Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Riiiiide the Comet!

I'm not in any way a pinball geek. I know real pinball geeks, and they're in a whole 'nother league.

But I enjoy my pinball very much. When I was a teenager, my dad rented old pinball machines from a local amusements company, swapping out for a different one every year or so. They were all of the analog, low-scoring variety; you did well on Four Million B.C. to crack fifty thousand.

The pinball collection in the game room at UGA's Tate Student Center, where I whiled away many an unproductive afternoon plugging quarters into various machines, was absolutely stellar. Elvira, the Addams Family -- lots of classics. But I favored the inventive, family-friendly Williams games, especially Comet and its sequel (my all-time favorite) Cyclone. Pinbot and Taxi also had their place in that row of machines against the north wall where players would frequently be interrupted by stray ping-pong balls from the tables just to their right.

Noel bought a Wii disc of classic Williams pinball layouts on impulse the other day. It's unimpressive as video gamery, but completely awesome as a recreation of some of those games. The feel of the bumper rattle through your controllers and the heft of the ball floating and zipping around the layout is remarkably realistic. I was put in a reverie as I played, forgetting that it was all bits and bytes and electronic screens. For a moment I was back in the Tate, listening to Gorbachev demand to be picked up and hoping to riiiiide the Ferris wheel.


Amber said...

The Christmas I was 10 or 11 my parents bought a pool table and pinball machine for the basement. It was always better to go to the arcade because they had more variety but it was nice to be able to play pinball whenever I wanted.

doafy said...

Adam owns a pinball machine that was our Grandpa's. Unfortunately, it's lived in storage for some time now.