You don't have to be good at something to love doing it. Case in point: me and pinball. Hell, I wasn't even good at the tiny Astro Pinball game that I got from King Norman's.
However, I used to wonder why I was fairly good at home video games when I was younger but a complete failure when it came to pinball skill. But then recently it occurred to me that I was never actually GOOD at video games, but rather I was good at being repetitive and patient until eventually I beat a game that seemed to be fucking impossible at first. And since I never had access to a pinball machine at home, and I chose to spend my quarters sparingly on arcade games that I knew I would last longer than 4 seconds on, I never "got good" at pinball. Unless of course "got good" meant shoot the ball perfectly in the 2 inch space between flippers without having it touch any bumpers on the way down. If that were the case, I'd be the Billy Mitchell of pinball. But nonetheless I was always mesmerized by the pinball machines in the local arcades. Pinball machines almost seemed illegal when I was younger. The flashing lights shouted "CASINO". Each machine was surrounded by at least 3 guys in bandanas. Cigarette ash fell to the floor as a lit cigarette lay on the edge of it while its owner was planted in a weird sex-stance and an angry face. And the incredible artwork on the machines featured pin-up girls, aliens abducting puppies, cops shooting people in the face, haunted houses, and even ROBOCOP.
So I just sat there from a few feet away like a little creep-kid and just stared. At the art, at the players, and at all of the little embellishments that made each machine unique. Some of my favorites that I can remember are the launch button on the Tales From the Crypt machine...
And the severed FREDDY KREUGER head. on the Nightmare machine.
There's a great documentary on Netflix and Hulu called SPECIAL WHEN LIT that will make you fall in love with pinball if you never got a chance to years ago.
Flash forward a billion years and almost all of those amazing arcades are gone, and very few arcade games are getting produced, and even LESS pinball machines.
But there's an amazing team that is attempting to bring a little of that nostalgia back via this new Kickstarter project that I am extremely proud to be a part of.
TILT WARNING CUSTOMS has teamed up with myself as well as other artists (JEREMY FISH, FRANK KOZIK, COOP & SAM FLORES) to completely restore, revamp, and create custom pinball machines from scratch to fill an arcade full of one-of-a-kind-art pinball machines. Here is a little video introducing the amazing project.
Find out more about the project and how to pledge here at the BRING BACK THE ARCADE Kickstarter page.