The Awesome Dead

Shop Notes 10 August 2018 | Comments Off on The Awesome Dead

We just finished a full shop job on this amazing HUO Stern The Walking Dead Pro. This game was nice when it came in, and it was amazing when it left, with LED upgrades, and a few custom touches. Check it out!

Stern started producing The Walking Dead in 2014, based on the hit AMC series, based on the even-better series of graphic novels. (IPDB)

This is the Pro version, which came to us from its original owner with only around 1,000 games played.

The game has lots of great nods to the series, including this Bicycle Girl image underneath the left ramp. We made it even cooler with a Bicycle Girl figure!

Here’s another cool addition: Rick in the foreground and a zombie in the back. They’re right next to the barn, another noteworthy toy.

We upgraded the LEDs, adding some select color to the playfield.

Enjoy the game, Kevin. You can tell Leslie did!

Goodbye, Robert

Pinball in Arizona,Pinball in Phoenix,Shop Notes 25 July 2018 | 1 Comment

We wanted to take a moment to pay respects to a good man, taken from us early this week, unexpectedly, and too young.

Robert Whipp was well-known in the pinball community, hard to miss in how he stood above the crowd physically, but in personality too. Quick to smile and laugh and help you if you needed anything, he was a genuine good guy who loved his family and was proud to be with them.

He was a judge for us last year in our annual Best of ZapCon contest, after winning the contest in 2017. He was a regular in Tucson tournaments who was part of a successful new route business down there too. He drove up to Phoenix often for tournaments. His whole family played, even his future daughter-in-law became part of things.

He passed away on Monday at 50. Viewing will be Sunday at 1 p.m. at Adair Funeral Home’s Dodge Chapel in Tucson, at 1050 N. Dodge Blvd. Services will be Monday at 9 a.m. at All Faiths Cemeteries, 2151 S. Avenida Los Reyes.

Robert is survived by his wife, Cat, his son, James, and James’ fiancee, along with countless friends, colleagues, and players. We’ll miss you, Robert. Thank you for everything. May the sun never set on your memory.

Here’s Robert with the award he earned for his restored Evel Knievel machine at ZapCon Five. Robert spent an amazing amout of time restoring the game and his hard work truly showed.

Hardbody Finds a Home

Shop Notes 1 July 2018 | Comments Off on Hardbody Finds a Home

We just finished a full shop job on this great pinball machine – a Bally Hardbody! This machine is the only machine endorsed by Rachel McLish, the first Ms. Olympia. Are you tough enough for Hardbody?

Bally came out with Hardbody in 1987, at the height of the fitness craze of the ’80s, and produced around 2,000 machines. (IPDB)

Featuring the first Ms. Olympia and a hard-core workout theme, this machine continues to make players’ pulses race.

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

We installed Cointaker LEDs throughout the game as well. Look at that glow!

You can see the great factory-installed mirror blades in this game, too. As far as we know this was the first and only game to come with them.

Enjoy the game, Rob!

Sinbad Goes Home

Shop Notes 30 May 2018 | Comments Off on Sinbad Goes Home

We were really happy with how this Sinbad pinball machine turned out. It looked great! But we were happier still to send it on its way with a great group of people. Sinbad the Sailor has gone home to a VFW post in the east valley. Thank you for your service, and enjoy your machine!

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

This particular machine was extra interesting because it was a sample machine, and came with a prototype cabinet with metal sides on the front, back and part of the head, though still wooden sides.

The game is based, of course, on the classic protagonist of Middle Eastern lore, who adventured the world, battling monsters and collecting treasure.

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.

Enjoy the game, guys, and thank you again your service.

This Game is Fantastic!

Shop Notes 14 May 2018 | Comments Off on This Game is Fantastic!

We just finished a full shop job on this Captain Fantastic pinball machine. It looks great now!

Bally came out with this machine in 1976, inspired by the movie “Tommy,” and based on the character Elton John plays. (IPDB)

The full moniker of the game — Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy — is the name of the singer’s ninth studio album.

This game is a classic, and always well-regarded for its pop culture status. We don’t usually even like games of this vintage, but we couldn’t hardly help ourselves.

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

We installed LEDs throughout for a beautiful and long-lasting glow.

New pop bumper caps and platters, new targets, new flipper bats, and a few extra touches made this game look great again!

Enjoy the game, Bob and Mary Ellen!


A Winning Game!

Shop Notes 14 May 2018 | Comments Off on A Winning Game!

We gave this Jokerz! pinball machine a full shop job. This game turned out great! Check it out!

Williams came out with Jokerz! in 1988 and produced around 5,400 of the games. (IPDB)

Jokerz! stands in a long line of card-themed pinball machines, but added a feature that definitely set it apart.

On their final turn, players can double their score. That makes for some interesting challenges!

We gave this game a full shop job and installed Cointaker LEDs throughout.

We pulled everything off the playfield, to be tumbled, buffed, washed, polished, or otherwise cleaned.

Everything works mechanically. This game is 100%. super.

Enjoy the game, Jim & Diana!

A Rare EM For Us!

Games For Sale 14 May 2018 | Comments Off on A Rare EM For Us!

We don’t usually work with older machines. But sometimes, they’re worth it. Check out this way cool King of Diamonds machine that we have for sale now!

Gottlieb came out with King of Diamonds in 1967, and produced around 3,200 of the games. (IPDB)

The game features eight rollovers, five bullseye targets and, definitely the coolest part, a carousel with targets that feature ace through deuce.

We usually stick to solid-state games, but we couldn’t resist this one. It’s in great shape, and it plays really well too!

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

We installed LEDs as well.

Here’s a shot of that awesome carousel, restored to its original condition.

Take this great classic home today! Ground-floor delivery is available.

Wrong Hat!

Shop Notes 8 May 2018 | Comments Off on Wrong Hat!

We just finished a full shop job on this really cool Rocky & Bullwinkle pinball machine.
Check it out!

Data East came out with its Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends machine in 1993, and produced around 5,500 games. (IPDB)

The game is, of course, based on the original cartoon, which aired under several different names on ABC and NBC from 1959 through 1964. (Wiki)

The game features everyone you remember from the cartoon (or the movie versions), including Rocket “Rocky” J. Squirrel, Bullwinkle J. Moose, Boris Godunov, and Natasha Fatale.

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

We installed Cointaker LEDs throughout as well, for a beautiful and long-lasting glow!

Enjoy the game, Erik! Just remember to put on the right hat.

Did We Feel Lucky?

Shop Notes 8 May 2018 | Comments Off on Did We Feel Lucky?

We just finished a full shop job on this Dirty Harry pinball machine. This was a fun game to play, and the machine looked great when we were finished with it. Check it out!

Williams came out with Dirty Harry in 1995, and produced almost 4,250 of the machines. (IPDB)

Clint Eastwood’s Police Inspector Harry Callahan arrived on scene in 1971 in “Dirty Harry.” “Magnum Force” followed in 1973, “The Enforcer” in 1976, “Sudden Impact” in 1983, and “The Dead Pool” in 1988. The game takes details from all the movies. (IMDB)

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

We also installed Cointaker LEDs throughout. Look at that glow!

We tested everything mechanically, and this game played great!

Go ahead, Charles, enjoy the game!

NEWS: Best of ZapCon Full Results!

Pinball in Arizona,Pinball in Phoenix,Zapcon 24 April 2018 | Comments Off on NEWS: Best of ZapCon Full Results!

It’s a difficult task, sometimes, picking the best of the best, and this year at ZapCon was no exception. People brought down some truly awesome games. And while we thank everyone for sharing, we want to recognize some of the most appreciated games among them. Here are the Best of ZapCon award winners for 2018, along with a few honorable mentions. THANK YOU EVERYONE, and CONGRATULATIONS!!

Each winner received a bag of goodies that included a custom plaque from the local HJ Trophies and Awards, a gift card to Cobra Arcade, a mini bottle of champagne, a certificate of coolness, some stickers, and snacks. Congratulations, everyone!

There was some furious voting this year, with more ballots than ever cast in our contest. Contributors gathered to hear who’d won in the down-to-the-wire contest.

Of course, this guy came out on top again. Congratulations, Ben Baraldi, for winning the first of our judged categories, the Restored/Custom Arcade award, for the Triangle Wars game that he custom built with help from Chris Spaseff, Rachel Bess, and Wes Sparks, all perennial winners themselves.

The game is based on a machine that appears on The Simpsons, sitting next to the also-mysterious Polybius game one time and at other random times in some other episodes. The game was well-played all weekend, appreciated by fans and judges alike.

Another judges favorite was this custom upright brought down by Ariel Bracamonte and the other good folks at Cobra Arcade. Based on a PC game that looks like a classic ’30s cartoon with a slightly twisted story line, this game received the Favorite Arcade award.

The game was a hit with fans as well. Kids talked excitedly about the game all weekend and could hardly believe it. Adults had basically the same reaction.

Judges also lauded this Panic Park game, also brought down by Ariel Bracamonte and Cobra Arcade. This two-player interactive game is rare in the U.S. Fans lined up all weekend for the chance to swing the handles into one another and knock their characters into certain, if fleeting, death. This game won the Most Fun Arcade Game from our judges.

On the pinball side, our judges gave high marks to this Pirates of the Caribbean machine brought down by Kevin Curtis. It received the Best Custom/Restored Pinball award.

Kevin’s machine was severely damaged in shipping. The machine needed wood repair, custom art fixes, new hinges and rails, and more. Then he went beyond that, and installed speaker kits and lights, a way-cool topper, full LEDs, a color DMD, a wood-engraved speaker panel, and more. This game was so beautiful that it sold quickly. At least Kevin had his trophy to take home.

Our judges also lauded Mark Pearson’s Iron Maiden game, handing it their Favorite Pinball award. Of course, Iron Maiden machines were all the rage all weekend, as the newest release from Stern, but judges said the headset jack gave Marks’ game in particular a great new dimension.

The five different Iron Maiden machines scattered around the room all received votes from very specific fans, and split the popular vote. This was pretty much the view of the new Stern bank all weekend.

Our final judges award for pinball went to this awesome Cactus Canyon machine, brought down by Cal Smith. Organizers were happily surprised to see it pull up unexpectedly late Friday, and fans and judges were thrilled as well. This machine received the Most Fun Pinball award.

As we said, our fan balloting was crazy this year, with hundreds more votes cast than in any of our prior votes. Split Iron Maiden and Star Wars votes let this machine pull through at the end, and Dialed In received our Fan Favorite award for pinball machines. This Jersey Jack game came out last year and features a cutting-edge theme that features emojis, selfies, and drones.

The fans thanked Jeff Barthold for bringing down the machine, which did flash a selfie of his handsome mug on the high score table most of the weekend.

Our Fan Favorite category was decided in true Chicago style, as fans voted early (and, apparently, often!) for this well-traveled Hard Drivin’ machine. This 1989 driving game received an incredibly high number of votes!

Congratulations to Hans Burnett, who also sold the game during the weekend.

Honorable mentions wouldn’t be honorable without throwing some love toward Killer Queen. This game had won awards for three years straight, and tallied high with fans again this year. It was definitely a Fan Favorite!

A big shout out also to Chiller. We wish we had a better shot of this torture-chamber-themed game. It was crazy!

This Donkey Kong remix also earned kudos from fans and judges.

Fans also liked this way-cool Mad Planets game. Isn’t it gorgeous?

A strong write-in campaign curried some good votes for this awesome Rocky & Bullwinkle game. Thanks for bringing it, Mary!

And while people seemed to either love or hate this Total Nuclear Annihilation game, enough of them loved it to vote for it often. It got one vote that mattered, at least.

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