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to Mark's Pinball Page!
I've put this site together to chronicle my
interest in the home collecting of pinball machines. There is a
lot of information and photos of the games in my collection. Just
click on a link in My
Pinball Collection for
the game pages. PLEASE NOTE THAT I NO LONGER SELL THE WILLIAMS TEST CHIP.|
November 11, 2010 -
I'm still here! Thanks for all the support and emails this past year. While I may not be updating the site on a regular basis, I'm still available if you have a question regarding your System 3, 4, 6 or 7 Williams game. Just email me!
February 27, 2007 - Some fun site facts: The most visited page (other than this page) is the System 6 Repair page. Since they've been up, there have been over 90,000 hits on the repair pages. Trailing way back in second place is the Mylar Removal page with about 18,000 hits. The most viewed game page (this caught me by surprise), Disco Fever! (17,800 hits), trailed closely by Black Knight with 17,600 hits and Firepower with 13,000 hits. The game with the least amount of hits, Stern's Big Game with 3,500 hits.
February 11, 2007 -
I have to confess that I've been just about completely out of the hobby for the past couple of years. I still own my Black Knight, Fire Power, Hot Tip and Tarus Shuffle Alley,
but the rest of the games have been sold off. I attribute this to pinball burn out. I lived and breathed pinball for about 5 years, buying, selling and reparing games. It
finally got to the point where I didn't want to see another pinball machine! That being said, I still get between 10 and 20 emails a week with pinball questions. I try to
answer all of them, especially the Williams related questions. Keep them coming! If I can help out, I'll try.
September 5, 2005 - Not too many updates over the past year. I've sold off a good deal of the collection. At Christmas 2004, I sold Flash , Disco Fever and Time Warp. I sold High Speed (that was sad to let go!) over the summer. The collection was getting too large to maintain and it was turning into a business rather than a hobby. So I've "thinned the heard" down to about 8 working machines to keep it fun. I still have Scorpion, Time Fantasy and Blackout to get fully working, and I'm looking forward to working on them over the winter.
October 11, 2004 - Well, I had planned to make it a weekend at the York show, I was even planning on bringing my Flash, Timewarp and Disco Fever. However a series of last minute commitments ruled the show out this year. If you took photos at the show and don't plan to post them on your own web site, I'd love to get copies so I can update my show pages with some photos from this year. Just drop me an email. Thanks in advance!
September 8, 2004 - The York Show (officially title the White Rose Gameroom show) is coming up shortly. It will be Friday October 8th and Saturday October 9th this year. Details are available at their web site. For photos of past shows, check out my show index.
September 1, 2004 - I've sold the Williams Fantastic, so no more photo requests please! In its place I picked up a Williams "Base Hit" pitch and bat.
August 30, 2004 - Its been a busy summer! Updates have been few and far between, but I plan on doing some major work on the site soon.
PHOTO REQUESTS - While I'd love to help out, I get a large number of requests for specific machine photos every week, mostly from the pinMame crowd. Unless you're publishing a book, I can't provide you with photos other than what is on the web site. If you're in the South Jersey area, you're welcome to stop by and take all the shots you want yourself.
June 25, 2004 -
Ok, so its a bit off-topic, but we've setup a web
site for our horse.
May 1, 2004 - I just got back from the 2004 Allentown Pinball Wizards Convention. I went out on Friday evening, arriving around 4:30 and played pinball most of the evening. We stay through Saturday and browsed through the flea market in the morning before heading back at noon. I have about 50 photos on the camera which I'll be working on getting up onto the site during the week. Check back later in the week for the photos! The show itself was again very good, and I'll have a full review up shortly.
Congratulations to Smarty Jones on his Kentucky Derby victory today! We have several connections to the Derby Winner. Our horse, Special Dreams, was bred and originally trained and owned by Robert Camac, the trainer who bred Smarty Jones and then died before he was born. Smarty Jone's jockey, Stewart Elliot, rode our horse to a second place finish back in November 2002, and then watched his rear end for 5 1/2 furlongs as his horse finished second to Special Dreams in his last race at Philadelphia Park in January of 2003.
April 19, 2004 - What's
with the ads? The proceeds from board repairs and ROM sales use
to pay the bandwidth costs for the site. I've gotten out of
the board repair business to spend more time on my own collection and
there are a lot of players in ROM burning these days which has caused my
ROM burning services to drop off considerably. With virtually no
pinball income to support the site, I've decided to
experiment with the Google ad system. They claim only pinball
related ads will appear (although computer repair ads seem to show up on
repair page!) Hopefully enough of you will
click through to off-set the bandwidth costs. This site receives a
few cents for each ad you click on, so thanks in advance for checking
out the advertisers.
April 5, 2004 - Opening Day! What a great day, everybody's in first place for a few hours! My wife and I are big baseball phans, both of the Phillies and our local Independent League team, the Atlantic City Surf. We did our annual trek down to Clearwater a few weeks ago and took in several Phillies games, ate much more then we should have at Lenny's, spent a day at the races at Tampa Bay Downs and even took in a Yankees game at Legends field (I have to admit it, it was cool being 20 feet away from Arod & Jeeter). While we weren't able to score any opening day tickets, we did get tickets for the April 3 "unofficial" opening day exhibition game versus the Indians. Jim Thome sure made it his "house" when he it a home run off a 2-1 count on his first at-bat!
February 23, 2004 - Wow, its been almost a year since I've tackled a full restoration project.
January 2, 2004 - Time for the Year in Review Again! 2003 was a "slow" year for me as far as coin-op was concerned. We adopted an off-track thoroughbred race horse in late spring and I sold off a number of machines to finance the clearing of land and the building of a paddock in the back yard to accommodate our newest critter. While we hired a professional to do the clearing, we built the fence and his run-in shed ourselves, so that process consumed most all non-working time I had available.
So with out further a due, here are the high and "low" lights of 2003...
A NIB Stern arrives, a NIB Stern leaves.... I purchased a NIB (new in box) Stern Lord of the Rings in December. Another "sight unseen" purchase, but the early buzz was great on this machine, and it has a theme that everybody in the family could agree on. I won't bore you with a review here, but we've had the machine almost a month, and its still a blast to play. I wish I could say the same amount of good things about Roller Coaster Tycoon (RCT), my last Stern NIB purchase. After buying a NIB Monopoly in October of 2001, I had high hopes for RCT. It was the second Pat Lawlor (of TZ and Addams Family fame) game for Stern, and I figured it had to be a great game. What a classic theme for a pinball game, Roller Coasters. Williams had the trio of coaster games, Comet, Cyclone and Hurricane, and Pat stated that he wanted to make this game the next in the series. He even was including the "dunk the dummy" shot made famous in Comet. The game was licensed from the computer game, where you need to "build" your park. What a perfect theme for a pinball game, make the shots and "build" the park. The game arrives! Its beautiful! Those ramps are so cool! Hold on, what's the deal with this troll? Yeah, they were cute in their day, but the voice tracks on the game, I had a headache after three plays. And what was the deal with the "scrambled eggs", the lamest effect every put on a playfield. After less than 200 plays, I sold them game. Pat, I hope you learned that you need more than your name to make a game great.
My biggest pinball disappointment in 2003 - Steve Ritchie, the pinball designer's designer makes a comeback! Wait a second, with a lame Terminator 3 release? Steve, please don't follow in Pat's footsteps! I personally think "Firepower 3" would have been a much better idea...
Knock-knock - do you sell pinball machines? I could have listed my Dr. Who and Road Kings for 6 months on Mr. Pinball before I got the price I wanted. I had a knock on the door one evening and the stranger at the door said he heard I sold pinball machines. I told him I collect machines and occasionally sell them, but he was welcome to take a look and see if he liked anything. He did, and I delivered the two machines the next day. I wish all my sales were that easy!
Say goodbye to Pharaoh, Space Shuttle, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Dr. Who and Road Kings. Say hello to Time Fantasy, Fantastic, Lord of the Rings and Scorpion.
Maybe this year I'll finally finish by Blackout?
December 10, 2003 - The Lord of the Rings has arrived!
December 1, 2003 - I finally found a Scorpion! I've been looking for one for about two years and have had no luck locating one. I had one lead on a project in Boston that never panned out and I missed an auction that had one in the junk pile. I had let everybody in the area know that I was looking for one and a lead finally showed up (thanks Ron!) which lead me to a machine about 30 minutes away in Blackwood. According to the seller on the phone, it worked "perfectly", having been "professionally" maintained since he owned it. What I found was a machine that did indeed work, albeit with a serious switch matrix problem. The diagnostic switches were missing, so it was impossible to see how the bad the problem was. However, the playfield was in decent shape, the backglass was acceptable and the cabinet was in decent shape, so I agreed to the seller's price (he wasn't budging), and I finally have my Scorpion!
If you're not familiar with Scorpion, it was the last of the early Solid State wide bodies that Williams produced. It was released in early 1980, just after Firepower, however it feels "older" than Firepower. The early Williams wide bodies were not the most exciting games ever produced (think Pokerino!), but Scorpion was probably the best of the breed. It featured two ball multi-ball, a timer feature and had an upper set of flippers that formed a "mini" playfield within the main playfield. I'll be doing a full restoration on this machine in the near future, so stay tuned!
November 14, 2003 - I've added a page for the Williams Fan-tas-tic that I picked up at the York show. I've started tackling my project machines. The first was Grand Prix, which I've had on the bench for almost 15 months. I finished the playfield last week and finally got the machine working 100% last night. Pictures coming soon...
November 11, 2003 - Not pinball related, but collectible related, I picked up my Veterans Stadium seats today!
November 5, 2003 - The York show review and pictures are up! Click here for my show review. Capsule review, show was good, but nothing like the past few years. Only 63 machines running at noon, maybe 50 at 2pm. I did make an impulse buy and bought the 1972 Williams EM "Fan-tas-tic". Its a fun and kind of quirky machine, but I found myself playing it more than any other machine at the show, so that was my sign to take it home. Pics will be up soon.
October 30, 2003 - There are new releases of the Williams System 6 and System 7 test chips. The new images are available by clicking here. The memory test now shows its results on the LEDs, no more clipping a LED to pin 15 of the MPU! Part 4 of the Repair docs have been updated with the new test.
If you purchased a test ROM from me in the past, I will upgrade your chip free of charge, I just ask that you include $2 to cover the return mailing. If you don't have my address, send me an email.
October 22, 2003 - I've sold a few machines this past week. Roller Coaster Tycoon, Dr. Who, and Road Kings have all gone onto new homes.
September 5, 2003 - If you're new to the web site, enjoy browsing around! For those who regularly visit the site for updates (and there haven't been many lately), I just want to bring you all up to date on what's going on.
April 21, 2003 - In addition to moving the web site last month to a new host, I've been involved in physically moving my company's office location. This has left me absolutely no time for pinball (although we did move Monopoly into the new office!) or web site updates. I am also not able to accept any board repairs via mail at this point either.
February 3, 2003 - Time for another road trip. I needed to drop someone off at the airport at 5am, so this trip got an early start. I made it to Harrisburg, PA by 7:30 in the morning to pick up a Williams Time Fantasy, a System 7 game that has to be seen to be believed!
January 7, 2003 - A new year and time to edit the page down. I've moved a bunch of the previous updates to the "best of" from last year, including all of the show pages.
December 31, 2002 -
Just a thanks to all the folks who check back here every once and while
to see what I'm up too. I'm amazed at the amount of people who I
talk to and tell me, "I already know that, you posted it on your
web page!". My coin-op Highlights of 2002 include:
December 17, 2002 - Time for a "mini" road trip! I've been getting my machines locally lately, so I haven't done a road trip in quite a few months now. I actually bid on a machine on Ebay (something I haven't done in over 2 years), and was the only bidder on a Williams Laser Ball. The machine was located west of Baltimore, so I took the morning off and did a 5 hour round trip to pick it up (and made it back to the office in time for a 1/2 day's worth of work!).
What's interesting about this machine is it has been HUO (home use only) since 1982 and the person I bought it from got it at a charity auction in 1992. When the current owner brought the machine home, it didn't work, so he left it in the corner for the past 10 years! Watch for photos soon.
November 29, 2002 - More machine moves, and both to/from their original owners, go figure.. I sold my Captain Fantastic back to Jimmy K., who I originally bought it from about 18 months ago. And today I bought my Black Knight back from Tony P. who I had traded with about a year ago.
Back together again! My Black Knight rejoins Firepower and the rest of Williams line-up after almost a years absence. Yes, its the same machine I traded near the end of 2001 for a TZ. While the TZ was an excellent game, I missed my BK after only a couple of days.
November 12, 2002 - Picked up four new machines this past week, a Williams World Cup (1978), Bally Xenon (1980), Williams Pharaoh (1981) and a Gottlieb Haunted House (1982). Say goodbye to my Data East Phantom of the Opera, it went as my half of a trade for the Xenon and HH.
November 1, 2002 - I'm working on some major updates of the System 3-7 resources page. Most notably I'm combining the Bench Testing page with the Troubleshooting guides. Section 4, MPU Board Troubleshooting is up in beta format now. Once completed, I'll be taking the Bench Testing page off-line.
The best of previous updates - If you've been here before you know that I list all updates to the site in this space. Its getting pretty long, so I've decided to condense last year's updates into a "top 10" list of things you might want to check out...
Pinball Wizards Convention, May 2004
- Mark's Guide to Williams System 3 through 7 Pinball Repair. One of the best (if I don't say so myself!) guides on the net to troubleshooting and repair classic Williams Solid State games.
- Firepower Drop Target Retro-fit. Following Ted Estes' Ted Estes' documentation from rec.games.pinball a few years back. I converted one of my Firepower's to the prototype configuration. I have documented and photographed the entire process
- The infamous Blackout restoration! The slowest project I've ever taken on.
- Mylar Removal. My method for removing Mylar from a pinball playfield.
- Gone but not forgotten: Bronco, Flight 2000, Captain Fantastic, Solar Ride, X-Files, Twilight Zone, Gorgar, Jungle Lord, Xenon, Captain Fantastic, Phantom of the Opera, Masquerade, Charlies Angels, and Big Game
I've been collecting machines for a few years now, but my interest in Pinball dates back to the mid 1960's when I was first introduced to pinball. This is when games were 3 balls for a nickel or 5 balls for a dime!
My collection currently consists of mostly Williams early Solid state machines. I played quite extensively in the late 70s and early 80s and was addicted to the Williams machines. Just like the old potato chip ads, you can't just have one, and the collection has steadily grown over the past years. At last count, I've owned 40 different machines (some are dupes), with the current count standing at 26, with 15 operational.
My absolute favorite game of all time is Williams Firepower! If you were a player at the time of its introduction you know why... I currently own four of them and have restored and sold a fifth. I recently completed a drop target retro-fit on one. It was the second game I purchased for my collection and still the game I play more than any other by a 5 to 1 margin.
I spent a good deal of time in 2002 writing my own Williams System 3 to 7 repair guide and working with Clay on his guide (the infamous "marvin" guides). My guide is a "living" document, and will be updated constantly as I find new repair tips as I work on my machines.
I'm located in Hammonton New Jersey which is located about 1/2 way in between Philadelphia and Atlantic City. If you're ever in the area, drop me a line!
It is currently 2:42:37 AM (Eastern) on Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Copyright Notice - All photos, text and descriptions appearing on this web site are property of TechVantage Consulting, L.L.C. unless otherwise noted and may not be copied, duplicated or used with prior permission. (In other words, just ask first and it will be ok!)