PINBALL EXPO '92
(There - They Did It Again!)
by Russ Jensen
For the 8th consecutive year "the best of them all" - Pinball Expo '92
- was held in Chicago, again at the Ramada O'Hare. This year, however, the
show festivities started a little earlier, beginning with the annual
pinball plant tour at 1 PM on Thursday November 12.
Even though this show had been originally touted as a "four day event"
I thought that this meant that the Exhibit Hall would be open on Thursday
evening. It was not until I had already purchased my non-refundable
airline ticket that I discovered I would have to miss the plant tour, my
flight not arriving in Chicago until 2 PM on Thursday.
I didn't feel too bad, however, missing this year's plant tour as I
had visited the Premier facility at two past Expos. Even if I had known
ahead of time I don't believe my travel plans would have been changed
because my flight was the earliest Thursday AM flight from L.A. (except for
the "I'll never do it again 'redeye'") which I could have taken. Leaving
the previous evening would not have been financially practical due to the
high (and growing higher each year) cost of the hotel room (now over $75
PREMIER SOLID STATE SYSTEM
Well, after arriving in Chicago that afternoon, traveling to the hotel
via their shuttle bus, and checking into my room, I proceeded to where the
tour wrap-up and solid-state system discussion session was to be held. I
discovered that that session had not yet begun due to a mix up in busing
the last tour group back to the hotel.
When the session finally began Expo host Rob Berk, after apologizing
for the delay, introduced Premier employee John Buras who asked for
questions from the audience. No one seemed to have any at that time.
John then proceeded to give us a brief history of the Gottlieb solid-
state game systems. He told us that he had been with the company since
1973 and remembered their first solid-state game, CLEOPATRA, produced in
Two years later, John went on, they introduced their electronic system
which they dubbed "System 80". In 1985 he said they began using alpha-
numeric displays. Then in 1989 he told of their new system which was first
used on LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION. John told how they always listened to
operator's complaints about their games and tried to address these
John next discussed many technical details of their solid-state
system, including CMOS technology, board organization, and playfield
scanning schemes. Concerning their latest system, John told of their
"Display Controller Board" (which can drive 96 lamps and 32 solenoids), a
"tournament switch" to change game characteristics for tournament play, and
their new "smart switches" which use piezo-electric film technology.
At that point John again asked for questions. When questioned about
price increases in their new games, John replied that there had been a
slight one but in return the operators got games which were more reliable.
He was then asked if the electronics changed for each new game and replied
that the basic circuit boards were the same. When asked if their chips
were safeguarded against static, John answered that this was not a big
problem with the newer CMOS technology.
John was next asked if they planned to use "electronic flippers" to
which he replied "no", but that several other options are being examined.
When asked if a printer could be connected to their games, he replied that
a "communications board" could be added to provide that capability. When
then asked about their built-in diagnostics, John briefly described what
tests they now provided.
John was also asked if they were considering the use of fiber-optic
cables in their games? He replied they had looked into it but that there
were manufacturability problems connected with such production. He was
then asked if their was a possibility of diagnosing game problems
electronically via a telephone line and a modem? John said that that could
be possible in the future, but that not all locations would be easily
adaptable to such a system.
Finally, John was asked what type of processor their current games
employed? He replied that they still used the "6502" which he called "the
workhorse of the industry". John ended by offering us some 'goodies'
(small plastic parts, etc.) which he had brought from the factory.
"LEARN TO PLAY PINBALL" SCHOOL
The last Thursday afternoon session was billed as "Learn to Play
Pinball - Hands-on workshop". At the start everybody in the audience was
handed slips with numbers between 1 and 10 on them. At that point Rob Berk
got up and introduced Richard Shapiro from Louisville Kentucky who came up
with the idea for this session.
Richard told us that he had attended three Expos, the Arizona Pinball
shows, and one AMOA show and had decided that he wanted to take some
lessons from the experts who play in the tournaments. He then introduced
the five players who volunteered to participate. Each of them then got up
and introduced themselves and told of their pet techniques for successful
Lyman Sheets was first and he began by saying that he "was not as good
as Rick and Dave" having played his first tournament at last year's Expo.
He then said he started practicing and then went to New York to play in the
PAPA tournament where he "did all right"". After that he told us he won
the "doubles" at the IFPA tournament and came in second at the Arizona show
the past June. He ended by telling us that he thinks that "trapping" the
ball is most important.
Next up was Dave Hegge who had won at two Expos and the IFPA
'singles". Dave next told of being invited to Australia to play (more
about that later). He then told us that he thinks the main factor in good
pinball play is "good aim".
Rick Stetta was next to speak. He had won at PAPA, the first IFPA,
and the last two Expos. He said he competes in all the major tournaments
and had won 4 out of the last 8 he had played in. Rick told us he had been
playing pins since age 10 (he was now 31) and that he would continue "until
my hands fall off". Rick then went into considerable detail about various
Following Rick was Julia Slayton who began by saying "don't play like
me - I do everything wrong". She then told of winning the "women's
division" at the last Phoenix show and also at IFPA in Milwaukee and the
last Expo. She then said that she had not been playing for too long
because as a girl she was not allowed to play pinball. Julia ended by
saying that you have to learn a game ahead of time, and also put in hours
Last to speak was Premier designer Jon Norris (who incidentally
designed the game used in the qualifying rounds of the Expo tournament).
Jon had previously won the manufacturer's class trophies at the last Expo,
the first and second IFPA tournaments, and Expo '87, Jon told us he had
been playing since the 1970's and then advised us not to practice
specifically for a tournament.
Jon then told us that game designers have to put things in their games
that the players appreciate. He then said that practicing playing
techniques was very, very important to become a good player, and that you
should own your own machine to avoid having to spend a lot of money at
After the 'champs' had finished speaking, the people in the audience
holding numbers between 1 and 5 were asked to gather around five games set
up in the room, each group with a different champion instructor. The
people holding numbers 6 through 10 were asked to go out of the room and
return in 30 minutes for their lessons.
My group had Lyman Sheets as our tutor who gave us detailed
demonstrations of his ball trapping techniques. The machines used for
this, by the way, had their top glasses removed so the teachers could
handle the ball.
After our training the other group waiting outside were let in and
similar training conducted for them. After that, I was told later, there
was a short question and answer session, but I had gone already in search
of dinner, I believe.
At 6 PM that evening the Exhibit Hall was open for the first time, but
more about that later.
The opening session on Friday morning was scheduled to be the "Opening
Remarks" which was to start at 8 AM. After some delay Rob Berk got up on
stage and introduced a "special speaker", Steve Kordek, who he reminded us
now had a total of 50 years in the industry, who he referred to as "Mr.
Steve told us that he has been asked the question "where have we come
from, where we're going, and why? He then told us that the longest "down
period" for the pinball industry was during World War II. Steve said that
during that period seven or more companies 'revamped' older games to come
up with 'new' ones.
Another down for games, Steve went on, was in the mid 1950's when the
bar game of "bumper pool" was quite popular. He then told of another slump
in the mid 80's brought on by video games, but said Williams' 1984 pingame
SPACE MISSION started pin popularity on a rise again.
When Rob told Steve he had two more minutes to talk, Steve praised his
present staff at Williams/Bally/Midway and their currently popular ADDAMS
FAMILY game. Steve ended by telling us "I hope I'm here for awhile
At that point Rob Berk came up and welcomed all of us to their 8th
Expo. He said that this year they had started a little earlier, and would
probably continue that in the future.
Rob next commented that 38 people had missed this year's plant tour,
then telling about the "Flip-Out" tournament with the finals this year
being held on Sunday. After that Rob told of the spouses shopping tour
(which consisted of the hotel providing transportation to the subway), the
midnight movies (Tilt and Tommy), the art contest, autograph session, and
the raffle which would be held this year.
Rob next introduced the author of the new pinball art book from
Germany, Heribert Eiden. Heri (as he prefers to be called) told of the two
years of work he put into the book. He said he sent letters to several
publishers before getting an acceptance. The book (called simply "Pinball
Machines" in the English version) was originally published in German, then
translated into French, and finally into English, just in time for this
Finally Rob introduced his Expo partner Mike Pacak. After welcoming
us, Mike said that the Exhibit Hall went well the previous evening and then
talked of the game auction scheduled for 10 AM Saturday. He then told us
where the banquet would be held this year.
ALVIN G. & COMPANY - FROM THE BEGINNING
Rob then introduced the presenters of the next session, Mike Gottlieb,
Ed Schmidt, and Jerry Armstrong who were going to tell us all about their
new company, "Alvin G. and Company".
Ed Schmidt started by telling us that those who attended the Expo were
"real diehards", and then quipped that we all must be "brain damaged" to be
involved with pins. He then told us that he understands how we 'love'
pingames, and that it's always a pleasure for him to talk to us.
Ed next told us that he had been in the industry since around 1962
when he started working for Chicago Coin. After that, he said, he worked
for Bally for many years and now is with Alvin G., which he told us was
founded by Alvin Gottlieb, of course. The company, he went on, started as
"A. Gottlieb and Co.", was changed to "A.G. and Co.", and then to it's
Ed continued, saying their company was "making history" today and that
we will be talking about them for years to come. He said that in a smaller
company it is easier to do things. Ed then told us they started with a new
concept (Soccer and Football table style games) and that it's exciting to
see what's unfolding, including their foreign markets.
He then said that he and Mike Gottlieb had recently traveled all over
the world and that it was amazing to see the excitement over games in
different cultures. Ed then told a story about something which happened to
he and Mike during a recent trip to England.
He said they were working 20 hours a day while they were there and
that one day while walking down a street Mike spied one of their SOCCER
BALL games in a location with a sign in the window advertising an upcoming
tournament. Ed said they went in and introduced themselves to the
technician working on the game who didn't believe them.
He said the guy wasn't treating the machine very nicely and that the
next day (Sunday) they came back and worked all day on that game, telling
us they "really had commitment". At that point Ed introduced Mike
Mike began with a brief history of the company which he said started
with his father, Alvin, getting his "smart flipper" patent and that they
started with three people. Since then, he went on, they have increased to
125 people. He then told how they originally planned to have Premier do
their manufacturing, but that when they became too busy to help Alvin G.
and Company had to set up their own manufacturing facilities.
Mike then told of their latest game, WORLD TOUR, which was their first
conventional style pingame. Again talking about their manufacturing
facility, he told us that it was 63,000 square feet and had the capability
of producing 100 games per day, although they were now producing about 30.
Mike then introduced the other panel member, Jerry Armstrong.
Jerry began by saying that Ed and Mike were hard to follow, adding
that they were really good salesmen. Jerry then told us that at the
company he "wears a lot of 'hats'". He then also gave a brief history of
Jerry told us when they started running out of space they discovered
that Gottlieb Memorial Hospital owned a large building (the ex Sloan Valve
plant) which the hospital would not be using for years, so they were able
to use it for their manufacturing facility. He went on to tell about the
company needing distributors for it's games, so they started advertising
for some. At that point the audience was asked for questions.
Rob Berk first asked when WORLD TOUR would be available for viewing?
The answer given was "later that afternoon" (but in fact it was never shown
due to last minute problems with the game). It was next asked if they
would support tournaments? Mike answered saying that was a good question,
adding that he thought tournaments are a fantastic way to create public
interest in pins, then telling us that WORLD TOUR would be used for
tournaments after it is "doing well".
When asked how many advance orders they got before starting to
manufacture a game, the answer given was approximately 400. When asked if
they were using anything from Premier, the answer was "no, only proprietary
parts". We were then told that they have their own 6502 processor
operating system which was similar to Premier's, but different.
Rob Berk then asked who in the company does the designing, etc.? Mike
answered by first saying that they all need to understand "all aspects of
the business". He then said that Jerry, Alvin, and himself are the "design
team", but also do some 'grunt work'. He then told us that he does a lot
of the "conceptual work" and that Jerry did the drawings for the designs.
The last question asked was who did their artwork? It was answered
that that was done by Don Hughes, Tim Elliot, and Andy Reynolds, Mike
remarking that everyone should be surprised by the WORLD TOUR artwork. He
ended by telling us that they were also trying to get Dave Christensen.
PINBALL TOURNAMENT AND LEAGUE PLAY
Rob Berk introduced the two speakers for the next presentation,
"Tournament and League Play". They were Steve Epstein owner of the
Broadway Arcade in New York City and promoter of the PAPA ("Professional
and Amateur Pinball Association") leagues, and Doug Young the Executive
Director of AMOA's IFPA ("International Flipper Pinball Association").
Before they began speaking a short video was shown which was used to
promote PAPA activities in New York.
Steve Epstein next welcomed us and then told how his PAPA leagues were
started 3 years earlier and now provided the largest money prize ever
offered. He then told us how the operators were really supporting his
efforts this year, and that they were going to have "singles", "doubles",
and "everything you can do with pins".
Doug Young next told us that it was nice to be there this year. In
the last three years, he said, their IFPA tournaments have given away much
money to winners and have received great support from the game
manufacturers. He then described the IFPA and how it was founded by the
AMOA to promote pinball leagues and sponsor tournaments.
Doug went on to tell us that they had 80 machines in their first two
tournaments and that their next one in May should be quite exciting. He
then told us that last year's winner in the "pinmaster division", Dave
Hegge, had subsequently been invited to play in Australia and then asked
Dave to tell us about it.
Dave began by telling us that his invitation to Australia was quite a
surprise. He said they first flew him to Sydney, and that he eventually
visited 5 capital cities, having a news conference in each of them held at
an arcade from the largest chain in the country, called "Time Zone".
Dave also said that he participated in three live TV shows (which he
said were similar to "David Letterman") hosted by a fellow named Danny
Boniducci. In addition, he said, he was interviewed on 10 taped TV
newscasts and 15 radio shows. There were also, he went on, 15 newspaper
and magazine articles, adding that the enthusiasm for pinball there was
After telling us that one of the highlights of the trip for him was to
see a live baby Koala bear on "Save the Koala Day", Dave said he also met
local movie stars and was even photographed with a "Penthouse Pet". He
then told of several things which surprised him during the trip.
First, Dave said, was how many locals showed up at the interviews,
many asking for his autograph. Secondly, he went on, was how popular
pinball was, with people lining up to play at a cost of $1 per game. Dave
ended by saying he was treated "excellently" which made it all worthwhile,
adding that he never thought anything like that could ever happen to him as
a result of playing pinball.
When Dave finished, Doug referred to him as "Hurricane Hegge". Steve
then commented that he feels strongly that there will be a strong
international competitive area for pins. A short video was then shown
consisting of various TV news clips regarding pinball tournaments.
At that point the audience was asked for questions. The panelists
were first asked if they had seen the "Entertainment Tonight" show with
Elvira which was shown after the previous Expo? They answered they had
not, adding that they would try to get a copy.
Steve then said that he wants to excite us to get into tournament
play, and to get us to tell our friends about it. He then told of meeting
Aaron Benedit from Canada two years earlier and how Aaron went back to
Canada and started a league program in his home area, which started
spreading throughout his country.
Steve then told us that 5 or 6 of his PAPA players were at the show,
suggesting that we talk to them about tournament play. Finally he
commented that charity tie-ins are good for pinball tournaments because the
media "loves this" and it helps overcome negative comments which are often
made regarding pins.
Doug was then asked where the next IFPA tournament would be held, to
which he answered May 21 through 23 in Milwaukee. Steve was then asked if
PAPA would have "single flipper doubles" play (one person at each flipper
button)? He answered that they would, calling that "Zen Pinball". When
asked if they would have a "Youth Division" he said they would.
When next asked to what they attribute their good media coverage to,
the answer given first was "the game". We were then told that they send
out many news releases and use charity tie-in whenever possible.
The final question regarded something referred to as "Flippin' for
Kids". Steve said that was a charity event sponsored by Variety Clubs
International. Two hundred locations were said to participate, with Subway
Sandwich Shops donating sandwiches, and Williams donating a GETAWAY pingame
as a prize.
"NAME THAT GAME" GAME
At that point Rob Berk got up and introduced Canadian Aaron Benedit
for the next event which he called "Name That Game". Aaron told us that he
first attended Pinball Expo '90 and later helped promote the PAPA
tournaments. He then told us that this year's game was similar to the one
he conducted last year, except that we will be answering questions about
pinball features, etc., rather than identifying voices. Aaron then asked
us 20 questions which we were to answer on forms provided to us.
The prizes, Aaron told us, would be T-shirts, one for the
manufacturer's winner and another for the 'players' winner. The results of
the game were to be announced at the banquet Saturday night, but more about
34 THINGS NOT TO DO TO A PINBALL MACHINE
Rob next introduced Expo regular Tim Arnold, who he said "came from
'Planet X'", and has the world's largest pinball collection, consisting of
more than 800 machines. Tim then gave out handouts covering the topic of
his talk which was billed as "34 Things Not To Do To a Pinball Machine"
(actually there turned out to be 39, and they were both "do's" and
Tim began by warning us not to use metal tools on a solid-state game
with the power on. Next he told us to not ignore the ball, always making
sure it was clean and smooth, and telling how to make it that way. He next
said that "contact cleaner" is "evil", suggesting we use a fine file to
clean contacts on electro-mechanical games, but not on solid-state.
The fourth item on his list was not to bundle game legs with tape, but
use wire instead. After reminding us not to ship games with the balls
inside, Tim warned us not to use abrasive cleaners on playfields,
recommending creamy car wax.
Tim continued with the 7th point, not to pry open coin doors, but to
drill out the locks instead. He next told how to brace a score reel while
cleaning it and to check all solder joints on them. Following this, he
told how to use solder to fix poorly contacting lamp sockets. Tim next
warned of being careful using solder since it was made using lead which is
basically toxic. He next advised us to buy only good 60/40 rosin core
Point number 12 was involved with packing games for shipment,
suggesting that a board be strapped over the glass, using bicycle boxes for
packing, and using pallets. Next we were advised to replace the thin
flange flipper bushings and to bolt them through the playfield. He next
advised us to use new "feet" (leg levelers) on our games.
Tim's next three suggestions ware to not buy cheap "super glue";
always use tempered glass; and to store games on pallets when not in use.
Next it was suggested that we replace poor glue used in many cabinet
joints. We were then told to replace the 22 gauge wire normally used
between flipper coils and their "end-of-stroke switches" with heavier 18
gauge lamp cord wire.
Tim's next two points concerned tightening coin door hinges and
letting a game warm up to room temperature before turning in on when
bringing it in from a cold area. He then talked of some problems with the
newer Gottlieb solid-state power supplies. After that Tim talked at length
regarding ways to improve the use of playfield screws.
Item 25 was concerned with the difference between A.C. and D.C. game
components. Next he advised removing batteries from solid-state games when
stored. He then talked of the dangers of using playfield prop sticks,
followed by advice to "not make fun of Wayne Newton" (one of his Las Vegas
Tim next discussed the two types of pinball coils (solenoid and
magnet) and warned us not to operate a solenoid without it's plunger
inserted in it. His next discussion centered around replacing nylon
flipper linkages. Tim then talked about "equalizing grounds" in solid-
Following some advice to use a toothbrush to clean playfield posts,
and to keep your games out of direct sunlight (believe me, it does fade
paint!), he talked about adjusting "knockers" to get the proper sound. Tim
then told how to re-ink bumper caps whose lettering is fading.
Tim's last three topics involved "beer sealing" playfield glasses;
oiling metal motor gears; and how to remove the game's "coin lockout
coils". Tim then asked for questions from the audience.
It was first asked if one should attempt to replace the small metal
contact points on the ends of switch blades? Tim answered "no", saying
that you should replace the entire switch blade. Steve Young then
commented from the audience that points were not too hard to replace if you
use long-nosed pliers to seat them.
Finally, Tim was asked if backglasses could be sprayed with "Krylon"
to protect the paint from peeling? Tim answered that he didn't think that
product was heavy enough, adding that Steve Young's product "Cover Your
Glass" was better. When someone then commented that Krylon worked well on
slot machine glasses, Tim commented that better ink was used when making
them than used on pinball glasses.
PINBALL TODAY PANEL
Rob Berk next introduced the panelists for the next event "Pinball
Today - Where It Is And Where It's Going". Alvin Gottlieb, he said, was
the son of D. Gottlieb and Co. founder David Gottlieb, who was head of his
company for over 35 years. Ed Cebula, he went on, has been in the industry
since the 1940's, working for such companies as Buckley, Jennings, Chicago
Coin, Game Plan, and now Data East Pinball.
Rob then told us that Gil Pollack had worked for Gottlieb for 20 years
and eventually bought the pinball operation, calling it Premier Technology.
Finally, he said, Roger Sharpe was once "Mr. Gentleman's Quarterly" (having
once been an editor at that magazine), later designed several solid-state
games in the 1980's, and currently is Director of Marketing at
Roger began by asking "where are we going?" He said he has heard a
lot of people complaining about today's more complex games, but that they
must produce "what the market demands". He then remarked that "every game
is perfect for it's era", adding that everything in the world continues to
evolve. Roger then told us to look at the changes in pins in the past two
years, saying that "we're now at the brink". He ended by remarking that
the future for pingames is still viable and entertaining and that they now
have a whole new audience to satisfy.
At that point Rob Berk posed the always controversial question of "one
dollar play". Gil Pollack was first to comment saying play prices have to
increase, but that a dollar coin is needed. He then said the increased
cost of the equipment and it's maintenance which the operator bears has to
be passed on to the player, adding that quarter play for pinball today is a
rarity. Ed Cebula then commented "that's the way it has to go".
Rob Berk next asked Ed what Data East was doing to decrease the
maintenance cost for their games? Ed replied that they use comments from
operators in the field to determine what usually breaks down and try to
improve it by using better materials, etc.. Alvin Gottlieb then commented
that they could produce games which require very little service, but they
would probably have to be too high priced for operators to afford.
Someone from the audience next asked about the possibility of
manufacturing games outside the country? Gil replied that they had looked
into that in the past but decided not to because they need a short lead
time, and it's cheaper to maintain local facilities.
Rob Berk then asked Roger about competition in game licensing? Roger
answered that when licensing began in the 1970's and 1980's there was
"cross pollination of the entertainment arts", but that today licenses are
more selective. He went on to say that people today like things connected
with recognizable people (celebrities, etc.). Roger then remarked that
licensed pins have done well for Data East. He then compared licensed pins
with "designer labels" on clothing.
Finally Roger commented that hopefully the play theme of the game can
be involved with the licensed property, using their current ADDAMS FAMILY
license as an example. He then added "good art gets the first quarter, but
a good game gets the rest".
Alvin Gottlieb next remarked that in today's global economy, with the
world tied together by satellites, people in other countries recognize our
celebrities as well, telling about an incident involving this which
happened on a recent trip to Tahiti.
Gil then commented that his company, Premier, hasn't gone to the full
extreme with licensing, believing that there still is room for non-licensed
games. Ed Cebula then said that Data East was strong on licenses, telling
of some of their current ones: TALES OF THE CRYPT, BULLWINKLE, etc.. He
then added that side effects of licensing (toys, games, etc.) help get
young people into pins.
Rob Berk then asked about the increased foreign market for pins? Gil
responded by remarking that outside the U.S. the market for pins is "huge".
He then talked about the Italian Add-A-Balls in the past, then saying that
today the foreign market is more mature. He ended by telling us that the
South American market is getting stronger, and that Australia and Taiwan
were also good markets for games, adding that the European market is
stronger for Premier than the U.S., providing a majority of their sales.
Alvin Gottlieb next commented that the new "dot-matrix" displays, with
their 'flash' and crude video, which are now coming into vogue, are a sign
of what's coming, adding that they may even go to LED displays or something
with "tremendous flash". He then told us that you have to give the public
what it wants (action, etc.), remarking that certain basic patterns will go
The panel was next asked about "redemption" games where tickets are
given to winners which are redeemable for small prizes. Gil said that
Premier is also in that market. The kid's pinball, MUSHROOM WORLD, which
was displayed in the Exhibit Hall was mentioned as an example of this idea.
Rob Berk next inquired about possible changes in pinball cabinets? Ed
Cebula first commented that you couldn't make much change due to budget
Gil then told us that Gottlieb once tried a fiberglass cabinet in the
early 1980's, but they did not hold up like wood, adding that they also had
to make changes in their manufacturing process. He then said there has
been some talk of experimenting with plastic playfields. Alvin Gottlieb
then commented that they had tried Aluminum laminated over plywood, but
that produced "insurmountable problems".
Someone from the audience next asked about competition among today's
pinball manufacturers? Roger Sharpe answered "not at all", followed by a
chuckle. Gil said he could see the possibility of getting into "bidding
wars" over licensing of a particular property. Roger again spoke up saying
that competition was not as bad as it was in the Eighties, adding that
things were more friendly now.
It was next asked what the manufacturers thought was the typical
service/revenue life of games today? Gil said that as far as the "physical
life" of a machine was concerned the collectors should know that better
than he. On location, he went on, a game can possibly be used for as long
as 10 to 15 years if kept up properly. However, he added, an operator will
possibly operate a machine for 3 to 5 years before trading/selling it off.
He then commented that games are not built to fall apart.
It was next asked if the panel thought the public was ready for
pinball play price increases? Roger Sharpe began his answer by commenting
"I'm not ready to pay higher prices for many items", but said that
distributors/operators have to increase prices in order to stay in
Ed Cebula then commented that he thinks it is inevitable that play
pricing will increase in the future. Someone then asked about the use of
"dollar bill acceptors" on games. It was answered that they are available
now on special order by the distributor.
An operator in the audience next made the comment that years ago you
could rotate a game around your route for up to 5 years, but today many
locations want only the latest games and will not accept older ones. He
then added that he has no outlet for older machines.
Gil then asked him if his routes were making more money today than in
the past? The operator answered, "yes, but not three times as much". This
precipitated a lengthy discussion of economic conditions, inflation, etc..
Following that, Gil commented that most distributors will take used
machines in trade because they now have good markets for them, especially
in South America.
Alvin Gottlieb then commented that one reason why the latest games
were demanded by players more today than in the past was because kids get
around fasted today than they used to. At that point other operators in
the audience got involved in the discussion.
My friend Sam Harvey next brought up the controversial question of
whether higher play prices were justified on games which were not properly
maintained by operators? Ed Cebula said that he agreed that this was a
problem. At that point each of the panelists gave a closing comment.
Alvin Gottlieb began by saying that he had lived through all stages of
game price increases. He then commented that penny play began in the late
1920's on, for example, his father's Grip Testers. He then told of his dad
once using a large coin slot which would accept any coin put into it.
Alvin ended by telling us that in the future "one-dollar play" will be
vitally important to the industry.
In this same vein Ed Cebula next commented that three years earlier
Steve Kordek had predicted "one-dollar play", and he thought it was
Gil Pollack then thanked the audience for their comments, saying that
our input is appreciated. He then said that we may argue or disagree with
them, but our ideas will always be considered. Roger Sharpe ended by
saying that "because of you, the best is yet to come".
Next on the program was the seminar in which yours truly was to
participate: "The Data Collectors - Pinball's True Historians". When I
started writing up this seminar I discovered that it would be almost as
long as one-fourth of this article or more. For this reason I have decided
to describe this presentation next time, along with a brief explanation of
how I prepare these Expo articles, including the reason why this particular
write-up ended up being so long. So you'll have to wait.
THE SEARCH FOR PACHINKO
Next on the agenda was the annual talk by Dick Bueschel which this
year was billed as "The Search For Pachinko". After Dick was introduced by
Rob Berk he began telling us about his recent involvement in a Japanese TV
Dick told us that one day he got a call from a representative of "NTV"
(Nippon Television) saying they heard he had a collection of early
bagatelle games and asking if he would help them with a TV show they were
doing on the origins of the popular Japanese game of Pachinko.
A representative of NTV then came to visit Dick, we were told, to tell
him about the show and make the preliminary arrangements. Dick told a
story of him getting roast beef sandwiches for he and his quest to eat
which at first the Japanese man (even though he was a student of Cultural
Anthropology) was afraid to try, but when he finally did he liked it.
Dick said he was told that the show in question had been on Japanese
TV for four years and that each show consisted of a "search" for something
or other. For example, one show featured a search for the origins of
catsup, and ended up in London. The show's host was a popular Tokyo TV
personality who called himself Tanny Kaye, who Dick said was sort of the
"Johnny Carson of Japan".
Dick's visitor told him that they were working on a show consisting of
a search for the origins of pachinko. He was then told that the pachinko
industry in Japan was even bigger than their auto industry. Dick was
informed that he would be visited by Tanny and his crew to interview him
and film his collection of bagatelle games.
Dick then told us that when the crew finally came they first set up
their cameras in the street in front of his house and started filming
squirrels. When Dick asked about that they said they thought the squirrels
to be "very American". When Dick then asked if they didn't have squirrels
in their country they replied "no, they were all eaten years ago".
When they finally came into Dick's house, Tanny carrying a large
leather bag, Dick was introduced to Tanny. Dick told us that he
demonstrated and explained his Bagatelle games to Tanny while the TV crew
photographed many of the games. The Director of the show then asked Dick
if they could come back the next day to film his entire collection for
display in the Tokyo Cultural Museum. Dick told them that they could.
Before they left Dick said he asked the Director if the TV audience in
Japan would understand what he had said since it was in English. He was
told there would be no problem because when the show was finally aired he
would be speaking fluent Japanese.
Dick then showed the half-hour video of the final show which they sent
to him, making comments throughout the showing since the audio was all in
Japanese. In addition to Dick's interview (they were right - he spoke
fluent Japanese), they showed a visit to well-known English coin machine
collector Nick Costa and his impressive collection, and to another
collector in France. It would have been nice to have heard the narration
in English as I am sure it would have been quite interesting, although
several Japanese visitors to the Expo had no trouble with that at all.
After the showing, Dick commented that coin machines are really a
"multi-cultural thing". He then told us that he thinks the game of
Pachinko will become more popular in the U.S. in the future. Finally, Dick
told us that he had been collecting Bagatelles since 1965 and that "every
one has a story"
DESIGNING A PINBALL MACHINE
The final seminar scheduled for this year's Expo was "Designing a
Pinball Machine", a feature of the show for the past several years in which
the audience participates in a game design led by a current pinball
designer. Our host designer this year was Pat Lawlor of
Williams/Bally/Midway who was introduced by Rob Berk.
Pat began by saying that this year's session was going to be different
from those in the past. At that point we were given questionnaires to
answer which were to be used during the design session.
Pat then said that before starting our design he was going to talk a
little about their current hit pingame, ADDAMS FAMILY. He began by telling
us that the project was initiated over a year earlier during a luncheon
with Roger Sharpe during which their game FUN HOUSE was being discussed.
After mentioning the Addams Family movie, Pat asked Roger if he could
acquire a license to do a game around it, which Roger eventually did.
Licensing, Pat went on, is a "risky business", saying that if you
license a future movie, for instance, that movie when released could be bad
and hurt the game. In the case of ADDAMS FAMILY, however, he said that
even if the movie was bad the old TV show connection should still aid the
game's popularity. He then said that 96 percent of the people once
interviewed (10 years old or older) knew what the Addams Family was.
Pat next told of going to Roger and asking if he could get a copy of
the movie script, which he was finally able to do. He said they also got a
drawing of the house, Pat believing the game should look as much like the
movie as possible. He said they also got the "press kit" which included
Pat then said he had an idea to use one of the picture's stars to
record some speech for the game. When Roger first asked about that he got
a negative reply. But finally one of the stars consented and in return the
company gave his kids a special ADDAMS FAMILY machine which included
personal "Happy Birthday" messages.
We were next told that in the early design stages they had quite a few
problems, especially with "Thing". After 6 whitewoods, Pat said, they
finally got the game to work, he then commented "the rest is history",
telling of the game being honored at the AMOA shows for two years running.
After collecting the questionnaires we were previously handed, Pat
introduced artist John Youssi, who did the artwork for ADDAMS FAMILY, and
who was now going to draw our design on a large sheet of paper. Pat then
began the design phase of the seminar by remarking that in the "real world"
cost and time are important considerations in any game design.
Pat next told us that we must first choose a theme for our game.
Suggestions from the audience included such themes as: Tsunami, Monopoly,
The Pit and The Pendulum, Mouse Trap, Titanic, Dracula, 20 Thousand Leagues
Under the Sea, Corvettes, Dinosaurs, and The Chicago Flood.
Pat then commented that those were some good ideas, adding that you
must, however, consider the "target audience" for a game. Remarking that
the majority of games produced end up in "street locations" (bars, etc.),
he commented that Dinosaurs might only appeal to young kids, adding that
Chicago Flood might not be understood in the foreign markets. The themes
were then voted on by us, Monopoly ending up the winner.
Pat next told us that when he began a design he starts by drawing the
bottom area, which he said was important because that's were the continuity
starts. At that point he randomly drew a questionnaire, an answer on which
suggested that the bottom should contain "a weird arrangement of slingshots
and lanes which nobody had seen before". He then asked the person who had
given that answer to describe what he wanted, John drawing it on his
Pat next said the shooter for our game must be chosen. Another
questionnaire was drawn and a "standard shooter" was added to the sketch.
We were next told we needed a major playfield component, or "toy" as Pat
called it. For our game of MONOPOLY several suggestions were made,
including: a jail, railroads, dice, the Monopoly Man ("Uncle Pennybags"), a
hotel, a money clip, and several others.
When a vote was taken the jail was chosen, it being decided to be used
as a "multi-ball" release device. It was also decided to simulate
railroads using wire forms, and to add a simulated Monopoly board in the
center of the playfield. Those items were then added to our drawing.
Pat then told us that the technique known as "brainstorming" was often
used by pinball design teams to help them develop good games, adding that
some ideas have to be redone several times to improve them. He then talked
of the high cost of incorporating some features into a game, saying that
for example, it took $50,000 in tooling to create the "bookcase" on ADDAMS
At that point a question was asked - should our game respect the real
rules of Monopoly? Pat answered that was not necessary since "you have
'artistic license' in a 'pinball world'". He then added "you get to make
We were next asked to vote for how many flippers and Jet Bumpers the
game should have, coming up with 4 and 3 respectively. It was decided to
make the Jet Bumpers represent the "Electric Company" in Monopoly. it was
then decided to place the bumpers at the top right-hand area of the
playfield so that a "skill shot" could be used to get into them. Pat next
made the comment that a good design "should balance out between the expert
and average player".
Next the extra flippers were placed, and a ramp added to direct the
ball towards the "jail". It was decided to use a "maga-save" device as a
diverter from this ramp which would either direct the ball to the jail or
into the flippers. The fourth flipper was placed to aim at four drop
targets (representing "houses") which if all four were hit would award the
player one "hotel". A "kickback" device was then added to feed the fourth
At that point Pat talked briefly about licensing. He said you have to
make some sort of "deal" with the other party; for example, so much money
plus so much additional per game produced. In most cases, he went on, the
game's artwork (and often speech) have to be approved by the licensor. Pat
ended by commenting that a license gives "instant recognition of your
The drawing of our game was then finished by adding the wire form
"railroads". Pat then commented that a video display could be used with
our MONOPOLY for "Chance" or "Community Chest". At that point Pat asked
for any "wild ideas" anyone might have.
The first such idea given was "a 10 second countdown for 'negative
points'". Pat commented that on the "pro" side the idea was inventive and
different. On the other side, he said, is that the average player wouldn't
like it because a game is not supposed to take something away from him.
Pat then commented "I won't put anything on my games which either takes
something away or gives you nothing".
The other wild idea given was to have a pair of dice which pops up and
produces a score using "pattern recognition". On that idea Pat commented
"I like it; put it on our game!".
The session ended with random drawings for 4 ADDAMS FAMILY coffee
cups, followed by a brief question and answer period. That ended the Expo
On Saturday morning a coin machine auction was scheduled, put on by
U.S. Amusement Auctions, who also produced an auction at last year's show.
Since the auction was held during the Exhibit Hall hours, and I personally
had no interest in buying any games, I only attended a small part of it, so
will only make a few brief comments.
Prior to the start of the auction I looked at the games to be sold
just to see how many older games were there. There were only a few made
before 1960, most in bad shape, except for a Chicago Coin KILROY (which I
have in my collection) and a Bally ROCKET, both from 1947 and in pretty
During the part of the actual auction I did attend (about 45 minutes,
or so) I recorded the prices for the pre-1970 games which I saw auctioned
off. These included: The KILROY I mentioned earlier - $450; the ROCKET -
$170; Gottlieb's 1961 BIG CASINO - $195; Williams' 1962 FRIENDSHIP 7 -
$195; Williams' 1962 FOUR ROSES - $325; and Gottlieb's 1968 ROYAL GUARD -
That should give you some idea of the prices some of the older games
went for - or does it? At the time of the auction I was quite surprised
that KILROY went for over $400, but I later found out why. It seems it was
a "buy back", the owner bidding on it himself (and keeping it) because he
thought the prices bid by legitimate bidders were not high enough for his
Personally, I think auction "buy backs" are unfair and should not be
allowed. If a seller wants to have a minimum bid on his merchandise, all
right, but no secret buy backs with the owner bidding up his own
merchandise. Most auctions do let bidders know if buy backs are allowed
(and this one probably did - I don't know for sure as I did not read the
auction rules), but I still think it takes all the fun out of an auction.
Incidentally, besides the many pingames sold at the auction, there
were other types of coin machines offered for sale. These included juke
boxes and slot machines and assorted other coin-ops.
Saturday night, as has been the tradition, was the annual banquet.
After a one hour cocktail hour, where we mingled and talked, we found
places at one of the tables. After visiting with the others at the table,
the talk of course centering around pinball, the meal was eventually
served. This year, in my opinion, the food wasn't quite as good as served
at past banquets, but it wasn't bad either.
After we finished eating, the banquet program began. Expo host Rob
Berk introduced the featured speaker of the evening, Gil Pollack, President
of Premier Technology, the modern producer of Gottlieb pingames.
Gil began by thanking Rob Berk and Mike Pacak for putting on such a
fine show. He then praised the people behind the scenes at his company,
telling of one fellow who had been a tool and die maker at Gottlieb since
1940. When Gil asked the fellow to stand up he drew a round of applause.
Gil then began a slide presentation which he called "Changing Times at
Gil told us that D. Gottlieb and Co. was originally a family owned
company. He said that when he came to the company in 1972 from the steel
forging industry he hardly knew what a pinball machine was.
He went on to say that the game they were producing when he started
was ORBIT, and at that time the company was producing approximately 12 new
models a year, compared to the 4 or 5 they now produce. He said, however,
that all 12 were not entirely different since they often had 2 and 4 player
models of a game, and sometimes Italian Add-A-Ball models as well.
Gil next told us that business was booming in 1976 when they were
producing their bi-centennial games SPIRIT OF '76 and PIONEER. He then
told of Columbia Pictures buying Gottlieb that same year. Gil said at that
time they were involved with tournaments and game promotions in France
using a game called CANADA DRY which was a version of their current game
By 1978, Gil told us, the company was "behind the 8-ball", when other
pin manufacturers began producing solid-state games. He said that they
finally "caught up" with the introduction of their first solid state pin
CLEOPATRA. He said that most of their engineers were used to electro-
mechanical games, with no solid-state experience, but they teamed up with
Rockwell to develop their first solid-state game system.
Gil next pointed out that at that time the French were one of their
best markets and they still wanted electro-mechanical games. So for
awhile, he told us, they produced both electro-mechanical and solid-state
models of their games.
The year 1979, Gil continued, was the beginning of a "new era" with
the introduction of wide body games, their first being GENIE. Gil then
told of working with long-time Gottlieb designer Wayne Neyens who he
described as his mentor and friend. When Wayne finally retired Gil told us
that he was put in charge of design engineering.
Gil then told of a great designer they had at that time who is still
with them, a fellow named John Buras. He then told of several of their hit
games of that period including MARS - GOD OF WAR (whose production run was
longer than expected), BLACK HOLE, and HAUNTED HOUSE which had a 3 level
In the early 1980's, Gil told us, video games were coming in strong
and the market for pins was beginning to weaken. Because of this he said
the company tried something different, the introduction of the combination
pin and video game CAVEMAN which he said did "OK".
In January 1982, Gil told us, the company was taken over by Coca Cola.
Coke, he went on, thought videos were the thing, and also for some reason
changed the company's name at that time to Mylstar Electronics.
Gil commented that they made several video games, the best known being
Q-BERT, which he said was a pretty good video. But he said that their
company was really a pinball, not a video game, company. When the new
laser-disc videos started he said they made the second one to come out
which was called MACH 3, but that the video discs just did not hold up.
In the Spring of 1984, Gil then told us, Coke decided to get out of
the game business and close down Mylstar. Gil said that he thought the
company had a lot of good people and it was a shame to lose this talent.
He therefore went to New York and talked one of their biggest customers, a
distributor specializing in the European market, to go into partnership
with him and buy the company, which on October 24, 1984 became known as
The first game produced by Premier Gil told us was TOUCHDOWN. He then
said that at the time he was bothered by losing the name Gottlieb. Gil
told of in 1986 getting with their lawyers and eventually getting the
Gottlieb family to agree that they could use the name on their games as a
registered trade mark, but could not use it as their company name.
Premier's first game using the Gottlieb name Gil told us was GENESIS.
Gil went on to tell us that the year of 1988 was "soft" for the
pingame industry, and 1989 was simply "terrible". In 1990, he told us,
things picked up for the company when they released their baseball theme
pin SILVER SLUGGER. Gil told us that this game was made along simpler,
more traditional, lines and was cheaper to make and therefore could be sold
to operators at a lower price.
After that, Gil continued, they made a few more simpler "single level"
games, but they seemed not to be what the players of the day really wanted,
adding that the company always tried to put out games that the players
would like. So, in 1991, he told us they decided to go back to a "full
fledged" game, coming out with CACTUS JACK'S.
At his point Gil started telling us how that game came about. He said
that over the years people outside the industry would ask him what they had
to do to submit a design for a new game? Gil told us that anyone could
sketch a game on a piece of paper, so to keep from being flooded with
amateur designs his stock answer to that question would be "you must submit
a working prototype". This, he told us, usually discouraged 99 percent of
wood-be game designers.
This, however, Gil told us did not discourage Southern Californian
Rheinhardt (Reiny) Bangeter who produced a working prototype of his game
idea using Data East parts. Gil told us that Reiny had put a lot of work
into his game and it was eventually brought to Chicago for him to see.
Gil said that when he saw the prototype he thought the geometry and
game concept were good, but some changes were needed. He said that since
Jon Norris was a good friend of Reiny he didn't think that he would mind
too much if Jon made a few changes to his design. Gil then remarked that
since the release of CACTUS JACK'S Premier's games have been more
Gil ended his talk by saying that their current game, CUE BALL WIZARD,
which was designed by Jon Norris, was one of the strongest games they have
ever produced. He then said he wanted to take his hat off to his people
responsible for producing that game - especially Jon Norris. That drew a
big round of applause. At that point the slides were over and Gil said so
was his talk.
After Gil had completed his presentation, Rob Berk again got up and
tried a gimmick which he has been doing for the past several Expos. He
first asked us all to stand up. He then asked all the "first timers" to
sit down, then the "second timers", etc., until only those of us who had
attended all eight Expos were left standing. There were quite a few of us.
After that, Rob announced the winners of the "Name That Game" contest
conducted the first morning by Canadian Aaron Benedit which I described
earlier. In the "players" category the winner was a fellow named Rob
Rosenhouse, scoring 17 correct answers to the 20 questions. For the
"manufacturers" category the winner was Premier designer Jon Morris,
scoring a whooping 19 correct answers.
At that point Rob introduced a representative from the English
"Pinball Owner's Association", John Whyatt, to make a special presentation.
He began by telling us that their organization had been in existence for 16
John then told us that they had recently formed an 8 man committee to
select a game to be given an award for the best pingame to come out since
the last Expo. He said they hoped to do this annually, commenting that
they wanted to "give something back to the hobby".
We were then told that they voted in September and chose Williams'
ADDAMS FAMILY to receive the award, which they thought was "outstanding".
At that point Williams designers Pat Lawlor and Larry DeMar, and Director
of Marketing Roger Sharpe, came up on stage to accept the award, Pat making
the comment that they had never been given an award from so far away.
Next on the program was the selection of this year's inductees into
our "Pinball Hall of Fame", which was established at last year's show. The
two Hall of Famer's selected this year were Genco designer and frequent
Expo guest Harvey Heiss, and old-time designer, and inventor of the
flipper, Harry Mabs.
After that Rob announced the winners of the Expo art contest, in which
there were only five entries. The "Best of Show" award was given to Henk
DeJager from Holland who had, we were told, designed an entire game "from
scratch", including a schematic diagram as well as the artwork.
Next the winner of the "Best Exhibit" trophy was announced. Again the
first place winner was Steve and Laura Engle's "Pinball Supermarket".
Second place this year was said to be a tie and went to Jim Tolbert and
Judy McCrory's "For Amusement Only" booth and the "Pinball Wizard" booth of
Chance and Elaine Tess.
Rob Berk next gave special thanks to Gil Pollack of Premier Technology
for letting the Expo visitors tour their pinball plant. He presented Gil
with a plaque. Following that Rob presented another plaque to Richard
Shapiro for his idea for the "Learn to Play Pinball" school.
After thanking his helper, Lou Marciella, Rob said that everybody
(including myself) who participated in the Expo seminars would be given
certificates which we could pick up after the banquet was over. Rob then
gave an award to his co-producer Mike Pacak for his fine coordination of
the Exhibit Hall.
Following that, Rob announced that Roger Sharpe and his wife Ellen
were celebrating their anniversary. He then presented each of them with a
glass of champagne.
The next event was the raffle in which two brand new pingames, Data
East's TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES and Williams' GETAWAY were given away.
When the winning ticket number for the Data East game was called nobody
claimed it! After several attempts to find that ticket holder another
ticket was drawn and the game given away to the lucky winner. It seemed
strange to everyone there that no one had the first ticket drawn.
After that, another ticket was drawn and the GETAWAY was given away to
another lucky person. Later on the mystery of the unclaimed winning ticket
was solved. I overheard a conversation in the Exhibit Hall to the effect
that that ticket was held by one of the visitors from Germany, but he
didn't check his tickets when the first number was called because he
thought he had only purchased tickets for the Williams machine - a sad
At the conclusion of the raffle a group of door prizes were also given
away. This year, however, the winners were drawn from a list of the names
of the attendees, rather than from numbered tickets as in the past.
At the conclusion of the banquet festivities Rob Berk announced that
Pinball Expo '93 will be held a bit earlier this time (hooray - better
weather!). It is scheduled from September 9th through 12th, 1993 at the
same old location. He also announced that we would be touring the new
Alvin G. and Co. plant. For information on that show you can call Rob Berk
As everybody was beginning to leave the banquet hall, Rob Berk was
suddenly reminded that he had forgotten to mention the Arizona Pinball Show
the following Spring. Rob hurried back to the podium and told us it would
be held June 5th and 6th, 1993 in Scottsdale Arizona. (For more
information on that show call Bruce Carlton at 602-831-9669) That ended
this year's banquet.
THE EXHIBIT HALL
The Exhibit Hall this year, as it has been in the past, was really the
center of activity for the show. It was a large area consisting of a main
room, which was pretty well full, and a second room which had displays of 5
or 6 dealers, plus a display of Alvin G. and Company games.
Again, the Exhibit Hall contained many pingames, both old and new,
most of which were for sale. The prices of the pins varied from as low as
a hundred dollars or so, up to $1000 (well, there was a FIREBALL with an
asking price of $2500). Prices of the majority of the games this year were
between $300 and $700.
Some of the manufacturers also displayed some of their games. Alvin
G. and Company had several of their new "table style" two player games,
SOCCER-BALL and U.S.A. FOOTBALL. I thought it was nice to see parents and
children playing against each other on these games many times during the
show. Data East had their TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES pin, plus a special
edition MICHAEL JORDAN game. Williams had a booth with flyers, etc,, but I
don't remember them having any actual machines on display.
The latest Gottlieb hit from Premier, CUE BALL WIZARD, was the game
used for the Flip-Out tournament qualifying rounds. A whole row of these
games was clearly visible when you first entered the main hall. This
flashy game, by the way, was the latest design of Jon Norris who got to be
a designer from contacts he made with Premier during the first Expo in
The following is a chronological list of all the pingames at the Expo:
PINGAMES AT PINBALL EXPO '92
GAME MFG YEAR PRICE
______________________________ ___________ _____ ______________
STRATO-O-LINER Chicago Coin 1940 SOLD
ARIZONA United 1943 500/OBO
BALLY HOO Bally 1947 200/OBO
BRONCHO Genco 1947 -
NEVADA United 1947 500/OBO
ROCKET Bally 1947 325, 500/OBO
CHAMPION (1-BALL) Bally 1948 800
OLDE KING COLE Gottlieb 1948 450/TRADE
RANCHO Bally 1948 400
BUTTONS AND BOWS Gottlieb 1949 795
DOUBLE SHUFFLE Gottlieb 1949 -
TRI SCORE Genco 1951 325
PIN WHEEL Gottlieb 1953 650
GOLD STAR Gottlieb 1954 -
ROYAL FLUSH Gottlieb 1957 350/OBO
SUPER CIRCUS Gottlieb 1957 900
GUSHER Williams 1958 -
SUNSHINE Gottlieb 1958 600
LIGHTNING BALL Gottlieb 1959 -
MISS ANNABELLE Gottlieb 1959 -
PINCH HITTER (BASEBALL) Williams 1959 -
QUEEN OF DIAMONDS (NO GLASS) Gottlieb 1959 300
DARTS Williams 1960 -
WAGON TRAIN Gottlieb 1960 125
WORLD BEAUTIES Gottlieb 1960 550
BIG CASINO Gottlieb 1961 375
SHOWBOAT Gottlieb 1961 425
EGG HEAD Gottlieb 1962 650, 695
JOLLY JOKERS Williams 1962 -
BIG DEAL Williams 1963 500
MOON SHOT Bally 1963 NOT FOR SALE
SWING TIME Williams 1963 -
BONANZA Gottlieb 1964 300
SOCCER Williams 1964 200
WING DING Williams 1964 325
BANK-A-BALL Gottlieb 1965 650
BOWL-A-STRIKE Williams 1965 350
CENTRAL PARK Gottlieb 1966 -
HOT LINE Williams 1966 395
PITCH 'N BAT (BASEBALL) Williams 1966 595
BLAST OFF Williams 1967 525
KING OF DIAMONDS Gottlieb 1967 350
SUPER SCORE Gottlieb 1967 300
FUN PARK Gottlieb 1968 550
HAYBURNERS II Williams 1968 350
JOKER Bally 1968 600
MINI POOL Gottlieb 1969 325
HOME RUN Gottlieb 1971 500
ROLLER COASTER Gottlieb 1971 300
ZODIAC Williams 1971 -
FIREBALL Bally 1972 1000, 2500
MONTE CARLO Bally 1972 750
NIP-IT Bally 1972 800
SPANISH EYES Williams 1972 -
TIME ZONE Bally 1972 750
TRAVEL TIME Williams 1973 -
UPPER DECK (BASEBALL) Williams 1973 -
BIG INDIAN Gottlieb 1974 125
MAGNOTRON Gottlieb 1974 450
MYSTIC GATE (BINGO) Bally 1974 600
SKY LAB Williams 1974 -
HOKUS POKUS Bally 1975 -
OLD CHICAGO Bally 1975 500
WIZARD Bally 1975 475
AZTEC Williams 1976 325
CAPTAIN FANTASTIC Bally 1976 495-800
DERBY DAY (ROUGH) Williams 1976 OFFER
GRAND PRIX Williams 1976 600
SPIRIT OF '76 Gottlieb 1976 -
CLEOPATRA Gottlieb 1978 250
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS Gottlieb 1978 350
KISS Bally 1978 595
SILVERBALL MANIA Bally 1978 650
WORLD CUP Williams 1978 -
FLASH Williams 1979 600
FUTURE SPA Bally 1979 -
GORGAR Williams 1979 650
HOT HAND Stern 1979 350
INCREDIBLE HULK Gottlieb 1979 -
METEOR Stern 1979 200-450
PINBALL POOL Gottlieb 1979 200
ROCK STAR Gottlieb 1979 450
SHARPSHOOTER Game Plan 1979 350
XENON Bally 1979 -
BLACK KNIGHT Williams 1980 700-750
CONEY ISLAND (OLD) Game Plan 1980 575
FATHOM Bally 1980 695
FIREPOWER Williams 1980 425
FLASH GORDON Bally 1980 595
FRONTIER Bally 1980 995
GALAXY Stern 1980 150
JAMES BOND Gottlieb 1980 500
SKATE BALL Bally 1980 375
ARENA Gottlieb 1981 750
BLACK HOLE Gottlieb 1981 150
CATACOMB Game Plan 1981 425
CENTAUR Bally 1981 600, 895
HYPERBALL Williams 1981 500
JUNGLE LORD Williams 1981 -
VECTOR Bally 1981 450, 695
EIGHT BALL DELUXE (LTD EDITION) Bally 1982 -
MR & MRS PAC MAN Bally 1982 450, 895
SPEAKEASY Bally 1983 750
X'S & O'S Bally 1983 -
COMET Williams 1985 -
CYCLOPES Gottlieb 1985 750
GOLD WINGS Gottlieb 1986 -
MILLIONAIRE Williams 1987 850
PARTY ANIMAL Bally 1987 850
SECRET SERVICE Data East 1988 -
SWORDS OF FURY Williams 1988 -
MICHAEL JORDAN Data East 1992 NOT FOR SALE
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Data East 1992 NEW
CUE BALL WIZARD Gottlieb 1992 NEW
In addition to the many pins for sale and demonstration in the hall,
there was also a good supply of parts to be had, especially at Steve and
Laura Engle's Pinball Supermarket, the prize winning exhibit mentioned
As usual there were also plenty of pinball related literature for sale
in the hall. Exhibit Hall Chairman Mike Pacak had his usual booth with
pinball brochures for sale, plus a selection of pinball books. Steve Young
also had a wide selection of his quality reprints of pinball service and
parts manuals, etc.
Bob Nelson and Neil Jamison from Wichita were also selling pinball
literature as well as a few select games, including the FIREBALL mentioned
earlier. Jim Tolbert's "For Amusement Only" booth also sold a variety of
pin literature and parts. In addition, Jim held a mini-tournament on a
1963 Gottlieb SLICK CHICK. Incidentally, pinball wizard Rick Stetta, who
later won the Flip-Out tournament, also won the SLICK CHICK tournament.
In addition to the other pinball literature, two magazines also were
represented in the Exhibit Hall. Jim Schelberg from Michigan had a booth
showing off his great "pinball only" publication "PinGame Journal", also
featuring a display dealing with the design details of one of the
industry's latest pins.
The other coin-op magazine to have a booth was "Classic Amusements"
(formerly "Slot-Box Collector"), their new editor Dick Bueschel manning the
booth. Sharing the booth with Dick was German author Heribert (Heri) Eiden
with his new pinball art book "Pinball Machines", available for sale and
autographing. Helping Heri at the booth was his charming lady friend
I talked with Heri and Claudia many times during the show and they
were really friendly people, even helping to sell a few copies of my book
for me. I also bought (well I actually used my book which Heri wanted as
partial payment) Heri's fine book. The book is really great!; the best
all-round pinball art book I have seen.
In addition to the many games and other wares offered for sale in the
Exhibit Hall, the second room also housed the display of the entries in the
pinball art contest mentioned earlier. Also, on Saturday afternoon, this
room was the site of the 2nd annual autograph session where Expo visitors
could meet and get autographs from many pinball designers, artists, and
Before ending my coverage of the show I would like to tell of a bit of
personal nostalgia that occurred. On the last day I noticed offered for
sale an article from my past; a postage stamp vending machine made by the
Shipman Co. of Los Angeles in the late 1940's and early 1950's.
It seems that when I was a young teenager I purchased one of these
machines from the manufacturer (my father was operating candy machines made
by them at around the same time to make ends meet while between jobs) and
operated it in two grocery store locations to make a little extra spending
I decided to purchase this item (the price was right - only $35) for
nostalgic reasons - the only coin machine I ever actually operated. I also
ended up taking it on my return flight to Los Angeles as "carry-on
baggage", tucked under my arm.
Well, there you have it again! Another detailed account of the
happenings at another great Pinball Expo. And, as I said earlier, Pinball
Expo '93 will be held September 9th through 12th, 1993. Hope to see you