Theatre of Magic is Amazing!

Shop Notes

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

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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

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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

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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!

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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!

NEWS: It’s ZapCon Eve!

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Seven-year lull? No way.
If you were worried ZapCon might have grown ho-hum in its seventh incarnation, forget about it.  There are some big changes this year, and you’ll definitely want to make the trek down to the Mesa Convention Center, 263 N. Center St., this weekend to check out more than 350 pinball machines and arcade games, tournaments galore, a big second room that features a bar and stage, dozens of vendors and artists, and, of course, the awesome Firebird Pinball booth.
Check out some sights from ZapCon Eve:

We’re digging the game layout this year, which stretches farther back past partitions for even more room, and even more games.

Here’s a view from the other end of the floor. There are some great games out there this year, from 23 NIB Sterns to a surprising number of custom and restored games.

Here are a few of those brand-new ones. We got in a couple of games on these. Head toward the back of the room before the lines form!

Max especially liked this one. He got his dad’s musical taste.

Milo liked the looks of this one.

Look, there’s our booth! Check out the Firebird Pinball corner for parts, repair appointments, and game sales. And remember to vote for the Best of ZapCon here!

Here’s our row of beauties for sale. We were happy to finish this Addams Family restoration in time for the convention!

Here’s the boss making some last-minute adjustments. We expect you’ll see him fixing a game or two this weekend.

Speaking of the array of games out there this year, check out this amazing custom game Black Hole from Outpost Kodelia. You can stop by and talk to the awesome couple behind this game. Did we mention they’re awesome?

Here’s another custom game that caught our eye. This one came from New Mexico. The modified artwork and playfield updates were definitely being talked about.

Moto’s Glass is back this year, hurray! Get your commemorative Zapcon Seven pint glasses, or even an etched Pickle Rick. Wolfman approved!

Make sure you check out the tournaments this year. We spotted a couple smarties getting in some practice games on the bank of games reserved for the women’s tournament on Saturday. The IFPA overall tournament and classics tournament move to the back of the room, behind where we’re located.

Here’s the boss again. He was everywhere Thursday and Friday! It took a lot of work to get this thing set up and we’re thankful for all the help we got, all the volunteers who make this happen, and all the folks who work hard for ZapCon all year.

Now get out there and play some games this weekend. Like this guy! He knows what’s going on. Tim, you’re a wise man!

See you at ZapCon this weekend!

Amazing Addams Family

Shop Notes

We just finished a full restoration of this amazing Addams Family pinball machine. This game has it all, from its brand-new CPR playfield to its blue-LED’d topper. Everything works beautifully, with tons of new parts.
It will be going to its new home on Monday morning, so enjoy it vicariously!

Bally came out with The Addams Family in 1992, and produced more than 20,000 units. It’s gone on to be one of the most popular games ever made.

The game came out a year after the movie version of everyone’s favorite oddball family, starring Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia, among others.

This game came to us in decent shape, but we saw what it could become with a little love.

We installed a new gold CPR playfield, new clear ramp, new topper (with a blue LED strip), custom side decals, back wall decal, Thing box decal, siderail decals, vault decals, and even more.

We installed Cointaker LEDs throughout as well.

Did we mention that new playfield? This game is so popular that it’s almost always beat. It’s a thing of joy to see the inserts so perfect.

Look a little closer!

Here’s a few of those decals we mentioned, and you can see the siderail decals too. We also put in all new posts, silicone rings, Super Bands, balls, yeah, the list just keeps going. (You can read the full version at ZapCon!)

This is one of our favorite touches. The plain Thing box will always look boring after this!

One more cool touch – all new color-matched pop bumper skirts, bodies, and bumper caps. Ooooooh.

Here’s that topper up close. Enjoy the game, Cheryl and Fred!

NEWS: ZapCon Load-In Has Begun!

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We just got back from the Mesa Convention Center, dropping off our first load of games for ZapCon this weekend! We were happy to see some familiar faces, also getting their machines all set up for the big event. Check out the very beginnings of the making of ZapCon!

Woo-hoo, it’s ZapCon time! Our trusty Firebird truck hauled down nine games this morning to the Mesa Convention Center, where ZapCon will rule this weekend.

We were met by an awesome sight: Twenty-three new-in-box machines straight from Marco for ZapCon weekend. That’s a whole lot of Beatles, Deadpool, Black Knight 3K, and more!

There are a whole lot of other games waiting for you too. Although it was early, we were happy to notice there are TWO ROAD KINGS already there Thursday morning.

Here’s Leslie doing her part. Now we just have to fill out the rest of the floor. Organizers are expecting some 350 games this weekend!

We get by with a little help from our friends.

We also get entertained by them! Ben needs some kind of award for keeping us all going with his accordion music on Thursday.

Some more of our machines waiting to be assembled. We’ll have a ton of great games FOR SALE this weekend. Come by and see us. Take home the best souvenir of all!

Who could resist stopping by to talk to Leslie? We’ll be holding down the Firebird booth the whole weekend! Let us know what parts you need.

Some of the other early arrivals.

You might also get to see something unboxed if you get there early!

See you at ZapCon this weekend!

NEWS: Our ZapCon Games List!


It’s getting so close! ZapCon will be here this weekend! To help further the excitement, here’s the list of games we’re taking to the show. Almost everything is for sale, so YOU can take home the best-ever ZapCon souvenir. Stop by the Firebird booth and say hello!


Cyclone pinball ($3200)
Space Shuttle pinball ($2400)
The Addams Family pinball ($9500)
Sinbad pinball ($1200)
Bally Star Trek pinball ($1900)
Lucky Draw cocktail pinball ($600)
Slugfest pitch & bat ($2400)
Golden Tee Fore 2005 ($800)
Road Kings pinball
Centipede arcade
Mini Galaga arcade


Laser Cue Pinball ($1250)
Centaur 2 Pinball ($3200)
Flight 2000 Pinball ($2400)
Ponpoko Arcade ($600)
Gyruss Arcade ($800)
Chicago Coin World Series Pitch & Bat ($750) 

NEWS: Best of ZapCon Returns!

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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