But the golden age was destined to be a very short one. Walter Day told writer Tristan Donovan, author of the book Replay: The History of Video Games, that the industry was "off the rails by" 1981, opening more arcades and ordering more machines than its players could ever support. By early 1982, cracks were already starting to show in the newly flourishing industry: that $400 a day machine, Time Magazine reported, was often "sucker bait, dangled to obscure the dreary truths that markets are becoming saturated and that dud games... bring in no money at all."
What is perhaps the best license ever applied to a pinball machine? Probably Star Trek: The Next Generation, which is surprisingly like playing an episode. Williams also released a special ROM of funny quotes from cast members that people can install into their machines. [more inside]
Save pinball! "It's an American icon," said Stern, ever the salesman. "Pinball is cool because it is retro. It's a Volkswagen bug, a PT Cruiser, khaki pants."
The Internet Pinball Database has shots of backglasses, playing tables, and promotional flyers for just about every pinball machine ever created. I loved pinball. Now, it seems impossible to find a machine to play on. Back when I worked at a local pizza shop, we had a rotation of some great machines. I really enjoyed the Addams Family, Star Wars, Lethal Weapon 3 (which i remember as being really easy), and especially the Twilight Zone game, with the special white power ball. A walk down memory lane that served me well. Find a place near you to play some pinball here. Or, you could just go pro.