PinRescue - Restored Mechanical Pinball Machines
By James Grahame
PinRescue restores and sells pre-1978 electro-mechanical pinball machines. Owners Russ and Stacey Snyder have been in the business for decades. They opened a store in Lambertville, New Jersey in 2001 and everyone is welcome to try the machines free of charge. You won't find any whizz-bang digital scoring or synthesized sound effects here -- just good old solenoids, rotary scoring, and bumpers galore. It seems that the average price for a restored unit is around $2000.
Designs became increasingly complicated as pinball was forced to compete with video games. There also seemed to be rampant scoring inflation. Some classic machines from the 1960s could only count to 999. By the 1990s, score counters frequently reached into the millions.
Perhaps all this is why I'm drawn to older mechanicals -- game play was simple, and there is something almost hypnotic about the sound the score counters make during a reset -- chunka-chunka-chunk chunka-chunka-chunk CLUNK.