". Most of his competitors, he told us, will not "change to fit". As an example, he told of making an "oscillating motor" required by a customer using the same idea used in oscillating electric fans.
During the talk they passed around examples of some of their motors for us to look at. After describing some of their older motors, Don told a story of their "quick response" in the past to a customer's special requirement.
He said he once got a call from a game manufacturer who needed a motor the next day for a baseball game. Don said he drove in a storm and worked all night so the game could go into production at 8 AM the next morning, adding "it's crazy what you can do when you really want to do it".
At that point Don asked if there were any questions? It was first asked if they recommended lubricating the gears on a motor unit? Don answered that if it was an "open motor" you should use "DTE" oil, but that "enclosed motor units" are pre-lubricated.
When asked if they could still replace old motors when they go bad, Don answered "yes", saying that only the other day they replaced a 1964 Chicago Coin motor for someone. When Don was next asked if there was any chance of replacing motors on foreign Playmatic games he replied "if you have a part number we'll see".
At that point Steve Kordek of Williams congratulated Don and his company for the "tremendous job" they had always done for the industry. He then told of the "rigorous testing" that Williams does on motors they receive, and how if a problem is found Don's company is always ready to correct it.
Someone from the audience next asked if Don could rebuild a motor from just looking at it? He replied that they still repair old United motors, adding that they will repair almost any motor sent to them for $20 with a one or two day "turnaround". When asked about a common problem which occurs in the "ferris wheel motor" on Williams CYCLONE, Don simply replied "that's not one of our motors".
Don was next asked if he could repair Coke machine motors? At first he answered "no", but then he commented "it may be possible; send it in and we'll try". He then said that sometimes they even "copy" motors. Don then told us that, in addition to pins, his company made motors for arcade games, jukeboxes, "horse race games", etc.
When asked if their motors always have the company name on them, Don replied "yes". The final question to Don was if 50 and 60 cycle motors could be interchanged? He said that interchanging them would affect the speed and "heat dissipation", adding that they could always replace a motor with one of the right frequency.
Finally, someone from the audience told of having an old Keeney shuffle alley with a bad motor. He said he sent it to Don's company and they fixed it!
On a personal note, I myself would sure like to compliment Don and Mark and their company on their gracious effort to repair any of their past products for a cost of only $20! I seriously doubt that any other company in the country would do anything like that. Thanks guys!
For the next to the last of the Expo seminars Rob Berk began his introduction by saying: "Nine months in the making - who was the team? - the game was FUN HOUSE." Rob then introduced the leader of the Williams design team for that game Pat Lawler.
Pat began by saying "hey, it's only pinball", but quickly added "we know better - it's a life and death struggle for 25 cents!" He then told us that today he was going to tell us how he designed a game with a group of "specialists". Pat then introduced Larry DeMar, their "software genius", and John Crutch, their mechanical engineer/designer, who he said "makes all those 'wonderful toys' used in their games."
Pat then remarked that pins have changed drastically in the last 5 years. In the past, he said, a few people could design a game, but now a pingame consists of "a number of 'whole little worlds' in a cabinet" - a "brand new form of entertainment". Comparing a modern game to a movie, he said it needs a "story line", "special effects", etc. He then added that only part of the "team" was there, it taking hundreds of people to actually produce it.
At that point Pat introduced their artist/illustrator John Youssi who was also involved in creating the dummy called "Rudy" which was an integral part of the game. He then introduced Chris Granner who was responsible for the sound/music. Pat then told us that "Rudy" says over 120 different things requiring 4 megabytes of "digitized speech". He then congratulated Chris on these accomplishments which drew a round of applause.
Pat next began talking about design in general. In answer to the question "what is pinball?", Pat answered that to "us" (the players) it is a "great entertainment device". But to "them" (the makers) it has a "whole different perspective".
As an illustration of what he called "design perspective", Pat drew a chart illustrating the "chain" which he said the manufacturers have to "satisfy" with their products. From the top down it consisted of the "Design Team" (about 10 people); the Manufacturing Plant (100's of people); the Distributors (in the 1000's); the Operators (in the tens of thousands); and finally the Players (in the millions).
Pat then explained that they must "sell" their product all through that "chain", and if any level is disappointed they "have a problem". He then said that many people tend to forget that each "intermediate level" must make a profit, adding that to each "level" the game is a "different commodity". Pat then added that they can't skip any level of the chain because without it the "game can't end up with you".
Pat next said that producing a new game takes 3 important items: money, people, and time. When they start a new game, he told us, they are given two "directives" from the company: an amount of time (9 months, for example), and so much money. If either of these is exceeded, he went on, someone in the "chain" gets "angry".
Pat next explained that if the cost to produce a game goes up then the price per play must be raised by the operator. He said for this reason features often have to be removed from a proposed design. He then added that they were "lucky" because at Williams management usually leaves the design team alone after giving their initial directives. Pat then drew a "time line" showing events in the design process, which he added to as his talked progressed.
At that point programmer Larry DeMar got up to tell us what he did for the game. He first said that the programmer also contributes to "everything you experience as a result of the program". FUN HOUSE, he went on, was a particular challenge because, in addition to the "normal design", he had "Rudy" to contend with, resulting in "mechanical" as well as program challenges.
Larry said the two biggest challenges that Rudy caused for him were getting his jaw to follow his speech, and what he called "Rudy's 'moods'". These 'moods' he described as being "happy", "real angry", and "excited" (during "multi-ball play"), adding that a different "speech repertoire" was required for each mood. At that point Larry introduced Ed Boone in the audience who did the voice for Rudy.
Pat Lawler then got up and said more about satisfying the "middle part of the 'chain'" (distributors and operators), who he said they "had to keep happy". Pat said their design had to include maintenance and bookkeeping aids, in addition to 'play features', adding that they introduced a new "software operating system" with FUN HOUSE. He then commented that if the programmer knew from the start what the game should do his job would be much easier, adding that that was usually not the case.
Artist John Youssi next got up and started by saying that each artist has a different approach. On FUN HOUSE, he went on, Rudy also gave him extra problems. He told us that when he first "met" Rudy he was only a hole in a "whitewood" prototype. He said he then prepared sketches of "potential Rudys" which he showed to Pat and from which he picked the one he wanted to use.
The selected sketches, John then told us, were given to a "model maker" who made the first model of Rudy. He then told of sketching his ideas for the backglass, cabinet, playfield, etc., from which Pat again made his choices. John then showed us various sketches, drawings, etc., leading up to the final artwork for the game.
Pat next told us that on most games they use 13 to 16 passes of silk screening to produce the playfield art. After showing us the first model of Rudy, he remarked that the game always changes during the design process. Larry DeMar then said that all during the design they received inputs/opinions from many people which he said was often a "political battle". He then remarked that the best games are often the ones which cause the most argument.
At that point Chris Granner began to tell us more about the game's sounds. He began by remarking that "Larry doesn't like anything", saying that he "had to do 110 percent the first time to satisfy him". Chris then gave details on how he created the sounds for FUN HOUSE, talking of the many changes he had to make as the design progressed and the various types of music which the game required.
Pat Lawler then remarked that all that is required to produce today's games is "highly technical" and that games are no longer simple and require many "professionals" to design them. After remarking that Larry DeMar was the "unheralded conscience of Williams", Pat told us that the team often worked until 2 or 3 AM. He then said that their work keeps the factory workers in a job. Finally, Chris remarked "we love what we do and hope it shows in the product."
At that point Pat showed some slides which showed various changes made to the game during the design process. He then talked briefly about testing new designs using people at the factory to see if people can understand "how to play the game". Pat then showed us the "Game Of The Year" award that FUN HOUSE had won at the AMOA show.
Pat then asked if we had any questions? When asked where the name "Rudy" came from, Pat said that when he asked his 5 year old daughter what to name it she immediately answered "Rudy". When Chris was then asked if he wrote his music on paper, he answered "yes", adding that he had to enter each note "by hand" into a computer system.
It was next asked if any of the game's "rules" had to be changed after it's first "location tryout"? Larry replied that only one such change had to be made. The session ended with the question "isn't it expensive to make 'late changes' to a game?" Pat simply answered "yes, it is".
ELECTRO-MECHANICAL PINBALL REPAIR
The final seminar of this year's Expo was presented by collector Tim Arnold who Rob Berk introduced as "a collector extraordinaire", and was titled "Electro-mechanical Pinball Repair ("Hands-On Workshop")".
In his introduction Rob told us that Tim got his first pin years ago in Michigan, and now has a collection of over 600 machines. He then remarked that in order to own games you have to know how to fix them, the purpose of Tim's talk.
Tim began by saying that in order to properly maintain your game you must have a "tool box" equipped with the proper tools, proceeding to tell us what to use. Tim first suggested having two good soldering irons, one "high power" and one "low power". For solder he said to always use a good "60/40" rosin core type; never acid core! He then added that "soldering flux" should be used for some jobs.
After suggesting that we use a good quality electrical tape for insulation, Tim told us we should never us "WD-40" as it is an "electrical inhibitor". He also advised that we be careful with "contact cleaners" as they can damage the silver in the contacts, suggesting we use a fine file (except for gold contacts).
On the subject of fuses, Tim told us to always replace burnt out ones with the exact value called for, and then said they could be replaced with "circuit breakers". For removing fuses he suggested using a "fuse puller".
As far as "nut wrenches" were concerned, Tim suggested buying a good set (no cheap ones!) including at least: 5/16, 11/32, and 1/4 inch sizes. He then suggested a "good selection of pliers", including "needle nose" and good "wire cutters".
For lubrication Tim recommended using a good brand of "white lube". If you need to repair a broken part he suggested using a good brand of "super glue" (again no "cheapies").
Tim next said your tool kit should contain a good set of socket wrenches, assorted screw drivers, and a set of disposable Allen wrenches. In addition, he suggested a good "power screwdriver". That ended Tim's discussion of "the pinball tool box".
Tim then showed us the 1970's vintage pingame he was going to use in his maintenance demonstrations, saying it was representative of an average electro-mechanical machine. He then proceed to demonstrate the proper removal of the playfield glass, cautioning us not to pull it out part way and let it "hang", and not to tap tempered glass on it's edges. He said you should let the glass land on the top of your feet and then set it aside safely.
After reminding us to remove the ball before you raise the playfield, he raised the field on the game and set it on it's stick prop in preparation for a detailed demonstration of flipper maintenance. Tim began that discussion saying that if your flippers have "low power" the coil may need replacing, and if it gets unduly warm that's probably the case.
After showing how to correctly remove the "set screws", Tim demonstrated removing the flipper shaft assembly. He then told us that we should clean it and not over-lubricate it. Tim next demonstrated removing the "plunger assembly" and how to clean it, adding that the "linkage" should be replaced if worn. To remove the "roll pin" easily he suggested heating it first and then removing it using a small punch.
After showing how to remove the "flipper bracket", Tim demonstrated removing the coil. He then told us to check the "coil stop", and if it is worn to replace it, also using new screws. Tim next advised us to check the coil and "sleeve", saying that if the sleeve is at all worn it should be replaced. As far as the coil was concerned, he told us that if it's wrapper looks burnt the coil should be replaced.
Tim next advised that you "test" the solder joints on the coil and "End-of Stroke" (EOS) switch by tugging on the wires, adding that it's a good idea to "beef up" the jumper wire to the EOS switch with "18 gauge" wire. He then suggested that the EOS switch be checked carefully and adjusted, filing the points if dirty, or replacing them if bad.
At that point I had to leave Tim's interesting seminar to attend the "autograph session" in which I had been invited to participate. When I later asked a person who stayed until the end what went on after I left, he told me that Tim went on into detail on "pop bumper" maintenance in a manner similar to what he had done with flippers. This was followed, he told me, with a "question and answer session" which included much discussion on "lamp socket problems".
Old-time pinball artists Jerry Kelly and George Molentin seated at autograph table.
THE AUTOGRAPH SESSION
Several months before the Expo I received a letter and "form" in the mail inviting me to participate in a "Pinball Designers, Artists, and Authors Autograph Session", a new feature at Expo '91. I felt greatly honored to be asked and immediately responded by sending in the form, acknowledging my acceptance of the offer.
The session was held in a special room set up with two long tables that the participants sat behind and space to display artwork, etc. The Expo guests who wanted to get autographs (or just say "hello" to the designers, artists, and authors) could walk in front of the tables, stopping to see whomever they wanted.
Where I sat, at the beginning of the table nearest the door, I was in "pretty good company". To my right was ace pinball designer Steve Ritchie who, during the session, autographed many copies of the brochure for his latest hit, TERMINATOR 2 (I even got one!).
Next to Steve were two old-time great pinball artists, George Molentin who did much of the great art for the pins of the 1940's and 1950's, and 1960's artist Jerry Kelley whose Expo talk the previous day I have already reported on.
After a while we were asked to move down a little to make room for Bally designer of the 1970's Greg Kmeik, who designed such great games as CAPTAIN FANTASTIC and WIZARD. I had the privilege of sitting next to Greg for a little while, and even got him to autograph the photograph of my CAPTAIN FANTASTIC machine.
I myself got to sell and autograph a few copies of my book "Pinball Troubleshooting Guide, and to talk to others who already owned a copy. I also got to meet another author of a pinball troubleshooting book, Henk de Jager from Holland. He later showed me a copy of his book which looked wonderful, except that it was written in Dutch and I could not read a word of it!
Later on, when the crowd thinned out, I hurried to my room to get my copy of Englishman Brian Temple's book "Pinball Art", which I had purchased the day before, and brought it back to the autograph room to get a few autographs myself. I was able to get great pinball artists such as George Molentin, Jerry Kelley, Dave Christensen, and others to autograph in my book next to the pictures of some of the great backglasses they created.
All in all, I really enjoyed participating in this event, and really felt privileged to be able to sit with such distinguished personages of the pinball industry.
After the usual pre-banquet "cocktail hour" for mingling, and the always good meal which has been associated with all past Expos, we settled back for the after dinner program.
The guest speaker this year had been announced as old-time Bally personage Paul Calimari who attended, and was involved with a great seminar, at the first Expo. I had been looking forward to seeing and talking to Paul again, and so was extremely disappointed and saddened when Rob Berk announced that Paul could not be present due to a minor traffic accident, adding however that he was "OK".
In Paul's stead Rob had engaged a magician who presented an entertaining program using people from the audience, including Alvin Gottlieb. This, however, to me was no substitute for a pin industry old- timer.
After the magic show Canadian Aaron Benditt was asked to come up and present prizes to the winners of his "name that 'tune'" contest which he had conducted during the Expo "opening remarks" on Friday morning. He declared 2 winners, one from the manufacturers people and one from the "others". The winners, each having guessed 21 out of 25 "pinball voices" Aaron had imitated, were Larry DeMar for the manufacturers, and a fellow named Rob Rosenhaus.
At that point Rob Berk came back up on stage and asked for a show of hands of the Expo "first timers"; there were quite a few. He then asked for "2nd-timers", etc., ending with how many had attended all 7 shows? There were also quite a few of us.
Rob next announced that he was going to tell us of "a new idea for the future". He then asked designer Greg Kmiek, who was in part responsible for the idea, to come up and gave him a package to open. The package contained a large plaque titled "Pinball Hall of Fame". Rob told us that the first 4 members had been decided upon, and that two more would be added each year. The four "chosen ones" were Gottlieb founder David Gottlieb, Bally founder Ray Moloney, Williams founder Harry Williams, and Harry's ex- partner and later founder of Stern Electronics, Sam Stern.
Rob next presented the award for "best exhibit". which for the second year in a row went to Steve Engle and his wife's "Pinball Supermarket" display. Rob told us that they assembled it first in their basement at home, then dismantling it to be reassembled at the Expo.
Rob next talked about a "special project" which he called his "dream". He told of the pingame, FLIP-OUT, which had been designed for the Expo by Reinhard ("Reiny") Bangerter and put together by Data East. He said that the game was not totally operational, but was on display in the Exhibit Hall. Rob then presented plaques to "Reiny" and artist Greg Feres who did the artwork for the game.
Rob then told us that he was going to introduce "a gentleman with a mission", who he said helped Joe Kaminkow with the creation of Data East's STAR TREK game. He then introduced Jim Schelberg. Mike Pacak next told us that three years ago Jim first attended the Expo and ended up buying his first pin. Since then, Mike went on, he started publishing the all pinball magazine "PinGame Journal".
Jim then told us that the game manufacturers had been a great help to him in the production of his magazine, and that he wanted to show his appreciation. He then proceeded to give plaques, which featured a color reproduction of his first issue, to company representatives Mike Gottlieb of A. Gottlieb and Co., Roger Sharpe of Williams/Bally/Midway, and Mike Vrettos of Premier. Jim next presented a special plaque to Joe Kaminkow of Data East which also included the cover of the issue of the magazine with STAR TREK on it.
Finally, Jim remarked that Rob Berk was always giving out plaques, and that it was about time that he got one. Jim and Mike Pacak then presented Rob with a plaque for all his efforts in putting on the Expos, Jim quipping that it entitled Rob to "all the Williams Add-A-Ball games - if he paid for them himself".
After asking Wisconsin collector Mark Weyna to come up, Rob asked the question: "who will be 80 years old in December?" Industry veteran and Expo regular Steve Kordek stood up. After coming up on stage Steve was presented (by Mark, Jim, and Rob) a Genco TRIPLE ACTION pingame - Genco's first flipper game which Steve designed, a machine which Mark had located. That drew a big round of applause from the audience.
After thanking them for the game, which was a real surprise for him, Steve quipped that he remembered that when his father "turned 40" that he thought that was "old". He then praised whom he called the "young kids" for keeping the pingame industry alive today.
Steve then told us that Williams/Bally/Midway "loves to honor individuals for their accomplishments". He went on to say that tonight they were going to honor one person; one of the Bally employees who came to Williams during the integration of the two company's game production operations in 1988.
This person, Steve said, began with Bally in 1965, is proudest of the Bally game ODDS AND EVENS which he designed, and has recently been made the company's "Project Manager of Scheduling and Development". Steve then asked Jim Patla to come up, presenting him with their company's "Golden Eagle Award".
Jim next told us that it was a surprise to most of the Bally people when they suddenly discovered that they were going to work for Williams and that they had "mixed emotions" about the change. He said that the two companies had always been "competitors" in the past, but were also "friends". He ended by remarking that Williams had "brought pins to new heights", and that it was "good to get back to a company that's behind pinball".
At that point Rob Berk again came up and began thanking various Expo participants. He first thanked the exhibitors, with "special thanks" to Pennsylvania collector Bob Spieler for bringing many of the fine restored games from his collection for Expo visitors to play. This drew a big round of applause.
Rob next thanked the game manufacturers for their participation, and Williams/Bally/Midway for letting us tour their plant. He then acknowledged the designer of PARTY ZONE (the game used in the Flip-Out tournament qualifying rounds) Dennis Nordham and the artist Paul Feres. They both stood up and drew another round of applause. Rob then thanked Steve Epstein for offering the winner of Flip-Out a free trip to New York City to play in his PAPA tournament.
At that point Rob asked that all the foreign Expo visitors stand up and then come up on stage; there were quite a few! He then announced the countries they represented, which included: Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, and The Netherlands.
Rob then told us that this was a "special year", it being the 5th Anniversary of Data East Pinball. He then brought out a "Birthday Cake" and had all sing "Happy Anniversary" to Data East. Rob then asked Data East President Gary Stern and Head of Design Joe Kaminkow to come up, remarking that they had both "been through a lot" in the past five years. The cake was then cut, the foreign visitors getting the first helpings.
Rob next thanked his Expo staff and then presented Exhibit Hall Chairman Mike Pacak with a bag. When Mike opened it he found a "jukebox tie" and a cup. A drawing was next held to give away a KING OF DIAMONDS backglass donated by Arizona collector Dann Frank. As luck would have it, it was won by Bob Spieler, which I thought was deserved since Bob brought some of his wonderful games for us to enjoy.
After presenting awards to the "women's division" of the Flip-Out tournament, the wining raffle tickets were drawn. Two brand new pins, Gottlieb's CACTUS JACKS and Data East's TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, donated by the manufacturers, were given to two lucky persons.
After the raffle, the "door prizes" were given out, including books, magazines, coils, T-shirts, etc. The last item of banquet business was the awarding of prizes in a "pinball art contest" which was also held during the Expo this year. Prize categories included: photographs, clothing, drawings, "youth submissions", and paintings.
That ended this year's banquet. After it was over most people went to the Exhibit Hall to either watch the Flip-Out tournament final playoffs, play the many pins there, or just browse around again. By the way, the final winners of Flip-Out were California "wizard" Rick Stetta, and for the manufacturers, ex-Californian, now Chicago game designer extraordinaire, Jon Norris.
THE EXHIBIT HALL
This year I believe there were more games in the Exhibit Hall than ever before. With a few exceptions, prices were reasonable, even though they have increased somewhat over the years. This year for the first time there were even two "OK bingos", and a very rare payout pingame, Bally's 1937 classic GOLDEN WHEEL.
As I mentioned earlier, Bob Spieler had a row of his beautifully restored classic pins from the 1950's and 1960's, set up for all to play and enjoy. New games from the manufacturers were of course also shown. Williams/Bally/Midway had a very nice display, as well as a line of their latest PARTY ZONE games set up for use in the Flip-Out tournament qualifying rounds.
Premier had three of their latest: CLASS OF 1812; Reinhard Bangerter's CACTUS JACK'S; and Jon Norris' latest design, a fascinating game called SURF 'N SAFARI. Data East Pinball had a large display of their recent hits, plus a "one-of-a-kind" game, OPERATION DESERT STORM, with caricatures of Saddam Hussein, and President George Bush on the backglass.
The following is a chronological listing of all the pingames I saw in the hall:
NAME MFG YEAR PRICE ____________________________ ________________ ____ ______ BUNNY BOARD Marble Games Co. 32 375 WOW ? 32 450 JIGSAW Rockola 33 950 JUGGLE BALL Rockola 33 ? BUMPER Bally 36 ? GOLDEN WHEEL Bally 37 1000 ALL AMERICAN Chicago Coin 40 ? FORMATION Genco 40 600 ABC BOWLER Gottlieb 41 295 BOLA WAY (AS IS) Chicago Coin 41 OFFER SUPER SCORE Chicago Coin 46 ? BERMUDA (AS IS) Chicago Coin 47 ? BOWLING LEAGUE (AS IS) Gottlieb 47 ? CAROUSEL Keeney 47 295 CYCLONE Williams 47 350 CYCLONE Williams 47 550 HAVANA United 47 350 HUMPTY DUMPTY Gottlieb 47 1200 HUMPTY DUMPTY (AS IS) Gottlieb 47 300 BABY FACE United 48 395 CINDERELLA (AS IS) Gottlieb 48 300 LADY ROBIN HOOD (AS IS) Gottlieb 48 300 TEMPTATION (AS IS) Chicago Coin 48 ? TROPICANA United 48 400 GOLDEN GLOVES Chicago Coin 49 395 QUARTERBACK Williams 49 875 THREE FEATHERS (AS IS) Genco 49 300 BANK-A-BALL Gottlieb 50 NOT FOR SALE KNOCKOUT Gottlieb 50 1500 STADIUM Chicago Coin 51 400 HIT AND RUN Gottlieb 52 NOT FOR SALE QUEEN OR HEARTS Gottlieb 52 NOT FOR SALE FOUR BELLES Gottlieb 54 NOT FOR SALE GYPSY QUEEN Gottlieb 55 NOT FOR SALE PETER PAN Williams 55 500 SLUGGIN' CHAMP Gottlieb 55 NOT FOR SALE HARBOR LIGHTS Gottlieb 56 NOT FOR SALE ACE HIGH Gottlieb 57 NOT FOR SALE CRISS CROSS Gottlieb 58 NOT FOR SALE ROTO POOL Gottlieb 58 NOT FOR SALE SITTIN' PRETTY Gottlieb 58 NOT FOR SALE TURF CHAMPS Williams 58 NOT FOR SALE DARTS Williams 60 NOT FOR SALE DARTS Williams 60 200 WAGON TRAIN Gottlieb 60 NOT FOR SALE EGG HEAD Gottlieb 61 500 FLIPPER PARADE (AAB) Gottlieb 61 675 FOTO FINISH Gottlieb 61 395 LANCERS Gottlieb 61 450 SHOW BOAT Gottlieb 61 500 COVER GIRL Gottlieb 62 400 FLIPPER CLOWN (AAB) Gottlieb 62 NOT FOR SALE GOLDEN GATE (BINGO) Bally 62 850 JOLLY JOKERS Williams 62 NOT FOR SALE RACK-A-BALL Gottlieb 62 500, 550 SILVER SAILS(BINGO) Bally 62 950 GAUCHO Gottlieb 63 500 SLICK CHICK Gottlieb 63 NOT FOR SALE SLICK CHICK Gottlieb 63 700, 1000 SQUARE HEAD (AAB) Gottlieb 63 300 SWEETHEARTS Gottlieb 63 450 SWING TIME Williams 63 NOT FOR SALE OH BOY Williams 64 NOT FOR SALE BUCKAROO Gottlieb 65 NOT FOR SALE COWPOKE (AAB) Gottlieb 65 800 ICE REVIEW Gottlieb 65 600 KINGS AND QUEENS Gottlieb 65 NOT FOR SALE CENTRAL PARK Gottlieb 66 1000 CROSS TOWN Gottlieb 66 750 CROSS TOWN Gottlieb 66 NOT FOR SALE FUN CRUISE Bally 66 175 HURDY GURDY (AAB) Gottlieb 66 995 APOLLO Williams 67 NOT FOR SALE DIAMOND JACK (AAB) Gottlieb 67 600 DIAMOND JACK (AAB) Gottlieb 67 NOT FOR SALE MELODY (AAB) Gottlieb 67 600 SING ALONG Gottlieb 67 450, 650 SING ALONG Gottlieb 67 NOT FOR SALE SURF SIDE Gottlieb 67 175 DAFFIE Williams 68 295 DING DONG Williams 68 260, 450 FUN PARK Gottlieb 68 350 LADY LUCY Williams 68 295 PALACE GUARD (AAB) Gottlieb 68 650 PIT STOP Williams 68 295 PIT STOP Williams 68 NOT FOR SALE PLAYTIME Chicago Coin 68 350 SPIN-A-CARD Gottlieb 69 450 FLIP-A-CARD Gottlieb 70 450 FORU SQUARE Gottlieb 71 400 FOUR MILLION BC Bally 71 NOT FOR SALE FOUR MILLION BC Bally 71 950, 1350 PLAYBALL Gottlieb 71 400 ROLLER COASTER Gottlieb 71 ? FIREBALL Bally 72 1500 FLYING CARPET Gottlieb 72 395, 450 GRANADA (AAB) Williams 72 NOT FOR SALE GRAND SLAM Gottlieb 72 NOT FOR SALE GRAND SLAM Gottlieb 72 400 ORBIT Gottlieb 72 ? WORLD SERIES Gottlieb 72 400, 450 HI LO ACE Bally 73 275 MONTE CARLO Bally 73 900 NIP IT Bally 73 650, 1000 HI FLYER Chicago Coin 74 325 LUCKY ACE Williams 74 295 SKY DIVE Gottlieb 74 295 SKYLAB Williams 74 NOT FOR SALE TRIPLE ACTION Williams 74 400 SPIN OUT Gottlieb 75 ? STAR POOL Williams 75 495 WIZARD Bally 75 400, 750, 800 ALADIN'S CASTLE Bally 76 395 CAPTAIN FANTASTIC Bally 76 800, 1000 FLIP FLOP Bally 76 475 GRAND PRIX Williams 76 200 JUKE BOX Chicago Coin 76 495 OLD CHICAGO Bally 76 750 PIONEER Gottlieb 76 295, 350 SHIP AHOY Gottlieb 76 295 EIGHT BALL Bally 77 800 JACK'S OPEN Gottlieb 77 450 TEAM ONE (AAB) Gottlieb 77 395 BLACK JACK Bally 78 ? DRAGON Gottlieb 78 ? FOXY LADY (TABLE) Game Plan 78 500 LOST WORLD Bally 78 500 MATI HARI Bally 78 650 NUGENT Stern 78 ? PLAYBOY Bally 78 975, 1295 POWER PLAY Bally 78 495 SINBAD Gottlieb 78 175 STRIKES AND SPARES Bally 78 ? DISCO FEVER Williams 79 ? FLASH (AS IS) Williams 79 295 HERCULES Atari 79 ? KISS Bally 79 700 LASER BALL Williams 79 495 METEOR Stern 79 300 SHARPSHOOTER Game Plan 79 500 SOLAR RIDE Gottlieb 79 ? STELLAR WARS (AS IS) Williams 79 250 TRI ZONE Williams 79 ? ASTEROID ANNIE Gottlieb 80 450 BLACK BELT Zaccaria 80 800 BLACK KNIGHT Williams 80 950 FIREPOWER Williams 80 ? FLASH GORDON Bally 80 750 SKATEBALL Bally 80 600, 650 SPACE INVADERS Bally 80 595 XENON Bally 80 750 BLACK HOLE Gottlieb 81 495 CAVEMAN Gottlieb 81 595 CENTAUR Bally 81 800 EIGHT BALL DELUXE Bally 81 400, 650 ELEKTRA Bally 81 475, 750 FATHOM Bally 81 450, 700, 750 FIREBALL II Bally 81 ? FLASH GORDON Bally 81 750 JUNGLE LORD Williams 81 ? LIGHTNING Stern 81 ? MEDUSA Bally 81 550 HAUNTED HOUSE Gottlieb 82 1000 MR. AND MRS. PACMAN Bally 82 600 ORBITOR I Stern 82 ? X'S AND O'S Bally 83 750 SPACE SHUTTLE Williams 84 750, 795 BOUNTY HUNTER Gottlieb 85 400 CYBERNAUT Bally 85 ? EIGHT BALL CHAMP Bally 85 795, 800 SORCERER Williams 85 895 GENESIS Gottlieb 86 695 GOLD WINGS Gottlieb 86 695 HOLLYWOOD HEAT Gottlieb 86 995 RAVEN Gottlieb 86 ? ROAD KINGS Williams 86 895 BIG GUNS Williams 87 ? F-14 TOMCAT Williams 87 OFFER FIRE Williams 87 1195 LASER WAR Data East 87 ? MONTE CARLO Gottlieb 87 575 CYCLONE Williams 88 1695 DIAMOND LADY Gottlieb 88 1000 SECRET SERVICE Data East 88 ? BLACK KNIGHT 2000 Williams 89 1595 POOL SHARKS Bally 8? 1695 BACK TO THE FUTURE Data East 90 NEW CACTUS JACK'S Gottlieb 90 NEW GAME SHOW Bally 90 1595 GILIGAN'S ISLAND Bally 90 NEW OPERATION DESERT STORM Data East 90 NOT FOR SALE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Data East 90 NEW KING KONG Data East 90 NEW CLASS OF 1812 Gottlieb 91 NEW STAR TREK Data East 91 NEW SURF 'N SAFARI Gottlieb 91 NEW TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Data East 91 2495 TERMINATOR II Williams 91 NEW
In addition to games, there were also some pingame "parts" available for purchase. Steve Engle and his wife had their "Pinball Supermarket", which was mentioned earlier, with a nice assortment of parts and literature. There was also another booth selling used pinball parts. Donal Murphey, of course, was also selling his fine "remakes" of pinball plastic parts (bumper caps and drop targets).
There were also two fine "reproduction" backglasses available this year, each made by a different process. Steve Young and Donal Murphey were selling a fine reproduction of Gottlieb's 1954 classic DRAGONETTE, while Rob Berk and Steve Engle were selling a great SLICK CHICK repro glass.
As far as literature was concerned, Mike Pacak had his usual fine selection of pinball brochures, and Steve Young his fine assortment of reproductions of old pinball parts catalogs and other literature. The new all pinball magazine, PinGame Journal, was also represented, it's publisher Jim Schelberg having his own booth.
Due to the large number of exhibitors there was an "overflow section" of the Exhibit Hall which was actually located outside the entrance to the main hall. This area contained one or two game dealer booths, the display of the special pingame modified for the handicapped described in a Friday morning lecture, and a large area occupied by Las Vegas collector, turned "philanthropist" Tim Arnold, who also gave the previously described seminar on game repair.
All proceeds from Tim's booth, he told us, went to charity. First, Tim was selling excellent color photographs of many of the older games in his over 600 machine collection. Also he was "selling" one of his famous "hand made" books which, among other things, contained a listing of all the flipper games he owned, and which ones he was looking for.
But, associated with this Tim had an interesting "gimmick". For the $1 charity donation you paid for the book you got one play on a special "upright" game machine Tim had constructed. A coin would be dropped in at the top, would "filter down" through various pins, etc., and could land in one of several special "pockets". If you got into these "pockets" you could "win" either a banana (like I did) or a piece of toast (with the jam of your choice). A fun idea indeed!
This year, for the first time, the Exhibit Hall was open totally on Sunday. And, as a special feature Sunday afternoon, a company called U.S. Amusement Auctions conducted a coin machine auction (mostly pins, but some jukeboxes, etc.) in a large room adjacent to the Exhibit Hall. This attracted many bidders, and games from the 1960's through the 1980's were sold; some cheap and others quite a bit higher.
Well, there you have it again, another detailed description of almost all that went on at another great Pinball Expo. And if this entices you, and you haven't been to one before, Pinball Expo '92 is already scheduled for the evening of November 12 (Exhibit Hall opens at 6 PM Thursday night, with no "preview fee") through Sunday November 15. I am absolutely sure that Rob and Mike have more surprises in store this year, so I'll see you there!
For further information write Rob Berk at "Pinball Expo Headquarters"; 2671 Youngstown Rd. SE; Warren, Ohio 44484; or call him at (216) 372-4652, or call Mike Pacak at 1-800-321-2722.
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