NEWS: Best of ZapCon Returns!

NEWS,Pinball in Phoenix,Zapcon 1 May 2019 | Comments Off on NEWS: Best of ZapCon Returns!

ZapCon will be here this weekend! And so will the Best of ZapCon!
Once again, Firebird Pinball is proud to sponsor our annual competition, designed to honor those of you who bring the most awesome games down to share at the two-day pinball and arcade convention, May 4-5 at the Mesa Convention Center.
Drop by our booth to vote for your favorite games. A panel of expert judges will choose four more games to honor.
Winners will receive these cool trophies, made by our awesome friends at HJ Trophies & Awards, along with the envy of generally everyone else.

Don’t you want one?

Our expert judges this year include Jake Danzig, owner of Pinball Investments, Kent Ponterio, well-known local collector, and Kevin Curtis, part of the crew behind StarFighters Arcade along with our own bosses.

Get your ballot at the door, and vote at the Firebird Pinball booth. Winners will be announced at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. And if you need some inspiration, check out the glory of the previous years!

2018 Winners
2017 Winners
2016 Winners
2015 Winners
2014 Winners

Fantastic Once Again

Shop Notes 4 March 2019 | Comments Off on Fantastic Once Again

Sometimes shipping goes great. And sometimes it doesn’t. We were contacted by a Scottsdale fashion store recently because a machine they had shipped to them arrived in pieces. With a little bit of work, the game is once again fantastic.
Check it out!

Bally came out with Captain Fantastic in 1976 and the Elton John-themed game has remained popular ever since. Usually, though, it looks a little better than this.

This machine arrived at Marine Layer in Scottsdale with some obvious shipping damage. They contacted us right away.

The game apparently was shipped with the head upright, and it severed from the body during transit.

The base of the cabinet was loose, there was electrical damage, and that was just the beginning of the list.

We contacted our colleague, a skilled carpenter, and asked him for a little help with the job.

In just a few days, we had the game put back together, the mechanics fixed, and lights and rings changed. Check it out on the store floor! Now that’s fantastic!

Goodbye, Hyperball

Shop Notes 4 March 2019 | Comments Off on Goodbye, Hyperball

We sent another long-time favorite on its way this past month, too, as we bid adieu to Hyperball. This rapid-fire pinball gun game is tons of fun to play, and we loved the powdercoated legs on it.
Check it out!

Williams came out with Hyperball in 1981 and produced around 5,000 of the games. (IPDB)

The company originally planned to make some 50,000 of the machines, but it turned out the world wasn’t ready for quite that much coolness. The production run was scaled back significantly.

In this flipperless game, players use a hypercannon to fire up to 250 3/4-inch balls per minute at targets located around the outer edge of the playfield.

We changed out the lights to LEDs, and added some special touches too, including red and yellow alternating post sleeves. (You can see them really well in the previous picture.)

Enjoy the game, Dave. Now you’re one of the cool kids!

That’s a Wrap, Mario!

Shop Notes 4 March 2019 | Comments Off on That’s a Wrap, Mario!

We had this Super Mario Brothers pinball machine a long time, since the kids were really little, and worshiped Mario. But someone else really wanted it. So with the kids’ permission, we shopped the game, and recently sent it on its way. Check it out! This game is super!

Gottlieb came out with Super Mario Brothers in 1992, and produced around 4,200 games. (IPDB)

The game, of course, is based on the video game that changed so many childhoods forever. Nintendo came out with Mario Brothers in 1983, and Super Mario Brothers two years later.

This game incorporates much of the video game, with seven worlds our good hero travels through, fighting Bowser and rescuing the princess, with Yoshii frequently beside him.

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

We added a few special touches as well, including Super Bands, and color-coded post sleeves.

It was sad to send the game on its way, but we’ve already heard how much fun a certain set of grandkids are having with it.

We hope you enjoy this game as much as we did!



A Rare Butterfly

Shop Notes 11 February 2019 | Comments Off on A Rare Butterfly

Some pinball machines are pretty. And some pinball machines are beautiful. Like this one. We were happy to stare upon its sweet countenance for a time, but now this rare Zacarria Farfalla is on its way to its new home. Check it out!

The Italian company Zaccaria came out with Farfalla in 1983, and produced nearly 3,000 games. (IPDB)

The company was around for more than a dozen years and produced some fifty games, including Devil Riders and its own Time Machine.

Farfalla (Italian for butterfly) is known for its stunning, rainbow-hued playfield artwork and its backglass.

We gave this game a full shop job, pulling everything off the playfield to be tumbled, buffed, washed, polished, or otherwise cleaned. We also threw on a pair of cool powdercoated legs.

The playfield cleaned up beautifully, and looked even better with a few custom touches, including translucent flipper bats, matching Super Bands, and more.

Check out the playfield detail on this game. Amazing!

Enjoy the game, Dave. We’ll sure miss it!

Cool Ramps, Dude

Shop Notes 11 February 2019 | Comments Off on Cool Ramps, Dude

We recently had this Lethal Weapon Three game come through the shop. And we made it look awesome. Check out what a difference powdercoated ramps can make!

Data East came out with Lethal Weapon Three in 1992 (the same year the movie hit the theater), and produced more than 10,000 of the games. (IPDB)

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

And then we remembered the spare ramps we had for it. At some point, we had an extra set, so we powdercoated them to show off for customers.

They looked great when we installed them, that little extra touch that made the machine look even better once it was fully put back together and LED’d.

Enjoy the game, Byron, and those wicked cool ramps.

Firebird Junior in the Shop

Shop Notes 11 February 2019 | Comments Off on Firebird Junior in the Shop

We’re so glad that our kids remain always ready to help in the shop. Firebird Junior and the Big Firebird stripped this Lethal Weapon Three together recently. Raise those kids right, people!

The Big Firebird and Firebird Junior, tag-teaming this Lethal Weapon Three we had to shop. Look at that teamwork!

Good advice, Dad, you know how to fix everything!

Milo has been helping in the shop since he was old enough to walk.

Thanks for all your help, son, you’re awesome!

Badda Bing, Badda Gone

Shop Notes 11 February 2019 | Comments Off on Badda Bing, Badda Gone

We just had this great Sopranos machine come through the shop. This game is always fun, with its great toys and cool references to the hit TV show. Check it out!

Stern came out with The Sopranos in 2005, and produced more than 3,000 games. (IPDB)

The game came out two years before the end of the critically acclaimed TV show, centered around NJ mob boss Tony Soprano and his family.

This game is a testament to the show, from the actual actors doing voiceovers to tons of obvious and hidden references to episodes.

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.

We also added a few custom touches, including these awesome green Super Bands, and color-coded post sleeves.

Check out the dancers!

This game is actually going to be a wedding present for a super fan. Bada Bing!


Check out the Lemoncade!

Pinball in Arizona,Pinball in Phoenix 22 January 2019 | Comments Off on Check out the Lemoncade!

We just had the pleasure of checking out the coolest spot in downtown Glendale, the Lemoncade! This place is awesome, with a ton of great games, and some sweet treats too. Head on over to 5754 W Glendale Ave. and see what you think. We give it two thumbs up!

We headed over on a recent weekday to check out the machines at the Lemoncade.

You can tell right away that this place is cool, with a great selection of pinball machines and some other fun games too.

The Lemoncade opened in July and has become a popular part of downtown Glendale.

The place hosts a ton of events with local musicians and DJs, and has space for parties and other events.

You know you want to play them.

Or maybe take a turn on this? Check out the Lemoncade soon. Oh, and did we mention there’s a great selection of lemonade drinks?!

Stargate, the Blue Years

Shop Notes 22 January 2019 | Comments Off on Stargate, the Blue Years

We just had this Stargate in the shop for some repairs and cosmetic fixes. We also did this cool upgrade to the head, which now glows blue. Check it out!

Gottlieb came out with Stargate in 1995 and produced around 3,600 of the games. (IPDB)

The game is known for its movie references, tricky ramp shots, and cool head, usually illuminated by a white incandescent rope light. We changed it up a little!

It looks even better in the dark! We replaced the old light strip inside with a better, newer, bluer LED version. Now this is cool.

We installed LEDs throughout the rest of the machine too, and gave it a full shop job and mechanical checkup.

We added some special touches, too, including Super Bands.

Enjoy the game, Ethan.