Jon Crispin's Notebook

Pinball

Posted in Art, Family, History by joncrispin on 30/01/2012

I started playing pinball at  Gabby Avenue News in Meadville when I was in junior high.  Almost every morning before school I would try to get in a few games before dashing off to homeroom.  After that, I played mostly at the College Pizza Villa on North Main Street.  When I got to Wittenberg, I was happy to see that there were 4 or 5 machines in the basement of the student union.  To say the least, I was a regular down there.  With the advent of video games, the popularity of pinball faded, and the machines that were being made were not so interesting to me.  They were way too complicated with multiple levels and lots of ramps and extra bells and whistles.  For me, the heyday of the pins was from the mid 60s to the mid 70s. /  Peter has always been interested in my  younger days and he loves to hear me tell stories about growing up in Meadville.  He especially liked the pinball related anecdotes.  /  Some time ago my brother got a machine for his basement.  It is made by Stern and is the Elvis model.  It is one of the later designs, and initially it didn’t interest me so much.  But whenever we would visit, Pete would head down and spend lots of time playing.  Eventually I became hooked and we now play quite a bit together.  Because of his CP, he plays both flippers with his right hand, and he is amazing good.  /  Union doesn’t regularly have any machines, but during special weekend events they bring in one or two that are set up to play for free.  Cristine and I were visiting him yesterday and he and I went over to Reamer and played this one.  Like the Elvis game, it is of the modern variety with way too much going on, but as you can see in the high score list, I totally killed it.  Score inflation has gotten out of hand though; over a billion points is just wrong.  At some point during my big game, Carlene Carter’s “Every Little Thing” started playing and after we were done, I was surprised to see in the credits that the female voice that pops up on occasion was hers.  Weird, but I went to iTunes today and bought the song.

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  1. Theanne said, on 30/01/2012 at 9:22 pm

    When I worked for a facility for the mentally and physically challenged there was a game room where we could take the residents to play pinball machines…some enjoyed, some not so much! I LOVED it! When I was growing up most adults I knew (my own included) considered pinball machines part of the devil’s workshop! (Probably cause at that time they were located in places of dubious moral character! Like bowling alleys and pool halls!) Wow has the world changed or what? When I had my first computer, back in the dark ages, it had software for a pinball ball machine game…LOVED that too!

    That is quite an outrageous score LOL! Wow what a guy Pete is playing with one hand, I could barely manage with two!

  2. joncrispin said, on 30/01/2012 at 9:37 pm

    Thanks Theanne. I don’t think my parents ever knew that I played so much pinball. Being Unitarians though, I don’t think they were too worried about the devil aspect; they just thought I should be studying more. And Peter is quite a guy. Thanks. Jon


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