Spooky Pinball burst onto the pinball scene on, quite appropriately, April 1st 2010, with their first ever Spooky Pinball podcast.
Thirty-five shows later, Charlie announced Spooky Pinball's intentions to make their own pinball machines starting with Pinball Zombies from Beyond the Grave, and working with Ben Heckendorn on his America's Most Haunted game.
Interview by John Greatwich
Name: Charlie Emery
Owner and founder of Spooky Pinball, pinball manufacturer and podcast host, based in Benton, Wisconsin.
When did you first play pinball?
Mid-1970s... I had to do something while my 'supervision' drank beer at the local watering hole.
Where are your favorite places to play pinball?
Friends' houses... they have games I don't!
What types of pinball machines do you own (EM, solid-state, DMD)?
Mostly DMD, but some great solid state games and one EM.
How many do you own now, and what are some of your favorites?
Twenty-five games. Monster Bash, Twilight Zone, Attack from Mars, Catacomb, and Fathom are favorites.
Do you still have any local commercial locations to play pinball?
The local theater has three pins. We're going to route them in our small home town. Lawrence's Pub & Eatery rules!
Are there any restrictions on operating or playing pinball in your area?
You gotta wear clothes. Don't ask me how I know that.
Which shows do you attend?
Pinball Expo, Midwest Gaming Classic, G(odzilla) Fest, and anything with a bad ass heavy metal band.
We are seeing more pinball machines being developed by small companies other than Stern Pinball. What is your opinion on this new interest in the game?
Since we're one of those, I guess I better say they are the best thing to ever happen to pinball, right? I just hope to make a living and put out games people enjoy. I love what we're all doing and wish I could buy games from all the companies!
Where would you like to see the pinball machine technology go in the future?
We're installing a flux capacitor in our games to help them go into the future. When it comes back, I bet it looks like one of those games from Multimorphic!
Do you like mods for pinball machines?
Love them! Be creative and make each game your own.
How do you like new lighting technology?
You mean those CFCs squiggly bulbs? They suck. I can't fit them in any of my pinball lamp sockets! LED's rock though.
What do you think the cost per play of new pins should be?
$1.00. That's what Bryan Kelly charges at his house.
What annoys you the most about pinball on location?
The pizza place up the street that won't sell me their dirty, broken, Medieval Madness. The thing hasn't worked since Clinton was in office!
How can we get more new people interested in playing pinball?
Explain the game... and have pretty girls in push up bras stand next to the machines.
Do you think we need to return to simpler and easier to understand pinballs?
A bit, but we still need to keep it challenging & fun.
How do you think pinball manufacturers can make a more playable and friendly game?
Keep the objectives simple and clear.
How annoyed do you get with missing balls or hang-ups on games?
My crazy uncle once shot a jukebox... nuff said.
Do you think pinball manufacturers should get smart and kick out another ball quickly if there is a ball missing or not scoring?
Ask my programmer. He'd smack me if I suggested it.
How do you rank yourself as a player, and do you play in tournaments?
I'm better than average, but not a top tourney level guy by any means.
The cost of new pinball ownership has increased greatly over the last few years. Does this stop you from buying new machines?
Yep. But for the right new game, I will sell a valued old one. Or a kidney.
With the introduction of new technology, do you think pinball machines have become easier to service and more reliable?
Nope. Shit still breaks, because it's a steel ball smacking the crap out of parts that aren't made of Adamantium.
Pinballs machines are heavy objects to move around. Do you think they need to be lighter?
Yes. We're filling our cabinets with helium for this reason.
How do you like the warranty offered for new pinball machines and parts?
Don't smear peanut butter in there, and we'll cover the repair.
Does traditional mechanical pinball need more radical changes?
I hate wiring them! So yes... someone eliminate that part.
Any other thoughts?
Peace, love, and pinball. Man I sound like a flippin' hippie! (all pun intended)
What products are you offering, and how many years have you been selling them?
Pinball machines: Ben Heck's America's Most Haunted & Pinball Zombies From Beyond the Grave. One year... but it was a long one.
Any insights into new products coming soon?
I'd have to shoot everyone who reads this to give away secrets like that.
How do you promote your products?
Whoa! I should probably do that. Great idea! :-)
If readers would like more information?
Our website is www.spookypinball.com.
Thanks for your time Charlie.
© Pinball News 2014