Article by Eddie Mole

Pinball enthusiasts come in many forms and there a number of distinct types. See if you recognise any.

  1. Art Collector: The Art Collector appreciates the beauty of games and will obsessively add to his collection. The games won’t get played much, for that’s not his aim. He wants the perfect specimen. His collection may include games like Fathom, Centaur and Iron Maiden.

  2. Down and Outs: These players will any play machine capable of flipping a ball. Games are only fixed when they refuse to function, are often worn out, and are never cleaned. They don’t own complicated games since they break too easily, and only have one or two tough games such as Getaway or Lethal Weapon 3.

  3. Drunks: The Drunk is too poor to actually own a machine, but really loves a game.  He often tilts and swears at games when things aren’t going his way, but after a good game he cuddles them.

  4. Economist: They watch the market trends and try and invest in games they think will appreciate in value. They often import and put their bucks into games such as The Addams Family, Medieval Madness or Scared Stiff. They never sell games cheaply and try to rig the IPDB ratings.

  5. Fanatic: Fanatics have far too many games and believe their latest game is the “best game in the whole world”. Having said that, they will also continue to look for their next “best game in the whole world”. They also tend to sell at a loss as they get carried away when buying.

  6. Gambler: He knows each game inside out and loves to win. When playing alone he will take risks to get a high score but in a competitive situation he’ll assess the opposition and change his strategy to play the odds. Gamblers like complicated games that they know better than the opposition such as Jackbot and Twilight Zone.

  7. Groupies: They often follow a particular game designer (or Guru) such as Pat Lawlor or Steve Ritchie.

  8. Hoarder: Hoarders collect games.  Typically they have more games than they could ever hope to fix or set up at once. They hoard anything but more commonly collect early '80s games or EMs as you get more of them to hoard for your dosh!

  9. Historian: They get into the history of games and collect machines from a specific era or make, such as System 11s, early '80s Williams or '60s EMs. They are really refined hoarders.

  10. Horizontal Table Wobbler: These are easily spotted as all their games have the tilt mechs disabled.

  11. Hunter Gatherer: HGs are those who enjoy the thrill of the chase. They seek out the rare and unusual games that many players haven’t even heard of, never mind played, such as Airborne, Eclipse, Orbitor 1 or Spirit.

  12. Junkie: Junkies can’t concentrate on anything but pinball. Other things such as work or the family tend to suffer due to their obsession.

  13. The Mantis: Focus, focus, focus!

  14. Recycler: Recyclers often scrap machines either to sell on as parts, for spares or to improve their own games. They tend to be into older games so that they can carry out their hideous practises unnoticed.

  15. Space Cadet: Space Cadets have unflinching devotion to their current game of pinball. Expect abuse if you interrupt their game, unless you are a superior officer such as a wife or partner!

  16. Speed Freak: Speed Freaks are always looking for fast games. Expect to see them hanging around games like No Fear, Johnny Mnemonic, Black Knight 2000 and Pinball Magic.

  17. Super Stars: These are narcissistic creatures that love an audience. They tend to drive flash cars, wear bright clothes and wear sunglasses, even in dark arcades. As players they tend to play the latest trendy games. As opponents they should not be underestimated as they are willing to practice for hours to impress.

  18. Spiritualists: These players tend to be into games with transcending light or sound shows such as Xenon or Phantom of the Opera. One particular sect worships Pinball 2000 as the ultimate truth!

  19. Surgeon: Surgeons like complicated games such as Cosmic Gunfight, Judge Dredd and Frankenstein. They like games that will take months to figure out and that will leave other scratching their heads.

  20. Technician: Technicians aren’t that interested in playing at all. They prefer to be fiddling about with the machine and wiring diagrams. They thrive on the smell of smoldering circuit boards.

  21. Warrior: Warriors are into the biker/rock scene and typically have lots of hair and leather jackets. They tend to like sci-fi, rock or motorcycle themed games such as Centaur, Guns 'N Roses and the Terminator machines.

Note: A version of this article was first published in the UK's Pinball Today magazine.

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