1966 – Gottlieb Central Park – $2200

Explore Central Park

Gottlieb’s Central Park is a classic 1960’s pinball machine. It features four pop bumpers that score either one or ten points each and ten stand-up targets. The game has two flippers. These are the two-inch flipper bats that were standard for the time. The two flipper bats shown at the top of the playfield are stationary.

As with most of the Gottlieb games from the early to mid 1960’s it features the great, clean artwork of Roy Parker. The backglass depicts Central Park with numerous characters in the fore ground gathered to watch an organ grinder and a couple taking a carriage ride. Skyscrapers can be seen in the background beyond the park.

The backglass features an animated organ grinder monkey with a hammer that rings the bell every one hundred points. Stand-up targets along the top of the playfield advance the bonus as each set is completed. Yellow and green bonus lights in the center of the playfield keep track of the progress up through the Special.

Central Park is a one-player replay game. (Gottlieb’s Hurdy Gurdy is the add-a-ball version of this game.) Each game starts with five balls, and the player earns replays by advancing the bonus through the Special. The player can see how many of the five balls have been played through a slot cut into the ball apron.

Central Park is a one-player game suitable for all ages. The game is in excellent condition and has been restored to one hundred percent functionality. The backglass is in great shape as is the animation plastic (the monkey). The game ships with new legs, leg levelers, and leg bolts. We offer local delivery or can arrange shipping nationwide. We also offer a sixty-day parts and service warranty on any of our games that remain within our standard service area. The game has been configured for free play. Please call or e-mail with any questions or for more photos.

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Pinball Enthusiasm Spans Generations

In this blog, we look at 99-year-old pinball game designer, Wayne Neyens and the now 14-year-old world pinball champion of 2017, Escher Lefkoff. Both are proof of pinball’s wide-reaching appeal and longevity.

* * *

Wayne Neyens

On July 29, 2017, long-time pinball designer and innovator, Wayne Neyens celebrated his 99th birthday. Neyens was born in Iowa in 1918 and began his path into pinball through a high school job at Western Equipment & Supply. Western, a coin-op company, came to the high school to hire a draftsman. Fortunately for pinball lovers, the company chose Neyens and then hired him after graduation. Neyens left his job at Western in 1939 to work at Gottlieb as a tester and began designing pinball games at Gottlieb. He became Gottlieb’s principle designer in 1951, only 2 years after designing his first game in 1949.


Neyens became an innovator for pinball. He was responsible for inventing:

 

  • The first 4-player pinball machine
  • The first 2-player pinball machine, Duette (much more successful than the 4-player games)
  • Trap holes
    Literally a hole that traps or keeps the ball in it for the remainder of the game. The trapped ball gives points and then is often also used used to reach other scoring holes.
  • Gobble holes
    A playfield hole through which the ball falls out of play. Usually getting the ball into the gobble hole scores a special or high points.
  • Roto targets
    Playfield targets that spin to reveal new targets facing the player. Can be either Disc Roto Targets or Carousel Roto Targets.
  • Add-A-Ball games
    Only a machine that allows the player to earn more than one extra ball per ball in play is considered a “true” Add-A-Ball game. This feature was added to reward players in areas where replays and free games were considered illegal as a form of gambling reward.

 

Neyens retired from Gottlieb in June 1980. His skillful innovations and pinball machines still challenge and entertain pinball lovers everywhere.

 

* * *

Escher Lefkoff

On April 9, 2017 Escher Lefkoff won the A division of the PAPA 20 World Pinball Championships at the ripe old age of 13. That made Escher the youngest-ever world’s best pinball player.

 

How did this young teen win the championship? Family, practice, motivation focus and skill. Escher grew up and still lives with his family, including his father who is a nationally rated pinball player.  Escher’s father has been taking him to PAPA since Escher was 7. The family also owns 30 pinball machines that Escher has been practicing on for years. Escher had already won Junior Division titles at PAPA in 2011 and 2013 and a world-class ranking with the International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA) before PAPA 20.  

 

His dad motivated Escher to win by use of a something they call the Ice Cream Challenge. If Escher would reach a pinball goal, his dad would buy him an ice cream cone. As extra inspiration to Escher, his father promised that a win at PAPA would earn Escher his very own ice cream truck…great motivation for an ice cream-loving teen! To help him focus, Escher wears noise-canceling headphones.

 

Finally, Escher is gifted with great pinball skill. Escher’s father was reported as saying that “Escher is phenomenal at doing something that’s one of the hardest things to do in pinball, which is called schatzing the in-lane,” The Denver Post reported. Neil Shatz is a grand master pinball player who “mastered the use of the alley pass – a dangerous move where you hit the ball at the absolute last second to send it up the opposite in-lane.  It soon became known (and feared) in tournament circles as “Shatz’ing the inlane,” PINBALLNEWS.com reported. Ironically, Escher beat the former youngest-ever world pinball champion (now 41), Bowen Kerins, in the final game at PAPA.

 

Escher turned 14 on May 3, and plans to attend Universal High School, a gifted program, this fall.

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July 2017 – New Pinball Games for July

Midwest Pinball has acquired a number of games recently.  Over the next few weeks, we will be adding these games to the website as they are completed. If there is a game you are interested in, please contact us so we can move it up on the schedule.

Newest Pinball Games for Sale:

  • Gottlieb’s Flipper Pool – This game is a little rough on the exterior
  • Gottlieb’s Ice Show
  • Gottlieb’s Mars, God of War
  • 1985 Gottlieb’s Chicago Cubs Triple Play
  • 1995 Gottlieb’s Shaq Attaq
  • 1985 Williams’ Sorcerer – This is a great looking game that is a lot of fun to play. Sorcerer features three flippers, a sweeping row of standup targets, and a bank of three drop targets. The playfield is both dark and colorful.

In addition, we have recently added the following games to our website:

  • 1970 Williams’ Bonanza Gun Game
  • 2007 Stern’s Spiderman Black Limited Edition

Please call (312) 925-1386 if you have any questions, or would like to schedule a visit.

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June 2017 – Playfield Repairs

Midwest Pinball offers a wide range of pinball restoration services, including extensive repairs to pinball playfields and cabinets. We provide full restorations to playfields including sanding down planked areas, repainting missing paint, and applying a hard clear-coat.

We recently performed extensive repairs to a Bally’s Harlem Globetrotters playfield. Harlem Globetrotters On Tour from the late 70’s is one of Bally’s licensed-theme games that they started in doing in the mid-70’s. These games garnered a lot of attention and ran very high production runs – 14,550 in the case of Harlem Globetrotters. (Bally’s KISS had the highest production for 1979 at 17,000!)  In the late 70’s, the big three pinball manufacturers (Bally, Gottlieb, Williams) were each introducing a new title nearly every month. As a result, over 225,000 pinball machines were produced in 1979 alone.

We picked this game up from the client’s house and proposed repairing the game and restoring the playfield. As you can see in the photos below, there was significant damage around the inserts and across the center of the playfield. There was also severe planking along the left and right sides of the middle playfield.

Before:

After:     

We repaired the damage to the playfield, repainted large sections, and clear-coated the entire playfield with an automotive clear coat to seal the surface and keep the new paint from wearing off.

If your game need work, a lot or just a little, please call us. We provide estimates up front with a menu of services from which to pick. Minor repairs or LED conversions can be done onsite.

Please call Rich at (312) 925-1386 if you have any questions, or would like to schedule a visit.

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April 2017 – Chicagoland Coin-Op Show Recap

This year’s Chicagoland Antique Advertising, Slot-Machine and Jukebox Show (a.k.a. the Chicagoland Coin-Op Show) was well attended. There was a fantastic turnout, especially since the Midwest Gaming Classic was held this year on the very same weekend in Milwaukee, WI. The Coin-Op Show boasted over 315 booths, replete with interesting jukeboxes, slot machines, gumball and popcorn machines, beer signs, mechanical scales, and…of course…pinball machines.
Midwest Pinball was one of only two companies selling pinball machines at the show. Our booth featured Gottlieb’s Big Indian, Gottlieb’s Sheriff and Stern’s Spider-Man. We sold both Big Indian and Sheriff on Saturday. Rich was happily able to talk face-to-face with a lot of our current and potential customers and answer any questions related to pinball and service. He enjoyed seeing familiar faces, so thanks for coming by our booth!
If you didn’t have a chance to stop by the show, we still have fun pinball machines available for sale including: Stern’s Spider-Man, Sega’s Harley Davidson, Data East’s Star Trek, Bally’s Captain Fantastic and Gottlieb’s Flipper Clown. You can check out our current inventory on our website here:

Pinball Machines for Sale

 

The next Chicagoland Coin-Op Show is November 10-12th. Information about dates and times can be found on the Chicagoland Antique Advertising, Slot-Machine and Jukebox Show’s website at

http://www.chicagolandshow.com

Check our future blogs for more details.

Also, please don’t hesitate to give Rich a call if you have any questions, or would like to schedule a visit. Midwest Pinball is grateful for all of the pinball enthusiasts out there who support our business and keep the game alive. Thank you!

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March 2017 – Have Gun Will Travel

This week we picked up three Western-themed games. Gottlieb Big Indian (1974) and Sheriff (1971) are pinball machines. And Williams Bonanza (1970) is a gun game with moving targets.

 Gottlieb Big Indian - Upper Playfield Detail

One of the most popular games of the 70’s, Gottlieb Big Indian is a four-player game featuring a range of classic features – drop targets, vari-target, and pop bumpers. This game has a great playfield with new drop targets and pop bumper caps. The cabinet is in excellent shape with bright colors and new legs.

 Gottlieb Big Indian - Middle Playfield

Gottlieb Sheriff is another great four-player game from the 70’s. Sheriff was also produced as a two-player game (Lawman) and a single-player game (Texas Ranger). The playfield has a single row of ten drop targets along the left-hand side and two parallel lanes of rollover switches along the right-hand side. The cabinet on this game is in excellent shape with bright colors and clean lines.

Gottlieb Sheriff - Middle Playfield Detail

Gottlieb Sheriff - Middle Playfield

Gottlieb Sheriff - Cabinet Left

We also picked up a classic gun game – Williams Bonanza. The game features sounds of galloping and whinnying horses with an occasional gunshot ricochet. The cabinet is in great shape with bright green and brown imagery.

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1992 – Williams The Getaway – $3800

Shift Into High Gear

williams-getaway-backglass

Williams The Getaway: High Speed II is the sequel to Williams 1986 High Speed pinball machine. The backglass artwork was done by Doug Watson and playfield art was done by Mark Sprenger. According to the game designer, Steve Ritchie, the car chase theme came from a real high speed chase when he was chased by police at 146 mph in his 1979 Porsche 928.

williams-getaway-playfield-upper

The Getaway has three flippers, three pop bumpers, and a gear shift ball launcher that doubles as the control during game play and video mode to control the RPMs. A metal supercharger loop uses three magnets to hurl the ball around the track and release it into play. The steel ramp and chrome cover reflect the red flashers and LED bumper caps.

williams-getaway-playfield-middle

Game play includes a video mode where the player uses the flipper buttons and gear shift to race through traffic. The goal of the video mode is to get as far as possible as quickly as possible without wrecking the car. Players use the flipper buttons to change lanes and the gear shift to upshift to higher speeds.

williams-getaway-cabinet-left

We have added a police car with flashing lights to the upper left hand corner. The lights on the police car flash in sequence with the Mars light on top of the backbox. We have also added a model Donut Heaven restaurant on the right hand side over the ball lock.

 

The Getaway is a fast-paced game with a good mix of long and short shots It features a three ball multi-ball is a four-player game suitable for all ages. The game uses the song “La Grange” by ZZ Top for its theme song. This game has been upgraded with LED lighting throughout and configured for free play. Please call or e-mail with any questions.

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October 2016 – New Pinball Explosion

Over the past couple of years, several new pinball companies entered the market and developed many different pinball formats. New titles include traditional pinball machines, multi-game units, virtual pinball, and customizable units. Advances in technology, including programmable electronics and 3D printing, simplify the development of new platforms and reduce the cost of the prototyping process.

This was clearly evident at this year’s Pinball Expo in Wheeling, IL (outside Chicago). Jersey Jack Pinball brought the newest version of The Hobbit (the Black Arrow Special Edition) named after the arrow that defeats Smaug in the fantasy film trilogy. Special features include Black Arrow attract mode animation, Black Ink body armor, black pinballs, and black flipper bats.

Jersey Jack Pinball also brought Dialed In, a new game designed by Pat Lawler (designer of Addams Family, Twilight Zone, and Whirlwind). Dialed In integrates smartphone connectivity and a camera. By laying your smartphone down on the glass, it can activate a special mode during multi-ball. The game also features 5 magnets, “3 flying drones”, a “3-D interactive projected image”, and an animated robot.

VPCabs brought several virtual pinball cabinets capable of playing both classic arcade games and pinball tables. The Vertigo features a very large main display and color dot matrix display at the top of the cabinet. The control panel has the buttons, track ball, and joystick needed to play video games and buttons mounted on the sides of the cabinet for use as flipper buttons when playing pinball.

Multimorphic showcased its P3 Pinball Platform a dynamic modular pinball machine. The company develops new games for its platform that combine traditional pinball and new technologies. Lexy Lightspeed – Escape from Earth is Multimorphic’s first game and Cosmic Cart Racing will be the second.

During Pinball Expo, Stern Pinball held its own event to celebrate Stern’s thirty years in the pinball industry. At the event, Stern had a number of Ghostbuster pinball machines. Ghostbusters, Stern’s latest release, features the characters and elements from the original 1984 movie and 1989 sequel. The playfield artwork explodes with color and is packed with features. The Limited Edition (LE) version uses Ecto Glasses to project holographic ghosts onto the playfield that react to ball hits.

We expect pinball to continue to evolve and incorporate new technology that enhances the player’s experience. Pinball is back and with a great future.

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October 2016 – Keeping the Ball Alive: 30 Years of Stern Pinball

For over a decade, Stern Pinball was the world’s only major manufacturer of pinball machines. Many new companies have emerged in the past few years, but Stern remains the biggest and most stable. Stern Pinball has thirty years of experience and a seasoned staff committed to producing pinball machines.

Now PaperFlock is running a Kickstarter to publish a coffee table book to commemorate three decades of pinball containing prototype designs, artwork, and diagrams highlighting Stern’s range of pinball machines. The book will also include interviews with the game designers and other Stern employees.

The kickstarter is running through early December 2016. If you are interested in pinball, please check out the kickstarter and help make the project a success. Here is a link to the project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paperflock/keeping-the-ball-alive-30-years-of-stern-pinball

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September 2016 – Star Trek 50th Anniversary

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek TV series, BBC America ran all the original episodes in the order they aired. I recorded them all and have been watching two or three per night (still have 40 to go).

We currently have two of the four Star Trek themed pinball machines for sale. The first one was produced by Bally in conjunction with Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979. This game is similar to most of Bally’s titles from the late 70’s and early 80’s. It has nice ball flow with a good range of shots. Since it is not digital, all the sounds are produced by chimes. Below is a photo of the Bally Star Trek we have for sale.

bally-star-trek-backglassbally-star-trek-cabinet-leftbally-star-trek-playfield-upper

The second title was produced by Data East in 1991. This game has more features on the playfield and ramp shots that make the game faster. It also has a transporter effect in the backglass that makes it look like the characters are beaming down to a planet. The game includes both speech and music. Below is a photo of the Data East Star Trek we have for sale.

DE Star Trek - BackglassDE Star Trek - Playfield MiddleDE Star Trek - Playfield Lower

Please call or e-mail us with any questions or for more photos of either game.

 

The third title is Williams Star Trek: The Next Generation, from 1993, which features characters and scenarios from the 90’s TV series. As a much newer game, it features a wide range of shots, video modes, full speech and sound and elaborate game play. We do not currently have one for sale, but would be able to locate one.

The fourth title is very recent. In 2013, Stern produced three models of their Star Trek pinball machine. Stern’s standard edition is the Starfleet Pro and its two special editions are the Enterprise and Vengeance editions (named for the two star ships). We do not typically sell new games, but would be able to handle delivery, installation and ongoing service.

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