October 16 – 20 was the 2013 Chicago Pinball Expo. Shoot Again was there to chew bubble-gum and film interviews… and we forgot to pack bubble-gum.
Expo had a few exciting surprises this year, including an announcement of a re-run of the 1997 hit title, Medieval Madness. MM is one of the most expensive pins on the collector market, so announcing new supply (1,000 limited edition models and a non-limited quantity of standard models, both for $8k) is dramatic news. Especially considering there were only about 4,000 units produced originally, an unknown but inevitably lesser number of which remain operable today.
Another captivating element of Expo this year was the viral Big Lebowski pinball announcement. Who is producing this machine remains a mystery at this time, but you can sign up for notifications at www.dudepinball.com.
There were lots of other strong indicators at Expo that right now is an exciting and rejuvenating time for pinball, lots of cool technology, mods, and accessories.
All told, we logged 18 interviews for the film, including Rob Berk, co-founder of the Expo itself, as well as industry legends like Gary Stern, Steve Ritchie, Greg Freres, and George Gomez. We also interviewed key members of the community, such as Jared Guynes, who works with the Texas Pinball Festival, and Randy Perlow of ColorDMD.
Below are some screen captures from the 9 or so solid HOURS of footage shot. For more images, visit the Shoot Again Facebook Page.
Since I was going to be visiting Jersey Jack Pinball in Lakewood, NJ, I decided I should check out the Silverball Museum up in Asbury Park, NJ. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I did. I haven’t seen an arcade like that since I was a teenager 30 years ago. You can’t help but smile when you walk in the place. It just oozes cool. Didn’t get to count all the machines but I think they have around 180 pins, a few arcades, skee ball, air hockey and some great food. Definitely get the fries if you go there. Continue reading →
This past weekend, I traveled up to Lakewood, New Jersey to interview Jersey Jack and film some footage at Jersey Jack Pinball. It was a long 10 hour car ride but it was definitely worth the trip. The people of New Jersey were very friendly and made me feel very welcome. Huge thanks goes out to Jack and Jen Guarnieri for taking time out of their very busy schedules to let me swing by and do an interview and get some footage of their amazing Wizard of Oz pinball machine. Continue reading →
We recently had the pleasure to visit with and interview Banker. His collection of 38 pinball machines is pretty amazing. A couple of my favorites had to be his Close Encounters and Trident machines. What really made these special was his updates to the machines including LED lights in the backplate and playing field and new digital scoring. It really gave these games a modern feel and made the backplate art pop. Continue reading →
A little over a year ago, I was filming with my buddies from Beat Down Boogie at a local arcade in Greensboro, NC called Lost Ark. Out of that grew the Pinball Love video. Once I launched it on my Distractotron Channel, I heard from my soon to be producer Lorien Green. She had completed a feature documentary on board games called Going Cardboard and she was encouraging me to do a feature doc on the resurgence of pinball. I told her I’d love to do it but would need her help and would like to have her on board as producer. That’s how the Shoot Again documentary got started. We are currently in production and have scheduled 3 more interviews in June including Jersey Jack and Silverball Museum. This year is going to be busy but fun!
After the golden age of pinball came to an end along with the nineties, its future looked bleak. One pinball company, STERN Pinball, remained, and the great American pinball industry’s extinction seemed inevitable.
But then, something changed. Powered perhaps by a wave of nostalgia and memories of simpler times, or the rising popularity of video pinball on console platforms, suddenly people were talking pinball again. New pinball venues, and even a new commercial manufacturer, Jersey Jack Pinball, have been springing up, and now it looks like pinball just might be making a comeback.