Pinball Wizard Day 3


When my dad and I picked up the game, the previous owner told us as much as she could about the history of the table.  For twenty years the table sat untouched in her basement, hosting generations of daddy long-legs and dust bunnies.  She acquired it when a gaming company owed a favor to someone in her family and repaid the debt with the choice of either a pinball machine or a jukebox.

I’ve been doing a bit of research online about “Loop the Loop” and the company behind it.    According to Everything2.com and Wikipedia, the first coin-operated pinball game was created in 1931 by a distributor for Gottleib. The game, called Ballyhoo, was so popular that the new company switched to the name Bally.  In a side note, Bally later opened arcades under the name of “Aladdin’s Castle,” including one in Moline’s Southpark Mall where all of my adolescent quarters were deposited.

Depending on the site, the game was made in 1965 or 1966 by Bally.  There’s a good deal of information at the Internet Pinball Database including pictures of the backglass in good condition.  I’m also finding that some parts are going to be easy to find – flippers and bumper switches are pretty standard and available.  Others, like a nickel coin mechanism, are going to take a miracle.

Since I solved the more obvious problems yesterday, I’ve just got to make the game actually play. It seems to initialize just fine, and it thinks it’s ready to play.  Except for the spinner, none of the table mechanics or scoring work.

I started tracing down an orange wire that connected the flippers together – probably a ground wire that gets interrupted to halt gameplay.  It seems to connect to most of the mechanical components, so with a bit of luck it’ll lead me to the problem!  Well, it did lead me to a couple of problems, but only because it went to every 54-volt piece of the machine.  Anyway, new coils have been ordered to replace a couple of burned out ones, plus some spare light bulbs and a ball for the tilt mechanism.  I got the cheap shipping, so there’s not much I can do for the next few days.

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