Announcing a new series: Pinball Features – Episode 1: TILT!

As more and more people discover the joy of playing pinball, I find myself getting more basic/general questions, and this seems like a good time to launch a new series I’m calling, “Pinball Features”. Each video will focus on a certain element of pinball and offer some basic information on this feature/component of pinball. While this is geared for laypeople, I hope that regardless of your skill level, you may find it informative.

The first episode is dedicated to the Tilt Mechanism. I go into how it works, why it’s there and the different types of tilt devices found in pinball machines.

How to play Pin-Golf

One of my favorite ways to play pinball with other people is a cool competitive format called “Pin Golf.” What makes this type of competition fun is that it works with both novice and skilled players, and it allows people to compete in teams and encourages cooperation. In this video I show you how we run Pin-Golf events, both sanctioned and un-sanctioned.

Should You Buy A Pinball Machine? A guide for beginners.

Lately I’ve been putting some of my games up for sale, and I get a lot of people who have never owned pinball machines contacting me. They have a romantic idea of setting up a game room for their kids and remember pinball machines fondly and want to have one at home. Sounds great right? I agree it can be very rewarding… but you have to know what you’re potentially getting yourself into. A pinball machine is not like a regular modern amusement device. Let’s go over the pros, cons and pitfalls of owning pinball machines, and while you think your kids will enjoy it, are you sure? Let’s dive in and talk about it!

WPC game doesn’t boot up? Let’s diagnose this Gilligan’s Island.

You turn on your game and… “BLECH!” that’s what you get? That’s not good. Let’s try to figure out what exactly is happening:

Armed with more information, later on I have some time to pull the driver board and diagnose things further:

Upgrading to LED lighting: Bally Mystic

The other day as I was working on my Bally Mystic, I decided to upgrade the lighting in the backbox to LED and document what I consider to be a “tasteful” way to migrate from traditional incandescents to LED lighting. Some people complain about this but I think if you do it right, it’s a dramatic improvement, and in some ways is hard to tell from older style lighting. Let’s take a look!

Here’s the game as it was before work. Traditional bulbs in the playfield and the backglass. You will notice that this is not your typical game. This is an early production/prototype that has a different cabinet color and a special 3-dimensional version of the center eye/pyramid imagery for the crystal ball.
Here’s a close up of the original backglass lit with incandescent 44/47 type lights. Really beautiful artwork. NOTE that there’s more light shining ON the backglass in this picture, when compared with the last one below. This is probably due to the LEDs being brighter and my camera compensating by reducing the aperature or shutter speed.
After removing the backglass I replaced the incandescent bulbs with LEDs. I used a combination of cool and warm white frosted 2SMD LEDs from Comet pinball. I put cool white over areas with the following colors: white, blue, green, and warm white over areas dominated by: red, yellow, amber. In this case I went more heavy on cool because they make the image “pop” a little more as you’ll see…
And here’s the finished product. The whites are much whiter. The blues are bluer. I choose cool white for the crystal ball eye, and warm white for the pyramid (not pictured). NOTE that this is a mirrored glass, so there are only a few non-opaque areas so this isn’t the best example of how vivid and bright these LED-backed images can get. But IMO, a noticeable yet tasteful improvement.