There is a fine line between “hobby”
and “mental illness”
Dan Corkill's Pinball PagesWelcome to my pinball pages. I enjoy playing, collecting, restoring, and maintaining pinball machines. Time demands, space, and funds limit these activities, but I'm always on the lookout for places to play pinball around the Amherst, Massachusetts area, for other older area enthusiasts (lower-60s), and for machines that might need restoring or a new home. Drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of any of these!
Why I like Pinball
If you've been infected with the pinball disease, you already know; but I get enough of those “oh, grow up!” and “huh?” looks to realize that not everyone really understands.
Current CollectionThe following machines are in my collection (click here for details):
I never met a pin that I didn't like—not many, at least—and there are many, many pins that I would love to have! As most enthusiasts have discovered, you can't own just one... Space limitations bring me back to reality!
Here are some of my very special wants:
Pinball Hall of Fame Museum
If you are going to be in Las Vegas, be sure to spend some time at Tim Arnold's Pinball Hall of Fame Museum. The set of games available to play keeps changing. Bring your quarters (and avoid the one-armed casino bandits)!
National Pinball Museum
If you are planning to be near Silver Spring, Maryland, on a Saturday morning consider arranging an appointment to visit the temporary home of the National Pinball Museum. The museum has over 800 pins, with 50 set up for play at their temporary headquarters (visitation fee required). Also, please consider making a donation of $5 or more toward a permanent home for the museum.
I'm often asked where to find machines or a specific game. For some, patient search is a thrilling aspect of collecting, and games have been acquired in strange and circuitous ways. In years past, making connections with local operators was a good strategy (and still can be for recent machines, but there are far fewer operators and less game turnover). Newspaper ads and garage sales yield occasional machines, but if you are looking for a specific machine (that favorite game you played as a teenager) success using this strategy will be nearly miraculous.
There are dealers who specialize in selling arcade games to collectors, and many of their ads can be found in the Pingame Journal. Some dealers meticulously restore games; others ensure they are operational (or will at least tell you if a game needs work). You will pay for the service and support a dealer provides, which can be money well spent if you simply want an operational game for your family room. Spend some time checking into the reputation of a dealer. Most have been in business for years and have worked hard to serve their customers.
Machines are regularly listed on eBay, but there are risks buying a machine without seeing/playing it and worrying about transport from a seller who does not regularly ship machines. Prices can also be all over the map (from bargains to ridiculously overpriced), but seem to be stabilizing on reasonable lately. Game conditions vary from very good to completely beat up and non-working, and you should understand what is involved (in cost and effort) to get your purchase transported and operating before bidding.
Arcade-game auctions are another source of pinball machines. (Regular auctions seem to be held nearly everywhere in the continental U.S. except here in New England!) Auctions can be fun, if you like in-person, live bidding. As with eBay, knowledge is your best guide in making an informed purchase decision.
I strongly recommend spending some time lurking the rec.games.pinball newsgroup (see the on-line FAQ) to get a sense of the landscape. The free Mr. Pinball Classifieds is also a valuable resource. Finally, if there is a specific game you are looking for, mentioning it on a public web page (one that is scanned by search engines) along with an e-mail address can result in leads—as well as an increase in spam—as some sellers (honest and otherwise) now search the web for interested buyers.
Restoration and Maintenance Information
Along with the privilege of owning a pinball machine is the responsibility of maintaining its condition for future enthusiasts. Not only is it important to protect the investment in a machine, but each machine is an irreplaceable member of a very finite group. Well maintained machines are more fun to play and hold their condition and value. I see all too many machines with avoidable playfield wear (due to raised/lowered inserts, failure to replace a worn pinball, and lack of proper waxing) and backglass deterioration (from improper environmental storage).
Back to my home page.
Last updated: June 17, 2013