Archive-name: RGP_FAQ.RTF 
Posting-frequency: Monthly 
Last modified: February 2015
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Rec.Games.Pinball 
< last update by Daina Pettit - daina@xmission.com > 
The latest edition of this FAQ can always be retrieved from: 
http://www.MrPinball.com/             (Daina Pettit) 
   Added new vendor, Home Leisure Direct.

Subject: 1. Introduction, Intent, and Disclaimer 
This is the FAQ for the rec.games.pinball Usenet newsgroup.  It 
attempts to answer many of the Frequently Asked Questions. It also 
provides pointers (both on-line and on paper) for more information 
about the world of pinball, and explaining how to buy your own 
pinball machine, as well as helpful techniques and parts suppliers 
for keeping home pinball machines up and running. 
The format of this file has been changed to meet the 
recommendations of the "FAQs: A Suggested Minimal Digest Format" 
file, as posted to the news.answers Usenet group. 
Some newsreader or browser programs may have difficulty with 
Internet addresses.  Therefore, all e-mail and web addresses (URL) 
are shown on a separate line, without periods at the end. 
Subject: 2. Table of Contents 
        1. Introduction, Intent and Disclaimer 
        2. Table of Contents 
        3. What is rgp ? 
        4. How do I buy a pinball machine ? 
        5. Buying pins at auctions 
        6. Shipping pins 
        7. On-line resources 
        8. Publications 
        9. Manufacturers  
       10. Abbreviations / Acronyms 
       11. Other Frequently Asked Questions 
       12. Internet Pinball Podcasts 
       13. Placing a Machine on Location 
Subject: 3.  What is rgp ? 
Tom Yager created the rec.games.pinball USENET newsgroup on 20 
November 1990 for the discussion of pinball machines.  Discussions 
can include history, ownership, maintenance, playing techniques, 
plans for new releases, places to play, announcements of events, 
related paper items and generally anything having to with pinball 
machines (or pins for short).   
The topics generally cover "real" machines, but there are 
occasional postings on computer simulations. All games with a ball 
(usually steel) rolling or falling down a surface with obstacles 
and objectives are covered here, including pitch-and-bat (baseball) 
machines and pachinko (vertical) pinball games. The majority of 
machines considered are coin-operated commercial games, but 
discussion of non-coin varieties is accepted.  The group is 
generally recognized for being fairly civil, and newcomers are 

Each post to the newsgroup should contain a sufficiently descriptive 
subject line with one of the following suggested prefixes if appropriate:

  "ANNOUNCE: " - For announcements
  "FA: "       - For auction
  "FS: "       - For sale
  "TECH: "     - For repair issues
  "WTB: "      - Want-to-buy
  "WTT: "      - For want to trade

If your post is about a particular game, put the name in the subject
line!  And do NOT use stars in the name if the post is really about that
game.  Putting the manufacturer or year might be important since some 
games share the same name. 


  Subject: Want help with my machine
    This is BAD.  Is is a SS or EM?  Which system?  Why should I help?

  Subject: Want help with Gottlieb EM
    This is NOT QUITE AS BAD.

  Subject: Why does my GAUCHO do this?
    This is A LITTLE BETTER, but there were several GAUCHO machines.

  Subject: TECH: Reset problem with Gottlieb GAUCHO
    This is MUCH BETTER.

With hundreds of postings every day, you need to get the point across in
the subject line.  Help the readers choose to read your posting and skip
the others.  Teaser subject lines not only aren't helpful, they can elicit
anger and frustration resulting in you or your subject being killfiled!

That also means that when the time comes to sell your game, the posting
should give the NAME and CURRENT LOCATION (state/province or more local)
of the game in the subject line.

Before posting for the first time to this (or any) newsgroup you
should read some important tips on how to ask questions.  Ignoring 
this advice may get you branded as a moron and no one will listen 
to you, ever.
Questions on other coin operated amusement equipment are usually 
acceptable, if there are no other groups already in existence, such 
as those noted below.  The names are self-explanatory. 
rec.sport.billiardsrec.sport.table-soccer (foosball) 
I don't think there a coke machine / soda newsgroup. 
Postings on shuffle alleys (bowling games), and electro-mechanical gun games
also come up from time to time. 

Subject: 4.  How do I buy my own pinball machine ?  
Frequently Asked Question number one:  "How do I buy a machine?" 
Buying a pinball for home use has a lot in common with buying a 
car: It can be a big investment, the item requires proper care, and 
the business is filled both with honest, decent people and sleaze 
balls whom will rip you off. 
The first thing to do is to decide what sort of machine you want. 
(Actually, step 1 is to read this FAQ !) 
Games available for home purchase fall into three categories: Used 
electro-mechanical (EM), used solid-state, and new (all new games 
are solid-state). Which is right for you depends on what you want, 
how much you're willing to spend, and whether you ever intend to 
sell or trade the game. 
Think a bit about why you want a game. If you want it to play, you 
may want a solid-state game.  They play faster, and the software 
has features that could take you some time to uncover.  However, 
there are many that prefer EMs to solid state. 
If you're looking for something to tear apart, down to the bare 
wood, and build back up again (only better), you'll probably want 
an EM.  Doing the fix-up on a solid-state game may not be as 
fruitful.  At some point, you'd be staring at an IC-laden circuit 
board, and that's way beyond cleaning contacts and tightening 
Aside from knowing why you want a game, you should zero in on which 
game you want. The market is fat with choices, and there is a fair 
chance that, if you look in the right places, you can eventually 
find what you want. But you can't go into the market saying, "Oh, 
just find me something you think I'll like." It goes deeper than 
issues of color and whitewalls or no: You will fare best if you 
have a wish list of games you are interested in. 
How much will it cost?  It depends on the popularity and rarity of 
the game, the condition of this particular machine, and whether or 
not you live in California.  (Not a joke ... Prices run higher in 
The Golden State!) 
A semi-functional older solid-state machine can be had for as 
little as $300, while a new game fresh from the factory can run more than
$4000.  Typical price for a game that's seen a couple years of use would be
An EM game can run anywhere from $250 to $900 and up, with real 
collectors items (like Humpty Dumpty) significantly more.  Other 
popular EMs that can run $1000 or more are Bally Capt. Fantastic 
(with Elton John on the backglass), Wizard (Ann Margaret and Roger 
Daltry on the backglass), and Fireball (with the classic backglass 
designed by Dave Christensen). 
If this is your first machine, it's highly recommended that you get 
a working one!  Picking up a cheap junker may be tempting, but 
you'll never get it going without experience, specialized 
equipment, and a stock of spare parts.  Try to buy from someone 
who'll deliver it in working condition, and stand behind it for a 
while.  Ask for references!  Generally, you will be better off 
buying from a collector or dealer that specializes in shopped 
and/or restored games.  You'll generally pay more than if you 
bought the same title from an operator or a distributor, but the 
machine is more likely to be "plug and play." 
As a counterpoint: if you like to tinker, have the tools and 
aptitude for taking things apart and putting them back together 
again, and don't mind buying something that doesn't work solely for 
the joy of fixing it, a non-working pin is a tinkerer's dream.  
Just be sure you understand what you are getting into 
Next, go looking for one !   
The path a pinball machine travels typically looks like this: 
Manufacturer--->Distributor--->Operator--->Collector (or junkyard) 
Manufacturers only sell to authorized distributors.  Unless you 
have very deep pockets, you won't be buying your machine brand new 
from the distributor.  Current production machines are generally in 
the $3000-$4000 range new.  Some distributors will not sell 
directly to home collectors, believing that most home users will 
expect a higher level of service than most operators need. 
Operators are the ones who put machines out in the field and 
maintain them.  They're usually willing to sell used machines once 
they stop pulling in the quarters.  Some operators want nothing to 
do with the home market, for the same reason as mentioned above 
under distributor.   
Go to your favorite machine in the field, and ask who owns it.  If 
the location doesn't, there's probably a sticker on the machine 
pointing you to the operator.  Another way to find operators is to 
hit the Yellow Pages, and call up the companies listed under 
"Amusement Devices."  First, ask them if they sell machines for 
home use, then ask for the specific machines you're looking for.  
Many operators see a lot of "tire-kickers", so your chances for 
success are greater if you are ready to pay cash and take the 
machine "as-is", "where-is". 
You can also buy machines from collectors, at regional auctions, or 
at on-line auction houses such as eBay, Yahoo or AuctionRover.  In 
fact, this is pretty much the only way to go to find an Electro 
Mechanical machine.  You probably aren't going to find an EM in the 
field, or with an operator.  Note that eBay has recently introduced 
a Regional search option.  This will help you find any pins that 
may be in your area. 
There are also a number of well-respected pinball dealers that 
cater primarily to the collector.  Many are regular participants on 
the rec.games.pinball newsgroup. When looking for a new machine, 
don't forget to check rgp! 
For both EM's and solid-state machines, the little ads in 
periodicals like PinGame Journal are an excellent 
source of leads.  (See list of periodicals below)  Also, you can 
try to find something locally.  Buy every newspaper you can, 
including the little "nickel ads" type, and check the classifieds 
under Misc for Sale or Yard Sales. You should also see if your 
local newspaper offers on-line searches of Classified Ads.  Some 
even have a notify feature that will send e-mail if an item matches 
your search description. Keep doing this for months.  It takes 
time, but good deals occasionally pop up. 
You can also find a "broker," a sort of super-collector in business 
to buy up old used games, fix them up, and resell them.  Again, you 
can reach these people through the publications listed below. 
Also, believe it or not, check with a dart supply store!  One RGPer 
in the Boston area knows one that sells used pins, and at least one 
Norwegian store does. 
Subject: 5.   Buying pinball machines at auctions  
Another source for machines is the gaming auctions.  This may not 
be the best place to buy your first machine, but with a little 
knowledge it can be a good deal and a lot of fun!  Note though 
that, since the closing of Williams pinball, operators are holding 
on to pins longer and true "deals" are harder to come by at 
industry auctions. 
Auctions pop up all over the US.  The collector's magazines, like 
PinGame Journal, list upcoming auctions, and you can 
also find listings at web sites such as: 
You can download a list of recent auction results from   
These auctions can include video games, change machines, slot 
machines, juke boxes, crane machines, skee-ball, beer lights, pool 
tables, etc., as well as the pinball machines...Just about 
everything from the arcade or amusement arena! 
Machines available at auctions tend to be those that have stopped 
generating enough revenue for an operator to keep them on location.  
However, they can range from New-In-Box (NIB) to 30+ year old EMs.  
The biggest thing to note is that all items are AS IS, and the only 
guarantee you get with an auction machine is the guarantee that 
SOMETHING will be WRONG with it! 
If you find a machine that you are interested in, you should 
examine and play it to determine if everything works.  However, 
don't let operational problems deter you.  The cosmetic condition 
is usually more important.  It's far easier to buy parts to repair, 
than it is to find new playfields or backglasses.  Closely examine 
the playfield (and the plastics), backglass, and cabinet to 
determine if the amount is wear is excessive for the age of the 
machine. Look for signs of neglect, such as mouse droppings, chewed 
wiring and such, and any sign of termites. 
Check to see if the manual/schematic is included.  If not, these 
are usually available for around $20.  For a solid-state, try to 
run the machine through the self diagnostic tests.  Look inside the 
machine and under the playfield for suspicious items such as 
cut/spliced wires, burnt components, missing components, etc. 
When you find one (or more) machines, determine what your maximum 
price will be.  It's easy to get caught up in the bidding and go 
higher than you want.  Realize that you may/will be bidding against 
the owner of the machine, who's trying to drive up the price of the 
machine.  This is known as a buyback, and is apparently legal in 
some states, and often condoned by the auction company. 
There are several things that you should take to the auction.  
These include: 
1) 100 foot, heavy-duty, three prong extension cord.  There will 
probably be several outlets available, but all are not accessible 
from every machine.   
2) Tools - This should include sockets and/or wrenches (5/8" and 
9/16") to use to remove the leg and head bolts for transport. 
3) Blanket, towels, cardboard, rope/ratchet straps - Used for 
transport, or to place the playfield glass on during inspection.  
Do NOT set the playfield glass or backglass on a hard concrete 
floor.  While you will usually not a problem, it could result in a 
"shattering" experience. 
4) Food and drinks - The auctions can be quite long.  Snack bar 
food is the other option, usually of last resort. 
5) The afore-mentioned list of past auction results.  This will 
give you an idea of what the machines have sold for in the past.  
Although each machine's unique, having a baseline like this will 
help you be a more informed buyer. 
Subject: 6.   Shipping pins 
The success of eBay, and other auction houses has made it easier to 
find a specific pin that you may be interested in.  However, it may 
be located across the country from you.  There are several 
alternatives available for shipping. 
The first option is a commercial shipping company, such as Forward 
Air (FA).  These companies provide city to city shipping.  The 
seller usually must crate and deliver the pin to the shipper.  The 
buyer must pick up at the shipper on the other end.  FA is usually 
mentioned on the newsgroup, as they are often the least expensive 
(~$200 to $350 for cross country).  Pinball games shipped through FA 
must be crated and CODs are no longer accepted.  Note that contrary 
to their name, FA is actually a trucking company.  The pins do not 
travel by air.   Other shippers, such as Pilot Air, Yellow Freight, 
and Overnite are options, but are usually more expensive. 
The second option is a 'door-to-door' shipper.  There are several 
people that specialize in the transportation of coin-op equipment.  
They will pick up the game at the seller's house, and deliver to 
the buyer's house.  Prices usually run about $300 - $450.  
Depending on where they are in the country, it could take several 
months between pick-up and delivery.  Currently North American Van Lines
(NAVL) is popular for door-to-door delivery and does not require crating
(although this is always a good idea).  

Instead of trying to keep this document up-to-date with which shipper is
partnering with/split up from whom, I refer you to the:
Arcade shipping database 
Subject: 7.   On-Line information sources   
The listings are divided into two sections.  The first are sites 
with general information or individual collectors.  The second 
includes vendors and repair sites.   
General Information 
Daina Pettit maintains the Mr. Pinball page including the largest 
Buy/Sell pinball classifieds, photos, repair tips, a registry of 
collectors, and the auction results mentioned below. 
How much is that pinball machine worth?  The "Auction Results" 
file, indexes thousands of recent sales, with price, condition, 
location, date of sale, and notes about the individual machines. 
The Internet Pinball Database (IPD) provides details on almost 
every pinball machine ever manufactured.  There are thousands of 
photos and it is updated often.

Clay's Website contains detailed information about pinball and other
coin-op games:
Gottlieb Electromechanical Evolution
Williams Woodrail Evolution
Sports Games/Pitch and Bat
Bowler (Ball and Shuffle)
Electromechanical Penny Arcades (includes fortune tellers, arcade 
games, gun games, driving games)

The rec.games.pinball faces page is hosted by Steve Kulpa.  See what 
r.g.p people actually look like, and you'll understand why it is a
text-based forum!

The "Flipper Cowboy" pages contain a list of pinball historians and 
a variety of historical essays about pinball machines.  Maintained 
by Terry Cumming (e-mail = tcumming@inforamp.net ) 
Scott Piehler maintains a web page containing the game rules for 
many pins. 
Dan at Pinball Classics had a repository for scans of playfield 
plastics, but the site seems to be non-existent as of 10/1/04.
Please let me know if it resurfaces.

Steven Craig maintains an up-to-date list of pinball machines and 
their owners (the PAPS list), so that other netters can find people 
who have a specific game. 

Jess Askey resurrected the old IPP Serial Database as the Internet
Pinball Serial Numbers Database.  If you want to study serial
numbers, survival rates, production possibilites, or submit your 
machines' serial numbers go to the IPSND at

Federico "Wiz" Croci maintains a "FlipperPage" in Italy, at:  

Riccardo Pizzi runs an Italian website that has photos, Italian 
classified ads, and some useful links.

The late Russ Jensen had wonderful articles online, mainly on the 
history of pinball, including topics such as the evolution of the 
thumper-bumper and The Year That Could Have Ended Pinball!  His 
web pages have moved to ipdb.org and should continue to be available.
His articles written for various coin-op magazines are available at

The Pinball Owners Association in Cambridge, England. 
Randy Fromm's Amusement International Magazine is a web-based 
magazine for the coin-op industry.  Reviews of the latest machines, 
tons of technical tips, and "Yellow Pages" and "Classified" 
listings.  Heavy on the graphics, but very worthwhile!  
Nick Bennett, Pinballers Anonymous in the UK keeps a pinball blog with
interviews of pinball designers and other leading industry personnel in a
feature called Pinball Heroes at

Vendors and Repair Sites 
For those looking to do their own restoration and repair of pins, a 
great place to start is the pinball wiki site.  This is a community effort,
free, and likely to be around forever.
The following commercial sites are listed in alphabetical order, 
with no recommendation of one vendor or another.  Except where 
noted, the descriptive information has been provided by the vendor, 
as to the type(s) of services offered.   
Action Pinball & Amusement, Ray Johnson [Salt Lake City, Utah] 
- Specializing in pinball machine restorations, sales, 
  repair, parts, and circuit board repair. 
- Can supply game specific EPROM chips. 

Bay Area Amusements, Rick Bartlett [San Jose, California]
- Specializing in on-line ordering pinball parts, books, etc.
- Focus is mostly on newer games, but has some older stuff from time to
Phone: (408) 868-9918

For Amusement Only, Dave Mercer [Ft. Collins, Colorado]
- Specializing in pinball parts, books, schematics, flyers 
- New game room sales - pinball, foosball, air hockey, pool 
- Frequent specials 
- Bally, Williams, Stern game specific parts. 
Phone: (970) 282-8282 
Home Leisure Direct [Bristol, South Gloucestershire, United Kingdom]
- specialising in the sale of new pinball machines by Stern and Jersey Jack
- specialising in the sale of vintage pinballs from the 80s and 90s
- Offering worldwide shipping by specialist courier. Award winning customer service.
Phone: +44 1454 413636

Illinois Pinball Co., Gene Cunningham [Bloomington, Illinois]
- Manufacture and sale of licensed reproduction Williams, Bally, 
  and Capcom parts.
Phone: (309) 828-6993

John's Jukes, John Robertson [Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada] 
- Offers pins for sale and a collection of technical tips.  
- Services most pinball boards including: Allied Leisure, Atari, 
  Bally, Game Plan, Gottlieb, Stern, Williams. 
- Can supply game specific EPROM and PROM chips. 
- Specialize in battery acid/leakage board repair. 
- Can fabricate replacement circuits to replace obsolete parts. 
- Please contact for special shipping info if not in Canada. 
(604) 872-5757 [voice]  (604) 872-2010 [fax] 
Marco Specialties, Marc Mandeltort [Lexington, South Carolina]
- parts only, including supplies. 
- provides an auction calendar and a section for "for sale" and 
  "wanted" ads, as well as selling parts, books, and supplies.  
- authorized distributors of Ni-Wumpf (Gottlieb System 1) 
  replacement CPU boards, Pinball Lizard Williams High Voltage 
  boards, Pinball Lizard Gottlieb System 80 pop bumpers. 
- free catalog available. 
(803) 957-5500 [M-F 10-7 EST]  (803) 957-6974 [fax] 
Mayfair Amusements, Steve Engel [Ridgewood, New York]
- parts only, including supplies. 
- vintage pinball parts, including hundreds of backglasses. 
(718) 417-5050

The Pinball Heaven, [Southport, Merseyside, United Kingdom]
- specializes in selling restored 1990 and later Bally and Williams 
  machines, in the United Kingdom.  Can also ship to the US. 
+44 0870 746 5704 [voice] +44 0870 746 5705 [fax]

Pinball Life, [Chicago, Illinois]
- parts and supplies.
- sometimes has machines for sale.

Pinball Pro, [Seminole, Florida]
- parts, mostly add-on kits--subwoofer kits, plastics protectors, 
polish, and cooling fans.
(727) 517-7246 in Florida 
(888) 750-1948 out of state

The Pinball Resource, Steve Young [Poughkeepsie, New York]
- parts only, including supplies 
- game documentation (schematics, manuals) 
- vintage/old stock, reproduction parts 
- Williams/Bally-Midway and Stern (Data East/Sega) parts 
- Gottlieb manufacturer/distributor..repository of the parts 
  inventory that was at the plant when it closed, exclusive 
  mfr. of Gottlieb parts 
(845) 473-7114 [voice] (845) 473-7114 [fax] 
Silver Ball Amusement, Tony Page [Novato, California]
- specializes in Bally, Williams, and Stern board repairs, 
  including battery acid damaged MPUs. 
(415) 893-9600 [fax & message]

Two Bit Score Amusements, Bob Sokol [Austin, Texas]
- A pinball repair shop.  Accepts Bally, Stern, Williams and  
  Data East circuit boards.  Sells brand new Bally 2518-35 MPU 
  boards.  Gives free estimates on boards sent for repair.  Stocks 
  every GAMEROOM and manual from 1977 on.  Sells diagnostic 
  fixtures to repair your own pinballs. 
(512)447-8888 [voice]  (512) 447-8895 [fax] 
Subject: 8.    Publications 
There are many periodicals good for getting background information 
on the pinball world and for contacting other collectors.   
The PinGame Journal is probably the best one for home pinball 
collecting. Written by pinball collectors.  Has info about new 
games in development, as well as articles on finding, 
reconditioning, and playing older games.  
31937 Olde Franklin Drive Farmington Hills, MI  48334  
Phone:  (248) 626-5203 message/fax   
10 issues--$34 (add $20 for First Class). Canada $38, Europe Air: 
$67, Pacific Rim $77, $40.00 (all overseas surface--very slow and 
unreliable.)  Sample issue: $5.00, Information: Free. 
Pinhead Classified has gone out of business (Jan 1999), but the 
100-page final issue (No. 29), and other back issues may still be 
available for purchase. 
Contact: Atomic Groove, Attn: PC Back Issues, 1945 "N" Street, Hole 
111, Newman, CA 95360 
Other magazines (Replay, etc.) are largely "for the trade"; i.e., 
arcade operators and their ilk, though it's fun to have a look from 
the other side of the backglass! 
Play Meter Thick, slick trade journal, mostly aimed at arcade 
owners and operators.  Provides uniformly glowing reviews of the 
latest games.  Covers crane games, kiddie rides, etc., as well as 
video and pinball. 
PO Box 24970, New Orleans, LA 70184 
$60/year US & Canada, $150/year overseas.  Sample issue $5 USA, $10 
Distributors Research Associates (DRA) Price Guide.  8 issues 
(quarterly with mid-quarter updates], USA check/MC/VISA. Price 
listings for conversions, pins, bowlers-shuffles-misc., video 
games, jukes, pool tables, other vending equipment currently in 
active trading, although phonographs [jukeboxes] and vending go 
back as far as 197 
11522 State Road 84, Suite 223, Davie FL, 33325 
Voice: (954) 423-4000  FAX: (954)423-4005 
$85/year, 5. 
RePlay Another monthly trade magazine with the same content as Play 
P.O. Box 2550, Woodland Hills, CA 91365 
$65/year US, $85/year Canada & Mexico, Foreign $220 (air) $80 
(boat) sample issue $6. 
Coin Drop International. A large-format newsprint magazine (11x17) 
covering electromechanical coin-op amusements.  The most likely 
place to see old horse race machines, strength testers, etc.  
Pinball articles are just as likely to cover bingos or pre-flipper 
machines as they are the more conventional EMs with flippers. They 
published their last edition in 1999.  The editors used to write for 
the now defunct GameRoom Magazine. 

Pinball Magazine, a new in-depth pinball glossy based in the UK.  Launched
in August 2012 as a high quality, glossy, magazine, which would largely
focus on one specific topic.  This is more like a book than a magazine, with
over 100 full color pages printed on high quality paper.  Issue 1 was
published in August 2012.  Issue 2 is expected in April 2013.  Issue 1 sold
for $15 (plus postal costs). Issue 2 is likely to have more pages, and may
have a higher sale price and postal costs.

Magazines No Longer
The following magazines are no longer being published.

Pinball Trader -- Late 1980s to early 1990s, Started by Dennis Dodel.
Pinhead Classified -- Late 1990s
The Flipside
Amusement Review
Coin-Op Classics
Classic Amusements (a.k.a. Slot-Box Collector)
Pinball & Video News
Amusement Review
Coin Drop International
GameRoom Magazine -- Started in the 1980s and ceased publication 
Nov. 17, 2010.  One of the longest running and consistently one-time 
Some of the more popular books are noted below. Those currently in 
print are available from many of the pinball vendors listed 
elsewhere in this document. 
"The Complete Pinball Book" by Marco Rossignoli was published in 
January 2000, and has over 300 pages of color pictures and text.  
The reviews in the newsgroup have been very positive.   

"Pinball Memories, Forty Years of Fun 1958-1998" by Marco 
Rossignoli was published in 2003, focuses on 50 pinball machines 
from the given period.  Each machine has its own chapter with many 
photos and other details.

"Pinball Snapshots, Air Aces to Xenon" by Marco Rossignoli, 
published in 2004, covers machines from 1930s to 2000.  Contains 
detailed descriptions of 50 machines with hundreds of color photos.

"The Pinball Compendium, 1930s-1960s", Michael Shalhoub.  Published
in 2002, with lots of color photos and stories of industry greats
and collectors.  240 pages.

"The Pinball Compendium, 1970-1981", Michael Shalhoub.  Published
in 2004, with lots of color photos, including many rare games.
240 pages.
"The Pinball Compendium, 1982-Present", Michael Shalhoub.  Published
in 2005, with lots of color photos, with stories of collectors and other
notable figures in pinball.
256 pages.
Pinball Troubleshooting Guide, Russ Jensen. For upkeep of electro-
mechanicals is out of print.  You may be able to find an old copy somewhere.
Someone may be reprinting these.  If you know who is reproducing this please
let us know and we'll update this section.
The "ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PINBALL" is a planned six-volume work covering 
the game's history and development from its earliest antecedents 
through the present. 
- Volume I, WHIFFLE to ROCKET 1930-1933 was published in 1996. 
- Volume II, CONTACT TO BUMPER 1934-1936 was published in 1997. 
Each volume contains 252 pages and includes hundreds of photos - 
many in color. The "Dean" of Coin Machine historians, the late 
Richard M. Bueschel, wrote volumes I and II. Just prior to his 
death, Dick asked Gordon A. Hasse, Jr., a well known pinball 
collector and Bueschel's former editor and publisher, to assume the 
responsibility for writing the remaining four volumes in the 
series. Volume III SKIPPER to NUDGY 1937-1947 is planned for 
release next year with Volumes IV, V & VI to follow. 
"Pinball machines" by Herbert Eiden & Jurgen Lucas 
A chronology from EMs to solid state pinball machines.  Lots of 
color pictures. 168 pages 
"Pinball, Lure of the Silver Ball" by Flower & Kurtz.  Lots of 
color pictures. 130 pages. 
"Mr. Pinball Pinball List & Price Guide" by Daina Pettit.  Handy 
reference guide listing flipper game names, dates, features, 
production runs, and values; sorted by machine name and 
chronological.  Includes separate sections for bingos, baseball 
pitch & bat games, bowlers, and gun games. Published annually 
since 1990.  230 pages. 
Larry Bieza used to publish a Price Guide in October of 
even-numbered years for odd-numbered years.  Last update is 2005 Price
Guide printed in October 2004.  120 pages.  Resurrected in Fall 2010
as "The Pinball Price Guide" by Eric Kantor.

"This Old Pinball" DVDs.  Wonderful (and inexpensive at $8.00 each) DVDs
show how to care for your game.
See the website for details.

"Pinball Memories" by Marco Rossignoli, released January 2003, has 
272 pages, and over 700 color photos.  Marco features 50 machines 
from 1958 to 1998, each with its own chapter.

Ken's Custom Pinball Machine Score and Instruction Cards website.  
Ken has a large selection of creative and attractive custom S/I 
cards available for free download at:
Most 1990s DMD games are represented, including many classics.

Subject: 9.    Manufacturers        
Alive and flipping: 
Stern Pinball 
Formerly Sega Pinball Inc. and Data East
2020 Janice Avenue 
Melrose Park, IL 60160 
tel: 708-345-7700 
fax: 708-345-7813 
toll free: 1-800-KICKERS (number valid only in US and Canada). 

Reproduction games:
Illinois Pinball Co., Gene Cunningham [Bloomington, Illinois]
- Reproduction of Capcom machine(s)--Big Bang Bar and perhaps 
  others at some point.
Phone: (309) 828-6993

The Pinball Factory, Wayne Gillard [Murrumbeena, Victoria, Australia]
- Reproduction of Williams/Bally games.  Talked of Medieval Madness 
reproduction for years, but in October 2010 sold rights to Planetary 
Pinball Supply who has specifically said they will be focusing on
parts reproduction and not on machine manufacturing.
Phone: 61-3-9579-0466

Planetary Pinball Supply [San Jose, California] 
Purchased rights for Williams/Bally pinball parts and machine 
reproduction from The Pinball Factory in October 2010.  Focusing on 
parts for the time being.

Now sadly out of the pinball business: 
Williams Electronic Games Inc. (Includes Bally and Midway) 
(In late 1999, Williams announced they would no longer manufacture 
pinball machines.  The other parts of the company, including 
Williams's slots and Midway and Atari videos are still being 
produced. Independent companies make other products bearing the 
Bally brand. Williams was only making Bally-branded pinballs.)
[Property rights (reproduction) of parts are held by Illinois Pinball
Co. and The Pinball Factory.  Property rights (new and reproduction) for
games held by The Pinball Factory.  Yeah, it's messy.]

Premier Technology (Includes Gottlieb and Mylstar) 
[The property rights are now owned by Gottlieb Development LLC, 
apparently a holding company for intellectual property rights.  
Steve Young at The Pinball Resource purchased the remaining 

Capcom Coin-Op 
[Property rights currently held by Illinois Pinball Co.]

Chicago Coin / Stern Electronics 
Stern Electronics purchased Chicago Coin. Stern Electronics is not 
the same company as Stern Pinball, but Gary Stern is/was involved 
with both. 

Other US-based Companies that produced pins 
Alvin G. & Co. 
Game Plan 
Allied Leisure 
Subject: 10. Abbreviations, Acronyms and Definitions 
Here are some terms that may be unique to the industry/hobby. A 
file that defines many of the abbreviations that you will see in 
rpg can be found at: 
Shopped - a vague term that implies that the owner has performed 
work to restore the machine to top condition.  This can mean 
anything from just putting new rubber rings on, to refurbishing 
with new parts.  Some buyers have claimed that a seller's shop job 
consisted of swiping the dust off the playfield with a dirty rag. 
NOS - "New Old Stock".  This is material that was manufactured at 
the same time as the machine, but never used. 
EM - Electro-mechanical.  A game consisting mainly of relays, 
switches and motors.  They contain no solid state electronics, such 
as circuit boards or dot-matrix displays. 

HUO - Home Use Only.  This refers to a game that was purchased new
in the box by an individual and was used only in the home.  This is
intended to indicate a low use game in near mint condition, but 
a HUO game can be more worn out than arcade games, and is not a 
reliable indication of condition.
Woodrail - The first EMs (up through 1960) had wooden legs, and 
wooden siderails. Most of the single-player games had "bulb 
scoring," in which a large portion of the backglass area has 
numbers and lightbulbs behind those numbers are turned on by 
stepper units. Woodrail games had a few gadgets for the playfield, 
such as pop bumpers and moving targets, and the designers would 
have a new layout of those gadgets for a new title every two months 
or so. Home use of older games was prevalent in that era, but not 
an organized activity as it is today. Survival rate of woodrail 
games to the present era is estimated to be from 0.5 to 5%, 
depending on whom you ask. All of the above factors combine to form 
a rosy glow of nostalgia around woodrails, so many say it was the 
Golden Age of Pinball. 
PB2K - Pinball 2000.  The next-generation pinball released by 
Williams.  The game consisted of a video monitor mounted in the 
head.  The image reflected off of the playfield glass, and provided 
changing views, depending on game condition.  Revenge From Mars, 
and Star Wars - Episode 1 were released before Williams shut down 
WPC - Williams Pinball Controller (?).  The version of pinball 
processor/architecture used from 1991 (Funhouse) through 1999 
(Cactus Canyon).  Succeeded by PB2K. 
Gtb - Gottlieb 
Wms - Williams 
AFM   - Attack from Mars 
AFV   - Addams Family Values 
BK    - Black Knight
BK2K  - Black Knight 2000
BoP   - Bride of Pinbot (The Machine) 
BR    - Black Rose 
CC    - Cactus Canyon 
DH    - Dirty Harry 
DM    - Demolition Man 
DW    - Doctor Who 
FB    - NBA Fastbreak 
FG    - Family Guy
FH    - Funhouse 
FS    - Flintstones 
FT    - Fish Tales 
GI    - Gilligan's Island 
HD    - Harley Davidson (2 versions - Sega & Stern) 
HSII  - High Speed II : The Getaway 
IJ    - Indiana Jones
JD    - Judge Dredd 
JM    - Johnny Mnemonic 
LoTR  - Lord of The Rings
MB    - Monster Bash 
MM    - Medieval Madness 
NGG   - No Good Gofers 
PZ    - Party Zone 
POTC  - Pirates of The Caribbean
RBION - Ripley's Believe It or Not!
RFM   - Revenge From Mars 
RS    - Road Show 
SC    - Safe Cracker 
SS    - Scared Stiff 
SM    - Spider-man
SMB   - Spider-man Black
STTNG - Star Trek: The Next Generation 
SWE1  - Star Wars Episode 1 
T2    - Terminator 2: Judgement Day 
T3    - Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines
TAF   - The Addams Family 
ToM   - Theatre of Magic 
TOTAN - Tales of The Arabian Nights 
TSPP  - The Simpsons Pinball Party
TRS   - The Rolling Stones
TZ    - Twilight Zone 
WCS   - World Cup Soccer 
WH2O  - White Water
WOZ   - Wizard of Oz
WPT   - World Poker Tour
WW    - Whirlwind
Subject: 11.   Other Frequently Asked Questions  
What does CARGPB mean?
This abbreviation stands for Cheap *ss Rec.Games.Pinball B*st*rd.  This is
a designation within the rec.games.pinball community for those that are
extremely cheap.  They would rather spend $0.05 and 100 hours, than spend
$100.00 and 5 minutes for the right pinball part.  Becoming a member of this
exclusive group is by nomination of the group's members only.  This
designation is really only for fun and has no real meaning.  

Why all the asterisks in words like Bl*ck Kn*ght?

For many years on the Internet people have been putting asterisks in profane
words in place of the vowels to soften the impact and to prevent the text
from being banned on certain servers.  Sometimes "starring" a machine name
is seen as a way to curse the machine--as if its name is a swear word.

However, on rec.games.pinball, sometimes someone will mention a pinball
machine by name (as in a signature listing the poster's collection of
machines), but not want the article to show up on a search about that
machine, because the article is not about that machine.  "Starring" your
machine names solves this problem.

Subject: 12.   Internet Pinball Podcasts

Are there any pinball podcasts I can download and listen to?

In 2007 the Internet pinball podcasting hype began with four 
different groups attempting shows.  Three of the groups' shows 
are still available for download and only one is no longer 
producing shows.  Some shows are just a bunch of guys sitting
around and talking about pinball, some are about repair info, 
and some are interviews with key figures in the pinball 

All podcasts are free and most can be downloaded from their 
website or from iTunes. 

The Silverball Podcast
Seven shows were produced, beginning in June 2007.  These 
shows also included video games in their discussions.  Their 
shows can be downloaded for free from 

Talk Pinball
Seven shows were produced from February and April 2007.  
These are available to be downloaded for free from 

TOPcast Pinball Talk
One of the most prolific podcasts is TOPcast with over 60 shows 
produced starting in February 2007.  A few shows include a 
video feed as well.  Most shows focus on interviewing a 
notable figure in the industry, usually a designer, artist, 
collector, or industry insider.  A few shows focus on 
technical aspects of pinball repair and take calls.  Shows 
can be downloaded for free, or listened to live from 

A recent couple of podcasts in April 2011.

Spooky Pinball
This is the most regularly produced podcast.  Starting in April 2010, shows
are released around the first of each month.  Show includes a lot of goofing
off with family and friends and very unusual interviews with pinball
people.  Sometimes the show will feature an artist, a celebrity, a designer,
a parts supplier, an operator, or an ordinary person. 

Gameroom Junkies
Covers the broader topic of gamerooms with some pinball.  Started in October

The Pinball Podcast
A couple of guys talking about pinball.  Started in October 2011.

Subject: 13.   Placing a Machine on Location 
How do I place a machine on location and become an operator?

Placing your machine on location is not as easy as setting up the game and
collecting the money.  Risk is involved, laws need to be obeyed and taxes need
to be paid.  Your machine may be destroyed or stolen.  You may end up liable
for damages due to fire or a patron's injury.  Placing your well-loved machine
in a public environment crosses over into the dark world of cash-only
businesses and 24/7 service calls.  But this may be what you enjoy! 

1.  Approach the owner of a location that you consider safe enough for your
machine(s).  You do not want an unattended location in a high crime
neighborhood.  Preferable is a location where the machine is in view of the
front desk or attendant.  DO NOT attempt to place a machine in a location
currently serviced by another operator unless you and the operator agree to
this.  Operating machines is a rough business and you can stir up some bad
things (your machine mysteriously has the cord cut off on a regular basis, or
it just vanishes!) if you are not careful.   

2.  Check with government licensing, zoning, and tax requirements (either
county, city, or state).  Many require an annual license per machine and/or
location.  Some allow a floating license that just covers a certain number of
machines at specified location and others require that the licenses stay with
each machine.  Watch out for zoning problems that restrict the number of arcade
machines (pinballs are arcade machines) within a neighborhood or within a
certain distance of a school.  Taxes may be based on total receipts (a tax on
gross sales) or on some other measure.  Violating licensing, zoning, or taxes
may get your machine confiscated and/or fines levied. 

3.  Purchase liability insurance so if your machine catches fire and burns down
the location, or a patron injures themselves on your machine you will be
protected and won't lose everything you own.  Don't bother with insurance to
cover the machine itself.  If your machine gets stolen, burns in a fire, or
someone cuts it in half to get the money out, you'll just have to take the loss
and be happy they didn't cut you in half.  Insurance to cover your machine
itself is too expensive.  Don't count on the location's insurance for anything,
even if the owner tells you so. 

4.  Use a contract for you and the location owner (not the manager).  Normal
split is 50/50.  If you have a high end/new game you might be able to get 60/40
with the 60% going to you.  Or you may want to set up that you get the first X
amount per week (for maintenance overhead) and then you split 50/50 after that.
This is one area where you can be creative and make it worth your bother.  Or,
you may find out the revenue isn't worth the bother and pull out.  Keep in mind
the contract may cover how often you rotate games, how soon after a reported
failure you must service the game or replace it.  You can find boilerplate
contracts for this sort of thing or pay a lawyer (who will use a boilerplate
contract anyway!) to do it for you.  If you are a member of AMOA they have a
standard contract template. 

5.  Secure your machine--Put a hasp on the coin door...or not.  The hasp tells
bad guys something is inside.  No hasp and the game is less likely to be
seriously damaged.  Being in an attended and visible location is best.  Detach
yourself from the game. It will get damaged.  Get used to it. 

6.  Profit!

Operating machines on location is a tough business.  You may find it easier to
put your game into your own business instead of dealing with all the nonsense
of other locations.

Now you know why pinball machines are now hard to find on location.