PINBALL EXPO 2005
Let's take a look at some of the other talks and meetings taking place around Expo.
Thursday night saw the Internet Get-Together hosted by Dave Marston.
The Get-Together is the chance for those pinball fans who use internet-based resources to help them enjoy pinball including newsgroups, the Internet Pinball Database, local pinball clubs and of course Pinball News.
The purpose is to examine what's good, what's bad and how things can be improved. The meeting has no power to force any changes but it does raise ideas and concepts that could be useful to make life on the net a bit easier for us all.
Topics discussed this year included an international database of game locations and the problems in keeping it current, flame wars on rec.games.pinball and whether there's any pattern to them, the new Pinball Enthusiasts Group and how it helps, acronyms and how to find out what they mean and creating a common shared area where people can upload pictures or files for newsgroups.
When these three gentlemen come together the stories flow like water for two simple reasons; they have a wealth of experience in the coin-op industry and they can remember just about all of it.
They also bounce off one another well with each one picking up from the previous story.
Sparked by questions from the assembled group of about 30 in the audience, the topics twisted and turned from famous names in the industry they worked with and for, how they began in the industry and the strange way coin-op was viewed by friends and family at that time ie. as a part of the Mafia. People attitudes changed very quickly when they said where they worked.
Pinball always seemed to be teetering on the edge of the law one way or another and all three could recall being involved in court cases to decide the legality or otherwise of various features and pricing methods over the years. Was a free game equivalent to gambling? Could games cost more than one coin? Were "knock-offs" hidden in strange places on games or behind bars? They had testified in court about all these things and many more besides.
The add-a-ball system came about as a result of these infringements and were operated in areas where free games were deemed illegal. Alvin Gottlieb told how he came up with the idea and convinced his father David Gottlieb to give it a try.
There were many more stories coming out of this meeting and they all helped explain how pinball got to where it is and gives some insight into where it might be going.
© Pinball News 2005