We all have our own personal pinball stories to tell - the first time we remember playing, the last time we played, our favorite pinball machine, the best game we ever played, the highest score we've ever achieved, etc.
If you have these sorts of stories to tell, Steve Almond's story will strike a chord.
Steve grew up in Pala Alto in California and loved pinball, sometimes riding up to 10 miles on his bike to try a new pinball machine. Cleopatra is the machine he remembers as being his favorite.
When he was 11, however, video games like Space Invaders started replacing the pinball machines he loved playing at the local arcades and other venues he frequented. Like many people of that era in the early 1980s, Steve found fewer and fewer opportunities available to play pinball.
Roll forward 40 years and Steve still retains a "garish mechanized yearning for immortality, a peculiar greed for sensation that marked my childhood". Only pinball could deliver, so the recent resurgence in interest in playing pinball was a welcome development.
Falling Back in Love with Pinball
Living in New England, he entered a pinball tournament and was hooked as soon as he saw the range of pinball machines on offer. He placed a respectable third but, more importantly, pinball was now a part of Steve's life again.
The pinball journey he embarked on led Steve to meet many new people, including Chuck. In Steve's words, Chuck owned the "man cave of my dreams" as it featured 22 different pinball machines including Metallica, Evel Knievel, Captain Fantastic, Gun N' Roses, and Star Trek machines. Steve also found out what was possible in pinball, meeting players in Chuck’s basement capable of hitting over 40 million points.
It’s not surprising, then, that he got lessons on playing pinball from the legendary player and three-time world champion Bowen Kerins. Steve learned techniques like the dead bounce, the tip pass, and the live catch. Since then, he has continued immersing himself in his local pinball leagues, events, tournaments, and community.
You can read Steve’s full story in a superbly self-penned article on Southwest Magazine.
You can also take the next steps on your own pinball journey by checking out our wide selection of pinball machines. What could be better than owning your own, so view the range today.