(The 10th Year)

(PART 1)


by Russ Jensen



     Well, believe it or not, 1994 was the 10th year of the

fabulous PINBALL EXPO (the first show being put on in 1985).

And, I'm happy to say, I have been lucky and privileged enough to

attend all ten shows!


     This year the show was truly a four day event, running from

Thursday, November 10th through Sunday, November 13th.  Because

of there being not one but two plant tours on Thursday I had to

travel to Chicago one day earlier this year - on Wednesday.


     Well, as I have done for air travel in the past year or so,

I again decided to fly from the closer Hollywood/Burbank Airport,

rather than LAX.  This required me to change planes in Denver;

but I didn't mind since my daughter could drive me to the airport

rather than me having to take the expensive bus trip to LAX.


     Since my daughter had to go to work that day she had to let

me off at the airport around 6:30 AM for my 8:45 flight.

However, once I got checked in I discovered there was a flight

leaving almost immediately for Denver.  I was able to take that

flight and wait the additional time in Denver, but that was fine

with me.


     The two "legs" of my flight to Chicago were uneventful.

After picking up my bag and taking the hotel shuttle from the

airport, I checked into my room in the early afternoon.  My

roommate, Los Angeles area collector/operator John Cassidy, was

not scheduled to arrive until about 5 AM the next%worning as he

was taking the "red eye" from LAX.


     When I arrived I only encountered a small handful of Expo

visitors who had already arrived.  After retiring to my room to

watch two of my favorite Wednesday night TV shows, I ate dinner

alone at the Italian restaurant which was one of the three eating

places in the hotel.  I will say I had some of the best Italian

bread I have ever eaten.


     I retired about 11 PM, expecting my roommate to arrive at 5

or 6 AM.  But when I awoke at seven he had still not shown up.

Being hungry I again ate alone, this time at the restaurant about

a half-block from the hotel.  When John did arrive around 8 AM he

told me that his flight from LA had been delayed, not taking off

until about 2 AM (instead of 11 PM).




     Well, when Expo registration started at 9 AM John and I went

to get our registration packets and wait for the 9:30 bus

departure for the first plant tour.  While waiting for the busses

to start loading I ran into several old friends from past Expo's.

I also noticed a young couple with a very tiny baby.  When I

asked about her I found out her name was Arianna and she was only

7 weeks old.  The youngest Expo attendee I am sure.


     When I finally boarded a bus for the plant tour I discovered

that my good friend Sam Harvey was our "bus coordinator".  Before

we started he got up and read to us from a brief history of

Electrical Windings.  Among other things, he told us that the

company was founded in 1937 by Orland Murphey (who's son Donal

now heads it) and that the factory had been in it's present

location since 1944.


     During the approximate 40 minute bus ride I noticed the

interesting old Chicago neighborhoods we went through during the

last part of the ride.  Once when I glanced out the window I just

happened to see the Foremost Plastics plant, a company making

plastic parts for the pingame industry and which was featured in

a seminar at a past Expo.


     After arriving at the plant we got off the busses and

entered the plant through a large back door accompanied by one of

the plant employees who acted as our tour guide.  We were first

taken to see Donal Murphey's personal pingame collection which

was contained in several different rooms of the factory, some on

different floors.


     These games were pretty much separated by decades and were

mostly single-players.  We were told we could not play the games

due to time constraints.  There was also one room where all the

games and backglasses were for sale.


     After traversing some stairs (there were a lot of those in

the building) we started touring the manufacturing areas.  We

first saw a woman working at a special machine which wound the

windings for 10 transformers at a time.  It employed a counter

which counted the number of turns for each winding, a sheet of

insulating material being placed between one winding and the



     At the next station a man was using a special saw to cut

each transformer's windings from the total of 10 produced at the

previous station.  Next, the ends of each winding were located

and brought out and connected to external lead wires.


     We then saw the metal lamination layers being inserted,

followed by the addition of the external hardware (case, mounting

brackets, etc.).  After that, the completed transformers we were

told were impregnated with a chemical and then baked in a special

oven overnight.  I was surprised to hear that their transformers

were 100 percent tested!


     The final part of our tour was the area where relay and

solenoid coils were fabricated.  This, however, was nowhere as

interesting as the transformer manufacturing process.  Upon

leaving the plant we were each given a small relay coil.


     After leaving the plant we boarded the busses and returned

to the hotel for lunch.  After that we again boarded the busses

to travel to the Data East pinball plant for our second plant

tour of the day.


     When we arrived at Data East we had to wait outside for 20

to 30 minutes as they could only take a limited number of people

into the plant at one time.  This was reminiscent of a previous

year's tour of the same plant, except this time it was not nearly

as cold.


     While we were waiting a company representative welcomed us

to the plant.  He also informed us that they had recently been

bought out by Sega and were in the process of changing everything

over to the new name.  We were also told that the current game in

production at the plant was MAVERICK.


     During this waiting period I also visited with several

people who were also waiting to get in.  Finally we were allowed

to enter the plant.


     Having toured this plant before I did not see much of

anything new.  We passed various stages of the game assembly

process (sub-assemblies, playfields, backboxes, etc.).  When we

got to the testing area our guide told us that they have people

who do nothing all day but play pinball looking for hardware and

software errors in the games.


     At the packaging area we saw how the completed games were

slid into packing boxes using a specially constructed ramp.

After that we left the main plant and walked about a block to a

separate warehouse building.


     In that building we saw miscellaneous small assemblies being

fabricated.  After that we were each given a game poster and

offered coffee and cup cakes.  We then boarded the busses and

returned to the hotel.


     Later in the afternoon (as we had last year) there were

"pinball playing lessons" offered to Expo attendees by various

champion players.  This idea was the brainchild of Louisville

Kentucky lawyer and pin fan Richard Shapero.  At 6 PM the Exhibit

Hall was opened for the first time, an event eagerly awaited by

most of the Expo visitors.  But more about that later.


     Also that evening one of two special events (called

"Fireside Chats" by Expo producer Rob Berk) occurred.  This was

held in Rob's suite and consisted of several of the pinball

artists visiting with and answering questions from interested

Expo attendees.


     A detailed report on this interesting two to three hours is

beyond the scope of this article.  It would also be somewhat

difficult for me as the batteries in my portable tape recorder

failed after about five minutes after the start of the session.


     I do want to say, however, that this was an interesting

interlude indeed, and another great idea by Rob Berk aimed at

making each year's Expo more exciting than the previous one.




     The next morning (Friday) was the start of the Expo

seminars.  First, came the "Opening Remarks".  Expo chairman Rob

Berk first welcomed us all to the 10th edition of Pinball Expo.

He then announced that Dick Bueschel had been added to the

seminar program that morning.  After reminding us that Mark Pratt

from Arizona would be recording and selling audio tapes of all

the seminars, Rob announced that that evening we would have

another of his "fireside Chats", this time featuring long-time

designers Wayne Neyens and Steve Kordek.


     Rob then told us that there again would be (as at the past

two shows) a designer/artist/author autograph session on Saturday

afternoon.  He also said that during the Saturday evening banquet

there would be a "charity auction" of pin related items, all the

proceeds going to the "Make-A-Wish Foundation".  He then

introduced his co-producer and Exhibit Hall Chairman, Mike Pacak.


     Mike began by again welcoming us to the show.  He next

thanked all the exhibitors, complimenting them on the good number

of pingames they brought to the show.  Mike then informed us that

the hall would be open all night both Friday and Saturday nights,

for playing only however.  This was definitely an Expo "first".

He ended by again thanking us all for coming.




     Rob Berk then introduced the presenters of the first seminar

"How Many Did They Build", my good friend Sam Harvey from Pomona

California and Tim Arnold from Las Vegas.  Rob referred to Sam as

a "wild man" who he said knew who most of the designers and

artist were for many, many pingames.


     Tim, Rob then said, was "a collector extraordinaire".  He

said he and Tim used to argue over who owned the most pins; but

when Tim's collection topped 900 he gave up the competition.

This drew a round of applause.


     Tim began by posing the question - why do the manufacturers

put serial numbers on games in the first place?  He then answered

that there were two main reasons.  First, so they can keep

"process control" over production errors.  Secondly, he went on,

so they can keep track of how many of each game were built.


     This later reason, Tim pointed out, is also why people today

keep track of serials of old games - to try to determine game

production figures.


     Tim next told us that we all should send in the serial

numbers of games in our collections to either himself, Sam, or

Steve Young (Incidentally, I sent my serials to  Steve several

years ago).


     He then went on to say that they were not planning on

releasing the results of their serial collecting right away.  One

reason for this, Tim then told us, was that premature disclosure

could tend to decrease the incentive for people to provide

additional information to the project.


     Finally, Tim commented that the exporting of pingames could

cause some problems with using existing serials to determine game

production numbers.  As an example, he mentioned the large number

of pins Gottlieb exported to Europe in the late 1960's


     Sam Harvey then began to tell us about where serial numbers

were located on the games by different manufacturers.  He began

by mentioning that Data East puts their serials on the backs of

the machines making it difficult to read them when they are

placed against the wall.


     Still talking about modern pins, Sam told us that Premier

puts their serials right on the playfield instruction cards.  He

then commented that he doesn't understand why game manufacturers

keep a secret of their production figures, even for the electro-

mechanical games which were made over 15 years ago.  He then said

they hope pressure from collectors will eventually get the

manufacturers to release this old information.


     On that subject, Tim then quipped that eventually maybe they

might be able to tell the manufacturers how many games they made.

Tim then remarked that he thought the manufacturers should

"pander" to the collectors by giving out that type of



     Tim then said that they are doing quite well with regard to

deciphering Gottlieb serials, but that Williams is harder,

because they use sequential serials - not restarting numbering

with each new game.  He then told us that a list of Bally

production figures was once "snuck out" of the plant.


     Bally, Tim continued, usually starts their serials at "1000"

for each new game.  Williams he said does not start a new series

with each game, but continues numbering from the previous game.

Tim then told us that Williams put serial number tags on coin

doors, the bottom of the cabinet, and stapled inside the head.


     He then remarked that "sample" games put out by the

manufacturers sometimes cause a problem with analyzing serials.

Gottlieb, Tim went on, usually put the letter 'S' after the

serial number on it's sample games.  He then said that Gottlieb

usually stamped their serials on the front of the cabinet below

the coin door.


     Tim then added that they also started serials for a new game

at the next even thousand after the last number of the previous

game.  He then said that this means that they don't "reset" their

serials for each new game as Bally does.


     Finally, Tim remarked that slot collectors have been

collecting serials for years and that it's about time for pin

collectors to do the same.


     On a related subject, Sam then told us that Gottlieb put the

"game numbers" (the number used to internally identify each new

model at the plant) on their schematics, but that Williams did

not on their earlier games.  Therefore, he told us, he needs to

know many of the game numbers for early Williams pins.


     Getting back to serials, Sam said there was a rumor that in

the 1960's Gottlieb put hidden serial numbers of the playfield

using a method which required a special type of light to read

them.  United, he then told us, wrote their serials with crayons.


     Chicago Coin, Sam then remarked, was very much like

Gottlieb, stamping serials either above or below the coin door.

He then commented that sometimes some operators stamped their own

"serial numbers" into the wood.  But, he added, after you see a

few of these you can easily determine the factory numbers from

those applied by operators.


     At that point we were asked if we had any questions?  The

first question asked was if serial information could be supplied

by people via the INTERNET computer communications system?  Tim

replied "I don't like computers", but went on to say that if

someone wants to do it that way to let them know.


     When asked if serials were ever found on playfields, the

answer given was that they were sometimes found on playfields,

cabinets, or doors in different locations.  It was next asked if

they planned to publish their serial information regularly?  Tim

replied that they are afraid to publish anything early because

people might stop contributing serials when they are published.


     At that point Sam remarked that regarding the question about

serials on playfields, that some older Williams games had them

stamped on the field.  Tim remarked that today Williams has 5

assembly lines which makes serials harder to track as they are

computer generated.  He then added that you should just forget

about Williams games made after PINBOT.


     At that point Dick Bueschel in the audience made a comment

regarding slot serials.  He said they have been publishing those

for years and are still getting new inputs all the time.  Tim

then remarked that they were thinking about starting some sort of

serial number contest, perhaps in connection with PinGame



     Someone from the audience then remarked that they were

curious how many of the old games have survived, asking if they

would share the information they receive regarding how many of

each game is reported to them?  Tim said that would be possible,

and then estimated that approximately 1 percent of the games made

in the 1950's have survived, and maybe 2 to 5 percent of those

manufactured in the 1960's.


     Sam next remarked that the manufacturers build their games

to last for about 5 years, saying that it's really a wonder that

so many have survived today.  Tim then commented that many of the

games were exported out of the country, even saying that many

were sent to Cuba.


     Someone next suggested that PinGame Journal provide a list

of rare pins (such as Bally's BALLS-A-POPPIN') and request that

readers notify them if they own any of those games.  After that

Sam remarked that somewhere further down the line that a book

might be published giving this type of information and/or the

results of the serial number project.


     Someone else then directed our attention to the latest

update of Larry Bieza's "Pinball Price Guide" which, in addition

to listing retail prices for post-war flipper games, contained

listings of highest and lowest discovered serial numbers for

Williams and Gottlieb games from Steve Young's serial number

project.  Tim then told of Sam Harvey purchasing some old records

from a pingame distributor which contained many Williams serial

numbers for games they sold.


     At that point someone from the audience remarked that some

of his games have had the serials removed and asked why that

might have been done?  Tim replied that there were often

"exclusive distributorships" which local operators could only

purchase from.  He said some operators would remove serials from

games they purchased outside the local area.


     When it was asked how long it would be until the serial

information they were collecting would be published, Tim replied

that they were "open to suggestions".  He then added that people

could make their suggestions to them, even through INTERNET.


     Continuing along this computer theme, Gottlieb designer Jon

Norris mentioned a new computer "bulletin board" which had

recently been set up in Seattle, suggesting that a "conference"

regarding serial numbers might be set up on that.  Tim answered,

"OK, but I still do things by hand".  A suggestion was then made

that the "computer people" get together later to discuss such



     At that point Sam remarked that if they ever could see

production information from the manufacturers it would be

interesting to compare the results of their serial number

research with the actual figures.  Tim then added that the Bally

list indicated that 799 VAMPIRES were made, a figure which was

substantiated by serial number information.


     Finally, Tim suggested that designers Steve Kordek and Wayne

Neyens should be asked for their comments, possibly at the

"Fireside Chat" scheduled for that evening.  (Incidentally, that

subject was never brought up during the "chat".)


     Before thanking us for our interest in their project, Sam

remarked that revelation of low production on certain games could

possibly result in higher prices for those machines.  That ended

the presentation which drew a round of applause for Sam and Tim.




     Rob Berk then introduced the next speaker, Dick Bueschel,

who he said was currently editor of COIN-OP CLASSICS magazine,

had written many books, and who he said had a wealth of

information regarding pins.


     After remarking that the pinball hobby "goes on and on",

Dick said he was going to talk about collecting pinball

advertising flyers.  He said that this was a rapidly expanding

area of the hobby, and that he spent much time with the "paper

side" of the hobby.


     To illustrate his point regarding flyer collecting, Dick

first remarked that the flyer for the first flipper game,

Gottlieb's HUMPTY DUMPTY, is rarer than the game itself and could

bring as much as $150.  He then said that he himself once refused

an offer of that much for the flyer for Rockola's 1933 pin

JIGSAW.  Dick then commented that Bally FIREBALL flyers are

approaching $100 today.


     At that point Dick began a great slide presentation showing

rare pinball flyers from several decades.  The first flyer shown

was for Bally's 1932 pioneer pin BALLYHOO.  After telling us that

the game's designer Ray Moloney started with serial '1000' to

make people think he had produced more than he had, Dick told us

that that game was "supported by more printed paper than any

other pingame ever made."


     Dick next showed the flyer for Keeney's RAINBO from that

same year which he said was one of many "BALLYHOO clones".  He

then told us that BALLYHOO had established the standard size for

pins of the period.


     We were then shown the brochure for the square pin

BALLYROUND which Dick said had "died", almost causing Bally to go

bankrupt.  Flyers for this game, he told us, are quite rare



     Following that we were shown Peo's DAISY which Dick said was

another of the square pingames which came out in the first six

months of 1932.  The flyer showed "high class" people playing the



     Next we saw a game called KING TUT which Dick said was

promoted as a product of Automatic Jobbers of New York.  Dick

said that many different outfits sold this game, but that he

thought it might have been actually made by International

Mutoscope Co..  He also told us that he had never actually seen

this game.


     We were then shown Rockola's JUGGLE BALL from October 1933

on which the player could move the ball on the playfield by means

of a rod.  Dick commented that that idea apparently did not catch

on.  Finally he remarked that the game was similar to BALLYROUND

and that the flyer was probably rarer than the game.


     Next Dick showed Bally's PENNANT from December 1933, which

he said had to face the competition of Rockola's very popular

JIGSAW which came out about the same time.  He then commented on

it's "crazy handling of the ball" which he said was all done



     Dick then showed the 4 page, full color, flyer for Pacific

Amusement's CONTACT, the first pin to use electric ball control.

He said that the flyer for that game is much sought after by

collectors, the 4 page version not coming out until the

introduction of the popular "Junior" model.


     We next saw Bally's STREAMLINE from April of 1935 which Dick

said was a new large size (42 inches long).  He told of it's

interesting ball manipulation method and explained how to make a

high score on the game.


     This was followed by the flyer for Bally's June 1934 pin

FLEET, the first of several Bally games by that name.  Dick

mentioned that that early FLEET was not mentioned in the

Hawkins/Mueting dating book.  He then said it featured the

revolutionary "shooting gun" idea which was a "new thrill" for

pinball players.  Finally Dick told us he had 4 copies of this

flyer which may be the most available of the early 1930's pinball



     Next we saw the flyer for a game from October 1934 called

MAJIK KEYS.  Dick told us that pinball pioneer Harry Williams

once said that he considered this game to be one of the most

significant of the early pins, even admitting to borrowing ideas

from it.


     Dick then said that that game was made in Los Angeles, which

he said was one of the centers of pinball development in the

early years.  He then told us that Don Hooker, who later designed

many of the Bally "one-ball" and "bingo" machines, originally

worked in Los Angeles.  Finally Dick remarked that MAJIK KEYS had

an influence on all succeeding pingames.


     We then saw an October 1934 pin called LIVE POWER, which

Dick said was designed by a fellow named Dudley Clark.  He then

said that "kickers" on pins came in in a hurry.  Finally Dick

pointed out how balls in the "high voltage" holes near the top of

the playfield could be "popped up", and up to 9 balls could be

moving at one time.


     Next was Daval's SHOOTING STARS from September 1934.  Dick

described it's "progressive scoring system" which he said was

exciting as long as the balls held out.


     We then saw Rockola's ARMY AND NAVY from December 1934,

which Dick described as "one of the most elaborate football motif

games ever made".  After telling us it was one of the last of

this type of game, he described it's action including it's moving

football.  We then saw another football motif pin, ABT's 1934

game ALL STARS, which Dick said had three dimensional players on

the field.


     Dick then showed us the brochure for a pin called SAFETY

ZONE, which he said was made by an outfit in Brooklyn in December

1934.  He told us that that company also made arcade games (such

as diggers).  Dick then commented that it was designed by a

fellow named Max Levine and had a buzzer.


     We next saw Daval's CHICAGO EXPRESS from February 1935 which

had a tri-level playfield.  Dick described the game's action and

mentioned that it's theme was based on the Chicago "El trains".


     Next up was Gottlieb's TURNTABLE from March 1935, which had

a turntable in the middle of the field which would turn if a ball

landed in a special hole.  After describing the game's action,

Dick told of the "coat of arms" on it's cabinet which Alvin

Gottlieb once said his father Dave told him he copied from a

Cadillac hubcap.


     Dick then showed the brochure for Exhibit's STAR LITE from

April 1935.  He told us that that company hired Harry Williams

and Lyn Durrant who he said designed some "clever and wonderful

games", using electric action and moving lights.  STAR LITE,

however, he said was designed by a fellow named Frank Maitland.

Dick then told us that later models of the game had a short



     We were next shown the flyer for what Dick said was

probably the smallest payout pin ever made, Pierce Tool and

Manufacturing's BULLET from April 1935.  He said with this game a

player could try to win nickels and not just play for pleasure.

This little game, Dick went on, gave the player 10 balls for a

nickel which might look like a "sure thing".  However, he said,

it is actually hard to get a payout on it.


     Next we saw a game called CHECKERS put out by International

Mutoscope (another New York City manufacturer) in May of 1935.

Dick said it was designed by a Jack Firestone and that the

playfield could be changed from checkers to either a "form a

word" or a poker game.


     We then were shown the flyer for a game called SHORT WAVE

put out by Scientific Machine Corp. of Brooklyn in January 1936.

Dick said this game and it's flyers are extremely rare.


     The next flyer shown was for a German pin called TURNER put

out by an outfit called Jentzsch and Meers in early 1936.  Dick

told us that that company was often referred to as "the European

Mills".  He then remarked that it had "toilet seat covers" over

it's holes.


     Following that we saw the flyer for Jennings' FLICKER from

May 1936.  That company Dick said was primarily a slot

manufacturer but also put out many pingames in the 1930's.  He

then told of the game's lighted backglass, and remarked that it

paid out using a slot machine mechanism.


     Next up was Rockola's 1936 pin QUEEN MARY, which was named

after the ship which Dick said was "the biggest thing you've ever

seen".  He then briefly described it's one ball scoring.


     We then saw the flyer for a one-ball payout pin called

COMBINATION from October 1936 (the month I was born!).  Dick told

us this was the 15th pingame put out by Buckley Manufacturing, a

company noted for their counter games.  He told of it's 3-reel

mechanism in the center of the playfield on which the combination

"W-I-N" was necessary for a payout.


     Dick then jumped to 1940, showing us Exhibit's LANCER which

he said he thought resembled Williams' solid-state pin BLACK

KNIGHT.  He then commented that electro-mechanical pins developed

rapidly after 1936.  Finally Dick commented that at that time

Exhibit was introducing two new games in some months.


     Next we saw a pin called DOUGHBOY from that same year, the

brochure implying it was made by Baker Novelty Co..  Dick

remarked that the flyer tried to say that Baker makes good games;

but, he then told us, their games were actually made by Chicago



     After Bally's BEAUTY with bathing beauties on it's

backglass, we saw Gottlieb's GOLD STAR which Dick said came out

two months before the bombing at Pearl Harbor.  We then saw

Exhibit's AIR CIRCUS from early 1942 which he said was the end of

game production because of the war.


     Going to the post-war era, Dick first showed the flyer for

Marvel's FRISCO.  He said this was a re-vamp of a pre-war game,

then briefly describing what re-vamps are (old games turned into

new ones by the addition of different backglasses, etc.).  Dick

then showed another Marvel re-vamp, OPPORTUNITY, from October



     The first post-war production game Dick showed a flyer for

was Bally's BALLYHOO (the 2nd one by that name) from June 1947.

We were next shown two more post-war re-vamps, SWEET SUE (a re-

vamp of United's HAVANA), and ELMER (re-vamp of Chicago Coin's

KILROY), both done by an outfit calling itself "T & M Sales Co.".

Dick then remarked that KILROY was the highest production run of

any game until Bally's WIZARD in 1975.


     After showing us the flyer for United's ABC (one of the

first "bingo" style pins) from 1951, Dick showed a flyer for a

German pin called NIXE.  Dick told us that the Germans referred

to pins as "bombers".  He then showed flyers for some more German

pins, including a 1954 flipper game.


     The final two flyers Dick showed were Gottlieb's "Deluxe

DUETTE", a wide-body version of their first 2-player pin from

1955, and Williams' SUPER SCORE of 1956.  Dick remarked that the

"deluxe" version of DUETTE was never listed in any pin lists and

has a different backglass than the "standard" version.  Flyers

for the later game, Dick told us, were quite rare.


     After his slide show Dick made a few final comments before

asking for questions from the audience.  He first told us that

Dave Gottlieb's picture can be found on the back of the flyer for

their 1959 game QUEEN OF DIAMONDS, along with a statement signed

by him to the effect that it was the "greatest amusement machine

we have ever built."


     Dick then told us that flyers for Bally's 1976 game CAPTAIN

FANTASTIC are getting hard to find.  He then told of a German

flyer for Gottlieb's 1978 solid-state pin CLEOPATRA, and the

flyer for a European pin called SEXY GIRL, both of which were

rare.  Finally, he reminded us that if you want to get flyers for

the latest pins you could subscribe to PinGame Journal.


     Dick then asked for questions?  He was then asked why he

thought electricity was not used on pins earlier than the mid

1930's?  Dick replied that there was a game using electricity in

1908, but the reason it probably wasn't used on more early games

was that it was too expensive to build electric games in those



     Finally, Dick was asked why he took such an interest in coin

machines?  He replied "I'm a groupie; I love it!"  That ended

Dick's fine presentation.




     Rob Berk next introiduced the featured speaker for the next

seminar, Scott Slomiany, to talk about the new Dot-Matrix

displays used on today's pins.  Rob said Scott went to work for

Willaims in 1991 and was their first full-time dot-matrix person.


     Scott then came up on stage and set up his demonstration

equipment for his lecture.  He then began by explaining that the

dot-matrix display used in today's pins is a 128 by 32 array of

small light bulbs.


     He then told us that each lamp was capable of three shades

of illumination and black (off).  Scott said these shades were

the result of what percentage of time each lamp was turned on.

He then remarked that this type of display was developed by the

pinball manufacturers to make older model games seem less

desirable to players.


     After telling us that the use of these displays allowed

games to have more complex "rules" because the display can add

"more to the game", Scott remarked that the software to control

the displays was developed "in-house".  He then told us they used

scanned images to start with, which were then modified by their

own animation software.


     Scott next described more of the details of their system

while we waited for his demonstration software to display the

next image.  During this explanation several of the people in the

audience who were "software oriented" asked some very technical

questions which Scott answered.  He then remarked "the software

guy adds a lot to what I do to make it look great".


     When the demo program was finally ready we were shown a

demonstration of animation in the displays.  Scott told about

digitizing a frame and then cutting out what you need.  He told

us that memory limits what they can do, saying that they have

about 2 megabytes of memory to use for display on Williams/Bally



     Scott went on to say that sometimes they ad "inside jokes"

and other things to the display to entice players.  He also

remarked that they also have to satisfy the license people on

licensed games, as well as the game designers.


     At the point Scott asked for questions from the audience?

The first question asked was "what about using bigger display

screens in the future?"  Scott replied that Data East uses a

large screen on their current game MAVERICK, but that they don't

necessarily want to do that now at their company because, even

though a larger screen gives a better picture, it requires more

memory thus limiting the animation, unless expensive memory is

added thus adding cost to the game.


     When next asked about using color displays, Scott replied

that they possibly might try it in the future, but that price is

also a problem with that.


     Scott was then asked about problems occurring with the

dropping of frames on the display?  He replied that they

sometimes have that type of problem, telling of various things

they have to consider in their design to prevent that.


     Someone next asked Scott what was his favorite of his own

designs?  He replied that he liked his DRACULA display which he

said captured the mood of the movie.  He also said ROAD SHOW was

a lot of fun to do.


     When asked what his favorite pingame was, Scott answered

that it was STAR TREK - THE NEXT GENERATION.  He then added that

Williams' EARTHSHAKER from 1989 was the game that got him

interested in pinball.


     Scott was next asked if he determines the animation for his

games?  He replied that he comes into the project later in the

design cycle, after the whitewood is created.  Scott then said

that when he gets into the animation he might determine where it

is appropriate, and sit down with the programmers to determine

what can be done.


     When next asked if they used any computer diagnostics to

check the sequencing of the displays, Scott answered "no, we just

take the glass off the game and hit the switches."  He was then

asked what kinds of images were hard to create.  Scott's reply

was that faces are hard to do because high contrast is necessary

in a facial image.


     At that point Scott gave some details concerning the complex

animation used in their current hit ROAD SHOW.  This included

animation of various characters met on a trip to New Orleans,

each of which was knocked off the road by a bulldozer.


     The next question asked was if it was difficult to

synchronize the display with the game's sound?  Scott replied

that sometimes it's very difficult, for example syncing mouth

movements with a voice.


     Scott was then asked if eventually they might try using a

video camera to capture data for a display and then digitize it?

Scott responded that the technology currently exists, but a small

screen would make it look bad.  When then asked if VGA graphics

could be used for pingame displays, Scott answered that it was

possible but extremely expensive.


     The last question asked of Scott was what type of micro-

processor they used in their games?  He replied that it was a

Motorola 1609 with a 2 megahertz clock rate.  That ended the





     The next seminar to be presented was on "shopping" a pingame

presented by Jim Tolbert of For Amusement Only in Berkeley

California.  In preparation for that we were each given a hand-

out to follow during the presentation.  While this was being done

Jim was setting up the Gottlieb FLIP-A-CARD (1970) game to be

used for demonstration.


     Rob Berk then introduced Jim, saying that he has been

operating his company since 1976.  He then told about his former

publication, Amusement Review (the first magazine I ever wrote

for), that he currently writes articles for Coin-Op Classics, and

that he wrote a book called TILT.  Finally, Rob told us that Jim

is currently researching coin-ops with a baseball theme.  Jim was

then given a round of applause.


     Jim then began with a few preliminary remarks.  He first

told us that some of the ideas he would present are very basic,

but other things he will talk about may not be so well known.

Some things, Jim then said, he has picked up from other people,

and still others he discovered for himself.  He also asked for

our ideas.

     After telling us that Scott Sheridan from Ohio would be

assisting in his demonstration, Jim remarked that the game they

were using had been in storage since 1986.  He then told us that

it had not been plugged in since then.


     Jim next told us that the first rule of pinball repair or

restoration is to have a complete and organized tool box.  This,

he went on, should also include such items as cleaners, wax,

polish, fuses, and rubber rings.


     We were then told that the connectors in a game are often a

big problem and should be thoroughly cleaned with either a wire

brush or crocus cloth.  Jim then reminded us to check the power

cord, and if it is starting to get bad replace to it using a 9

foot extension cord which can be purchased at a low cost.


     Jim next reminded us that the stainless steel legs and front

door should be cleaned.  He also told us to remove the coin

mechanisms and wash them in soapy water.


     After removing the lock-down bar from the front of the game,

Jim removed the playfield glass.  He then told us that old glass

should be replaced with tempered glass because one can get cut

from plate glass.


     Jim next said you should remove the score/instruction cards

and schematic for the game and store them in a secure place,

suggesting that the cash box be used for this and to hold any

other loose items from the game.  We were then reminded to remove

the ball before the playfield is removed.


     At that point Jim said you should remove the playfield and

mechanism panel from the cabinet, saving any loose parts found in

the cabinet.  He then suggested vacuuming the inside of the



     Jim next told us that you should clean the areas inside the

cabinet that you can see when the playfield is in, and use fine

steel wool to clean the outside of the cabinet.


     After that Jim suggested that the flipper buttons be removed

and cleaned, and also that the chime unit be cleaned and that

it's plungers also be checked.  It was then suggested that the

dirt be blown out of the mechanism panel.


     Jim next told us to tighten the screws on all switch stacks

on relays, the score motor, etc..  At that point pingame designer

Jon Norris from the audience suggested that the wing nuts be

tightened on any relay banks.


     Jim next said that you should go through all stepping

switches in the game, cleaning and lubing them.  He said you

could use a lubricant called "LPS-1" on the pivot points, but if

they were still frozen that you might have to disassemble the

unit and clean it.


     Regarding cleaning wipers and rivet contacts on stepping

switches, Jim first said that if you remove the wiper assembly be

sure to mark the "0" (reset) position first using red nail

polish.  The wipers and rivet contacts, he then told us, can be

sprayed with contact cleaner which then should be wiped off, the

residue then being removed with crocus cloth.


     After that, Jim went on, you can apply "coin machine lube"

sparingly to the rivet contacts.  Finally, he told us to check

all the bracket screws on the units.  He also said you can check

wire connections by pulling on the wires.


     After replacing the mechanism panel and playfield in the

cabinet, Jim said you should take everything off the top of the

field for cleaning.  He told us you can use a "rock tumbler" to

clean metal parts, which can also be buffed.  He warned us that a

tumbler could damage plated parts which are beginning to "flake".


     At that point Jim's helper Scott removed the score card

holder and top arch from the playfield for cleaning.  Jim next

went into the backbox and told how to set up a game for "free

play" if desired.


     Still in the backbox, Jim told of cleaning the score and

credit reels, commenting that you should not spray anything on

the reels for fear the painted numbers might come off or smear.

He suggested using a soft cloth or paper towel to apply the



     Still on the subject of score reels, Jim told us that they

can be disassembled to clean/adjust them and then reassembled.

Finally he told us to operate the coil plunger by hand to advance

the reels, ending by reminding us to clean their mounting



     At that point helper Scott cleaned the card holder he had

previously removed.  He then cleaned that area on the playfield

which the card holder normally covered.  Scott then cleaned the

ball trough, telling us that the plunger could be cleaned using

the rock tumbler.


     It was next suggested that the plastic playfield posts be

removed and soaked in a soapy water solution.  Jim then said that

you could replace those posts with new ones if desired.


     The subject of playfield plastics was next taken up, Jim

reminding us that they are a very important part of the game's

cosmetics.  He then told us that he has had some success with

replacing bad plastics by duplicating good ones from another

identical game by color Xerox and placing those on a cut-out of

clear plastic laminate.


     If youy plastics are good, however, Jim reminded us to keep

them in a safe place until they are replaced.  He then said they

could be cleaned with either glass cleaner or plastic polish.

Jim then passed around examples of dirty and cleaned plastics for

comparison.  He then told us that the plastics should "float" on

their mountings when reinstalled by not tightening down the acorn

nuts which hold them.


     As far as fixing warped playfield plastics, Jim's first

suggestion was to use a heat gun to heat the plastic piece until

it droops.  Then, using gloves to handle the hot piece, he

suggested putting it under a piece of glass (never between wood!)

to cool.


     Jim also said that warped plastics could be heated on a

cookie sheet in the over, Steve Young commenting from the

audience that the oven temperature should not be over 150



(A WORD OF WARNING! - If you do this be very careful of the

temperature and also how close the plastics are to the heating

element.  I personally almost destroyed two rare plastics by not

being careful enough.)


     Finally, Jim told us that he usually removes and services

all the pop-bumpers on the field, but there was not enough time

to do this now.  He then asked if we had any questions?


     Jon Norris first asked what you could do to remove paint

from a painted-over cabinet?  Jim suggested a paint removing

product called "Goof Off" to remove the top layer of paint.


     As an aside, Jim next suggested that cabinets be checked to

see if re-gluing was necessary, also suggesting that any old

chewing gum be removed from the cabinet.  When someone from the

audience suggested that the ball be checked, Jim suggested that a

new ball always be used.


     A question was next asked regarding adding a sheet of mylar

to protect the playfield?  Jim replied that he doesn't like

mylar, adding that bad mylar can be removed using a heat gun.


     Jim was next asked how to repair sunken playfield lighted

plastic "inserts"?  He replied that you should knock them out

entirely (using a nut driver or dowel from the bottom of the

field), then reset and re-glue them using Crazy Glue.


     When asked to define "shopping" a pingame, Jim said that the

definitive definition of shopping is a complete restoration.

This, he went on, includes new bulbs and rubber rings and buffing

and polishing everything.


     Jim then remarked that he sometimes sells games "as is",

showing the buyer what to do to shop it themselves.  The next

question regarded touch-up of cabinet scratches.


     Jim replied that he buys model paints for that purpose.

Sometimes, he continued, he uses Testor's "paint pens" in black

and white to fill in bad areas of paint.  He then remarked that

you can use acrylic paints for backglass touch-up.  Finally, Jim

commented that paint pens (or "sharpies" as they are sometimes

called) can be used to touch-up playfield plastics or even

playfield art.


     At that point someone asked for more information on

backglass restoration.  Jim replied by first cautioning us to

remove backglasses carefully.  He then told us he used a product

called "Zip-A-Tone" for touching up translucent areas on the



     Jim told us that this came in sheets and you had to cut out

a piece of the proper color and lay it on top of the bad area of

paint.  The bad news, however, Jim told us was that that product

was no longer available.


     He then told us that you can use acrylic latex paint which

is available in art supply stores.  Jim said you should mix the

colors on the front of the glass, then use a Cue-Tip to dab the

paint on the area to be touched up.  After that, he went on, you

should "seal" the glass with a product such as Steve Young's

"Cover Your Glass".


     On the subject of playfields, Jim next told us that for

repairing playfield screw holes one should use wood from a wooden

match and Crazy Glue.  He then suggested using a paint brush to

clean loose dirt off the field, then wiping it with a damp rag.


     After that, Jim continued, you should use a playfield

cleaner (he mentioned a product called "CP-100"), followed by

waxing it with about three coats of a good wax.  He then remarked

that the game's cabinet should also be waxed.


     Jim then said that new lamps should be used on the

playfield, recommending using type 47's rather that type 44's.

He then recommended cleaning/adjusting all playfield switch

contacts, also suggesting that lamp sockets either be cleaned or



     Next Jim went to the subject of cleaning the game's legs and

stainless steel doors.  He first suggested that legs be buffed or

wire brushed; foreign materials being first scraped off with a

putty knife.  He also suggested using "409" cleaner and/or

"S.O.S." pads to clean the legs well.


     Finally, Jim suggested using a good metal polish or a

special impregnated cloth which he referred to as "Never Dull".

He then suggested replacing the old leg levelers with new ones.


     To wrap up his presentation Jim suggested that after a game

has been "shopped" you should check it thoroughly to see if

anything still doesn't work properly.  Finally he recommended not

plugging a game in until it has been thoroughly shopped.  This,

he added, eliminates a lot of problems.




     Rob Berk next introduced the speaker for the next seminar,

Williams pinball designer Pat Lawlor, to give his presentation

"Game Design From 'A' to 'Z'".  He told us that Pat had been with

Williams for 8 years and has designed such games as BONZAI RUN

(1988), EARTHSHAKER (1989), FUN HOUSE (1990), and TWILIGHT ZONE



     After thanking Rob for inviting him to speak, Pat told us he

wanted to make a few preliminary remarks.  First he said that

this year his presentation was going to be somewhat different

from his talks of pervious years.


     Pat then told us that he will first give a brief, broad

overview of his views on pingame design.  He then commented that

pin designers are individualists, each doing things differently.


     Pat then told us that he would try to give us a broad idea

of game design, but that he would like to try and tailor his

presentation to the depth we in the audience wanted.  He said

this could be done by letting us contribute our ideas to help

guide his presentation by answering our questions in a

"interactive way".


     At that point Pat asked how many first time Expo visitors

there were in the audience?  Quite a few people raised their

hands.  He than asked how many operators?  There was also quite a



     Pat next said he would talk about the "concepts" of pin

design, saying there were essentially 3 "flavors" of concepts.

The first "flavor" he told us was an "all original" design, not

involving any licensing, which he said was "fun to do".


     The second "flavor", Pat told us, was the regular "license"

game such as ADDAMS FAMILY.  He then told about the meetings they

had with Paramount Studios regarding that property.  We were then

told that if a movie doesn't have "history" you're taking a

chance buying a license.


     We were then told that the last "flavor"  was a mix of a

license and the designer's own ideas, giving their game ROAD SHOW

as an example.  Pat then commented that ROAD SHOW actually

resulted from a game idea he wanted to do.  This idea came from

his previous trip to the West to attend a Pinball Show.  He added

that the "country/western" theme came from the music he heard

during that trip.


     Someone from the audience then asked Roger Sharpe

(Williams/Bally/Midway's Director of Marketing) how long it

usually takes to obtain a "license"?  He answered that it is

normally 9 months to a year or more.


     Roger was then asked how he learns about future movies he

may wish to get a license for?  He replied that there are certain

movie business publications which give such information.  He then

told us that you can also call someone when you hear a rumor of a

new movie.


     Finally, Roger remarked that if there are several new films

coming out you have to do a sort of "market analysis" to try and

determine which might be the best one to license.


     At that point Pat introduced his panel.  First was

programmer Dwight Sullivan, followed by another programmed Ted

Estes who Pat said was the head of software development at their



     Pat then introduced their ace mechanical engineer John

Crutch who he said designs all the "great toys" used on their

games.  Then, after introducing Roger Sharpe, Pat introduced

artist John Youssi.


     After defining what was meant by a "whitewood" (the first

working model of a new design), Pat told how it was created from

his game concept.   He told us they used "AUTOCAD" computer

software to draw out the playfield, this drawing then used to

produce the prototype field which has no artwork (hence the term



     After Roger Sharpe answered a few questions regarding the

"timing" of licenses, Pat told about having "prototypes" of their

ADDAMS FAMILY available at the movie's premier.


     Someone from the audience then asked the frequently asked

question of how people could submit their game ideas to the

company?  Pat replied that under his contract with the company he

wasn't allowed to talk to anyone on that subject because it might

lead to legal problems.  He then said that at their company Steve

Kordek "interfaces with the whole outside world" and that he

would refer anyone to Steve on such matters.


     When someone then asked if all mechanical designs were

committed to drawings, Pat answered "we draw everything".

Mechanical engineer John Crutch then added that drawings of all

mechanical devices they use are drawn on a computer and

prototypes then made from those drawings.


     It was next asked if they used computer software programs to

simulate the play of a new design?  Pat answered only "we have

lot's of interesting software", adding "some things I can't talk



     Pat then made some miscellaneous comments regarding

drawings.  He first remarked that there are thousands of parts in

a game, each having one or more drawings associated with it.  Pat

then told us that their vendors need drawings to produce parts

for them, the manufacturing people need assembly drawings to know

how to put the games together, and their parts sales people have

to be able to "replicate" the parts later.


     Someone then asked how long parts for a given game are made

available?  Pat answered at Williams it's about 5 years.  He then

told us that they can sell 70 percent of their parts to foreign

markets, adding that the U.S. is "a vast wasteland for pingames."


     At that point someone asked Pat why he made that statement?

Pat replied that the U.S. is the cheapest place one can play

pinball.  He said that in Germany a game costs about $1.20, in

Canada from 50 cents to a dollar, and in Australia either one

dollar (or three games for two dollars).


     Pat continued, saying that because the price of new pins is

now high, operators have to charge more per play to make a

profit; otherwise they won't want to buy pins.  He then remarked

that today video games are again "kicking pins butts".


     Pat then added that because of the low price per game in

this country it takes operators a long time to pay for a game,

also considering the cost to maintain them and splitting the

"take" with the location.


     At that point the Williams people started getting

information from the people in the audience.  First Pat asked the

players in the audience who today plays more, the same, or less

that they used to?  Of the people who indicated they played less

Pat asked them why?


     The two main answers given were that the games were poorly

maintained by the operators, and that the games in a location are

not changed as often as they used to be.


     Roger Sharpe then asked the operators in the audience if

they were buying more, the same, or less new pins today than

before?  Of those who answered less, he asked why?


     The three main answers given to that question were: 1) they

cost more to maintain and take in less money than more reliable

video games; 2) it takes too long to clean today's complicated

playfields, and 3) the price of pins is much higher than video

games.  Pat then made a comment to the effect that the use of

dollar bill acceptors on pins helps to make more for the

operators, especially in "street locations".


     Pat then asked the people who say they play more today where

they play?  Using a show of hands the answers appeared to be

pretty evenly split between street locations (bars, etc.),

bowling centers, and arcades.


     At that point Pat got back to the subject of game design,

discussing some aspects of programming, game rules, etc.,

interactively with members of the audience.  After that Pat

remarked that with the state of the art in pinball today, the

people involved in producing the games have to put in an

unbelievable amount of tedious work, taking many months per game.


     After joking about the programmers problems getting things

on a new game to work right, Pat commented that the music and

sound people also have to get their job done.  This, he added,

includes getting the sounds in sync with the dot-matrix displays

as well as with the play of the game.


     The subject of licenses was again broached.  Pat first told

of the problems they often have of trying to get movie actors to

record their voices for use in the game's sound.


     We were told that Roger Sharpe usually tries to help with

this.  Pat then told us that they often have to send a person to

the location where the actor is to record his/her voice.  He then

pointed out that this kind of thing has to happen concurrently

with other tasks in the game design process.


     Pat then added that the design "sub-groups" all have to

interface with each other, while the mechanical engineer works to

perfect playfield items.


     Finally, Pat brought up the subject of production prototypes

and filed testing.  A few production prototypes ("beta test"

models), he then commented, are "snuck out" for preliminary field



     Pat said that almost without exception something on the game

will fail during location testing - resulting in them having to

"go back to the drawing board".  Somehow at the end of this

process, he then told us, after about a million dollars in costs,

a game finally goes into production!


     At that point Pat asked for more questions from the

audience.  Someone then asked how many engineering drawing

revisions usually occur between the "whitewood" stage of a game

and final production?  Pat answered about 3 or 4 for the

whitewood and possibly 1 to 5 revisions for mechanism drawings.


     Artist John Youssi next showed us his original drawings for

their current game ROAD SHOW.  These included the heads of the

two dummies used on the playfield, the speaker display panel, and

the "4-color art" and final painting for the backglass.  These

drew a good round of applause.


     The presentation ended with Pat telling us that they would

all be around later for us to talk to.




     At that point Rob Berk introduced the next speaker, Jim

Schelberg, publisher of the PinGame Journal to speak on the

history of his publication.  He said that two years ago Jim had

only a mild interest in pinball, but today he is the

editor/publisher of his own pinball magazine.


     Jim began by asking how many of us were subscribers to his

publication?  Many people raised their hands, followed by a round

of applause for the magazine.


     We were then told by Jim that it all started when his wife

Marilyn wanted to buy him a pinball machine for his birthday.  He

said this resulted in them flying to Chicago for a few hours back

in 1989 to attend Pinball Expo.  Jim then told of Rob Berk

showing them around at that time.


     When he returned home to Michigan, Jim continued, he put a

"pinball wanted" ad in the local newspaper and then went on a two

week vacation.  When they returned, he then told us, there was 60

calls on his machine in answer to that ad.


     Jim then told us that he now owns approximately 60 pingames,

almost all of them resulting from that one ad.  He then told of

buying the first Genco flipper game, TRIPLE ACTION of 1948, from

somebody's basement.


     In 1991, Jim then commented, he started subscribing to

Pinball Trader.  When he saw something from it's publisher Dennis

Dodel about wanting to "slow down", Jim said he called Dennis

offering to put the magazine together on his computer, with

Dennis just doing the printing.


     But at that time, Jim next remarked, Dennis decided to sell

the Trader to Jack Simenton in California.  So, he said, since he

was already set up to do the Trader on his computer he decided to

start PinGame Journal.


     Jim then told us that he got some addresses from past

Pinball Trader ads and sent out flyers asking for subscriptions

to his new publication.  From this, he then told us, he got 80

people to send in $21 for a 13 issue subscription.


     We were then told about the first issue of the Journal

containing over 400 errors (Jim even ran a contest to see who

could find the most errors which I participated in).  Jim told us

that some of these errors were corrected on his computer, but the

corrections were not "saved".


     Today, Jim then commented, he has over 1100 subscribers and

charges $30 for 12 issues.  He then added that he now also has a

proof reader, and uses a spelling checker, but that there are

always a few errors nevertheless.


     At that point Jim presented a short slide show.  We were

first shown a picture of his Doctors office (Jim is a pediatrist)

with Rob Berk in it.  Next we saw Jim's children which he said

were the magazine's "teen and youth advisors".


     After showing his printer (who he referred to affectionately

as "Big Bill") and his printing press, Jim showed an assistant

named Kathy stuffing the magazines into envelopes in his office.

Finally he showed his "prize cabinet" which contained the T-

shirts, etc., he used for prizes in his magazine's many contests.


     Jim next introduced his lovely wife Marilyn, who stood up

drawing a round of applause.  After that Jim remarked "it's a lot

of work, but it's still a lot of fun".  He then asked for



     The first question asked (obviously from a non-subscriber)

was what does the magazine cover?  Jim answered "the world of

pinball", adding that it covered both new and old games.  He then

commented that some readers want more stories on older games, but

that he needs more people to write for him on that.


     Jim was next asked why his magazine's name included

"pingame" rather than "pinball"?  He replied that he didn't want

the name to be too similar to "Pinball Trader", which was still

publishing when he started up.


     Rob Berk then asked Jim to tell about the new masthead he

had for his magazine?  Jim told us that it was drawn for him by

ace pinball artist Kevin O'Connor.  Jim then passed out to

everyone a copy of the cover of the current issue of his



     Someone then asked Jim where all his subscribers are from?

He answered that many were from California, but that most of the

states were represented.  Jim then added that he also has many

subscribers in foreign countries, even in Saudi Arabia.


     At that point Rob Berk introduced one of Jim's foreign

subscribers and writers Frederico Crocci from Italy, drawing a

round of applause.  English subscriber and Expo visitor and

author Gary Flower was then mentioned.


     Jim then took a photo of the audience all appearing to be

reading the simulated Journal issue he had handed out.  Jim's

presentation ended with the awarding of prizes using numbers

which were written inside the simulated magazines.




     Rob Berk then introduced the next seminar speaker, Steve

Young from New York, to give his presentation on how to read

pinball schematics.  He said Steve was most noted for his

publishing, several years ago, a great pinball magazine called

"Pinball Collector's Quarterly".


     Finally, Rob said Steve was a "strong pinball supporter" now

producing reproduction parts for the hobby.  Steve was then given

a round of applause.


     Steve began by telling us that he was going to make an

informal presentation.  He then told us that reading schematics

is something which stumps a lot of people, even operators who

have been in the business for over 30 years!


     We were then told, that once you got the hang of a few

little things, the basics of reading schematics was not too

complicated.  One day, Steve then quipped, "a light bulb goes



     After commenting that he only had a half an hour for this

presentation, Steve told us he would try to make it interesting.

He then told us to consider the schematic as a "road map".


     A schematic for Gottlieb's 1971 game DROP-A-CARD was

projected on the screen to aid Steve's presentation.  Steve first

pointed out on the diagram the name of the game, the designer's

initials, the game number, and the drawing date.  He then

commented that the "game number" is often also shown on the

game's score and instruction cards.


     Steve next pointed out the "Table of Coils" which he said

appears to give a lot of "cryptic" information until you learn to

understand it.  He then pointed out that the coils in this table

were broken down into relay coils, relay bank coils, other coils,



     We were then told that each coil in the table is given a

letter (or two) to differentiate it from the others, plus an

"index" (letter plus a number) used to locate the coil on the

schematic.  The coil's "function" in the game, Steve told us, was

also given in the table.


     Steve then told us that the coil's "part number" is also

listed.  He then said this is something which you should pay

attention to when replacing a bad coil (especially those

connected in series with another coil).


     Continuing with coil table information, Steve told us that

the table also shows what type and how many contacts were

associated with each relay.


     For example, he explained that the notation "3A" in that

column meant that that relay had 3 type "A" contacts associated

with it.  Steve then told us that "A" means "normally open", "B"

means "normally closed", and "C" indicates "single-pole-double-

throw" contacts.


     Steve then commented that the information provided in the

table of coils could even be used to determine a replacement for

an entirely missing relay in a game.  However, he went on, this

would be a tedious job, but possible.


     After giving us some information concerning the labeling of

"Control Bank Relays", Steve went to the "motor chart" shown on

the schematic.  He said this was "another mystery" to many



     Steve then remarked that he likes to think of an electro-

mechanical pingame as a "mechanical computer" which "executes"

one function at a time.  He then pointed out the "picture" of the

score motor on the schematic, showing a top view of the motor

switch actuating plate with switch position labeled as "4A",

etc., for example.


     Steve then said that the "4" indicates that the switch stack

is located in the position labeled on the picture by that number.

The letter "A", Steve then told us, indicated that that switch

was operated by the bottom cam on the motor unit ("B" would be

the next cam up, etc.).  He then told of the suffixes "S" and "L"

on the contact code which stood for "short" and "long" positions



     At that point Steve turned to the right-hand side of the

schematic where the game's power transformer was shown.  He

pointed out the 110 volt primary circuitry and the secondary

windings which produced the lower coil and lamp supply voltages.


     After commenting that each manufacturer has their own

conventions regarding the layout of it's schematic and game

wiring, Steve began telling us that Gottlieb in their games used

vinyl covered wires for all 110 volt circuits, and cloth covered

wires for the lower voltage circuits fed from the transformer's

secondary windings.  Steve then went on to say that the "ground

line" and the "6 volt hot line" were shown along the drawing's



     At that point Steve told us that he was going to use a

"sample problem" to illustrate how to use a schematic for

troubleshooting.  The problem, he then told us, was that the left

and right rollovers don't alternate properly.


     Steve next remarked that often a game's lamp circuits

(rather than coil circuits) are sometimes easier to use to

analyze a problem.  He then pointed out on the schematic the

circuits which operated lamps associated with the sample problem.


     Steve then showed us that all lines from those lamps ended

at a single-pole-double-throw switch on the game's "Alternating

Relay".  He then told us that that switch was most likely the

cause of our problem.


     We were then reminded by Steve that the electrical

connectors used to interconnect the various parts of a game

(playfield, backbox, etc.) are often the cause of game

malfunctions.  These connectors, he reminded us, are never shown

on schematics, but should not be ignored when other problem

sources have been investigated, adding that these connectors all

"break" the game's "ground" and power supply lines.


     After pointing out what the schematic symbols for stepping

switch disc wipers and lamps are, Steve directed our attention to

the right-hand side of the diagram where the game's "coil logic"

was depicted.  He then pointed out the red and black wires which

were the 25 volt power supply for the coils.


     Steve next reminded us that the "Game Over" and "Tilt" relay

contacts interrupt many of the game's circuits.  He then

commented that you can troubleshoot the "start circuits" in many

games with the playfield removed, but not on Gottlieb's.


     We were then told that Steve would talk briefly about

flippers, pop-bumpers, and "start circuits".  First, however, we

were reminded that every coil has a black "common" wire connected

to it, most having two to continue that circuit to the next coil

in line.


     On the subject of flipper circuits, Steve began by remarking

that in order for a flipper to work you've got to get 25 volts to

the flipper coil, the only thing in the way of that being the

flipper switches.  He then added that there is also an "End-Of-

Stroke" switch which shorts out the "fine winding" on the flipper



     Steve next switched to "Pop-Bumpers".  He told us that the

bumper switch on the playfield powers a "Pop-Bumper Control

Relay" which in turn powers the bumper's coil.  He then talked

about the bumper unit's "End-Of-Stroke" switch which holds the

relay energized until the bumper operates to propel the ball



     Finally, we were told by Steve that a game's "Start Circuit"

is one of the most troublesome circuits in pingames.  The

circuitry involved in getting the "Start Relay" to energize, he

went on, involves several switches on several different units - a

lot of items to troubleshoot!  Steve then briefly told of using

"clip leads" to short out various portions of the circuit during



     After suggesting that a game's "Slam Switches (used to

disable the game if the cabinet is hit by players in an arcade)

be disabled for home use, Steve concluded his presentation.  He

was then given a good round of applause.




     Rob Berk got up again to introduce the presenters of the

final seminar, the now annual Pinball Expo "design your own

pingame" session.  He began by telling everyone "now's your

chance to design a pingame!"  Rob then told us that this year our

guest designers were two fellows from Sega (formerly Data East)

Pinball, John Borg and Tim Seckel.


     John began, as has been customary in the past, to ask the

audience to suggest themes for the game and then vote on them.

The theme which won out in the voting was "The Three Stooges"

(which had also been selected several years ago).


     Other theme suggestions included such themes as: Information

Super Highway; Election '94; O.J. Simpson Trial (yeah - that's

right); Rocky Horror Picture Show; and Pinball Expo, just to name

a few.


     We were then asked to select a playfield "gadget" for the

game.  Three heads in the middle of the playfield (representing

the Stooges, of course) was chosen.  This resulted in quite a bit

of discussion on how the heads should be placed, and how they

should be used during play.

     One idea was to have one head in the center of the field

with the other two placed above it.  A real crazy suggestion was

to put "Curley's" head in the middle, with it being able to pop

up through the game's top glass, allowing the player to pat it.


     Another "head idea" was for the heads to have hands, with

the heads being able to move, and thus hit each other.  Someone

even suggested the heads being able to "spit" balls at each other

- a very wild idea indeed!


     It was then suggested that drop targets be placed in front

of each mouth.  A suggestion was also made that the game end with

some sort of "pie fight".


     At that point there was a brief discussion of the Pop-

Bumpers on the proposed game.  When the people in the audience

were asked to vote on how many there should be, two was the

number chosen.  After that there was much interactive discussion

of various game play details, including the use of ramps,

spinners, etc..


     At one point someone comically suggested putting three

buttons on the game's "lock-down bar" (representing each Stooge,

of course) which controlled the heads on the playfield.  These

buttons he said would be operated by the player touching them

with his own head.


     The final discussion of the design was concerned with a

"jackpot" feature for the game.  We were finally told that a

"whitewood" of our design would be available in the Exhibit Hall

the next day.  That ended the seminars.




     Near the beginning of this article I mentioned a special

Expo event, held in Rob Berk's suite, dubbed by him as a

"Fireside Chat", featuring several of the pinball artists

attending the show.  Well, Friday night another of these "chats"

occurred, this time the special guests were pinball design greats

Wayne Neyens and Steve Kordek.


     Wayne, as many of you might know, began his career in the

pingame industry with an outfit called Western Products way back

in 1937.  After serving in the Armed Forces during World War II,

Wayne went to work for D. Gottlieb and Co. and was their top

designer until he retired in the 1960's.


     Steve began working at Genco in the late 1930's and later on

designed that company's first flipper game, TRIPLE ACTION, in

January 1948. After a short stint at Bally years later, he ended

up as a designer for Williams and is still there today as their

Director of Game Design.


     The stories told by those two industry veterans, with

intervening questions from their audience, lasted for about three

hours and was a great treat for all.  But, as I said earlier, the

details of that session is beyond the scope of this article.

However, it could possibly be the subject of a future COIN SLOT



     Well, that's all for Part 1 of my coverage of the great

Pinball Expo '94.  Stay tuned next time for the conclusion of

this story, including details of the game auction, banquet, and

Exhibit Hall (including a listing of all pingames on display