Nightmare Castle in the House!

Pinball in Phoenix,Shop Notes 9 July 2019 | Comments Off on Nightmare Castle in the House!

Check out what we just got! We’ve been waiting months for our newest machine to arrive!

The call came late last week, that the newest game from Spooky Pinball had arrived at the depot downtown.

We’ve been waiting months for this game to show up, so we were pretty excited to get it in the shop and unboxed.

That’s right, it’s Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle, finally in our shop. The Big Boss took the first game, of course.

This game looks amazing, with tons of great art and a theme that’s perfect for one of Phoenix’s most famous residents and rock stars.

We’ve been proud to support Spooky since the boutique company in Wisconsin came out with its first game in 2014, America’s Most Haunted.

Everyone wanted to get in some games, even our junior tester. Thanks, Spooky! We like your style.

Everything Old is New Again

Game Restoration,Pinball in Arizona,Shop Notes 9 July 2019 | Comments Off on Everything Old is New Again

Some games are dirty, and some games are D-I-R-T-Y! Check out the before pictures of this 1999 Sega Harley Davidson pinball machine that came into our shop recently. Then check out what it looked like when it left. We’re not calling ourselves Anne Sullivan or anything, but WOW!

This is what the game looked like when it came in. The owner said the glass broke several years ago and he just let the game sit in his barn.

Here’s a closer shot so you can appreciate this grime. The game had some mechanical issues, and the owner was ready to fix everything at last.

Ta-da! We stripped everything off the playfield, to be tumbled, buffed, polished, washed, or otherwise cleaned. We also had to get into every inch of this machine to find all the broken glass and get it out of there.

We added Super Bands, new rings and post sleeves, new drop target stickers, some touchups, and more.

It was hard to believe it was even the same game that had come in.

Enjoy the game, John, we were happy to bring it back to life for you!


Sinbad is Going Home!

Shop Notes 5 June 2019 | Comments Off on Sinbad is Going Home!

We just finished a full shop job on this Gottlieb Sinbad pinball machine. This is a fun game, and we’re glad to see it going to such a good home. Enjoy your new man cave, Mark!

Gottlieb came out with Sinbad in 1978, and produced around 12,000 of the machines. (IPDB)

The game is based, of course, on the classic protagonist of Middle Eastern lore, who adventured the world, battling monsters and collecting treasure. He also starred in the film “Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger,” which came out the year prior to this game. (IMDB)

We gave this game a full shop job, pulling everything off the playfield to be tumbled, buffed, washed, polished, or otherwise cleaned.

We installed Cointaker LEDs throughout as well.

This game looks and plays great. Everything works 100%!

Enjoy the game, Mark!

Cyclone is Awesome!

Shop Notes 5 June 2019 | Comments Off on Cyclone is Awesome!

We just finished a full shop job and playfield restoration on this Cyclone pinball machine. This game is always fun, with its great carnival theme and its fun toys. And now this one looks great! Check it out!

Williams came out with Cyclone in 1988, and produced around 9,400 of the games. (IPDB)

Cyclone came out three years after the company produced Comet, and it’s a much-improved version of the carnival theme.

We gave this one a full shop job, pulling everything off the playfield to be polished, washed, tumbled, buffed, or otherwise cleaned.

Then we touched up a few spots on the playfield and applied an automotive clearcoat to give it a beautiful shine.

We installed Cointaker LEDs throughout the game. They burn cooler and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Check out the Ferris wheel in the back, and the beautifully lit ramps! This game is seriously fun to play!

We gave this game a few bonus touches, too, including Super Bands, and bright post rubbers.

This one is going to a cabin in the mountains. Don’t you wish you were that lucky?

No More Broken Pinball

Shop Notes 28 May 2019 | Comments Off on No More Broken Pinball

We get to go to some cool places to fix pinball machines, and we recently checked out one of the coolest teen hangouts we’ve ever seen! Have you heard of Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock teen center? Check it out! (Now complete with working pinball!)

Located on the north side of Phoenix in a strip mall, the Alice Cooper Solid Rock teen center has spent a decade helping teens meet their spiritual, economical, physical, and social needs.

According to its web site, the folks who run the center believe that “a teen’s worst enemy is too much time on their hands,” so they provide music, arts, vocational programs, and fellowship that challenge teens to discover their passion through music, dance, video and sound production, self-expression, and creativity.

This place has a ton of cool memorabilia inside, and some cool toys to play with too.

Also, this, which we found awesome!

And, thanks to a really nice donor, they now have a pinball machine at the center to complement all the other fun games.

And after the big boss took a trip out recently, the center now has a WORKING pinball machine. Enjoy the game, everyone! Keep on rockin’.



Theatre of Magic is Amazing!

Shop Notes 28 May 2019 | Comments Off on Theatre of Magic is Amazing!

We finished a full shop job on this Theatre of Magic recently. This game turned out amazing! Check it out!

Bally came out with Theatre of Magic in 1995, and produced around 6,600 games. (IPDB)

The game is prized by collectors and players alike for its great theme, cool toys, and general playability.

We gave this one a full shop job, pulling everything off the playfield to be polished, washed, buffed, tumbled, or otherwise cleaned. We checked the mechanics, changed all the rings, and made sure everything played 100%.

We installed Cointaker LEDs throughout as well.

Look at that beautiful glow!

Check out that trunk! Everything looked new on this game when we were finished with it.

Enjoy the game, Erik! We miss it already.

Leslie’s Week with Antonio

NEWS,Pinball in Arizona,Pinball in Phoenix,Shop Notes,Tournaments,Zapcon 7 May 2019 | Comments Off on Leslie’s Week with Antonio

Not only did Leslie win her first Belles & Chimes tournament last month at StarFighters Arcade, she got to take the trophy with her to ZapCon. In case you haven’t noticed yet, the trophy for the local women’s pinball league is a giant banana named Antonio Banana.

Mostly Antonio had to sit around in the Firebird booth with Leslie, answering questions and attracting a few second glances.

But when we finally shut down for the night on Saturday, he got to go and check out some games.

He thought this one was really cool.

Couldn’t quite reach the pedals on this one.

Antonio said there was something kind of familiar about this Computer Space game.

Of course, he had to say hi to a couple of friends here and there.

And he somehow talked us into taking him up in the balcony for a good view.

Check out Belles & Chimes, the league that actually encourages you to have this much fun.

Thanks for trusting me with Antonio, ladies! He made it home safe & sound, but exhausted!

NEWS: ZapCon 7 Day Two Coverage

NEWS,Pinball in Arizona,Pinball in Phoenix,Zapcon 7 May 2019 | Comments Off on NEWS: ZapCon 7 Day Two Coverage

As much fun as we had at ZapCon on Saturday, Sunday was even better! Check it out! And, yes, if you weren’t there, you definitely missed out.

These people deserve a round of applause! Thanks to all the great people who volunteer to make ZapCon happen, but especially those who were there first thing Sunday morning!

One more cheer for Wes, and check out his awesome shirt!

Happy people began making their way in and midday found a crowd around most banks of games.

We made our way upstairs and checked out the beautiful sight of more than 350 machines all happily humming.

Some of our games from overhead. We took down 17 games and helped move even more. Yeah, that part was fun. The good news is some of them are still for sale!

All the effort is worth it when you see how much everyone enjoys themselves.

We had some fun too, getting in a few games on some of the 23 new Sterns delivered especially for the show.

We checked out some of the awesome vendors.

Moto’s Glass has such an amazing booth.

ZapCon included an artists’ alley this year, too, with some beautiful jewelry and other cool items.

Another cool addition this year: Multi Bowl, which won our Best of ZapCon Custom Game award. This thing was hilarious!

Also new this year: Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator, which was packed.

We were happy to see a lot of old friends this year, including our buddies from This Old Arcade.

Check them out in action!

The giant Nintendo controller returned, and anchored a spot in the newly relocated retro lounge.

That’s where this game held court all weekend too, the always-popular Killer Queen.

Did you try your hand at Pin Golf? Sponsored by the Electric Bat.

Before we knew it, it was over.

Nothing left to do but the packing.

And the going home.

Hear ye, hear ye, ZapCon is over, say Kris and Antonio. But check out our Saturday coverage, Best of ZapCon awards, and more!

We’ll see you next year!

NEWS: ZapCon 7 Day One Coverage

NEWS,Pinball in Arizona,Pinball in Phoenix,Zapcon 7 May 2019 | Comments Off on NEWS: ZapCon 7 Day One Coverage

Another year, another ZapCon. This year was notable for some cool new additions, some awesome special games, and, of course, great people. If you didn’t get the chance to head down to the Mesa convention this past weekend, we’re truly sorry you missed out. It was a great time. Check out all the fun we had on Saturday!

ZapCon began bright and early at the Mesa Convention Center, 263 N. Center St.

We were there bright and early too, getting all set up in the Firebird Pinball booth.

We even brought the big sign.

We were happy to see so many familiar faces again, from the many, many volunteers who work so hard to make this happen to all the great contributors who are nice enough to share their games, to fans and players who have shown up year after year after year after year after year after year after year (this was ZapCon Seven, you know).

The big boss had a ton to do to get ready for the show, but he managed it all in stride. Isn’t he great?

We finally got a minute to check out the show from the balcony, and what a glorious sight it was. More than 350 games spread out over an even bigger footprint this year, with the back wall bumped back and a separate location for the retro lounge and stage.

Marco Specialties took  up a huge spot in the back and staged 23 brand-new games from the Beatles to Iron Maiden to Black Knight 3K.

Check out The Black Hole! The machine at the bottom center of this shot was the hit of the show, and took home the Best of ZapCon trophy for the Most Popular Pinball Machine. Kudos again to Outpost Kodelia!

Another shot over those glorious banks of Sterns. There were hundreds of people at the show by midday on Saturday, and most of them were in the back part of the hall, parked in front of the new machines.

There was plenty for everyone, and families dominated the show, as a new generation flexed its fingers.

There were some great classics at the show, including this 1957 Williams Baseball Deluxe.

We were happy to see some great skill games too, including this Sharpshooter.

Blue Shark was so cool! Thanks for bringing it, Kent.

D&D Pinball from Tucson also brought down a truck of games, including this wicked Rob Zombie.

There were some great custom games, too, including this Flash Gordon from New Mexico, with updated artwork, and a really sweet playfield.

Ground-level shot of some of those new Sterns. Aren’t they purdy?

Here’s the whole bank of D&D machines. Thanks, Robert and Constance, and thanks again to everyone who shared their games.

Of course, the big boss didn’t get to sit around all weekend. He was on the floor, helping the techs and keeping track of our own games, almost the whole time.

Here are some of the games that we brought. We still have some of them for sale. Call us, maybe?

Saturday also was a big day for tournaments, as the diehards fought hard in this room in the main and classics tourneys.

StarFighters Arcade hosted its annual kids tourney on Saturday, and the women battled it out at the back of the room.

And at last it was time for a bit of a rest. The Big Boss sat down and put his feet up.

And Leslie finally got to take Antonio up to see the sites. So long to Saturday night. Check out our Sunday coverage, Best of ZapCon awards, and more!

NEWS: Best of ZapCon Winners!

NEWS,Pinball in Arizona,Pinball in Phoenix,Zapcon 6 May 2019 | Comments Off on NEWS: Best of ZapCon Winners!

Picking the best of the best is a difficult task, this year at ZapCon was no exception. People brought down some truly amazing games. Thank you to everyone for sharing, and thank you especially to the following people, who brought down some of the most amazing games of all.
Here are the Best of ZapCon award winners for 2019, along with a few honorable mentions.

This year’s awards were especially sweet, with LED illumination and real pinballs!

We added a few extra goodies to the gift bags each winner received. Thanks to D&D Pinball, Marco Specialties, and the Electric Bat arcade for helping us laud our winners.

Winners were announced at the end of the day Sunday in a big ceremony in the lobby.

Our first award – Fan Favorite Pinball – was probably the most decisive award we’ve ever had! We had more people vote in our contest than ever before, and more people voted for Outpost Kodelia’s custom Black Hole than for anything else. The judges wanted to give it an award too, but we can only laud one game so much. Hands down, the work these ladies put into their game is impressive, and from the game re-design to the programming to the 3-D printing, this machine was well-made. Great job, Kaydee and Olivia Helms!

The Black Hole (based on the Disney movie from 1979) attracted a steady stream of players all weekend, and Kaydee and Olivia had their own booth to show it off.

Our second big award – Fan Favorite Arcade Game – went to Scott Goldsmith, for an upright Pac-man that looked even better than when it originally left the factory floor. Everything about this game was perfect, and even non-collectors noted how great it looked. Sometimes the classics still rule.

Here’s that Pac-man, in all its glory. Great work, Scott, and thanks for everything you do for the local arcade community.

We assembled a crack team of judges this year for our next four awards, and the experts were quick to praise the Flash Gordon brought down by Ben Baraldi and his family. The game was restored by local expert Chris Spaseff, and Ben was nice enough to share it with the masses for the first time this year. The judges praised the quality of the restoration work, and couldn’t stop talking about how well the game played. They gave it their Restoration Award. Thanks, Sara and Maribel for accepting the award!

Here’s that beautiful game in all its glory.

Judges gave their Best Pinball award to this Lord of the Rings, brought down by Jeff Goad. The game played great, and looked amazing, thanks to the illuminated art blades, which flashed in sync with the game. Local restoration hobbyist Kevin Curtis helped with the mods, installing a Pinduino system to control the effects, and an extra GI circuit. Fans raved about the game as well.

Here’s a close-up of those blades. Wow!

Judges gave their Custom Game award to Multi Bowl, a crazy fun bit of work that utilized dozens of gaming systems to pit two players head-to-head in a completely random snippet of a completely random game. The game was created by Bennett Foddy and AP Thompson, who are based in New York, and brought to ZapCon by gurus Zack and Kevin. Thanks to everyone for working together to make this happen. This game was hysterically fun.

Here’s a peek inside the room where they played all weekend. You could generally find your way there by following the howls of laughter and cheers of victory.

Judges gave their last award – Best Arcade – to Major Havoc, brought down by Darryl Dancik. They praised the work Darryl did on this rare vector conversion game, putting the system in a dedicated cabinet the way it should have been in the first place. It was a blast to play. Thanks, Darryl!

There were a lot of other great games down in Mesa over the weekend, and this one had a furious last-minute surge that almost pushed it over the top. Who doesn’t love Battletoads?!

Our own Addams Family also received a ton of votes, and we were so happy that people liked the restoration work. Thanks, everyone!

There were a number of great arcade games that returned this year, and fans continued to show them the love. Previous winner Triangle Wars was a hit, along with the Starfighter game we saw last year, the still-mysterious Polybius, Mad Planets, and more.

This Raven conversion also generated some comments. Kudos also to the Artemis simulator, the Track & Field that Ryan brought all the way from Las Vegas, the Crisis Zone that This Old Arcade put together, Boxing Bugs (weirdly cool, one judge said), the Black Rose pinball machine, all 23 brand new Sterns, and the Four Million BC pinball game. There were so many more excellent games too!

Thanks again, everyone. Check out our previous award-winners here.
Now get some rest. And we’ll see you next year!