I've been into pinball for a long time, and at the expense of dating myself....
My first real memory of playing a pinball machine was 1987 or so at "WC Franks" in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska. That would have been my jr. year in High School I guess. WC Franks was much more than an arcade to us, it had games and food and stuff, but really it was more of a place for a 100 or so punk rock kids to hang out in the parking lot, hit on girls, pose, buy/sell drugs and figure out what we were going to do with ourselves for the rest of the night. A lot of nights there wasn't anything else to do, so hanging there and playing games was it.
I wish I had a picture of WC Fields when it was still an arcade (please if anyone has one, let me know). I'm not sure what it is now, for you Lincolnites, it was between the UN bookstore and Wendys on "Q" street.
Back then it would have never, ever seemed possible that I could have Black Knight in my basement.
Anyway, fast forward 20 years, and I've done what I guess a lot of guys my age do. We try to recreate some of the things that we had in our prime on a smaller scale that we can sit back and enjoy ourselves and pretend in a way that we are still kids. (and the ladies among us know hat men are really children right? We never really grow up in a lot of ways)
Some guys do cars, some do model trains, some do (insert weird hobby here). Me, I do pinball machines. Now that I'm much closer to 40 than 20, I've got the money to buy pretty much what ever I want (within reason, I'm not rich by normal standards, but I'm not flat ass broke). What that translates to arcade-wise is 15 pinball machines so far, and an entire basement full of crazy ass shit. Lots of neon, a diner booth, soda machine, bar, jukebox, and so on and so on.
About every 3-4 months or so I invite 10-20 "friends" over to play some pinball, have some food, and drink something. I have a group of about 5 that *really* dig the pinball and a group of about 20 that think I'm completely off my fucking rocker, and don't get the pinball stuff at all. I just don't understand this. Sure you don't have to be crazy about it, but come on, it's fun, I have a huge collection, you don't see this everyday, so just play a couple of games, right? Right, well, they don't. They come over, act like it's passe and never even touch the things. Can anyone explain this to me?
BTW, if I could get my hands on some of those freaky ass animatronics robots from "Showbiz Pizza" my life would be complete.