Pinball Madness

I love to collect, play and repair pinball machines! I have now been at this hobby for 10 years, and it truly has become Pinball Madness!! 

I first played pinball when I was about 8 years old, when I was growing up in Toronto. After schooI my classmates and I would go to the Funland Arcade at Yonge and Dundas Streets in downtown Toronto. I recall playing games like Williams' Spanish Eyes, Blue Chip, Captain Fantastic, Spirit of '76, and Centaur. I eagerly anticipated the new games that were being released and so went to the arcades often. You had to be a a bit of a tough kid to hang out in these places and admittedly these arcades did have a seedy atmosphere back then - but to a kid like me it was all about the games.

Williams' Spanish Eyes (1972) was my favourite as I was able to rack up great scores on this single player electromechanical by learning how to get the ball through the horseshoe switch consistently.

Fast forward 30 years and I'm married with kids - and it's amazing how nostalgic we get! After relocating to Calgary from Toronto in 1998, my interest was rekindled after playing a great software simulation package from Microsoft called Pinball Arcade. It contained simulations of pinball tables from D. Gottlieb & Co. spanning the 1930's to the '90's, including classics like Humpty Dumpty, Knockout and Haunted House.

The family got addicted to the sim and that year I mused out loud about how neat it would be to get a pinball game for the basement. My wife and I both wanted to have a gameroom atmosphere where our kid's friends could come over and spend some fun time. Luckily for me, my wife agreed and I set about getting a game for our basement.


I started my research into these games and was stunned by the amount of information available throught the internet. The newsgroup RGP ( contained thousands of pages of information and was soon to become a valuable resource. Through this newsgroup I eventually built a bookmark listing of sites all interested in the same thing - pinball. Probably the best site to start with was Mr.Pinball ( run by Daina Pettit. Here I was able to find classified listings on game for sale by private owners and operators. In addition, there is a web registry of owners and the games they own.

With this research in hand, I bought my first pinball, a 1993 Bally Twilight Zone. While I had never played a lot of solid state games, I decided early on that I would stay away from purchasing an EM (electromechanical) game, those built prior to 1978 or so. I wanted a game that was reliable, with fairly little upkeep required. EM games, while neat to own, also required a knowledge of how to fix relays, stepper switches, etc, and I already had a decent knowledge of how to repair computers, so I opted for the newer electronics.

Twilight Zone is considered to be one of the best games ever built. It has a huge following on the internet sites and the pinball newsgroup (RGP). Since the puchase of Twilight Zone I have become an avid hobbyist of the game, and have built up a collection that while small in quantity contains some of the most collectible and fun games around.

Recently I relented on the EM's and picked up a Spanish Eyes in a trade. Not sure whether I'll ever be able to get it up and running but will give it a try.

My collection currently includes Medieval Madness No Good GofersStar Trek: The Next GenerationCreature From The Black LagoonIndianapolis 500, Haunted House, and T2. All these games are from the 1990's, manufactured by Williams/Bally, with the exception of Haunted which is a Gottlieb from the '80s. My fondness of these games stems from the Dot Matrix Display (DMD) that adds a fun video-like element to the the pinball table - and they're a lot more reliable than the older EM games. I have also owned a lot of games that are no longer in my collection, including Indiana Jones, Cirqus Voltaire, Junk Yard, Dr. Dude, The Getaway, Twilight Zone, Bay Watch, Dr. Who, and Attack From Mars. I also have a game manufactured by Capcom called Flipper Football, essentially a soccer pinball table.

Over the years I have also learned a lot and now fix 90% of any problems that occur on my own. In 2002, I decided to tackle an older Gottlieb System 80 game, Haunted House, which is known for it's many electronic problems. I am also currently involved in a restoration of a T2.  Currently I am restoring a Terminator 2 pinball and will write the details of that restoration as it progresses. I had done some work restoring a Dracula, but traded it away before I finished the restoration.

The best thing about pinball is collecting and fixing the games. You also get to meet and chat with many interesting folks from around the world who are interested in this hobby. I attended the Pinball Expo shows from 2002 - 2004 in Chicago, and hope to return some day.

This site is no longer actively maintained but is kept up as a reference for pinball enthusiasts. Last updated July 25, 2016.