PINBALL EXPO '98
By Russ Jensen
For the 14th year in a row, the "King of the Pinball Shows", Pinball Expo '98, was held in the Chicago area. As it has for all but the first three years, the show was held at the Ramada O'Hare Hotel In Rosemont, IL on October 22 through 25, 1998. Like the past several years, I paid my expenses to attend the show mostly from money I have won playing bingo at our local Indian gaming casino (my other hobby).
As it has been for the past several years, Expo events were scheduled during four days - Thursday through Sunday. The main event on Thursday morning was a tour of a plant where pinball components were manufactured. I decided not to attend that event as it would have meant traveling to Chicago on Wednesday, with the added expense of an additional night at the hotel, and I did not want to incur that extra expense. So I flew to Chicago on Thursday morning arriving at the show mid-afternoon
When I got to the hotel (after a pleasant flight) I ran into my two roommates Sam Harvey and John Cassidy at the front desk while checking in. Sam proceeded to inform me that the scheduled "get-together" party (which was called the "Bumper Blast") had been cancelled. Later we discovered that Sam had received erroneous information and that party was actually held, so we missed out on attending that event.
After checking into our room I called the room of my Australian pinball friend Steward Caines (with whom I had communicated many times in the past year or so via email) who was attending the show with another of his American pinball buddies. I asked Stewart if he would like to have dinner with my roommates and I, and he said he and his friend would join us. In a few minutes we met them in the lobby and walked to the restaurant less than a block from the hotel. We all had an enjoyable meal and good conversation, mostly about pinball, of course.
THE FIRST "FIRESIDE CHAT"
The first of the two Expo events scheduled for Thursday evening was one of the sessions which we have been having for the last several years, referred to by the Expo producers as "Fireside Chats". This year there were two chats scheduled, the first featuring pinball author and now executive Roger Sharpe who is currently the Director of Licensing at Williams.
We all gathered in the room where the chat was to be held, and a few minutes later Expo Chairman Rob Berk came up front and introduced Roger. Rob said that he first met Roger at a coin machine trade show years ago. He then told of Roger being an author and game designer in the past. Rob next told us that Roger would tell us about himself, and also answer any questions we might have.
Roger began by joking about leaving the session right away, but said he would "do his best" to tell us about his career. He commented that much has gone on in pinball during the past year which he would try and share with us, adding that he had nothing prepared in advance. Roger then asked if anyone had any questions?
The first question asked was how he got into writing his book "Pinball", in the 1970's? Roger began by telling a little of his "history" involving pinball. He first told us that he was originally from the Chicago area. He then told of his older sister going to a college and of him playing pinball machines at her school. Roger next said that later he moved to New York City where pingames with plungers and replays were not allowed. He then told us that around the end of 1974 he went to work as an editor for the men's fashion magazine, Gentleman's Quarterly.
Roger next told us that at that time he wanted to do a feature article for GQ on pinball, and also wanted to own his own pinball machine. In 1975, he went on, he tried to find information on pinball in the library but found there was virtually nothing. Right around that time his editor suggested to him that he write a book on pinball himself.
"I then began my research for the book", Roger told us, by going to an industry trade show. His sister he then said knew a publisher, and after preparing an outline of his proposed book, he ended up with a contract with E.P. Dutton to do it.
At that point in Roger's talk his good friend, veteran pinball designer, and now a Williams executive, Steve Kordek entered the room. When Roger remarked that Steve had worked in the pinball industry since 1937, that brought on a good round of applause.
After that Roger began telling of some of the many interviews he had conducted with pinball industry people during preparation for his book. Roger also told us that the first pinball he ever owned was Gottlieb's 1965 game BUCKAROO, a game he still owns!
Someone from the audience then asked Roger if he would be writing another book in the future? Roger said that he has notes from the many interviews he did in preparing for his first book, remarking that about 75 percent of that information was not used in that book. He then said that Rob Berk has been prodding him for years to write another book.
Roger went on to say that if he does another book he wants to do it "the right way". He then talked more about a possible new book, remarking "I really don't know - we'll see". He then told us that he has many transcripts of interviews he could use.
A question was then asked regarding how may copies of his book were printed? After talking about that topic (including telling how some were signed and numbered) Roger resumed telling about some of the interviews he had conducted with industry pioneers.
Roger next told us that long-time Bally advertising manager Herb Jones (who incidentally this author had the pleasure of meeting years ago) was "a great story teller". After then telling a story about a French pinball distributor he had once interviewed, Roger told about some of the great photographs that were taken all over the world for the book by his talented photographer Jim Hamilton.
Next Roger briefly touched on the subject of the court hearing to re-legalize pinball in New York City in the 1970's, during which he himself testified as to the "skill factor" present in pinball. When he then told us that the law was passed on his birthday, August 1, 1976, that brought on a round of applause.
Roger next talked for a few minutes on the future of the pinball industry. He first remarked that it will be a "challenge for everyone", it requiring "more 'grass roots' support". He then talked about some problems with some pinball locations. After telling a story about the old arcade on the pier in Santa Monica, California, Roger remarked that "once a new game leaves the plant it's 'in the hands of others'" -, adding that "the manufacturers are doing as much as possible to make games more reliable".
After telling some stories about the now defunct Broadway Arcade in New York City which was owned by his old friend Steve Epstein, Roger ended with a story about a TV show on which he once appeared. After that the session ended with a healthy round of applause for Roger. Rob Berk then announced that the other Expo event of the evening would be the "Internet Get-Together" which would be held shortly in another room.
THE "INTERNET GET-TOGETHER"
The final Thursday evening Expo event was the annual (for the past several years) "internet Get-Together". When the session began veteran Internet user and pinball fan Dave Marston from New Hampshire got up to lead the discussions. Dave began by telling us that he "would like to organize something" for the session. After telling of a party years ago just before the Expo events started, during which those who were active on the Internet got together, Dave began giving a short list of topics he thought might be right for discussion.
Some of the topics Dave suggested included: who in the room are active on the Internet?; a review of controversies occurring within the Internet pinball community; the Internet on-line auction company, EBAY; and. competition in classified advertising of pinball related items on Internet.
At that point Dave began presenting a brief overview of the history of pinball on the Internet. Originally, he began, there were Bulletin Board Systems on-line which dealt with pinball. Then in 1979, he went on, the "Usenet" (a group of "newsgroups" covering a wide variety of different topics) was started on the Internet, which began to "thrive" quickly. At the present time, Dave continued, there are about 20,000 Usenet newsgroups on the Internet.
After that Dave continued with his list of proposed discussion topics including: discussion of the Pinball "Web Ring" (an on-line capability of "navigating" between pinball related websites); and collecting pictures of games, advertising flyers, and game "rulesheets". Dave then asked if anyone in the audience was "keyed up on a topic"?
Frank Laughlin from Tulsa spoke up and told of the many photos of pingames (many of them from this author's collection) which were now being made available to all via the Internet Pinball Database website in Sweden. Frank then asked for contributions of additional pinball photos from members of the audience. That led to a small discussion of how to properly photograph pingames. At that point the discussion turned to a website created by a person who was to give an Expo seminar the next day, Clay Harrell from Michigan, which contains several fine documents telling people how to repair and restore pingames (both electro-mechanical and solid-state). The discussion then turned to "things not to do" (commonly referred to as "netiquette") when participating in the "rec.games.pinball" (simply known as "r.g.p") Usenet newsgroup on the Internet.
First it was suggested that a person not "flame" (post negative or derogatory comments on someone else's posted message) other people, refraining from posting a comment altogether instead. It was next suggested that people don't use all uppercase or lowercase letters when posting to the group. After a comment was made regarding a possible pinball "photo archive" on the Internet, Dave asked if there were any other projects people wanted to talk about?
Scott Tiesma (also to speak the next day at one of the Expo seminars) began telling about his on-line pinball "magazine" Silverball News and Views which is available for viewing on the Internet. Scott then asked people to contribute articles to his magazine.
At that point Dave asked that people start introducing themselves to the group, each telling how they participate in the r.g.p newsgroup. After Dave told about himself, people began introducing themselves, moving from table to table around the room. Many people told of their favorite pinball-related website. After hearing of some of the problems, my roommate John Cassidy (who has not yet gotten "online") jokingly remarked that maybe he should just stay away from that sort of involvement.
At one point Dave had the computer operator bring my personal website ("Russ Jensen's Pinball History Page") up on the monitor as an example of a pinball-related website. Another brief discussion was then held concerning "netiquette". There was then a short discussion among the members of the group concerning prices which pingames have been bringing.
Next there was a brief discussion about how the r.g.p newsgroup is very helpful to people who have problems with their games. Dave then made a comment to the effect that r.g.p "is better than most other newsgroups”, adding "there are great resources out there". When someone brought up the subject of splitting r.g.p into two or more groups as a few have proposed several times, Dave told of a phonograph record collectors group which did that with less than desirable results.
Someone next suggested that a new section be added to the r.g.p FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document covering the subject of "netiquette". Someone else then asked for the Internet address (URL) for the r.g.p FAQ which was then given. Dave next asked if anyone else had any "problems" they wanted discussed?
When someone then asked how r.g.p could be used to help the pinball industry survive, Dave suggested that one thing would be to expand the directory of places to play pinball which was on the Internet. It was then stated that pinball players posting on r.g.p should try to "build up" the good places to play, rather than "trashing" bad ones. After that the meeting degraded into a discussion about pinball machine distributors, etc.. Dave then officially adjourned the meeting.
After the meeting ended I went to our room to see if the roll-away bed I was to sleep on had been delivered to the room by the hotel staff. When I found out it hadn't been, I called the desk, and within 10 or 15 minutes it was delivered.
The next morning (Friday) after eating breakfast at the neighboring restaurant with my roommates, I went to the meeting room where the Expo seminars were to be presented all that day. At about the scheduled time (8:45 AM) the Expo Opening Remarks began.
Expo Chairman Rob Berk got up first and welcomed everyone to the 14th annual Pinball Expo. He then began to announce a few changes in the printed program. Rob first told us that the second "Fireside Chat" with industry personality Joe Kaminkow of Sega Pinball had been changed from that evening to 1 PM in the afternoon. He then told us that two speakers who had been scheduled to give seminars (famed pinball designer Wayne Neyens and pinball artist Christian Marche) were unfortunately unable to attend the show.
After mentioning the Designers, Artists, and Authors Autograph Session to be held Saturday afternoon, Rob told about the "Flip-Out" pinball tournament which would be held in conjunction with the show. He next told about the Charity Auction which would be held Saturday evening just before the banquet, naming some of the items which had been donated, and requesting others to consider donating items. At that point Rob introduced his Expo co-chairman Mike Pacak who came up to make a few remarks.
Mike began by remarking that at this 14th Expo the "Expo family" seems to be bigger than in the past. He then thanked Sega Pinball for the loan of the new GODZILLA games to be used in the tournament "qualifying rounds", announcing that the grand prize for this year's tournament winner was a STARSHIP TROUPERS pinball also provided by Sega.
On the subject of the Expo Exhibit Hall of which he is Charmin, Mike told us that there were several new exhibitors there this year and thanked all who exhibited. After remarking that there were many games in the hall set up for playing, Mike reminded us that the hall would be open all night on both Friday and Saturday night, adding that during those early morning hours visitors should respect the property of dealers who were not there to watch their booths.
Mike ended by reminding everyone that the annual (at least for the past several years) coin machine auction would be held that evening instead of on Saturday as it has been in the past. He then told us that there would be two pingames this year raffled off at the banquet. That ended the Expo Opening Remarks.
THE RICHARD LAWNHURST WOODRAIL COLLECTION
Rob Berk then got up to introduce the presenter of the first seminar, fellow Ohio pinball collector Richard Lawnhurst. Rob said that Richard "had a passion for woodrails" (pre 1960 pingames which had wooden rather than stainless steel side rails to hold the playfield glass). After commenting that Richard was from Rob's home town, he introduced Richard as the " foremost woodrail collector" bringing on a round of applause.
Richard began by thanking Rob for the opportunity to give his talk. He said that he owned 54 pingames and that he acquired his first game about 25 years ago. Richard said that a policeman once came into the clothing store he owned and traded a confiscated pinball machine, a 1967 Gottlieb MELODY, for a suit of clothes, a game he told us he still owns.
We were next told that he got into the hobby when he met Rob. Richard then told us that he really got into collecting woodrails in the early 1990's, adding that it becomes a "passion" when you decide what you want to collect.
Richard then commented that in 1992 or 93 he read some back issues of the Pinball Collector's Quarterly where he saw some ads for pingames for sale and sent out some letters inquiring about some 1950's and 1960's games advertised, remarking that it was a long time before he got any responses. He then told of a letter he wrote on May 26 asking about a 1954 Gottlieb DRAGONETTE, and not receiving an answer until the beginning of September.
After receiving the letter, Richard went on, he called the fellow and was told by someone that he would have to call back. He said he later called the person at work and had to leave a message. Richard said that weeks later he finally go in contact with the person and then drove 600 miles to look at the game.
Richard then said that when he got there and was looking at the game he could hear the fellow's daughter crying because she did not want her father to sell it. He said he quickly disassembled the game and left . Richard then remarked "don't give up" if you really want a game, adding that he often buys "partials" (a head or cabinet only) hoping to find the missing part later. He then said that he uses the Internet to locate such things.
At that point Richard said he was going to show a video of his collection which had been filmed by industry person and collector Donal Murphey of Chicago, saying that during the showing he might relate items of "trivia" concerning some of the games. The video began with shots of his first game, MELODY, and an Evans TEN STRIKE miniature bowling machine, Richard remarking that he currently had between 55 and 60 games set up.
The Gottlieb games in the video (in chronological order by year) were: JOKER, and SPOT BOWLER from 1950; GLOBE TROTTER, NIAGRA, HAPPY GO LUCKY, and MERMAID from 1951; HIT AND RUN, QUEEN OF HEARTS, and SKILL POOL from 1952; GRAND SLAM, MARBLE QUEEN, and SHINDIG from 1953; FOUR BELLES, DRAGONETTE, LOVELY LUCY and MYSTIC MARVEL from 1954; SLUGGIN' CHAMP and TWIN BILL from 1955; CRISS CROSS from 1958; and SLICK CHICK from 1963 (which was not a woodrail).
Richard also showed two Williams woodrails - NAGS from 1951, and WORLD CHAMP (a game I used to own) from 1957.
When the video ended Richard thanked us for watching it, remarking that copies of the tape were available from Donal Murphey. There was then a round of applause for Richard and his fine collection!
SILVERBALL NEWS AND VIEWS
Next on the seminar program was a presentation titled "Silverball News and Views" which concerned "publishing" on the Internet. Rob Berk first got up and introduced Dave Marston who was to begin the presentation.
Dave began by saying that the presentation would deal primarily with online "publishing" using the standard computer protocol known as "HTML" (Hypertext Markup Language). He then thanked the "tech guy" who was helping during the presentation by using his laptop computer;.
At that point Dave digressed for a minute telling of the first pingame he ever owned, then giving some of his personal "history" concerning his involvement with pinball and the Internet. He then commented that HTML has been widely used on the Internet since about 1992, telling of his involvement with that language. Dave next introduced Scott Tiesma who publishes an online pinball magazine called SILVERBALL NEWS AND VIEWS, also telling of Scott's other involvements on the Internet.
Canadian Terry Cumming was next introduced by Dave, him telling of Terry's interesting PINBALL AND WORLD WAR 2 Internet website, and also the "catalog" of 1930's pingame ads which he is also selling. Dave next started explaining why the subject of this seminar is referred to as Internet "publishing".
He began by commenting that the Internet is "an information exchange medium". Dave said that the technology used on the Internet (HTML) is the same technology which is used to produce "finished and delivered products", giving as an example the printed version of Terry Cumming's PINBALL AND WORLD WAR 2 document. On the Internet today, he went on, you find everything from people chatting with each other to "formal publishing" - adding that the Internet will never completely replace printed documents.
At that point an example of Scott Tiesma's SNV online magazine was put up on a video monitor. Dave then commented that such an online document can also be printed, again giving Terry Cumming's website and printed document as an example since it is available both online and as a printed document. Dave then commented that HTML documents can be modified easily, including the insertion of graphics and even sound. He then remarked that online "publications" can be easily and continually updated. Dave then asked for questions from the audience.
Someone then asked Scott if he had ever considered putting out a hard-copy version of his SNV "publication"? Scott answered "not at all", adding that he "wanted something that was quick to prepare", and didn't want to deal with the problems concerned with hardcopy publishing. When Scott was then asked if his magazine could be printed from the Internet he answered that it could. He then commented that he had tried to "emulate other pinball magazines” and had it divided into different sections. After briefly describing what he had planned for the next issue, Scott invited people to look at SNV, saying that its web address (URL) was given in the handout given to all Expo attendees.
Dave Marston then remarked that in his opinion "HTML sucks" and is "not a good format for printed documents". He then said that he normally uses other software for creating his documents, and then converts them to HTML for display on the Internet, adding that the "tools" to make HTML better adapted are not here yet, but someday it may be easier to use.
At that point Dave told us about a gentleman named Doug Landman who's great website, PINBALL LITERATURE INDEX, contains a fantastic database listing almost every magazine article ever written on pinball! Dave next asked the others to say something about their future plans?
Scott then told us that he plans on improving the content of his online magazine by using some "web features" such as polling, adding that he would sometime like to conduct some sort of raffle or contest. Terry Cumming then asked for a show of hands of the people who had viewed Scott's magazine, then commenting that people should submit articles to Scott. After that Dave asked if anyone in the audience had any questions?
Someone asked Scott why he did not have any audio with his SNV magazine? Scott answered that he thought that sound might confuse some people, also saying it would take extra server space which was donated to him. When my friend Sam Harvey next asked Scott if his magazine could be "downloaded" from the Internet, Scott answered that if a person views it and likes it he can certainly download it to his computer.
When someone next asked about the Internet Address (URL) for Scott's magazine, they were told that it was given in a handout given to all Expo attendees. Jim Schelberg, who publishes the hardcopy pinball magazine Pingame Journal, next asked Scott if he ever considered charging for subscribing to his online magazine? Scott answered that he might consider that if he runs short of money, adding that if he did that he might run into "copyright issues". That brought on a short discussion of copyright problems on the Internet.
At that point Sam Harvey mentioned copyright problems concerned with copying pinball advertising flyers. Finally someone asked Scott how long it took to prepare each issue of his online magazine? Scott answered that the first issue took quite awhile, but now it takes about 20 to 40 hours to do. That ended the seminar and all the presenters were given a good round of applause.
Before the next seminar began Expo host Rob Berk said he had a question for those assembled, and that was what we'd like to see at next year's Expo (the 15th year)? Tim Arnold jokingly suggested "free toast", referring to the Expo many years ago when he had a toaster in his booth and offered that to Expo visitors. Rob then told us that he would bring video tapes of all the past shows for people to view if they desired.
My friend Sam Harvey then suggested that the banquet be conducted as a buffet. A showing of hands indicated that many (but apparently not a majority) agreed with him. Someone else then asked that more machines be set up for free playing.
WHAT'S IN YOUR TOOLBOX
Rob Berk next introduced a frequent Expo seminar presenter, Steve Young from New York, who was to present a talk originally to be done by Scott Sheridan from Ohio who was unable to attend the show this year. Rob told about Steve once publishing the Pinball Collector's Quarterly magazine years ago, then saying that today Steve is "the king of parts", referring to his current Pinball Resource business. Rob then said that the topic of this presentation was "What's in Your Toolbox". Steve was then given a round of applause.
After welcoming everyone to the 14th Expo, Steve said he was happy to be there. He then told of substituting for Scott, saying he would try to fill in for him as best he could. Steve then passed out a handout Scott had previously prepared which contained an alphabetically organized list of tools and supplies which could be used in connection with pinball maintenance. He then told us that he would add some personal comments while going through the list.
` The first group of tools on Scott's list included: Allen wrenches, alligator clip leads, All-In-One ("Swiss Army Knife"), awl/scribe, batteries (for solid-state pins), black electrical tape, contact spray (a very controversial item!), contact blade adjusters, crescent wrench, die (to clean screw threads), digital multimeter, Dremel tool, and drill and bits.
The next group of tools Steve described included: emery boards, extension cord, flashlight, fuses, flipper rubbers (to bind legs together when moving games), glass cleaner, glue, hammer, hemostats (to hold things), jumper wires, lamp socket cleaning tool, level, logic probe (for solid-state games), magnet, Molex pin extractors (for solid-state games), nut drivers, pliers (various types), plunger tips, punches (for roll pins), Q-tips, rags, and razor blades.
The final tools on the list included: scissors, screw drivers (assorted), screw starters, Sharpie pen, shrink tubing, snips, soldering iron and solder, solder sucker, solder wick, strap (Nylon web), tape measure, tie-wrap, toothbrush, vice (small), wax, and wrenches (various types).
Steve then wrapped up the seminar, again thanking everyone for attending, but stayed up in front as he was also the next scheduled seminar speaker.
GOTTLIEB EAST - PART 2
Rob Berk got up and re-introduced Steve to do the seminar he was originally scheduled to do, which was dubbed "Gottlieb East - Part 2", a continuation of a talk Steve gave at the previous year's Expo.
Steve began by saying that last year he put on a slide showing depicting the movement of parts, etc., from the Premier/Gottlieb plant which had closed to his Pinball Resource facility. He then said that the story "continues to evolve" which he commented was an "interesting story". So this year Steve said he would continue the story, but without slides.
Steve began by saying that it had been about two years since Premier closed, which he said was a "sad time" since they were once "a leader in the industry". When the plant closed, he went on, a decision had to be made regarding who would supply spare parts to support the Gottlieb games still in operation. Those parts, he continued, were originally shipped to the company (Mondial) who took over the Gottlieb name when Premier closed, Steve getting the parts for older games. Steve then told us that in addition to parts, he also got such things as fixtures, tool records (with parts organized by category and drawing number), and also some stickers and decals.
"Time passes", Steve then commented, and "slowly things happened". He then said that after receiving all this material, etc, he began to digest what he actually had, aided by email messages back and forth between him and some Premier ex-employees. Steve said that he also started to find out about vendors (some of which were still owed money), most of which, he commented, will still do business with him.
Also, Steve went on, he started to develop a relationship with Mondial, with them even ordering some parts from him; a "trust" developing between them. Steve then remarked that as more time passed the industry continued to "go soft":. Mondial, he went on, still intended to sell parts, but as business slows they are becoming more reluctant to pay the cost of keeping them. So, Steve went on, Mondial is beginning to slowly phase out of the parts business with help from him, adding that "partnership discussions" are even beginning.
In May 1998, Steve then told us, he signed a license with Mondial for parts, and a couple months later he made a trip to their headquarters in New Jersey to go through the parts they had, making decisions concerning what to keep, and what to throw out. He said he took some parts with him at that time, and had others shipped to his facility. Steve then remarked that even then Mondial still didn't know exactly what to do concerning parts, and they are still discussing that!
Steve next told us that he sees "a healthy demand for custom parts", such as switches, brackets, etc., adding that he is "learning a lot about where parts come from", and is also "learning how to make better parts". He then asked if anyone had any questions?
The first question asked was if pinball coil stops are brass coated? Steve answered that that depends on their use; for example, if they are used in D.C. operated circuits no copper is used. Someone then asked Steve if he would ever be reproducing backglasses or playfields? Steve answered that he would like to think so, adding that it was "on my list of things to do".
It was next asked if Mondial was in the export business? ;Steve answered that his agreement with Mondial included him selling parts to the North American market, with Mondial still handling the rest of the world, adding that that will probably diminish and eventually he may take over international parts sales as well. After remarking that in the future he may start reproducing "Daisy Caps" for older pinballs, Steve thanked everyone for attending. He was given a round of applause.
HOW TO "PEP UP" YOUR GAMES
Rob Berk then got up to introduce the speaker for the next seminar, Expo regular Tim Arnold from Las Vegas. Rob called Tim "the wild man of the hobby", bringing on a laugh from the audience. After Rob commented that Tim "has so many games he doesn't know what to buy new", Tim was given a round of applause.
Tim began by telling us that he has one of every Gottlieb flipper game from 1947 to 1986 with the exception of two machines - DOUBLE FEATHRE (1950) and QBERT'S QUEST (1983). He then told of the four video tapes he has made showing his collection, saying that the latest one, which shows 16 early Gottlieb solid-state games, is on sale in the Exhibit Hall. Tim then told us that he is planning on two more; one of backglasses, and another which he will call "Road to Hell" which will show scenes around Las Vegas. He then asked people to send him videos of their pinball collections for use in future tapes.
At that point Tim started with the main theme of his talk which he said was "how to make your games 'peppy'". He then told us that as a kid he always wanted "peppy" games, remarking that the use of D.C. operated pop-bumpers helped, and today's solid state technology helps even more. Tim then told us that he was going to present a "quick overview" of adding power to electro-mechanical pinballs, warning us however to not "create a monster" because too much power would tend to strain the game's components.
Tim next said that he was first gong to give some "ground rules" to follow. After telling us that with solid-state games you should keep the line cord straight, Tim advised us to replace drop targets with newer versions which are now available. He also suggested buying new flipper bats for your games.
After also suggesting that we buy "faceted posts" from Steve Young, Tim then suggested replacing fasteners which are worn with a better type. He next advised purchasing new bumper bodies and also a new ball. Tim then started talking about the various types of springs used on games.
He told us that there are two types of springs - "compression" and "extension" - saying that when either type looses tension they should be replaced. Tim next said that flipper bushings are subject to wear and should also be replaced if worn.
Continuing on the subject of improving flipper performance, Tim said that worn coil stops should also be replaced. He next told us that flipper "end-of-stroke" switches often get pitted and dirty, telling how to clean and adjust them properly. After saying that you should also clean the flipper switches mounted to the cabinet, Tim suggested using plastic sleeves in flipper coils.
Tim then ended his discussion of flipper improvements with a few additional comments. After remarking that worn flipper links be replaced, he suggested that nickel-plated plungers should be used on flippers. Tim then told us that using the proper flipper rubbers is very important.
Turning to the subject of pop-bumpers, Tim first commented that you should make sure that bumper rods and rings are not loose and then polish them. He then told how to clean and adjust the bumper "cup switches" underneath the playfield. After next telling us that "bumper trim platters" should be glued to the playfield, Tim said that bumper skirts should be replaced with ones of a matching color.
Tim next commented that the "high tap" on pinball transformers should only be used in areas where the line voltage is low, saying that using it with normal line voltage would cause game components to wear more quickly. He then remarked that "slick surfaces" on the playfield help ball speed, next reviewing for a moment the information in his handout concerning surfaces and chemicals used on playfields.
At that point Tim started talking about modifications to the coils used in a game. He started by saying that often more power in a game can be obtained by changing coils. He then went into a detailed discussion of how coils are wound, and the relationship between the wire size (gauge), number of turns, etc., and the electrical resistance of the coil. Tim then proceeded to tell how one could modify a coil himself in order to increase the power - adding that the techniques he had described were not applicable to flipper coils. He then asked if we had any questions?
The first question asked was more of a comment regarding the use of sandpaper to clean the enamel insulation off the ends of coil windings. Tim then told everyone that there was a game from the 1960's in the Exhibit Hall which had been modified using the techniques he had just described. The session then ended with a few more questions and answers concerning chemicals and cleaning products. Tim was then given a good round of applause.
THE 2ND "FIRESIDE CHAT"
As Rob Berk had announced in his Opening Remarks, the second "Fireside Chat" with Sega Pinball executive Joe Kaminkow was held at 1 PM instead of on Friday evening as originally scheduled. Joe began by telling everyone that they were going to raffle off some items from the company, including original art sketches for their redemption game TITANIC. The line to buy raffle tickets was long indeed.
This "chat" was not like those of the past, but Joe did entertain a few questions from the audience regarding his company and their products. The session mainly consisted of the raffle and a "preview showing" of a brand new game Sega was going to produce.
After telling us that the new game would be arriving soon - along with its designer, my old friend Jon Norris - Joe proceeded with the raffle which lasted for some time. When the raffle ended neither Jon nor the game had arrived, so Joe began telling us about the game.
The name of the game he said was "Kelly Packard's GOLDEN CUE - Tournament Edition", a feature in the artwork (both backglass and cabinet sides) being TV actress Kelly Packard from Baywatch. After giving the credits of the people who worked on the project, Joe said that it has a "Chicago Blues" theme.
Joe began describing the unique concept the game embodied, remarking that they hoped the game "would change the way people play pinball". He then told us that even though wining on the game was based on score, it also involved completing six "tasks" in as short a time as possible. Completing all the tasks, he told us, could score 9.2 Million points, but there was also a "catch". Joe said the game also contained a "countdown feature" which subtracted points from that until the tasks were completed, resulting in a lower score for the tasks if it took the player a long time to complete them. This, he continued, resulted in "interesting play strategies" for players.
About the time Joe finished describing the new game's features, the actual machine arrived, as well as some pizza Joe had ordered for everyone to partake of. The game was then set up.
Shortly after his game was set up, the designer, Jon Norris, finally arrived. Jon then described the game's unique features himself. He then told everybody that the game would be set up in the Exhibit Hall later for Expo attendees to try out.
The session then ended with Joe thanking us for coming. He then remarked that he hoped Jon would be designing pinballs for Sega for a long time. That brought on a good round of applause for Jon and his great new machine.
BULLET-PROOFING GOTTLIEB "SYSTEM 80" PINBALLS
Rob Berk then got up to introduce the speaker for the next seminar. He first told us about getting a phone call from a fellow who was an expert on repairing both electro-mechanical and solid-state pinballs who said he would like to give a presentation at the Expo. Rob then introduced this fellow whose name was Clay Harrell from Michigan and the other person who was to help him, Rob Hayes. That drew a round of applause.
Clay began by saying that in addition to the repair guide for Gottlieb "System 80" games which would be the subject of the seminar, he had also produced other similar documents covering repair and restoration of electro-mechanical pingames, and also one for Williams solid-state machines. Clay then introduced his partner Rob.
We were next told that his talk would essentially be divided into three sections - Mandatory Fixes, Suggested Fixes, and Other Information and Fixes. After then naming the specific Gottlieb games to which his talk would be applicable, Clay said he would also tell of the tools and equipment required to perform the fixes. He then commented that he would be describing certain circuit board defects in the Gottlieb system, adding that other pinball manufactures also had similar problems with their boards.
Clay then proceeded giving step-by-step instructions for fixing a design error and other problems on the Gottlieb Power Supply board. Then turning to the CPU board, he told how to replace old and leaking batteries before they ruined the board.
After next describing how to fix a "ground problem" on the Solenoid Driver board where three transistors don't make good contact, Clay described a method for testing transistors. He next commented that one must use a systematic "step-by-step" procedure for finding problems in games.
Clay then described a method for repairing the connector which connects the CPU and Driver boards. He next described a method for fixing a design problem in the small Pop-Bumper Driver boards, by replacing a capacitor and adding some "pull-up" resistors.
Now turning to specific problems in the 1982 Gottlieb game HAUNTED HOUSE, Clay described a fix for the "up-kicker" device used on that game, and then described a fix for another problem having to do with the score displays. At that point Clay said he would now discuss other miscellaneous problems, fixes, and testing techniques.
After then delving more deeply into the subject of transistor testing which he had touched on earlier, Clay talked a little about transistor substitutions. He then told of some errors in the manuals for BLACK HOLE and HAUNTED HOUSE regarding proper fuse values. After then describing some CPU board revision modifications, Clay began describing in some detail methods of testing and "revitalizing" digital displays.
Clay next talked briefly about a small modification to make to the Auxiliary Lamp Driver board, then telling of two modifications for the HAUNTED HOUSE machine. The first was a modification to a motor used in the game, and the other was concerned with fixing a problem with the "trap door" on the playfield.
At that point Clay described several ways to set up a game for "free play" operation. After that he told us that he hoped to return to the Expo next year to give another presentation. We were then told that there was a HAUNTED HOUSE machine available for playing in the Exhibit Hall.
Finally, Clay commented that he had brought with him several copies of the document he had just discussed which were available for purchase. After telling us that the Internet Address (URL) for the website where his documents could be viewed or downloaded was in the handout given to Expo attendees, Clay told us that those documents will be updated from time to time. That ended Clay's presentation, and he was given a good round of applause.
And that also ended the Friday seminars, except for a fun presentation that has been almost an annual event for the past several years - Williams pinball designer Pat Lawlor's "Pat Lawlor Show", and will also end Part 1 of my Expo coverage. Next time I will describe the Pat Lawlor Show, as well as the Designers, Artists, and Authors Autograph Session, the Saturday night banquet (with Its guest speaker), and the Exhibit Hall (including a list of the games that were there. So stay tuned!
PINBALL EXPO '98
(Part - 2)
By Russ Jensen
Last time I described in detail all of the Friday Expo seminars, except for the last one (which wasn't really a seminar per se). This time I will concluded my Expo coverage with a description of that session - "The Pat Lawlor Show" - plus describe the Expo auction (very briefly), the Designers, Artists, and Authors Autograph Session, the annual banquet with its guest speaker, and finally the Exhibit Hall.
THE "PAT LAWLOR SHOW"
Expo chairman Rob Berk first got up and introduced the "host" for the final Friday afternoon event, Williams ace pinball designer Pat Lawlor, who has been conducting a similar fun event for the past several years. Rob's introduction of Pat and his "Pat Lawlor Show" brought on a good round of applause!
Pat began by telling us that his show was "all about fun", adding that pinball was all of our "favorite hobby". He then commented that the people attending his event get to meet "the people who make the games". When Pat then asked the "first timers" to the Expo to raise their hands, he exclaimed "wow" when he noticed how many people raised their hands.
At that point Pat thanked the engineers and management people from Williams who had come with him for the "goodies" they had brought with them to give away during the show, also thanking his "panel of experts" including pinball industry old-timer, and current Williams executive, Steve Kordek. After telling us that today's game would be based on the popular TV show "The Price Is Right", Pat told us that the brochures for old and new pingames to be used in conjunction with the show were personally selected by Steve. He then said he would explain the rules of the game.
First, Pat told us, we cannot ask any questions concerning their competitors or their games, or any questions regarding future games from their company. He also told us that some personal questions may also be "off limits". He then began explaining how the game would actually be played.
Pat said that each "round" of the game would begin with someone from the audience posing a question for the panel to answer, adding that that person should remain standing after his/her question had been answered. Roger Sharpe, Pat went on, would then draw three tickets; the people in the audience holding those numbers standing up to try and guess the price of a pingame whose advertising flyer would be shown on a projector.
Each of those three people would then guess the suggested retail price of that game in the year it was produced. If a person's guess was too high, a buzzer would sound, the one coming closest to the price without going over would win a prize. The "loser", Pat then told us, would remain to participate in the next round, requiring only one new ticket to be drawn. Those rules we were then told could be changed at any time "as is true with new pinball designs".
At that point Pat asked the members of his panel to introduce themselves. First was programmer Louis Koziarz who was to show the pinball brochures (and the correct prices) during the game. Next was former pingame programmer, and now Slot Machine Project Manager, Ted Estes. Next to introduce himself was Larry DeMar who is the Director of Marketing for Williams Pinball Division. And finally Roger Sharpe, Williams' Licensing Director. The panel then received a round of applause. It was then time for the first question to start the actual game.
The first question asked concerned the "video mode" of Williams 1996 game JUNKYARD, one of the panelist explaining it in some detail. Roger Sharpe then drew three tickets and the people holding those numbers stood up to play the game. Louis then showed on the screen the flyer for Genco's 1934 pingame CRISS-CROSS. The three contestants guessed its retail price to be $23, $39 and $48. Louis then reveled the actual price of $92.50, the person guessing $48 winning a T-shirt.
The next question was really a joke. Someone asked if the dummy "Rudy" on Williams FUN HOUSE was the "love child" of the dummies Red and Ted on their game ROAD SHOW? Pat answered that Rudy was actually related to Red, but was really Red's "stupid brother". Roger then drew a ticket for a new contestant for the game. Louis then showed the flyer for the game whose price was to be guessed, Genco's TRI-A-LITE from 1935, giving a hint that the game came out during the great depression.. The contestant guesses of $59, $66, and $74 were all above the actual price, so no prize was awarded that round and all three contestants remained standing.
Someone next asked the panel about the possibility of providing a "security chip" for future games, it being answered that that "would have to be considered". The three contestants were then given another chance to guess the price of the previous game, their guesses that time being $15, $17.55, and $34, the latter coming closest to the actual price of $52,25. The winner was awarded a Dracula figure as his prize, the two losers given consolation prizes of small pewter picture frames.
Back to the subject of Rudy, someone asked Pat how he came up with the idea of him? Pat replied that he had some "weird concepts" in his head, a combination of thoughts about old amusement parks, Aladdin's Castle arcades, and ventriloquists' dummies. At that point artist John Youssi arrived and was given a round of applause.
The game whose price was to be guessed next was then shown on the screen -.Genco's 1936 game HAPPY DAYS. The guesses were $61, $75, and $97, the lower guess being the winner since the actual price of the game was $72. The winner was awarded a "token kit" from Williams' game SAFECRACKER.
The next question asked was how did they get actress Carline Carter to do the voice for Rudy? Roger Sharpe answered that Pat wanted her to do it so he talked to her representatives and worked it out. At that point Pat announced a slight change in the game's rules, such that if a contestant makes two bad guesses in a row he is out of the game.
Pat was then asked how many games he had designed, he then naming them all, followed by the other panel members naming the games they had worked on. The game whose price was to be guessed was then shown, it being Steve Kordek's great game SPACE MISSION from 1976. The price guesses were $1350, $1400, and $1995, all of which were too high, with everyone receiving only a consolation prize.
My friend Sam Harvey next remarked that the first Williams solid-state game was AZTEC in November 1976, and the next one HOT TIP exactly a year later, then asking why there were no solid-state games produced in between those two? The answer given was that most likely there were others made in that period, but at that time solid-state games were mainly made as experimental counterparts of electro-mechanical games..
Three new contestants were then chosen to guess the price of SPACE MISSION. The guesses this time were $895, $900, and $901, the highest guess being the winner since the actual price was $1160, he receiving the prize of a plastic set from their game WHO DUNNIT
Artist John Youssi was then asked what game took him the longest time too do the artwork for, John answering that it probably was TWILIGHT ZONE, Pat then telling about Mrs. Rod Serling liking the preliminary artwork John did for the game. The game whose price was to be guessed this time was Atari's 1978 game SUPERMAN. The guesses were $1200, $1600, and $1, the highest guess coming the closest to the actual price of $1850. The winner was awarded a "point of purchase" display for the game ROAD SHOW featuring the dummy heads Red and Ted.
The next question asked involved how the "ball saver" device was activated on TWILIGHT ZONE, which was answered in some detail. Pat then commented that some new software was now available from his Internet website which could be loaded into TWILIGHT ZONE, adding that everything on his site is done on his own time. He then gave a brief plug for the raffle of the NO GOOD GOPHERS game to be held during the Expo banquet, the proceeds going to a "memorial fund" for Williams executive Joe Dillon who had passed away earlier in the year.
It was then time for the next price guessing game, this time the game in question being Williams' 1985 game HIGH SPEED. The guesses were $2150, $2151, and $2600, the person guessing $2151 being the winner, the actual price being $2250. The winner received two backglasses from NO GOOD GOPHERS.
The next question asked was whether "Crazy Bob" (a character in Williams' CHAMPION PUB) was supposed to represent a Williams executive named Dwight? The answer given was "no". The game whose price was to be guessed next was Williams' 1980 game BLACK KNIGHT 2000. The guesses were $2500, $2850, and $2695, the latter guess winning since the actual price was $2750, the winner receiving a set of game posters.
The last question asked was if the "red button" shown on the backglass of their popular game TWILIGHT ZONE had anything to do with a particular episode of the TV series? Pat answered "no", refusing to disclose the secret surrounding that mysterious button.
The last game in the price guessing game was their recent pin NO GOOD GOPHERS. The three guesses were $3400, $3350, and $3450, the latter coming closest to the actual price of $3860. That ended this year's game, the winner receiving two "figurines".
Before ending the session Pat said that he had a few things to say. He began by remarking that many people refer to the present time as "the dark days of pinball". Pat then commented that "we are the people who love the game" and that "people in the industry will listen to you".
Pat continued by telling us that he had a request to make of the people in the room. He then said that it is when you run into a test location for a new game (no matter from which manufacturer) that you don't get on the Internet and say bad things about it without thinking what you are doing. Pat then commented that you can say what you like about a game, but if it's a new test game you should try to say how you think it can be improved, adding that strictly negative comments "hurt you as well as us".
We were then told by Pat that there is "not one person working for any of the current manufacturers who is not trying to keep pinball alive". He then added that "everyone wants great games", also saying that we should go to game operators and tell them in a nice way if their games have problems. Finally, Pat remarked that if what he just talked about doesn't happen the alternative is in two years there will be no more new games. When he then thanked us for attending his presentation Pat received a good round of applause.
That ended Pat's game session, and also this year's Expo seminar sessions.
THE GAME AUCTION
For the past several years a coin machine auction has been conducted in conjunction with the Expo. Every year in the past the auction began on Saturday morning. This year, for some reason, the auction was moved to Friday evening. When held on Saturday I had the morning before the auction started to look at the games to be sold, take a few photos, and note which older pingames were to be auctioned off.
Since it was held on Friday evening this year, I had no time to do this ahead of time since I had to attend all the seminars so I could write about them. For that reason I chose not to attend the auction this year. My friend Sam Harvey did make a list of the pingames in the auction. A list of the earlier pingames which were offered for sale (there were not very many this year compared to past years) is shown below,
GAME MFG. YEAR HI-BOY (PAYOUT) Mills 1938 STRIKE ZONE Williams 1970 DOUBLE UP (BINGO) Bally 1971 BIG SHOT Gottlieb 1974 CAPT. FANTASTIC Bally 1975 BIG HIT Gottlieb 1977 PINBALL (SS) Stern 1977 MIDDLE EARTH (SS) Atari 1978 SOLAR RIDE Gottlieb 1979
THE "DESIGNERS, ARTISTS, AND AUTHORS AUTOGRAPH SESSION"
This year, as at past Expos for many years, on Saturday afternoon an autograph session including pinball designers, artists, and authors was held. All of these personalities were seated behind three sets of tables (in a C-shaped configuration) with Expo guests lining up to walk past the tables and obtain autographs from their favorite pinball people.
There was one person who was sadly missing this year however - the late coin machine historian and author Dick Bueschel. The session just didn't seem to be the same without that fine gentleman.
As was true at many of the past autograph sessions, I was a participant in it, displaying my book Pinball Troubleshooting Guide, but this year I didn't sell a single copy. Another feature this year was that prior to the session (including the previous day) T-shirts were sold at the Expo registration booth, one purpose of which people were told was so they could have people in the autograph session sign the shirts. So I signed a few people's T-shirts at their request, including one little girl who asked me to autograph the tail of her shirt.
THE SATURDAY NIGHT BANQUET.
A highlight of all the past Expo's has always been the Saturday night banquet with its always interesting guest speaker, as well as good food and other presentations. And for the past several years a charity auction has been held before the food was served, the proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The items to be auctioned off were donated by various Expo guests, as well as the pinball manufacturers.
The auctioneer conducting these sessions has always been the same person who presided over the game auction held earlier. This year was no exception.
The first item to be auctioned this year was two passes to Herb Silver's PINBALL FANTASY '99 show to be held in Anaheim CA in July, they bringing $110. The next item was a "Flip-Out '98" T-shirt which went for $25. Following an Elvira T-shirt and photo which sold for $40, the three-volume set of Mike Pacak's Pinball Flyer Book went for $110.
The next item put up for bid was a special mirrored version of the backglass for Williams' NO GOOD GOPHERS game (it being said only 12 of them were produced) which went for $125. After that a Dave Christensen pinball art picture sold for $195, followed by a MEDEVEL MADNESS T-shirt going for $40. The next item offered was copies of two of the solid-state repair documents put out by Clay Harrel, who gave one of the seminars on Friday, which also sold for $40;
A playfield for Williams FUN HOUSE (autographed by the designers) next brought $100, followed by a book called "Lost World Artifacts" which sold for $55. Following that a poster, prototype translite backglass, and some tokens for Bally SAFECRACKER brought $150. After some "patches" advertising several Williams pingames sold for $30, a photo of pinballs in Japan from the Tokyo Pinball Association went for $70
Next up was a "whitewood" playfield for Williams MONSTER BASH game which sold for $50, followed by an autographed prototype playfield for Sega's 1998 pin VIPER which sold for $75. An enlarged photograph of Elvira which was autographed then brought $105. This was followed by four signed backglasses from Williams' 1988 game GRAND LIZZARD which sold for $185, and then backglasses from two Williams games, SPACE JAM and GODZILLA, brought $50
The final two items to be offered for sale were a signed copy of the Japanese pinball book Pinball Graffiti, followed by a figurine which sold for $175. That ended the charity auction, and all the buyers and contributors were given a round of applause for their charitable contributions.
The next banquet events were the raffles for two pingames. The first game to be raffled off was a new NO GOOD GOPHERS machine. Larry De Mar from Williams came up on stage and then asked Masaya Horiguchi from Japan to draw the winning ticket. The winner was a gentleman from Holland who received a round of applause. He then quipped that "it wouldn't fit in his suitcase unless he removed the legs".
The second pingame to be raffled off was a 1974 Gottlieb BIG SHOT. The person whose ticket was drawn was not present at the banquet, but according to the rules they would have to call him on the phone to notify him. Just in case he could not be located (or did not want the game) two "backup" tickets were drawn. The last of these tickets just happened to be mine, but alas I never heard that I had won by default.
After the raffle Rob Berk asked Sega designer Jon Norris to come up and announce the winner of a contest held on his latest design KELLY PACKARD'S GOLDEN CUE. The prize of a 25 inch color TV went to an Expo visitor from Japan.
Rob Berk next got up to introduce the banquet guest speaker. He told us that this person was responsible for the design of such pingames as: INDIANNA JONES, DINER, TAXI, FISHTAILS, and THUNDERBALL). Rob then said that person was Mark Ritchie, bringing on a round of applause.
To read Mark Ritchie's Speech Click Here
When Mark ended his talk Rob presented him with a plaque, drawing a round of applause. At that point Rob asked Gordon Hasse to come up on stage. Gordon then presented the following tribute to the late coin machine historian Dick Bueschel.
"I’d like to say a few words in behalf of a good friend who couldn’t be with us here tonight. That good friend, of course, is Dick Bueschel.
And the words I’d like to say in his behalf are that he loved this industry and this hobby and all the people in it. Especially those who are gathered here in this room. He found you open. And generous. And honorable. And a wealth of fascinating information. For once everyone understood what he was up to...you were supportive of his every effort.
If Dick had had his way, he would have expired at a gathering just like this. In fact, I’m told, he had asked to be taken to the last Chicagoland Show on the very evening of his death. It didn’t surprise me. That was Dick Bueschel.
To say that he was bigger than life would have upset him. For he failed to see the distinction between whatever engaged his vast energies and talents and life itself. He was the consummate family man. Fiercely devoted to his beloved wife Helen, his two daughters Stacy & Megan and their respective spouses. He was the consummate advertising man. One of the last of the great copy/contact giants who once dominated industrial advertising. An intrepid cold caller, fearless presenter, persuasive closer and creative firebrand.
He was also the consummate author. The inevitable result of being a voracious accumulator of things, people and ideas. He was a tireless researcher. An incisive interviewer. A profound thinker. A highly disciplined and prolific writer. A man gifted with the talent to transform whatever touched him deeply into something incandescent. Whatever his subject - From World War II Chinese aircraft to ragtime composers to coin operated amusement machines.
Though he avowed atheism, Dick had an unwavering faith in the goodness and worth of his fellow man. He was trusting almost to a fault. Routinely concluding important business and financial arrangements with a simple handshake. And though he spent most of his successful career in a business that has traditionally been stained by moral cowardice and personal compromise, Dick managed to emerge unmarked. Unjaded by the cynicism. Uncorrupted by the cynics.
Someone less worldly, astute, or centered might have been labeled a Pollyanna. But it was part of Dick’s vast and engaging charm that he raced headlong into everything he did with rose colored glasses. His generosity was legend. And all you had to do to lay claim to huge amounts of Dick’s time, knowledge, or experience was to be genuinely interested.
The same was true of the things he owned. For if you loved something of Dick’s, as much or more than he did...it was yours. In many cases as an outright gift. But always for far less than it would take for him to replace it. And that is the final irony and sadness of Dick’s passing. That so many of the gifts he had intended to give us will never be conferred.
We’ve lost an important advocate and a good friend at a time when the industry is struggling to redefine itself. Ultimately, there will be a turnaround. A new kind of pinball will be born out of vision, talent and just plain guts that will take this great game and industry into the new millennium - and beyond. That success will be the finest tribute you could pay to Dick’s courage and to the great confidence that he had in all of you."
When Gordon ended his tribute to Dick he was given a hearty round of applause. After that Rob introduced the people seated with him at the first table which included his wife and her parents, his co-host Mike Pacak, and the guest speaker Mark Ritchie.
At that point Rob said he was going to do something that was an "Expo tradition". He then asked all the Expo "first timers" to stand up. Next he asked all who had attended all of the past thirteen Expos to stand up (which included myself). Finally he asked all foreign Expo visitors to stand and tell what countries they were from. The countries represented were: Argentina, Belgium, England, Germany, The Netherlands, Japan, and South Africa.
Rob then announced it was time for the annual award for the "Best Exhibit" in the Exhibit Hall. This year he said there was a tie - between Steve Engle's Mayfair Amusements booth and Steve Young's Pinball Resource booth. These great exhibitors were then given a round of applause after receiving plaques.
After that Rob announced that the next presentation was another "Expo tradition" - the Expo "Pinball Hall of Fame". He then told us that the inductee this year was pinball artist Gordon Morrison who did art for the contractor Advertising Posters, doing the artwork for about 125 pingames. After announcing that the plaque would be sent to Gordon since he was not present, Gordon received a round of applause.
Rob then asked Sega Pinball designer Jon Norris to come up on stage, presenting him with a plaque for his company in appreciation for their "factory support" at the show. After giving recognition to the members of his Expo staff (they then receiving a round of applause), Rob presented certificates to all those who had taken part in that year's seminars. Rob then gave special thanks to his co-host Mike Pacak who also received a round of applause.
It was then time for a special presentation at the Expo, and for that Rob called a gentleman named Walter Day up on stage who for the past 16 years, Rob told us, operated the Twin Galaxies Arcade in Iowa. Walter first told us that back around 1982 he began compiling what he called the "Galaxies National Scoreboard". At first, Walter said, his scoreboard kept records of high scores all around the country for video games. A few year later, he went on, he added pinball scores to his project.
After telling us that he had been recording high pinball scores at the past two Expos, Walter said that next year he would put out a "World Pinball Record Book" which would include those scores. He then told of an "International Registry of Pinball and Video Arcades". Walter said he was now going to give out awards to arcades which had lasted for many years. After reading the wording of the award certificates, Walter presented three such awards.
The arcades receiving these awards were: The Space Station in Anchorage, Alaska; The Lightning Rod in Capitola, California; and Friar Tuck's in Calumet City, Illinois, which Walter said had been in business since 1982. At that point the owner of Friar Tuck's (a gentleman named Tom) was asked to come up and receive his award. Tom then gave a short talk during which he commented that pinball machines were technically illegal in their town. He then received a round of applause for his establishment.
After the awards presentation was over Rob again asked all of us who had attended all of the past Expos to stand so he could count us, then thanking us for attending. He then announced that the next Expo ('99), which would be the show's 15th year, would be held October 21 through 24, 1999. At that show, Rob then remarked, we will "pull out all the stops", saying that they planned to have as special guests, ex-Gottlieb designer John Osborne, as well as pinball artist Christian Marche, that drawing a round of applause.
At that point Rob told of the Flip-Out tournament finals to be held the next morning. After then asking anyone who wanted to to meet with him after the banquet and tell him what they would like to see at the next Expo, he thanked everyone for attending. That brought a final round of applause, and also ended the banquet festivities.
THE EXHIBIT HALL
As has been true of all the past Expos, the Exhibit Hall was the place where much of the "business" of the show was conducted. It is the place where all the buying and selling of pingames and related parts and literature takes place. It is also the place where people play pinball - a main attraction to many Expo attendees. And finally, it is the place where many pinball fans congregate and visit with each other - one of my personal highlights of these shows.
The number of exhibitors seemed to be about the same as at the previous Expo. Also many of the same dealers exhibited at both shows. There were, however, a couple exhibitors who used to attend Expo who have been conspicuously absent the last two years - notably Jim and Judy Tolbert's For Amusement Only booth, and Herb Silver's Fabulous Fantasies booth, both from California.
There were, however, several exhibitors there who have been at most all of the previous shows. These included Steve Young's Pinball Resource, with a good selection of pinball parts and literature; Steve Engle's Mayfair Amusements, with a similar line of items for sale; and Larry Bieza's booth selling a few pingames and also literature.
And, of course, the ever-present booth of Expo co-host Mike Pacak with his fine assortment of pinball advertising flyers, plus other literature. There were also several booths selling a large assortment of pingames, including a dealer from Wisconsin with a large selection of pins of the "Add-A-Ball" variety
In past Expo articles when discussing the Exhibit Hall I usually give a run-down of approximately how many pingames of each decade were shown. But this time, due to the fact that I was unable to obtain a near complete listing of the games that were there, I will say that all decades were represented, but only a few games from the 1930's, 1940's (virtually none), or the 1950's. There were quite a few games from the 1960's, many of which were the Add-A-Ball games previously mentioned. There appeared to be a significant number of electro-mechanical games from the 1970's, and quite a few of the newer solid-state games.
The following is a partial listing (in chronological order) of the pingames in the Exhibit Hall - mostly in the second room since my friend who usually supplies me with a list misplaced some of his notes.
CHRONOLOGICAL PARTIAL LIST OF PINGAMES AT PINBALL EXPO ' 98
NAME MFG. YEAR PRICE STRUGGLE BUGGIES Williams 1953 850 FLIPPER PARADE (AAB) Gottlieb 1961 995 SHOWBOAT Gottlieb 1961 EGG HEAD Gottlieb 1962 WORLD FAIR Gottlieb 1964 BIG STRIKE Williams 1965 350 MOULIN ROUGE Williams 1965 NOT FOR SALE BLAST OFF Williams 1967 400 DAIMOND JACK (AAB) Gottlieb 1967 500 DERBY DAY Williams 1967 350 DAFFY Williams 1968 350 PALACE GUARD (AAB) Gottlieb 1968 600 MINI POOL Gottlieb 1969 400 HIGH SCORE POOL Chicago Coin 1971 400 HOME RUN (AAB) Gottlieb 1971 300,400 GRAND SLAM Gottlieb 1972 350 TWIN JOKER Bally 1972 300 WORLD SERIES (AAB) Gottlieb 1972 600 GULFSTREAM Williams 1973 600 HIGH HAND Gottlieb 1973 425 BIG SHOT Gottlieb 1974 RAFFLE CAPT. CARD (AAB) Gottlieb 1974 500 EIGHT BALL Bally 1977 695 LIBERTY BELL Williams 1977 350 PARAGON Bally 1978 WORLD CUP Williams 1978 300 GORGAR Williams 1979 BLACK KNIGHT Williams 1980 1400 BABY PAC-MAN Bally 1982 695 TIME FANTASY Williams 1983 595 GENESIS Gottlieb 1986 550 GRAND LIZARD Williams 1986 275 HARDBODY Bally 1987 295 VICTORY Gottlieb 1987 ESCAPE FROM THE LOST WORLD Bally 1988 BAD CATS Williams 1989 295 ADDAMS FAMILY Bally 1991 1595 GILLIGAN'S ISLAND Bally 1991 1200 PARTY ZONE Bally 1991 TERMINATOR 2 Williams 1991 1995 DOCTOR WHO Bally 1992 1200 LETHAL WEAPON III Data East 1992 700,1995 STAR WARS Data East 1992 1095 WHITEWATER Williams 1992 1200 CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON Bally 1993 INDIANA JONES Williams 1993 1500 JURASSIC PARK Data East 1993 995 MYSTERY CASTLE Alvin G. 1993 1295 STAR TREK - THE NEXT GENERATION Williams 1993 1795 TALES FROM THE CRYPT Data East 1993 TOMMY Data East 1994 1295 WORLD CUP SOCCER Bally 1994 1795 NO GOOD GOPHERS Williams 1997 RAFFLE
Well, this ends my description of another great Pinball Expo. As I have for the past 13 years, I really enjoyed attending Pinball Expo again this year. Next year (as I said earlier) will be the 15th Expo and I sincerely hope to be able to attend again.
Use back to return to prior web page