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Welcome to Pinball Intrigue, where I indulge my fascination with the silver ball. Here you will find posts regarding my pinball experiences, pinball machine repairs and mods, a virtual pinball build, and links to other pinball sites.

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Catching Up

I won't make apologies for not posting...the holidays make it tough to free up time, and a couple of water leaks in the pump room for the well, as well as a short vacation trip, also made a serious impact. So here's some updates on what's been happing:

Steampunk Time Machine Pinball
Not much happening here. I set up the cabinet to play a little pinball, only to have my video card fry and die. With no funds available for a new one (or any other needed parts), the project is on hold for now. I did manage to pick up a 24V power supply to drive relays for simulating flippers and kickouts.

Creature From the Black Lagoon
I had purchased PinballMikeD's hologram upgrade kit that actually replaces the hologram with a monitor and
driver board. Not only does it functionally work in place of the hologram, it also shows other video during the game. One thing I never liked about Creature was that the window where the hologram appears would sit dark during the game, and only briefly lighting up *if* you could trigger a specific mode. This new mod that shows video throughout the game is really incredible and will make it much more enjoyable. I bought the kit without the monitor, figuring I could get it cheaper myself and save some money. Sure enough, right after Christmas the monitor dropped to $90, and using a Best Buy $10 reward coupon allowed me to snag it for $80. I can't wait to see how it looks! Although Mike has pulled his demo video, the above screen shot gives you an idea of how beautiful this mod looks. Before I install the new mod, though, I want to see if the green-up kit I got makes any difference with the original (blue) hologram before I pull it from the machine. You can check out PinballMikeD's mod page here.

The Santa Cruz Boardwalk & Winchester House
Early in December I traveled to San Jose to visit my company's corporate headquarters and attend the corporate holiday party. While I was there I managed to squeeze in quite a bit of sightseeing. When I was younger, the Santa Cruz boardwalk in California was one of my favorite places to visit - it's the Coney Island of the West Coast, with amusement rides, an arcade, great sandy beaches, and a pier full of knickknack stores and restaurants serving fresh seafood. It's the arcade I'm going to focus on here, as it featured not one, but two areas featuring pinball. The whole inside of the arcade is done in a pirate theme, with animatronic figures reminiscent of Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean ride. On the lower lever was one set of games (pictured left), all older Sterns except for an Attack From Mars, which was seeing a lot of
action. On the upper floor were a mix of older and newer Sterns (pictured left), which were pretty much untouched. I was extremely surprised to find the new Star Trek game (pictured right). Because the arcade is set up to take a electronic card rather than cash, and my time was limited, I only got 2 games in on the new Star Trek. I didn't do too well - it plays fast(!) - but like AC/DC and Metallica, the machine felt really solid and was beautiful to look at, I really liked it.

If you've never been to the Winchester House - with lots of weird and beautiful rooms and also stairs that go nowhere because the crazy Winchester widow was appeasing the ghosts of everyone killed by Winchester rifles - you should make plans to see it someday (although the admission price is a bit steep). When you first enter the building, there is a lobby/gift shop where tickets and souvenirs are purchased. That's where I snapped a photo of this lonely, broken-down Theatre of Magic (pictured right).

So there's my latest update. Hopefully I won't wait so long before posting again...