A kid and a pinball machine – my very first gaming tournament Part 1

Pinball machines in an arcade

I had promised that to Stefan, one of my readers: “Soon I will write a new retro story, and a pinball machine will be the co-star!” it was a gap that I had to fill.

For me, it all started with a cabinet, but for many others – including Stefan – their first gaming passion was this special machine that I personally consider the forefather of video games.

As a child, I often asked my father about his favorite games in his youth and he would tell me his 60s Retro Stories. Back then, he and his friends spent their leisure time between foosballs and the first pinballs that began to circulate in their town.

I preferred arcade games, but I was deeply fascinated by his stories and I absolutely wanted to impress my father, who – needless to say – was my hero.

And so it was that without telling anyone, on an afternoon, 31 years ago, I took a bus to the other side of the city to play a pinball tournament.

Below is the recount of events of that intense day…

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A perfect plan – nothing can stop me

Pinball flipper

A clip art of a pinball flipper

It was my neighbor Tom who informed me about the above tournament. His older brother used to hang out at that arcade and had already signed up for it. The registration cost 5 dollars, but fortunately my savings at that moment amounted to 10. Nothing could prevent me from partaking in the competition!

I was excited for so many reasons: it was my first gaming tournament ever and there were some prizes up for grabs! Above all else though, I wanted to surprise my father by presenting him with a trophy won at his favorite youth game.

The tournament was going to start at 4 pm on Saturday: I checked the bus schedule and there was one leaving from my area at 3.35 pm. According to the time table it would take 20 minutes to get to the arcade… Perfect! I also took care of arranging my way back: Tom added that it was going to be an 8-player knockout tournament, so I reckoned that it would last a maximum of an hour and a half. I was going to take the 5.40 pm bus in order to get back home at 6.10- 6:15 pm, at the very latest. I could make it! At that point I only had to make an excuse to my parents: I got my schoolmate Lawrence to cover for me…

Hitting dangerous snags – every rose has its thorn

A pinball play field

A pinball play field

That fateful day finally arrived and at 3 pm I went to Lawrence for (according to the version that we had agreed on) spending the afternoon with him. As soon as he let me in, I called my parents to let them know that I had arrived safely. Everything went smoothly, my mother did not suspect anything. I said goodbye to my friend and told his mother that I had to go back home for a moment. Actually I left and headed towards the bus stop. The bus left punctual and at 3.55 pm I walked into the arcade. My first video game tournament ever was about to begin!

Where are the snags? No worries, they are coming… 😀

First of all, at 4:10 pm only 3 participants had shown up: my neighbor Tom, his elder brother David and me. Moreover, the two were accompanied by their father, who immediately came up to me and asked me with an inquisitive look: “Do your parents know that you are here?”

Somehow I managed to keep my cool and after a couple of seconds of hesitation, I replied: “Yes, yes… My father took me here and is coming to pick me up later.”

But the worst thing was that the arcade owner wanted to cancel the tournament… It took a great deal of persuasion and two big, glistening eyes to talk him out of it. 😀

We had to wait for about an hour, but eventually we managed to put 8 people together and at 5.08 pm the tournament kicked off!

I had mixed feelings inside of me: on one hand I wanted to be immediately kicked out of the tourney in order to be able to take the 5:40 pm bus and get back as originally planned. On the other one, I wanted to play my best and see how far I could go, despite the risk of facing the worst punishment ever from my parents.

I kept telling myself: “I am taking part in a tournament, an official competition together and – at the same time – against other people.” I was discovering that feeling called “competitiveness” and I knew that my desire to have an impact on the tourney was going to get the upper hand.

Like a rolling ball – (I will get) satisfaction

Someone playing a Rolling Stones pinball machine

A Rolling Stones pinball machine

I was deep in thoughts, while the arcade owner was making the knockout tournament draw… One of the participants gave me a pat on the shoulder and went: “We have been drawn against each other, good luck! Everything Fine? You look a little absent-minded… ”

It was a 14-year-old boy named Charles and was overconfident that he was going to beat me. I was starting to think that I would be stopped in the first round, when I saw the * pinball machine we were going to play the tournament with: it was a 1980 Rolling Stones (what a beauty!) that I knew like the back of my hand. By sheer coincidence, the bar near my house had the same model and in recent times I had gone and played it together with my father, who had taught me some little tricks.

Now feeling much more confident in myself, I took a look at the tournament bracket, which was as follows:

Tom vs David (his brother)

ME vs Charles

Sean vs Brian

Donovan vs Eddie

The rules? Oh, they were very simple: each match-up consisted of a single pinball game for both players. Who had scored more points, would have moved on to the next round.

Family fights – shortcut to the final

Three pinball balls

Pinball balls

The first matchup featured Tom against his brother: the latter easily bested the former, but David never got to play his semi-final due to force majeure.

The defeat had not sat well with Tom, who began calling his brother names. David reciprocated and their father quickly took them away. They left without even saying goodbye 😀 , but I can understand their father’s desire to quickly walk out of the arcade: his kids had made a spectacle of themselves.

Tom would have been my direct opponent in the semifinals, but his forced retirement paved me the way to the final. I “just” had to beat Charles.

Well, said and done: he was not that good after all, since he scored less than 100,000 points with 5 balls. His biggest gaming flaw was that he nudged the pinball with the delicacy of an elephant in a porcelain cabinet, thus quickly tilting the machine.

It was my turn now. I was very excited, but I kept repeating myself my father’s tips: “When the ball is heading to the out lanes, just nudge the machine slightly upwards, so that the ball can bounce off the rubber post and go back to the play field. The Rolling Stones is a sensitive model, do not overdo that, otherwise you will immediately tilt it. Oh and when the ball is going straight down the middle, just slide the machine a little bit sideways. No matter how hard you press the flippers, they will be unable to catch the ball if you do not slide the pinball.”

I beat Charles’s score with my very first ball and racked up more than 350,000 points overall. Charles’s only answer was leaving. Losing to a 10-year-old boy in front of an audience was probably too much for him to take. I could not care less anyway: I had reached the final act of the tournament and I could relax a little bit by watching the others play.

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To the end! – hopefully not to the bitter end 😀

The other two matches saw Sean and Donovan emerge as winners. One of them was going to be my final opponent, that is, the last obstacle between me and an unexpected victory…

I looked at the time and it was 5:50 pm: The bus had left 10 minutes before… Now I had to stay.

I knew that I was going to get a sound telling-off from my parents, no matter what. It was therefore better to focus on my final game, in an attempt to make my day taste less bitter. 😀

Do not miss the second and last part of this Retro Story! The best is yet to come and above all, there will be a surprise ending…

About Andrew A.

Andrew is the founder and owner of RetroGamingLoft. He considers himself a natural-born gamer and is on a mission to keep our younger gaming years alive through the medium of Retro Stories. His event recount includes hopes, dreams, broken joysticks, magic, nostalgia and another final boss defeated.

94 thoughts on “A kid and a pinball machine – my very first gaming tournament Part 1

  1. Kat

    Such an enthralling post with an engaging story. I love that your dad taught you the intricacies of how to play that pinball machine. I have memories where the only pinball machines I got to play on were at the local bowling alley so every Friday night when my parents bowled, my brother and I got to play a few games on the machines. It was so much fun. Your post got my memory banks reflecting over my own childhood days, while also enjoying your own story. I  can’t wait to read the next saga! Thanks for such an enjoyable post!

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Kat and thanks for your nice comment, I am so glad that you enjoyed my article. 🙂
      Yeah, pinball was part of our lives back in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Personally I do not know of a human being who has never played it at least once. Even my grannies tried it, lol (so much fun on that day). On such grounds I did have to write this article in an attempt to keep memories alive. Heydays, heydays!
      Thanks again for stopping by, I hope you will enjoy part 2!

  2. Rob S.

    I love pinball and there was nothing like it when I was growing up as a kid!

    I could play pinball for hours and my friends and I would never get tired of it!We used to have tournaments too and it was always a fun time. 

    It was always fascinating to play different machines.I like to play the slot machines at the casinos and it’s always fun to play different machines the same was as the pinball machines.

    As time went on the machines got more involved which made it even more challenging to play.Tournaments back then sure were exciting! Did you ever have a favorite pinball machine?

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Rob, I appreciate you taking time to comment again on another of my articles.
      I can perfectly relate to you, the sounds, the atmosphere, the competition… We were just in another dimension! I love playing gaming tournaments and I am still actively involved in arranging them. In a sense, nothing has changed for me.
      Regarding my favourite machine, well, I was more of a video game player, but I would say that I particularly clicked with the Funhouse pinball. Very colourful, great theme, great sounds, non-stop action, many ways to score points… Excellent concept overall. Yeah, It is my favourite ever!
      Thanks again for your nice comment, stay tuned for more Retro Stories!

  3. Suzi

    Oh my goodness…I want to find out what happened at the end!  I thoroughly enjoyed your post!  It brought back so many memories of the games we used to play when I was a child:)  I love the fact that you wanted to impress your dad so much because he was your hero!  This was a terrific story of the trials and tribulations that you went through to try to achieve your dream.  I can’t wait to read the next part…



    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Suzi and thanks for your lovely comment.
      I am a bit late, but no worries Part 2 is coming… 🙂 I am very glad that you enjoyed my article and your comment definitely makes me want to share more and more memories.
      Thanks again for stopping by and stay tuned!

  4. Juliet

    Oh Andrew, you have wet my appetite. I am now waiting eagerly for part two of this story. Did you win the game? What was the time for the next bus to take you home? What happened when you got home? And are you still playing the pin-ball game or have you left it for the kids to carry on? I guess I just have to be patient till part 2 comes out!

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Juliet, thanks for your lovely comment… Yes please, I just cannot give out any spoilers lol.
      The wait is nearly over anyway!
      Thank you very much for stopping by, I truly hope you will become a regular visitor! 🙂

  5. Joe Handigr

    First of all, I applaud your love for Pin Ball my friend. This story has most definitely moved me as well as blasted me back into the past.

    Pin Ball was all the rage when i was young, made so many friends around the big metal brick it was.I love your story and that you decided to share with us your experience with it in a tournament.

    I’m definitely planning on sharing this down the line, even if it may not be played on the physical platform as before. Thank you.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Joe, I cannot honestly thank you enough for planning on sharing my article.
      Reading your comment was like listening to my dad… Such memories always bring a tear to my eye. I got on my dad’s knees and he would start recalling.
      There are some barcades in the US and the UK (I personally visited some of them) where you can still play pinball on the physical platform. Hope this is great news for you! 🙂

  6. Phil Lancaster

    Andrew, I followed that story avidly and can’t wait for Part 2.

    There were no pinball machines in Brisbane, where I grew up but immediately after I left school, my mother took me on a trip to her beloved Sydney and I soon found a parlor.

    Well, I was hooked. I would play game after game and ended up getting onto the leader board for a couple of my favorite machines.

    Shortly afterwards, the Rock Opera Tommy introduced the Pinball Wizard (that deaf, dumb and blind kid) and the whole thing became respectable and legitimized.

    I’d love to own one or two of those retro machines now. They can be incredibly expensive.

    Thanks for this retro memory.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Phil,
      It is me who should be thanking you actually, for sharing such lovely memories.
      Yeah pinball machines today are very expensive, but who knows, maybe one day we will get rich and be able to buy one. 😉 My dream would be able to buy one for my dad… In the meanwhile I am planning to take him to a barcade in the next future. I will detail the experience lol.
      Thanks again for your nice comment!

  7. Joey Alnutt

    Great story, very well written, you had me hooked for the very beginning! When can we be expecting part 2 to finish the story? 

    This story brought back good memories for me! My friend used to have a pinball machine in his basement and we would always wait until his parents fell asleep to go down and play it! Unfortunately he moved away and I haven’t played much pinball since, but still great memories to have nonetheless.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      hello Joey, I am late I know and I am sorry… Fortunately I am going to have more time from now on.
      Glad to hear I brought back some good memories for you, I can relate to such experiences. Please tell me, did you ever wake up your friend’s parents? Sadly we did and their reaction was not nice lol.
      Thanks again for your comment, hope you will like Part 2 as well.

  8. Hugo

    Thanks for bringing me back in time with your recent post about A Kid and a Pinball Machine.  I too remember the fun I had with those games, although I never participated in any tournaments.  In my case it was mostly informal competition with the friends at the time.  It never occurred to me then that there was the possibility of buying one of these things, which seemed to show up more and more often at gaming parlors.  In my mind, only those rich enough to have a business could even think about it.  Now that I do have a business, the possibilities have changed.

    Thanks again.. 

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Hugo and thanks for stopping by again.
      Yeah, unofficial tournaments with friends were just another day at the office for me back then lol… I have always loved competing.
      In this case, this was my first official tournament and I fondly remember it.
      I am so glad to hear that you could purchase an arcade or even a pinball machine today. If you decide to buy it, I would love for you to share your thoughts here.
      Thanks again for your comment, I hope you will make some time to read Part 2 too! 🙂

  9. Eden

    Pinball is a great game and addictive. Loved reading and looking forward to seeing the next part of you in the final. It’s great when you learn from your parents, in your case your father with the tips in pinball. A fantastic and fun experience when in an arcade. This is not to do with the pinball machine but I remember enjoying playing the pinball game on the old Microsoft windows computers. 

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Eden and thanks for leaving another comment on my blog.
      Correct, I am absolutely grateful to my father, but not because he taught me how to play. I am grateful to him for the time he spent with me.
      This retro story is very emotional to me and I can guarantee that Part 2 will focus even more on my bond with my dad.
      Thanks again for stopping by!

  10. Caldero

    You somehow managed to make an engaging story out of the lead up to the finals of a pinball tournament of all things. I don’t know if it’s because of the wackiness of the day itself, or exactly how you wrote it….You know, I think it’s a mixture of both. But however the ratio is, it works out either way. Good job with the writing.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Thanks so much Caldero, I am really humbled.
      I hope you will enjoy Part 2 just as much, like I said it is very emotional to me.
      Comments like yours do motivate me to do my best, I cannot thank you enough.

      Yeah the day was very wacky, but this is nothing compared to Part 2, lol.

  11. Alvaro

    Hi Andrew,

     This brings me a lot of memories when I was playing at the arcades with my friends. Your history is awesome. Let’s hope the second part will be a positive ending. I think this reflect how kids look up for their parents from start to beginning, trying to find an acknowledgement from our dad or mom and to feel proud in some way. We could do anything for a bit of love and recognition. After all, we are human beings… Alvaro

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Alvaro,
      Correct I could not agree more, I would have done anything to please my dad… In retrospective, I was a fool to sneak out like that, but I thought that winning the tournament or at least finishing runner-up would somehow justify my actions. At some point I realized I would face heavy punishment no matter what, but it was too late lol.
      Thanks a lot for your nice words, stay tuned do for Part 2!

  12. charles39

    The story is well told and  it is great that you enjoyed and continue to enjoy pinball and retro games in general. Great fun. We missed them out in Africa because they were not available wen we were growing up.i cannot wait to hear part two of this thrilling story and I do hope you continue enjoying such lovely games.


    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Charles and thank you very much for your comment.
      You know what, not only do I write these stories for the people who had similar experiences, but also for the ones who did not get the opportunity to live those times or try such machines.
      It is more about a lifestyle that no longer exists today and by recounting such events I want to give a positive message about keeping our inner child alive.
      Thanks again for stopping by and I hope you will appreciate Part 2 just as much. 🙂

  13. Kevin

    Very interesting story, sir. Also, excellent story telling. Now you’ve done it; you’ve gotten me eager for the conclusion of your mini-series. I think I’ll have to become a follower of yours, so I don’t miss anything!

    FYI, I’m not sure where you’re located, geographically, but a few years ago, I had stumbled upon something that you might be interested in. My son was in the hospital, for a time, at the Jersey shore. A short drive south of the hospital was Asbury Park, where Bruce Springsteen used to (and sometimes still does) play gigs at the Stone Pony. Across the street from that venue, on the boardwalk was the New Jersey pinball museum.

    Most of the machines you could still play, most of which were from previous decades, along with a few that were nearly a century old. Thought you’d like to know. In the meantime, I look forward to your next installment.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      This is an absolute tidbit Kevin and I thank you so much for that! I absolutely did not know that!
      Sooner or later I will have to pay it a visit! 🙂
      Oh I was so excited to read this that I forgot to thank you for your nice comment, really sorry, my nostalgic gaming heart just stepped in.
      I am very glad that you liked my article, I hope you will enjoy Part 2 just as much.

  14. Danette

    Reading this is like watching an old TV program. You tell the story very well, and I kept wondering what would happen next. The emotion… the suspense… and then the cliff hanger!

    It’s amazing, too, that you remember the details of how to win on The Rolling Stones. Your father taught you well!

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Danette, thanks for your lovely words… Great comparison, thank you I am humbled.
      I could never forget the details of how to win on the Rolling Stones, it was my first tournament ever and above all… No, I am sorry, you will have to wait for Part 2, lol.
      Seriously, thank you very much for stopping by, I absolutely appreciate your comment.

  15. Riaz Shah

    Ahh, it isn’t a real competition without losers calling names. Congrats on that first win, you have a real eSports aura in you my friend, now I want to know the rest of the story though. I tried pinball too, loved it and it was all the rage back then when the PS didn’t exist yet lol. Sadly there weren’t any pinball championships here in Malaysia though. Oh well, at least I still have my old pinball machine as memory 😀

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Riaz, you said it best hehehe, winning would not taste good. Seriously I appreciate your compliments, but at this stage of the story, I only reached the final… 😉
      Glad to hear you also had a chance to play pinball.
      Thanks again for your comment, stay tuned, Part 2 is coming!

  16. Norman

    The pinball game is a game that has been around for so many years. As a child growing up I too played this game in the arcade. It is amazing to see that you actually entered a competition to play this game back then. This is a good and clean game that so many people love. My wife for one loves the pinball game. Thanks so much for sharing this information that is really great.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Norman and thanks for your nice comment.
      Absolutely, pinball was and is and will always be a healthy pastime. Well, there were many gaming tournaments back then too, but in that case I only wanted to impress my dad. Sadly I soon realized that my mistake was big time but… Please wait for Part 2! 😉
      Thanks again for stopping by, please stay tuned.

  17. Lok Which

    I loved playing pinball when I was a kid, my friends and me would play for hours without getting tired,sometimes we wouldn’t bother taking meal because we really enjoyed playing it. It was like playing was filling our stomachs up. I really love your story and I will like to read what happened in the end.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Thanks so much Lok I can relate to your feelings and experiences.
      Part 2 will be published between tonight and tomorrow, please get ready!
      Thanks again for stopping by. 🙂

  18. Nuttanee

    I am waiting for the second part of this story!! I have never been in a pinball tournament before, this is the first i have heard. I love pinball. I grew up with it and the sounds of the ball hitting the score is just relaxing. I live in NYC, since I am an adult who loves to drink lol I go to barcade, the have the pinball machine there and me and my friends are usually just competing one another. I guess we have our mini tournament. Will wait for the second part 🙂

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Nuttanee and thanks for stopping by again.
      I think tournaments are fun at any age, so anytime you have a chance to arrange one with your friends just go for it, you are going to talk about it for days (or for decades like in my case lol). Competing for me it is absolutely normal, I basically grew up watching the older kids in my neighbourhood competing and I could not wait to be “old” enough to be allowed to. If you love pinball you are blessed to live in New York, there are some great barcades there!
      Till next and thanks again for your comment. 🙂

  19. Rebekah Weeks

    Bravo! Very well told with just enough facts to keep the story enthralling. Retro stories are always fascinating and especially when their is a great story teller. It brought back memories of my first times being disobedient for good intentions.

    While pinball was not my forte, Atari 2600 Space Invaders was. I have respect for those that can master the pinball artistry and rack up some serious points. Can’t wait for part II.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Rebekah, thank you so much for your support, hehehe, glad I brought such a great memory. 😉
      Your words really made my day, I am humbled but extremely motivated to keep on providing entertaining stories.
      I was never that good at Pinball, but I must say the intricacies my father taught me were good enough to make a proper stand.
      Part 2 is coming stay tuned! 🙂

      Space invaders was awesome!

  20. cjciganotto

    Hello Andrew,

    How nice to remember how we had fun when we were kids playing with pinball machines. 

    In my case I was never a good pinball player but I can feel the feelings and emotions that we have when we compete. 

    We learn here that you can win or lose, always trying to improve our game for which we feel so passionate. 

    Thank you very much for sharing such a wonderful story.

    Greetings. Claudio

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Claudio and thanks for nice comment.
      I absolutely agree, I love competition, but winning or losing has always been secondary to me as long as I have fun and – above all – I can improve my game.
      it is very good to be able to address like-minded people.
      Thanks again for stopping by, please stay tuned for Part 2!

  21. Robert Trevor

    Where we live,   in the mall, there is an arcade,with pinball and many other types of machines, such as car and motorbike simulators,as well as many other amusement machines.

    I have played on and seen, many pinball machines, but not to my knowledge, the one mentioned in the article.

    The art of operating a pinball machine is,very delicate, and using the flippers, to avoiding tilting, and moving the machine to achieve victory, is really an art to be learned.

    From the above you will realise that I am of the generation that spent some of our time playing pinball!

    I have never taken part, in a tournament as described, but it sounds as if it would be exciting.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Robert and thanks for dropping by.
      You are blessed to live there, make the most of it! 🙂
      Regarding the machine mentioned in the article, you can learn more about it here.
      I agree, being able to play pinball is an art and honestly I have the utmost gaming respect for the ones who know how to properly operate a pinball machine.
      Thanks again for your comment and please stay tuned for Part 2!

  22. coolbudgetfamilyholidays

    Thanks for your great article about sneaking off to play at the pinball tournament,

    Your story had a real nostalgic, 1980’s feel about it and brings back memories of sneaking off as a kid on my BMX to play in the amusement arcades. It was a different world back then however I still feel there is a place for the pinball machine and all the mystique that it holds. Keep up the good work.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      I can easily relate to such nostalgic comments and I absolutely agree with you, there is still a place for a game like pinball and for every arcade game from that different world. We can keep them alive by keeping on sharing our memories. 🙂
      Thanks for your nice comment! 🙂

  23. Britney

    Love the story!  I definitely want to see how it ends.

    I’m a 90s baby, so I don’t have too much experience with arcade games. I came up in the era of SEGA, GameCube, PlayStation, and Nintendo. Would love to see a post about one of these gaming systems. 

    Arcades are great though. Nowadays, at least in my area, they’re only available in places like Chuck E Cheese’s and Dave & Busters. As a kid, I would play games at one of those places. But they didn’t have classics like Pacman or Super Mario. 

    Thanks for sharing your fun story! I look forward to reading the rest.


    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Britney, I am glad you enjoyed my article. I Wrote a couple a posts about Sony Playstation, you can find them here and here.
      I hope you will enjoy them too. 🙂
      Thank for stopping by and leaving a nice comment!

  24. Tsquare

    What an engaging story. I wanted to see who eventually won the final match. I’m not familiar with this kind of game. But your story reminded me of how I too took big risks to go out to play football while I knew my parents were going to beat the hell out of me. Today I’m not into computer games as opposed to many of my friends that are addicted to playing games. I will love to read the end of your story. Your story just made my evening and end of the year in Nigeria a fun filled. Smiles. 

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Tsquare, I am glad that you liked my story.
      Part 2 is coming and I hope you will appreciate it just as much. I am familiar with taking big risks hehehe, but in retrospective I also have nostalgic memories of those times… A world where my only daily goal was having fun.
      Thanks so much for your comment and stay tuned for more Retro Stories!

  25. Henry

    Hi Andrew! Oh this brings back so many good memories. Thank you for telling this story beautifully. And I’m in expectation for the second part. I honestly guess you won the tournament. But the surprise ingredient must have to do with your parent’s reaction to you arriving late. Or with the way they found out you were over there playing the tournament. I’ll came back for the second part.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Henry and thanks for your nice comment.
      I am very glad that you enjoyed my article and even more that you tried to guess the ending, lol.
      Well, I can tell you this: neither of your assumptions is right. 😉
      Stay tuned, part 2 is coming!

  26. Barry

    Hi Andrew. I am happy to see that you are having awesome times playing retro games and pinballs. I smiled when I saw you already saved $10 and the pinball fee was $5; indeed nothing could stop you then :).

    This story is quite engaging and I love the way you tell the story. I am wondering if you got disciplined by your parents. Oh !! It didn’t end well.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Barry and thanks for leaving a comment. 🙂
      I am glad to hear that I was able to entertain you. Yeah, in my mind everything was perfect, those 10 dollars meant the world to me at that moment!
      Well… Not going to give out any spoilers, but definitely skeaning off like that was not smart. Please stay tuned to find out the rest!

  27. Daniel

    I think that this is very interesting and engaging topic Andrew. It really remind me on those old days where my brother and I played this as kids. Pinball is really great game and I used that game for releasing the stress. I will bookmark this and can’t wait to read more.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Thanks for another nice comment Daniel.
      Yeah pinball is relaxing for many, I also used to play a couple of pinball games after a long arcade game session. Differently from arcade games, I could play and talk while playing pinball.
      Thanks again for stopping by and following my blog.

  28. Solomon

    Such an interesting post!. I can’t wait to read the second part of this story ahaha. I enjoyed it till the very end. I remember playing pinball when I was a lot younger at a bowling alley, it wasn’t a big thing, but there were a lot of people gathered around and it was super fun!. I didn’t win any games, but I did have a really good time and I guess that’s all it about.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Correct Solom, that is all about…It is just about. Victories come and go, but memories stay forever.
      So glad that you liked my article, please stay tuned, Part 2 is coming!

  29. Mariah

    Exciting little story Andrew! What happens in part 2? I can’t wait to find out. I myself am a bit too young to feel nostalgic about pinball and have only played it a couple of times, if that, on an actual pinball machine. My pinball experience has been more along the lines of computerized versions on the old apple computers we used in elementary school. Ha Ha. But Pinball is certainly a fun game nonetheless.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Mariah, thanks for your nice comment.
      I cannot give out any spoilers but I can tell you that the ending will surprise everyone. I was actually beyond surprised back then, lol.
      Thanks again for stopping by! 🙂

  30. Shubhangi

    hey there,

    Pinball is particularly type of arcade game but why it was banned for several years, where it was borne ? 

    I really like the way you write your post in a story telling format and great to know that your dad teaches you how  to play Pinball.

    Really interesting to know the next part of the story.


    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Shubhangi and thanks for stopping by.
      I sort of knew that Pinball was banned for several years somewhere in the States, but I did not actually know there. I will be honest and tell you that I had to google, in order to answer your question”

      Here is what I found:
      “Pinball was banned beginning in the early 1940s until 1976 in New York City. New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia was responsible for the ban, believing that it robbed school children of their hard earned nickels and dimes.”

      I am glad that you liked my article, please stay tuned for more Retro Stories.

  31. Tekyia

    I’ve never seen a pinball machine in person. I’ve only ever played on the computer! (I’m a 90s kid hahahah). I definitely didn’t need much technique to win the game! I can only imagine the level of concentration it requires.

    Reading your story made me feel like I was right there with you. You had some guts to sneak away from home. I would’ve been so nervous, I’d probably lose the tournament before I began.

      I can’t wait to read  what happened next!

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Tekyia and thanks for your nice comment.
      Yeah I had some guts or better said I was not that smart lol… In retrospect I could have told my dad to take me there, but you know, I wanted to impress him…
      Thanks a lot for stopping, stay tuned for Part 2!

  32. Sujandar Mahesan

    I really love all the articles on your website and this is another interesting and very fun post for anyone who loves pinball machines. Once I started reading your story I just couldn’t stop. It was a great read and now I cannot wait for Part 2. Thank you for sharing this article with us.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Sujandar and thanks for dropping by again.
      I truly appreciate your words and will do my best to keep on providing quality contents.
      Part 2 is coming, please stay tuned!

  33. Strahinja

    Hello and thank you for bringing back so many beautiful memories. Just looking at this pinball ball gave me such a need of hitting some local game room. I had a dream of having a pinball machine in my room. Never had enough will and support to finish this dream though.

    There is nothing so relaxing and satisfying then hitting that ball hard and managing to put it in corner, where it keeps bouncing between extra points. Oh, I still love this game up to this day. For some reason it gives such satisfaction. Thank you for sharing this and making my day.

    Best regards and have a nice day.


    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Strahinja and thanks for your nice words.
      You look like a real pinball fan and I am honoured that you made some time to comment on my blog.
      We share the same dream, I hope we will both be able to make it come true.
      Stay tuned for more Retro Stories! 🙂

  34. Chris

    I absolutely loved reading this article, and yes, pinball machines were the forefather of arcade video games! 

    The village I grew up in had a total of two ‘arcade’ machines in it’s cafe – one simple space invaders game and a pinball machine…so you can imagine the competition and the arguments these caused my generation (about thirty kids in all!). Great post to bring back all those memories – haven’t things changed these days? (Next Gen Consoles etc). 

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Chris and thanks for your nice comment.
      Save some exceptions, they have, because everybody plays from home nowadays and we lost human touch.
      I can imagine the competition back then, but I can also imagine the fun. Playing online is great, but gamingwith real-life friends is unique.
      Thanks again for stopping by, stay tuned for more Retro Stories! 🙂

  35. mzakapon

    I always loved playing pinball with my friend when I was a child, we would play for hours after hour without getting tired, sometimes we had a tendency to forget taking meal because we really enjoyed playing it. After reading this article I remember my childhood memories and feels for my kid’s entertainment also. I sometime like for their interest on playing games on smartphone and tab.

    Thanks so much for sharing this information which is really great.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Mzakapon and thanks for your comment.
      I am glad that you liked my article and that it brought back some good memories.
      I hope that you continue to follow my blog and do not miss part 2! 🙂

  36. John

    Great story of your pinball tournament! It took me back to the days as a kid when we went down to the local bowling alley and played the pinball machines. Like you said, they were the forefathers of video games. They were what got me into arcade games later on. I am really looking forward to your next installment, you have certainly left me in suspense! I felt sure you were going to win, but the way you left me hanging, I am not so sure…

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello John and thanks for your comment,
      So glad that you liked my article and that we have similar memories.
      Part 2 is coming, stay tuned, it is also great to know that you are eagerly waiting for it! 🙂

  37. victor lavaza

    Hello Andrew, this is a very nice article. Thanks for sharing about your very first gaming tournament. If your story is anything to go by, a Pinball is what I need to revamp my gaming experience. I will definitely look out for part 2 of your story, wouldn’t miss it. I find gaming all kinds of fun, and with your insights, it can only get better.Best regards

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Victor, I appreciate your kind words and if i really made you want to resume gaming, well you just made my day.
      Part is coming big steps, please stay tuned and thanks again for stopping by and leaving a nice comment. 🙂

  38. Oana


    I am not into games, actually, I have never played games at any machine ( I grow up in a communist country so no games machines) but this story it is well-written and also you gave some tip on how to make more points.  Now I can’t wait to read the second part to see who is the winner 😁 

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Oana, I appreciate you taking time to read my article and leave a comment.
      It is great to hear that I was able to engage someone who has never had a chance to play video games.
      Part two is coming, stay tuned! 🙂

  39. Chrissie Spurgeon

    Hi Andrew

    I loved reading the first part of your story about your first tournament, and I can well imagine your excitement at taking part in it!

    I did occasionally play those machines when I was a child, but I was not really very good at them – unlike you, I had no one to teach me! You obviously benefitted greatly from your father’s enthusiasm for them! Do you own one now, by the way?

    I can’t wait to hear the end of the story, although I have a sneaking feeling that I can guess what happened!! You won, right? Although I would not expect you to answer that here, as that would stay the thunder from the next part of the story!

    Thank you so much for telling us about this.

    Chrissie 🙂

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Chrissie and thanks for stopping by again, your comments are always nice and encouraging. 🙂
      Well, correct, let us keep the thunder for when the sky gets cloudy, lol.
      And no, sadly I do not own any at the moment, but like I said in a previous comment, my dream would be to be able to buy one for my father.
      Who knows… ?
      Stay tuned, Part 2 is coming!

  40. Dhayours

    Interesting story there. I’ll really love to read the sequel to this story.

    Talking about the Arcade, It’s been a while I visited the Arcade majorly because of work. I love the part where you said your dad taught you how to play that pinball machine. Memories like that are golden.

    Thanks for the story, It was really interesting.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Dhayours and thanks for your comment and your nice words.
      Yeah, it is a golden memory. The more I think of it, the more that memory brings a tear to my eye.
      Parti si coming, stay tuned! 🙂

  41. Babsie Wagner

    I think you’re going to have to email me when Part 2 is published so I can get the end of the story!  LOL.  Like what???  He’s a pinball wizard, such a supple wrist…..  Wow, I can’t tell you the hours we would spend playing pinball when I was younger.  It was a huge passtime, winners always got free beers.  I loved it, and I loved your story.  Please let me know when you publish the end.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Babsie and thanks for stopping by again! 🙂
      I am glad I was able to bring back some good memories… You too seem to have a lot of fond gaming memories.
      I will email you when part 2 is online, as per your request.
      Very many thanks again for another lovely comment!

  42. Alia

    Haha! This sounds like a 90s movie! I love this!!! You ended winning at the end. Now I hope the second half is how your dad, even though he was cross at you, he was proud of you for winning! If I’m right, yay!

    I was terrible at pinball! With my muscles, I couldn’t really move the machine if I wanted to. Stories like this really bring me back to the retro games I love and adventure I had with friends (as you did). Can’t wait to read the next one!

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Alia, I am glad you stopped by again, after commenting on James’s article.
      Thanks for your concern, hehehe, I cannot give out any spoiler, but yeah, there will a lot of action.
      Glad to hear I was able to bring back some good memories. Even though you were terrible, you surely had fun with your friends.
      Thanks again for your nice words and please stay tuned, Part 2 is coming! 🙂

  43. Michel

    Your story had me reading from beginning to end. You are a great storyteller, but now what happened next?

    It was great that you as a ten-year-old boy managed to get into the final, and I am sure your father must have forgiven you, especially as you used his tips to get you through.

    Hope you made it back home ok, but you must have as otherwise you wouldn’t have been here to tell the story. Thanks for the great read and can’t wait to read the next part.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Michel and thanks for your comment.
      Yeah, I made it back home for sure, the problem was what happened next lol… Seriously, I appreciate your kind words, I feel absolutely humbled.
      Please stay tuned, Part 2 is coming! 🙂

  44. Paul

    Dear Andrew,

    Wow, as always I enjoy reading your articles and Every Single Time I read an article of yours it bring back my golden memories. I do remember the scoldings I got from my mom by going late to home after playing for a long time.

    I was laughing by remembering my childhood days. Thanks a lot for sharing your amazing story by reading your post I did a time travel Lol. Oh no I can’t wait to read the last part and waiting for it.

    Wishing you great Success!


    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Paul and thanks for dropping by again.
      It is a joy to know that my articles let you recall your golden memories.
      The wait is nearly over, Part 2 is coming and I hope you will keep coming for this and many more Retro Stories! 🙂

  45. scott

    Quiet the article mate, a long read but very good story telling! you kept me intersted the entire time. That damn bus will get you everytime.

    I have some fond memorys of these retro pinball machines myself, and i agree they are the root of gaming. I still find a pinball machine a fun game to this day, and im yet to see a kid turn away from one. Although a rare comodity these days when i see a pinball machine i must play it. Just to selfshly see all the lights a buzzers go off lol

    great story i enjoyed reading this


    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Scott and thanks for leaving such a nice comment.
      The support from my readers has been amazing so far and I really cannot thank you all enough.
      I agree, every kid is intrigued by a pinball machine, even these days. There are a few barcades in the States now, so I truly hope that pinball machines will have a much deserved comeback.
      Thanks again for stopping by and stay tuned for more Retro Stories, starting from Part 2! 🙂

  46. Jay

    This was like reading a novel filled with suspense. Spoiler alert, you definitely got an ass whopping by your parents. I had done something similar at that age and got a good ass whopping from my parents. Anyway, I love the pinball machine and I use to play it a lot when I was young.

    I have partaken in some tournaments but I was not able to win any of them. I guess I wasn’t really good but they are memories I cherish a lot.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello jay and thanks for your comment,
      Hehehe, there is only a way to know that: to read Part . There are many variables in this retro story, but I can assure you that the second and final installment will do everyone justice!
      Thanks again for stopping by, please stay tuned, the wait is nearly over! 🙂

  47. Tshego

    I really enjoyed reading your post. It really brought so many cherished memories to the surface. I remember my very first encounter with a pinball table at the mall arcade some few years back with two of my best friends. I remember clearly that night I had trouble falling asleep as my knees kept doing the jerking motion as if I was still playing. Thank you so much for sharing your story and I am eagerly looking forward to part 2 of your story

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Tshego and thanks for your comment, I am glad I was to bring back some good memories.
      It is not exactly the same, but your knee “side effect” reminded me of my thumb blisters due to “excessive use of d-pad”, as one my friends would call it, lol.
      Those where the days, enough said!
      Thanks again for stopping by and please stay tuned, Part is 2 coming! 🙂


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