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PINGAME JOURNAL NEWSLETTERS-Newsletters are sent to all email addresses I have in my file. They cover a multitude of subjects relating to pinball and are sent out whenever I get enough info to make one up or if there is something important to share. They are presented with the most recent one first. You can search (PCs) for a word here (and nearly any other page you can see on your computer screen) by pressing Ctrl+f

PinGame Journal Newsletter June 1, 2011

As we turn the page on the old PGJ calendar, leaving May and the art of Tim Elliott and on to June and Margaret Hudson, there are a number of things going on in the world of pinball that we wish wouldn’t have happened.

First a little about the recent MIA status of the PGJ, to a lesser extent updating the PGJ web site and even less of an issue, but annoying to those involved, fulfillment of orders for stuff. I’ve always believed that this whole PGJ thing is a group effort and I feel it’s important to let you all know what’s going on even if it’s not all bright and sunny. The short answer is that I have had some issues, mostly health related, that have got in the way. However … I’m committed to keep things going. Like pinball itself, the PGJ has seen ups and downs in the past 20 years. There was a time when there were twelve issues a year and there also were years with four. I’ve found that my best goal is someplace in the middle of that.

The good news in all this is that I have the next issue of the PGJ, #146, all ready to go. I just today got info for a photo caption that I was waiting for and it should go to the printer just before I leave for Seattle and the Northwest Pinball Show in the morning. I plan to hop right on #147 when I return and maybe even catch up! I’m also planning on updating the site and getting stuff sent out. We’ll see, but now you know at least a little about why it is what it is.

IFPA8 World Pinball Championship Rollercoaster—I had talked to Josh Sharpe at the Michigan show about his trip to Sweden for the event and then how he and brother Zach will be home for a few days before its on to Seattle for the show. Besides the tournament they plan to check out the site for 2012’s IFPA9 at the home of Todd MacCulloch. Then I read in an email that this year’s event is off as the Swedish authorities are requiring a license and nothing can happen with out it. There was a week or so of very hectic negotiations, complicated by the language difference and unfamiliar rules, but the Sharpe boys and their staff got things back on track just in time to run the event. They were not allowed to pay any monetary prizes but I hear it all went well. Congrats to the new champ, Cayle George! There’s a little more detail in the next issue of the PGJ and you can check out their site at for more.

National Pinball Museum Forced To Relocate—Another email from director David Silverman explained the unfortunate circumstances that, in short, is forcing the NPM in DC to vacate the premises after only five months of existence. David and his staff put an amazing amount of work into this facility to create a wonderful place to learn about and play pinball and this development is a shame. The last day is July 4 so if you’re in the area, stop by and play a game or two while you have the chance. For more go to

Remembering Mechanical Designer Jack Skalon—In yet another email and posting on RGP, John Popadiuk told of Jack’s recent passing. The two worked together extensively at Williams and became a team. We often forget that there are many other people involved in the creation of a pingame than the designer, programmer and artist. Read all of what John had to say in issue #146.

Ok, so on to some good stuff …

Stern Pinball seems to be moving right along. Their newest game, Tron Legacy is on the line and at least two other titles are at various stages of completion. A Tron game play video will be released as soon as a few licensing details are finalized. Stern continues to produce various versions of each game to help broaden the appeal and marketing and public awareness is ramping up. (pun intended)

Jersey Jack Pinball has been slowly releasing images of their Wizard of Oz game and continues to hire pinball savvy people to help in the process. They recently announced the addition of Mark Weyena who has been a collector forever and worked at Williams in a number of areas including with Dennis Nordman at on Indianapolis 500 and Scared Stiff as well as running the company’s test program. Check them out at

Drop Target issue #2 showed up in the mail a few weeks ago. The zine type publication by Jon Chad and Alec Longstreth is creative and informative and well worth checking out. Got more information at

The RIV or Riviera is a classic Vegas hotel and now it has a classic arcade space to match. The owner was in the Pinball Hall of Fame a while back and had a conversation with Tim Arnold. One thing led to another that resulted in the hotel ending its relationship with the previous game vendor which paved the way for Tim to open the PHOF Annex. The games at the location previously included four pinballs, each of which had some major problem making them unplayable. Now there are a total of 43 games including the newest from Stern and 15 add-a-ball classics. Yes there’s video games, a few hockey games and cranes but the pinball footprint has been enlarged considerably. And, as Tim’s games do, they all WORK!

Pinball In The Media—There are THREE national print media stories in the works about pinball. One, slated for GAMES magazine that will focus on pinball museums is being written by Tricia Vita and will appear in an issue this summer, the Robb Report Collection magazine will feature an article on pinball collectors written by Shaun Tolson and Gianna Petro of 944 Magazine (concentrated in the southwest US, Miami and … Detroit!) asked me for photos of the Pinball Hall of Fame for an article in the current issue. Keep an eye out for these examples of how pinball is out there.

Flippers and Flash … an exhibit at the Muskegon Museum of Art is continuing thru July 31. There was a gala opening event last month and besides food, drink and pinball, the crowd on hand was treated to a 20 minute pinball in the media video from the PGJ and a PowerPoint presentation on the history and story of pinball from Mark Bakula. There’s pictures and more in the next PGJ. If you’re going to be in the western Michigan area in the next month or two you owe it to yourself to check it out. You don’t see pinball presented with so much class and sophistication very often. See the MMA web site for more

Gotta go pack and get #146 uploaded so that will be enough for this time. If you’re going to the Seattle show, make sure to stop by and say HI. JIM

PinGame Journal Newsletter March 25, 2011 As I run around the house like a crazy person getting ready to leave for the Midwest Gaming Classic in Milwaukee this weekend, I wanted to let you all know a few things.


If you’re going to the Texas Pinball Festival this weekend (it’s killing me not to attend both—Craig, Dan … get it worked out for next year, PLEASE!) make sure you attend the seminars for some interesting announcements. “BUT JIM, I’M NOT GOING TO THE SHOW!?” you may say. No worries, at least about the announcements. Check the PGJ site’s CURRENT PINBALL page at 11 AM (EST) and 5:30 PM (EST) on Saturday for “as it’s announced” info on these revalations. You’ll be among the first to be in the know!


First, if you’re going to the MGC, make sure to check out the first ever PGJ At The Movies Theater. Organizer Dan Loosen and I have been trying to get this together for months and it looks like it’s gonna happen! (Keep your fingers crossed) It will be a small, enclosed theater which will be showing videos throughout the show including the brand new documentary Special When Lit.

SWL-Speaking of Special When Lit, I just got news that the PGJ supply of disks is in the mail and will arrive here in the next few days. For those who have placed their orders and those who do so soon, I’ll get your video in the mail the day after they arrive.


Good friend, collecor, former Data East employee and long time organizer of the Tokyo Pinball Organization, Maysa (Harry) Horigochi sends a report of his personal experiences when the “big one” hit and what life is like now in Tokyo.

Thank you very much for your worrying about me, friends and Japan. Tokyo is not so close to the center of the quake but I have never felt such a big shock here, even after 50 years! My family and friends are safe. However we still have many after shocks. The other big crisis is currently the nuclear power plant which has caused two kinds of problems. First is the worry about radiation but the power plant is far from Tokyo. The other is that the big power plant was making much electricity for Tokyo. Therefore now we have controlled blackouts almost every day. It'll be continued for months and people are in a panic.

While there is not much to smile about I want to tell you that I work for an arcade called Neverland which operates six pinball games. It was 2:46 p.m. in Tokyo on Friday March 11th and a player was playing Mata Hari [EM] and that the moment the quake hit, the pinball machine flashed "TILT."

TPO, Tokyo Pinball Organization, is still here with the 34-year history. We were planning to hold the TPO Open Tournament 10 on Saturday, March 12th at the Neverland but since the earthquake we will change the schedule to sometime in May or later.

It's getting very difficult to find pinball games in Japan. 15 years ago, it was not so difficult here. I can say that the Neverland is currently the most important place for Japanese pinball players. Many players come to play here from cities far away. I'm doing my best to keep the pinball culture in Japan alive for the next generation by training youger players. It's really hard to work for the amusement industry now. Of course it can't make “big money” however I like the great pinball culture. That is the simple reason.

It’s like a movie here but I keep having to realize it’s real. I wish it was only a nightmare. Japan is in crisis, but we never give up. It’s hard for me, but better than the people who suffered the terrible tsunami.

Please pray for Japan.


Word comes from PGJ supporter and Pins & Vids co-creator Al Warner about a free Pinball Swap meet in Georgia on April 23. Check out the details at

I think that’s it … mostly because it’s 4:31 AM and I need to leave at 5 to get to Stern in time for the Midwest Gaming Classic tour. So enjoy your weekend, where ever you may be and get out there and play some pinball! JIM

PinGame Blast—February 18, 2011

What’s Happening at Stern—Have you ever wanted to take a peek at what’s going on in our favorite pinball factory? Well you can (sort of) at the PGJ web site. Rolling Stones was officially released this week and we have some exclusive photos of the assembly process taken within the past 24 hours. Take a look at the PinGame Update page to see them and some other cool stuff as well.

Get Well Soon Steve—I’m getting ready to send Steve Kordek the greetings we’ve received so far but there’s room for more. The very first person who responded to my last greeting request was none other than Alvin Gottlieb. So join Alvin and the others in sending Steve a get well wish and if you plan on attending Pinball Expo 2011, tell him you look forward to seeing him there. I’d like to include as many as possible (at 99, you can never have too many good wishes!) so jot down a sentence or two or three and email them back to me. Steve will enjoy them.

The Next Issue of the PGJ is Nearly Done—PGJ #145 is nearly done and should be to the printer by Sunday so they have it bright and early Monday morning. I’m going to try to get the next issue after that, #146, out pretty quick, maybe even before you get 145, so please, if your subscription is up or nearly so, send in your renewal. I will try to send emails to those of you in that position, but if you want to check, as always, feel free to drop me an email.

Special When Lit is here--The award-winning documentary, Special When Lit, is finally available to the public and the PGJ has it or will have soon. There is an announcement in #145 and I’ll update the PGJ web site when it’s “in house” which should be any day now. If you’re interested in getting this video, drop me an email and I’ll let you know as soon as it arrives.

That’s it for now, any more and it will be a full blown newsletter. Check out the PGJ site for those assembly line photos and if you haven’t seen it already, check out the video of designer John Borg. Also, renew, renew, renew and, oh yah, PLAY PINBALL. JIM

PinGame Blast 2/6/11

New stuff at the PGJ website:

There are now 13 songs revealed from the new Stern game, Rolling Stones. The latest is not even on the Stern Facebook page yet! If you haven’t checked in recent weeks, there are also some photos of the game from the two industry shows in Europe a week or so ago.

Jersey Jack Pinball has been releasing bits and pieces of info about their announced game, Wizard of Oz and the people who will make it a reality. There is news about the art package that you’ll find on the PGJ site and nowhere else! Check it out.

PGJ Calendar Delivery Saga:

As most of you know, our friends over at the USPS have been just a *little* slower and less reliable than usual in delivering PGJ issue #144. Apparently, we’re not alone. Teresa, my rep at Johnson Press of America who mails the issues, reports similar problems with many of the other publications they handle.

While I’m getting reports daily that they have finally arrived, I also have had to send out an inordinate number of replacements. That’s fine and Teresa is holding extra copies in case they’re needed, but I’d like to get as many sent and sorted as possible. So, if you have not gotten yours yet, please let me know.

History of Pinball:

Collector, speaker and all ‘round pinball kinda guy, Mark Bakula will be speaking on pinball history on Thursday, April 21 at the Muskegon (Michigan) Museum of Art. It will be opening night for their exhibit “Flippers and Flash: The Art of Pinball.” There isn’t anything on their website at the moment, but as the event nears, get more info at and if you’re in the neighborhood on the 21st, stop in and check it out.

Let’s Cheer Up Steve:

As reported in recent PGJ Newsletters, Steve Kordek, who just turned 99, suffered a broken hip after a fall at Pinball Expo 2010, had reconstructive surgery, rehab and now is recuperating at home. This is a difficult road to travel and while I know Steve is a tough cookie, I think he could use some encouragement. So, if any of you would like to send a greeting to Steve, either by email or snail mail, please feel free to do so in care of the PinGame Journal and I’ll see that he gets them all.

( or PinGame Journal, 31937 Olde Franklin Drive, Farmington Hills, MI 48334 USA)

And that’s a wrap on this quick blast from the PGJ. I’m going to spend the rest of the day working on #145 and then I’ll be at a Superbowl party tonight. May your favorite team win! JIM

PinGame Journal BLAST—January 2, 2011

Greetings to all pinball fans and Happy New Year wishes to all. I come to you as this new year dawns with just a two quick items.

PINGAME JOURNAL CALENDAR—It’s been in the mail for week or so and many of you have reported it’s already on your wall. Cool. However some of you have not see it yet and I have to report that my copy has not made it to my mail box yet. SO … I have posted the cover and the January art and month grid on the web site for you to download to tide you over. You can find it at

JACK MEETS THE WIZARD—There was a very interesting and exciting announcement made today about the formation of a pinball manufacturing company called Jersey Jack Pinball. Its head, Jack Guarnieri of discussed some of his plans for their first game, The Wizard Of Oz, on a Spooky Pinball podcast and then gave some further details to the PGJ. Check it all out at the PGJ site and Current Pinball. Like I said, just two items, but I thought you all would be interested. Hopes are high that this year will be a lot better than the last so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Play Pinball, Man! JIM

PinGame Newsletter 12/12/10

2011 PINGAME JOURNAL CALENDAR--As we’re well into the final month of the year and the final month of the 2010 PGJ calendar (both with 31 days, thank you) featuring John “Dr. Flash” Trudeau, thoughts turn to January and the first month of the 2011 PGJ calendar. Actually, MY thoughts turn to all the months and like I said in the last newsletter, I’ve been spending all weekend putting them together. It’s amazing just how much time this all takes but I won’t bore you here with my laments. I’ll save those for page three of the calendar. The color pages are done and I’ve got a good start on the calendar pages and hope to have them all finished and at the printer by tonight (Sunday). Last minute editor/proofreader Gary Flower is standing by so you know who to blame if there are mistakes!!! Thanks to all who helped assemble the tons of photos that appear: more detail on that will be on page three also.

Speaking of the calendar, it will be issue #144 of the PinGame Journal (December, 2010) and as such will be sent to all subscribers of record sometime this week when I make the final mailing list. If you’re not on the list, you should be! This calendar is shaping up really nicely … and you’ll get seven more issues to boot. It’s not too late for a gift subscription for friends and relatives or heck, get one for a stranger: It’s Christmas, get in the spirit. I can send a PDF of the cover to put under the tree. The cover price will be $14.95 but the suggested retail price is $12. That’s what it will sell for on the PGJ and other sites so getting it as part of a subscription is a bargain. Mass quantities are available at substantially reduced prices. Contact me soon if you’re interested.

ALLENTOWN--In the last newsletter the demise of Denis Hein’s “Allentown” show was reported. I’m happy to now report that there has been a replacement announced by Ivan Lysykanycz, the new organizer of the PinFest, who has picked up the Allentown gauntlet and is running with it. “The show will be as large as people have come to expect and we plan minor changes. The location remains the same but the dates for the show have changed for 2011 only to May 20, 21 and 22. The show will resume its first weekend in May slot after the 2011 event. Many of the vendors have reached out and plan to participate as they always have. If anyone is interested in future info or being on our mailing list please contact me. The name brand seems to be irrelevant as the show is commonly referred to as Allentown Spring Show. For more information including contact info please check our web site at”

PINBURGH—While we’re discussing shows, PAPA head Kevin Martin sent in this message about another born-again event.

“Way back in 1999, a pinball tournament by the name of Pinburgh started in Pittsburgh. It grew each year, until in 2004, it became the PAPA World Pinball Championships. The name Pinburgh was shelved -- until now. The all-new Pinburgh Match Play Championships are being held at PAPA, near Pittsburgh PA, March 18-20, 2011. Using a tournament format devised by World Champion Bowen Kerins, each and every player is guaranteed two solid days of play for a single entry fee with finals held on the third day. The awesome PAPA facility will be open to the public and token sales will benefit the local Humane Society. Read all about it and sign up at ”

I’m sitting here trying to think of other news but all I can come up with is “Thirty days hath September, … April, June and November ……” so that must be a sign that it’s time to finish up the calendar. I hope you all have a happy but safe holiday season and “Play Pinball, Man!” JIM.

PinGame Journal BLAST—November 20, 2010

I contact you all with news of two pinball institutions that are no more and one who is doing just fine, thank you.

GAMEROOM MAGAZINE, last Wednesday, announced on their web site that they are ceasing publication of the magazine. The message from publisher Kevin Steele reads, “I am saddened to have to let you know that, due to the deteriorating economic climate for print media, it is impossible for us to continue publishing GameRoom Magazine. … We appreciate your understanding, and thank you for your past support.”

Personally, I feel badly for Kevin and GR readers as I know he enjoyed producing the magazine and that his subscribers enjoyed getting it, including me! It will be missed.

To read Kevin’s complete message check out the GR website at

PINBALL WIZARDS CONVENTION (The Allentown Show) will not continue according to organizers Brian, Denise and Tiffany Hein. They recently sent out an email that said, in part,

“…after long and careful consideration, we sadly have to tell you that after 17 great years, there will be no more replays. Game Over. This was not an easy decision to make, as we will definitely miss the excitement of the show and seeing all of you each year. It has been wonderful meeting so many new people who share our love of pinball. A great number of new and lasting friendships have been made over the years. We would like to thank each and every one of you that has attended, participated and helped out over the past 17 years to make each show a success and a memorable experience. We appreciate the support that you have given us, and we hope to see you again at another show.”

As many of you know, the 2010 edition of this show is prominently featured in the current issue of the PGJ. (If you haven’t seen your copy yet, be patient, I don’t have mine yet!) “Allentown” had risen to “one name” status and was a major event on the pinball event landscape. It, too, will be missed.

STEVE KORDEK IS DOING FINE. For those who don’t know, Steve, who will celebrate is 99th birthday next month, attended Pinball Expo sporting a new walker. He told me his kids insisted that he use it because he has been a little unsteady lately. Apparently, as he was leaving the hotel, a gust of wind blew the door into him and he fell, breaking a hip. He was taken to an area hospital and subsequently underwent surgery to repair the damage. He is currently in a rehabilitation center. He has had a number of visitors including long time friend, designer John Trudeau who sent this recent report:

“I was able to get over to the Lutheran Home this evening to see Steve. He looks well and he does indeed enjoy having company! He's feeling a lot better than he was even a week ago. He's not in any pain and the therapists are keeping him busy in the morning and during the day, but he still has plenty of empty time on his hands.

He was really sorry to miss the EXPO show this year, especially with the Williams discussion/interview panel that was put together this time around. He's in pretty good spirits, considering his situation, (but) if anyone can get there (to visit), he will really enjoy your time and effort. Let's keep his spirits high. "Drop in on me any time," he says.”

I know that most of you can’t travel to Chicago for a visit (847) 368-7400, but maybe a card or a note would help keep Steve positive:

Steve Kordek, c/o Lutheran Home, 800 West Oakton Street, Arlington Heights IL 60004-4602

The PINGAME JOURNAL 2011 CALENDAR NEEDS YOUR HELP! Yep, it’s time for the 2011 calendar and, as usual, I’ve waited till the last minute … even past the last minute. (I haven’t really waited, I’ve had plenty to do, but … well …) I need some people who have games available, want to take a few photos of them and get them to me in the next couple of days. We’re doing both designers and artists this time and I have a list of names that isn’t totally final yet that includes Norm Clark, Ed Krynski, Dick White, Tim Elliot, Mark Sprenger, Python Anghelo, Brian Eddy, Steve Kirk, Jim Patla, Margaret Hudson and Tim Seckel. I don’t want to waste everyone’s time here with details, but if you think you have some good examples of games related to people listed above and have the time to spend in the next day or three, drop me an email and we’ll discuss details.

That’s it for now. I’m working on the calendar this weekend, hope you all enjoy yours. JIM

PinGame Journal Newsletter—November 2010

November greetings to you all. I’m pleased to report that issue #143 is printed and should be in the mail this Monday. Also included will be a flyer for Stern’s new Avatar pinball. Now that that’s done I’m jumping full force into finishing the 2011 PinGame Journal Calendar. The lovely cover by Stan Fukuoka is looking nice, as usual and I’m taking a little extra time to make sure everything is correct. (Sure, Jim….) With that in mind I’d like to report that for November, the 2010 calendar features designer Steve Ritchie. It also features an extra day, “November 31.” As I’ve asked in the past, please get your White Out out and cover it over. You have no idea how much the days I’ve “added” and those “forgotten” have bothered me and it’s with no small amount of relief that I announce this to be the last month you’ll have to adjust.

GARY FLOWER was inducted into the Pinball Expo Hall of Fame at the Expo banquet a few weeks ago and it occurs to me that most people, while they might recognize his name, do not really know exactly what he’s done in pinball and for how long. I have written and posted a short article on the subject in the “Articles” section of the PGJ web site. I encourage all to take a look and learn just how much a part of the pinball hobby Gary is and continues to be.

WIZARD BLOCKS—While you’re checking out the story on Gary, you might want to take a look at “Article3” which is entitled “Wizard Blocks: A Snapshot In Time.” I had forgotten this article was there and I think it has relevance today. It originally appeared in the PGJ back in 2001 and is mostly an interview with designer Pat Lawlor who developed the game as the third in the P2K line of games. It was only partially completed when Williams closed the pinball division and Pat presents a detailed look at the game in this article. There has been a lot of talk about Wizard Blocks lately and this article may serve to answer many of the questions that have been raised.

NATIONAL PINBALL MUSEUM—The latest issue of Play Meter was in my mailbox today and it contains a little more pinball than usual. What’s New features a description of the new Stern Avatar game as well as a Bay Tek offering called Pull My Finger. This ticket redemption game asks the player to pull the monkey’s finger to launch a ball onto a playfield and hit rotating targets. Helping out are automatic flippers. (Hey! It’s got a ball, playfield and flippers … it’s pinball.) In the Critic’s Corner, Too pages, Josh and Zach Sharpe discuss the pros and cons of Avatar and on the Trade Accessories page we learn about the new pinball price guidebook from Pinballeric.

Now we come to the National Pinball Museum. First in FEC News we learn about a company called Sacoa who’s system will “allow visitors to enjoy coin-free play using rechargeable cards, as well as to handle the museum’s retail sales, admission tickets and annual passes.” Then, on a full two page spread, is the announcement that the museum is about to open in it’s permanent location in Washington DC. Creator David Silverman has been working toward this goal for many years and it appears that it is finally going to be a reality. The grand opening is set for December 4, 2010. If any of you DC area collectors plan on going, I’d love a report on the event. Contact me if you’re interested. The museum is located at the Shops at Georgetown Park, 3222 M Street N.W., Suite M325, Washington, D.C. Good going David!! Check it out at

PINBALL LIST & PRICE GUIDE—This 2011 publication from Mr. Pinball has just arrived at the PGJ offices. It’s so new that I can still smell the ink. It’s the eagerly awaited newest edition of this publication that is usually available from the PGJ at Pinball Expo, but it was not. Daina had a few printer set backs but all is well now and the Cool Stuff section of the PGJ website has been updated to include it. I have some wrapped up and ready for your name and address so feel free to order your’s today.

RENEW YOUR SUBSCRIPTION—or start a new one! This is a time when those actions are particularly important because there is shorter times between issues and less time to bug you to renew. If you’re unsure of when your subscription is over, please just email and ask, I’ll be happy to tell you. Get others to subscribe, remind others to renew … I’m getting the issues out but I need your help to keep this all going. Thanks

EVENT DATES for 2011—If you are an organizer of a pinball event or know one, please get the word out that I want to list as many of them as possible on the 2011 calendar and I need to know as soon as possible. I’m happy to put the name of an event on the dates they occur as a service to them and the PGJ readers. However, if any organizer would like to place an additional ad in an empty day box, please ask them to contact me.

Speaking of the calendar, I have to get back to it so that will be enough of this version of the newsletter. To all our US subscribers, have a happy Thanksgiving, JIM

PinGame Journal Newsletter- Pre-Labor Day Edition-September 4, 2010

Not only are we at the beginning of a new month, it’s also the time that a new issue of the PGJ goes to print. The issue has all kinds of cool information in it both on SS and EM games as well as a show report, a custom game and a little history. This is issue #142 and will be dated July, 2010 as required by the PGJ’s permit with the USPS. Issue #143 will be dated September, 2010, so we’re catching up!

I’ll be making up the mailing list for this issue in the next day or two so if you have not renewed your subscription or want to start one, NOW is the time to let me know.

If you want to check on your current subscription, please ASK: I’ll be happy to let you know. Also, that information can be found on your mailing label in the form of the number of the last issue in your subscription, however, if it is over or about to be, I usually put a notice to that effect where the number would be. Please seriously consider renewing, as this is the only way I can afford to pay the printing and mailing costs for an ink and paper publication.

I mentioned this is a new month and if you’re marking that milestone with the PGJ Calendar then you know this month we feature designer John Popadiuk. The photo of John (wearing his PGJ t-shirt) and his lovely wife Michelle was taken in their Chicagoland home. Also this month on the calendar I added an extra day! But that’s ok since after leaving one off in August, we’re even! (for now) In spite of what the calendar says, rest assured that September still only has 30 days. In the interest of full disclosure, I also missed by one day the start of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah which begins at sundown on Wednesday the 8th (not the 7th as indicated by the calendar). I will atone for that on Yom Kippur and will strive to get it right in 2011.

This month we celebrate the birthday of designer Greg Kmiec (9th) and artist Margaret Hudson (24th). The PGJ, as I’m sure do you all, wish them both a very happy day.

For those of you in the Chicago area, I’ve been asked to let you know that the pinball documentary, Special When Lit will be shown as part of the Chicago United Film Festival. The film will be showing at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago on Friday September 10th at 7:00 pm and will be followed by a Q&A session. The Music Box Theatre is located at 3733 N. Southport Ave. Chicago, IL 60613. For more information check out:

Don’t forget to support pinball shows. As the cover of issue #141 touts, there’s a TON of them recently and that couldn’t be better. There are three in October (Pacific Pinball Expo, White Rose Gameroom Show, Pinball Expo) and links to more info on each are available at the PGJ web site. While you’re there check out the latest info from Stern and other areas of the world of pinball at the Pinball In The News and PinGame Update pages.

For those of you who haven’t heard, Keith Elwin recently won first place in the “A” division of the PAPA World Pinball Championships. Winning this prestigious tournament once is quite an accomplishment, but this win marked the THIRD consecutive first place finish for Keith! Randy Elwin and brother Keith are the creators of the DVD entitled Pinball 101 (available from the ad in each PGJ and on line at the Cool Stuff page of the PGJ web site) which teaches the viewer how to play pinball. Obviously Keith is well qualified to give out instruction. Congrats Keith!

CALLING ALL WRITERS. The PinGame Journal is always looking for people to write about what they love best---PINBALL. I particularly would like to see more articles on electromechanical games. Discussions of any aspect is welcome from repair and restoration to game play and artwork. Any other coverage is welcome, too, like pinball clubs, leagues, shows and info on any pinball game for most any reason. If you think you’d like to take a shot at something like this, drop me a line and let me know what you have in mind.

Well, that looks like about it for this time, I’ve got a lot of PGJ paperwork to do and have to get to it. I hope everyone has a good Labor Day Holiday (those outside the USA, have a good weekend!) Don’t forget to renew your subscription and to support pinball events, but most importantly don’t forget to PLAY PINBALL! JIM

PinGame Journal Newsletter 6/26/10

Greetings pinballers. Summer has arrived and so has yet another issue of the PinGame Journal. Arrived at the printer, that is. So it will be about five days till it’s in the mail and on its way to you but hey, that’s four issues and the year is only about half over! It will be issue #141, May 2010. As explained in #140 and this new issue as well, as a periodical mail permit holder I am limited by a number of restrictions and one requires sticking to the original schedule in effect when the request for the permit was filed. At that time I listed eight issues a year, skipping the months of January, June, August and November. So that’s we’re doing. However, we’ve always gone by the numbers and they go in order and are up to date, so go by them, not the months.

The cover of #141 talks about the amazing growth in the number of pinball shows recently and one is coming up that is near and dear to my heart, for one thing, because it’s local. The Michigan Pinball Expo will take place on July 8-11 at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. It’s the first time a full fledged pinball show is based in the metro Detroit area and I’m sure Koz and crew are planning to make this a “really big shoe!” So check out the details at and try to make it over to the Oakland Center to see it in person.

News just reached us that our friends over at the Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade in Portland have won the $25,000 prize in the Stride gum Save The Arcades 2 contest. GK pledges to use the funds to open up more public space in the building making more room for games and adding to their already impressive pinball line up. For more detail check out their website at

It’s not too late (barely) to win an Iron Man pizza party from Stern Pinball. Submit a photo of your gameroom, winner will be announced on June 30. Go to the NEW Stern web site for details at

Well, now that the issue is at the printer I have to get the database caught up and get them a mailing list, so I have to get back to work. As you all know, if there’s one thing that is vital to real, live, ink and paper publication, it’s subscribers. Printing and mailing costs are the same, in general, no matter how many subscribers we have and if there are not enough to pay those costs, the magazine can not be produced. I’ll be sending out emails soon, but if you think your subscription is up, or far worse you don’t HAVE a subscription, click on over to the PGJ web site and remedy that situation. All of us will be happy you did!

Hey, go play some pinball! JIM

PinGame Journal Newsletter FRIDAY, APRIL 16, 2010

Issue #139 has been mailed and reports indicate it has made it to most subscribers by now. On the other hand, I just got mine three days ago so if you haven’t seen yours yet, give it time. Thank you to those who have sent along comments, all positive so far.

There’s a lot of catching up to do as many items didn’t make it into the past few issues. I’ll be working to get those in print as well as keeping current with all the stuff happening in pinball. To that end, I traveled to three shows in three weeks: First, the newly named Amusement Expo (combining the ASI and AMOA shows) in Vegas and of course a stop by the newly relocated Pinball Hall of Fame for a visit with Tim and Hippy. Next was my first trip to the Texas Pinball Festival giving in to organizer Craig Hassel’s invites since the show started and fitting in a side trip, snow and all, to see PGJ Woodrail Editor Bob Herbison’s collection. Then it was off to Milwaukee and the Midwest Gaming Classic which boasted a surprising number of pins along with a lot of video game stuff and a side trip to Tom Taylor’s “warehouse” and his add-a-ball heavy collection. Unfortunately the Ohio show was the same weekend but I will be at Pinball At The Zoo tomorrow!

Also this Sunday out in Portland, at the classic Ground Kontrol arcade the second annual Portland Pinbrawl will be held. They currently have over 120 registered for the event but it’s not too late to join! More detail can be found at

Things are really poppin’ on the pinball in the media front too. Recently the Simpsons opened with the family bouncing around a giant pinball machine, Stern pinball was featured a few times on the History channel and the Cartoon Network [adult swim] hit, Aqua Team Hunger Force featured pinball in an entire segment. Bruce Clark just emailed to say he saw a PODS commercial that featured the storage of a pinball machine and is sending the video for inclusion in a future Pinball In The Media presentation.

It was recently announced that there is an IRON MAN pinball release party scheduled for May 7, 2010. In fact, there will be FOUR of them held around the country at the same time. They are all open to the public. Check the PinGame Journal web site and PINBALL IN THE NEWS to see an Aqua Team clip and find release party details. Also take a look at the new PINBALL UPDATE page to see what’s going on at the Stern factory, read the latest pinball repair tips and a list of near-future pinball events.

We leave you with this PinGame Journal ADVISORY: It was recently reported on the UK Pinball Group that one poster found a Saturday April 31 as well as a Saturday May 1 on the PGJ calendar thus giving the reporter a three day weekend. That is true. In fact, in an effort to allow more time for pinball activities, the PGJ has granted this extra day to all followers of the silver ball. In addition, we have arranged for an extra day on Friday, September 31. Friday is a work day, but work is only required on the first day so again, a three day weekend is created. A dilemma arises with the extra Wednesday, November 31. However, a one day break, mid-week, is nearly as good as a three day weekend. Finally, the cosmos, being at least to some degree governed by the time-space continuum, has seen fit to mitigate our efforts by removing the 31st day of August from the calendar. However, that leaves a net two day gain for the year! We all here at the PinGame Journal hope you use your days wisely, as every effort will be brought to bear to see to it that this will not happen again--PinGame Journal

SUBSCRIBE TO THE PINGAME JOURNAL! Renew your existing subscription, start a new one or get one for a friend. Subscribing is the best way to help keep magazine going.

PinGame Journal Newsletter-Christmas Eve 2009 Edition

Season’s Greetings to all pinball lovers!

PINBALL IN THE NEWS … There are two new items of interest at on the Pinball In The News page. The first item answers a lot of the recent questions about the viability of Stern Pinball with the announcement of a financing deal. This deal looks to help the company weather our nation’s current financial storm. The other tells of a new pinball game app for the iPhone created by John Popadiuk. Check them both out!

WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED …There is another new item at the site which is a response to the question, “Oh, it’s ANOTHER black shirt?” The answer is, “No, it’s Royal Blue!” The new PinGame Journal T-shirt has arrived and is available in the COOL STUFF section in a variety of sizes.

THE 2010 PGJ PINBALL CALENDAR … is in the mail and should be in the hands of MOST subscribers by now. If you are a subscriber and have not received yours yet please be patient. It’s only been a little over a week and our friends at the USPS are just a little busy with packages and gifts at the moment. Plus, it normally can take up to three weeks for an issue to get to all subscribers. At the same time we’re about to be finished with the 2009 calendar and I believe we all survived the fact that I put Thanksgiving on a Friday and also got the first and last nights of Chanukah wrong!

THIRTY DAYS HATH SEPTEMBER …April, June and November. Not wanting to break with tradition, while I think I got the holidays right for 2010, I apparently should have had that poem in mind while laying out the months in the calendar. Subscriber Edd Dicker enlightened me with this email: “I love the calendar! Too bad the extra day in April is offset by the day less in August. But we pick up one again in September! Nice!” While we’re on the subject, the March 2010 Midwest Gaming Classic is slated on the calendar for March 21-22. That happens to fall on a Sunday and Monday which seemed strange to me and I checked the email from Dan Loosen, the show’s organizer, and those were the dates. Recently he noticed and emailed me to say, “I can’t believe I gave you the wrong dates to my own show!” So please note that the 2010 Midwest Gaming Classic is on Saturday and Sunday, March 27-28. Check out for details.

WHAT’S THE SCORE? … from Dutch subscriber Oscar van Driel comes news of a new Twitter site with the goal of recording high scores on pingames and encouraging others to beat those scores and tweet the result. For those tweeters among you, the site is at It’s brand new so you can be among the first to post a score!

NEXT ISSUE … is #138, February, 2010 and is done and at the printer. This is the last in a series that Clay Harrell will produce in his quest to help the PGJ Publisher get past the challenging year that was 2009. While many will miss his unique style, we’re hopeful that we haven’t seen the last of it, at least in short bursts. We also have heard from contributors to those issues offering their continued contribution to the magazine. We look forward to those articles and thank Clay for his help, wishing him well in the coming year.

That’s about it for this time. Remember to renew your subscription (or start one!) as it’s the single best way to insure that the PGJ will continue. We are always looking for help in other ways including the contribution of articles. Feel free at all times to contact me at Happy Holidays! JIM

September, 2009--Greetings Lovers Of Pinball Everywhere

HELP THE PINGAME JOURNAL HELP YOU! We’re looking for a few good photos of your games for the 2010 Pinball Calendar, see below. But first, speaking of photography …

FLASH! Pinball 101 is a reality. It’s been rumored for years, only whispered about in back alleyways, but now it has surfaced and is available from the PGJ. You’ll find a review in issue # 135 of the PGJ, in fact, you’ll find 101 reviews. It’s a very well produced instructional video that actually teaches pinball skills and techniques and entertains at the same time. Check it out in the “Cool Stuff” section of the PGJ site. The response has been MASSIVE, and we’re filling orders in the order they were received, so please be patient. While you’re at the site, take a look at the special lower price for the 2009 Mr. Pinball Price Guide. It’s a price performer.

As subscribers know, issues of the PGJ have been FLYING out the printer’s door lately, even two issues in the same envelope! This is in large part due to the effort of Clay Harrell who has been producing issues to help the PGJ make its eight issue obligation to the post office during this challenging year. Gary Flower has been acting as organizer for the project and Clay’s style and focus has been a welcome addition to the overall mix. Now if we can only get it all in one issue, THEN we’ll have something. Only time will tell.

The Cool Stuff section of the PGJ has some … cool stuff so check it out. Pinball is alive and well “out there” with magazine and newspaper articles and radio interviews as well. Pinball continues to be seen in television and the movies and clips of those will be included in future PGJ Media Clips DVDs and presented at various pinball events such as the Pacific Pinball Expo and Pinball Expo in October. Speaking of October, and the other eleven months …

The 2010 version of the Pinball Calendar is taking shape. Capcom artist, Stan Fukuoka has kindly agreed to create the cover pinup art as he did in 2009 and he’s hard at work as we speak. Thanks, again, Stan! Photos are accumulating and I’m actually hoping to get it in the mail BEFORE the start of 2010!! What a concept. In fact, I’m hoping to have it done and printed to take with me to the Pacific Pinball Expo in early October. Remember, this calendar will be distributed as a regular issue of the PGJ so a new or renewed subscription would be wise.

(by the way, take a pen or pencil and go to the 24, 25, and 26 boxes of September on your 2009 PGJ Calendar and write the letters AMOA and Then go to the November page and cross the AMOA out of the same days in that month.—thanks)

HELP THE PINGAME JOURNAL. I have a favor to ask of you guys, my 2000 closest friends. I need some photos of some games to finish the calendar and time has pretty much run out and the deadline is Sunday, 6 pm. The only way this will work is if a few kind souls with good digital cameras, the games we need and spare time in the next day or three, to offer help, so I’m asking. I’m also very nervous that I’ll get too much help and wind up disappointing some of you guys and I really don’t want that. SO, if you think you’re interested, read some of the detail at the end of this Newsletter and just for that, here is the first in a series of thanks. THANKS.

Also for the calendar we have a no show left behind policy so I’m asking all SHOW OPERATORS or those who know SHOW OPERATORS to make sure I have your dates for events in 2010 if available. Also if you’re interested in supporting the calendar project with a “box” ad in a specific month, contact me by Sunday at

Speaking of shows, one of our favorites is having a special edition in October. Pinball Expo will be presenting its TWENTY-FIFTH show starting on the 14th of the month. I know Rob, along with Mike and all those involved are making a special effort to make this one the best. There are many good shows out there today, but after the speakers, the exhibitors and the games, the Stern tour and the dozens of designers, artists and other industry people in attendance makes this a show unlike any other. Check out the excitement at

I guess that’s it for now, I’m leaving town till Sunday, but I get email on my phone so I’ll stay in touch. Thank you all for your support of the PGJ whether in the past or present, or by subscribing or in some other way. It really is all appreciated. JIM

PinGame Journal Newsletter 7/28/09

Greetings To All!! Our next issue, #133, is in the hands of the United States Postal Service. This is another issue from Clay Harrell who has offered to help out by getting some issues out after I was distracted by an illness from late in 2008 and into the first part of 2009. I’m working my way back to full steam and moving ahead. If you want to know more details about how things are going, check out Twitter at I try to update that every couple of days or sooner with information on the magazine and some current events in the world of pinball. Our Foreign Bureau Chief, Gary Flower, is just home from vacationing in Turkey where he was resting up for two events, both in the UK. First, on the 24th thru the 26th is the European Pinball Championship and the UK Pinball Show and the next week the IFPA comes to town with its World Championships. These events and many others are shown on the PGJ Calendar (Issue #130). Speaking of the calendar, today the 17th, it shows the birthday of artist Greg Freres and on the 29th is Paul Faris’ birthday. Happy Birthday Greg and Paul! Speaking of the UK, word just reached us of a pin-sighting in the new Harry Potter movie. To quote the UK pinball group, “watch out for the scene at the Burrows where Harry goes out to the shed and pokes through Mr Weasley's collection of old junk muggle artifacts. There is a blurry panning shot of a table and I was so surprised I blinked and missed which one it was. Hopefully a more eagle eyed person with a heads up it is coming will catch its name.” If you see it, let me know! There was a slight mistake in the show listing in issue #132. The White Rose (York) show that happens in October had its web address misspelled. It is (sections below have hyperlinks built in, if they don't work, refer to the version attached to this email) Speaking of shows … the big PAPA tourney is coming soon (August 13-16) and subscriber Jon would like anyone who is attending or lives in the area to know … “If you are headed to PAPA 12 this year there is a stop just up-wind from there that I would love to share with you. I visited this location last year and was really impressed by the large collection of games in great working order. This place is a diamond in the rough, no pretense about it, just a warehouse space decorated with backglasses, playfields and other coin op memorabilia that just happens to contain over 170 pinballs, mostly electromechanical. All this and just ten bucks grants you access for 4 hours of free play! The schedule last year was Friday 7 - 11 pm and Saturday noon to 4 pm. I know you are thinking to yourself, “But wait, I know everything about pinball, how come I don't know about this place?” Good question! So come out and support Pinball Perfection just 20 minutes away from PAPA. I’ll see you there.” Museum Watch …

“There is an upcoming exhibition at The Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania called ‘Funland,’ which opens Friday July 24, and pays homage to the art of 1970s pinball — a time when visuals of wizards, dragons, and space freighters reigned supreme. Artists Brian Holderman and Mike Budai, in collaboration with PAPA (Professional & Amateur Pinball Association) and art collective Unicorn Mountain, have designed two all-new machines for the event. The art art is playable, and PAPA will also have a collection of vintage machines on hand for hours of fun.

And this from our friend David Silverman …

Music Pinball Hall of Fame opens at the Merriweather Post Pavilion

The National Pinball Museum has launched the Music Pinball Hall of Fame, a permanent arcade exhibit at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.

What better way to spend a Saturday evening than to take in a show, then shuffle up the boardwalk and past rolldown doors with a beach arcade feel, only to find yourself in the middle of vintage pinball heaven? Just drop some quarters into the pinball game of your choice, and take it for a five-ball spin.

The Music Pinball Hall of Fame is located at the Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, Maryland. The pinball games are open only during show hours at the Pavilion, so check out their website at for hours and directions.

Sponsored by the National Pinball Museum,

There’s TONS more wild and wacky stuff happening in the world of pinball and most of it winds up in the pages of the PinGame Journal. As subscribers are realizing, the issues are coming fast and furious now, so don’t miss the boat … and don’t miss the 2010 Pinball Calendar that will be part of any new or renewed subscription! We rely heavily on subscriber support so please take a minute to renew your subscription. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at, but subscribe, renew, support. It is vital to the survival of the PGJ. Thanks, JIM

PinGame Journal Newsletter 4/15/09

Greetings Pinball Lovers the world ‘round! Welcome to the latest PinGame Journal Newsletter and for our US readers, HAPPY TAX DAY!

First I’m saddened to report that pinball pioneer, Norm Clark has died. Norm designed over 70 games and presided over many more as VP for Pinball Design at Bally. There will be more details and background in various publications soon but I wanted to let you all know.

Never being one to hide my dirty laundry, let’s start off with the first real mistake I’ve found in the PGJ 2009 Pinball Calendar. Sure, I put a backglass graphic on the Tony Ramunni page in January for a game (Scorpion) for which he only did the playfield and I added an extra day for the Midwest Gaming Classic last month, but this one is a little different. The Amusement & Music Operators Association (AMOA) show happens this September 24-26. The problem is that the calendar shows it on those same dates in November. So use your whiteout and black ink pens to fix it and maybe no one will notice …..

Click yourself over to the PGJ website and look in on Current Pinball Events to find out about the collaboration between Stern Pinball and Pinball Rebel. The latter is interested in hooking up people who want to play games with places that have games to play. The idea is that the more people play pinball on location, the more locations will want to have pinballs and, well, you can figure out the rest.

ALSO while you’re there, click on and view the recent video from ESPN’s Sports Center focusing on our friend Todd MacCulloch on his switch from professional basketball to professional pinball.

It’s All Happening At The Zoo! Pinball At The Zoo is only a few days away and it looks to be a well rounded pinball event. Check out the latest news about this popular show at

So, Jim, all this is fine, but you produce a magazine! WHEN are we going to see an issue? Good question. The very short answer is that I’m working on it. A little more detail is that things have been very hectic around the Schelberg household lately on a number of fronts including business, family and health. Lot’s of time and more importantly mental energy spent on all of that has left less than usual for the PGJ.

However, the magazine remains one of the bright spots in my life and I work on some aspect of it every day. I attended the recent ASI show in Vegas and visited at length with Tim Arnold and the Pinball Hall of Fame, I traveled to the Milwaukee Midwest Gaming Classic with a stop at Stern to see what they were working on and will, next week, spend a day in Kalamazoo at Pinball At The Zoo. I have issue #131 well on its way to completion and there are efforts underway (details later) to help out with future issues. So hang in there and stay tuned!

Speaking of the Pinball Hall of Fame and Tim Arnold … The PHOF IS ON THE MOVE! For the last couple of years when I made my semi-annual visit to the “quaint fishing village of Las Vegas” as Tim calls it, he would drive me by various locations under consideration to become the new PHOF home. There are a number of issues that will be detailed in a future PinGame Journal, but the bottom line is that a building has been purchased that is half the distance to the Strip and twice as big. Plans call for not only nearly 400 pinball machines but also some of the cool arcade attractions Tim has collected. The building is across the street from the Liberace Museum on Tropicana so it is much more in the sphere of the Strip than the present location. And, the best, is that the building is owned not rented.

However, ownership brings with it a whole new set of issues to be resolved, even for a non-profit organization like the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club and Tim is in the midst of dealing with them as we speak. Moving day looks to be farther away than Tim hoped. but plans to keep at least one location, maybe for a few days both, open for business during the moving process.

FINALLY … Our friend, the late Russ Jensen, left the pinball hobby with a number of legacies and one of them is his pinball repair book, “Russ Jensen’s Pinball Troubleshooting Guide.” Russ's family has had a number of requests to reproduce the book but they lost the most current version when Russ's computer crashed shortly after his passing. I offered this forum to help. So, if anyone has a recent copy of the book that they would be willing to loan for reproduction, please get in touch with me.

Well that’s it for now. Please help by renewing your subscription if you have one or starting one if you don’t. That is the single best thing you can do to insure that we “keep up the good work” like many of you have instructed. I’ll do my best. Thanks to all of you. JIM

(as usual, I sent this to every email address I have in my database so if you’d rather not receive these in the future, please let me know.)

3/6/09--Greetings to all pinball people.

To start this PGJ Newsletter we have a special “the ink is still wet” announcement from Chuck Hess and the Big Guys about their Nucore Pinball 2000 project:

“The Big Guys Pinball team is pleased to announce that a licensing agreement for Nucore has been finalized. WMS Gaming Inc. approved a licensing agreement between Big Guys Pinball, Illinois Pinball Corporation and The Pinball Factory. This agreement will allow Big Guys Pinball to market and sell Nucore worldwide. Nucore will be exclusively distributed by Pinball Life of Huntley, Illinois ( Big Guys Pinball will be releasing Nucore pricing and component details in early March. Visit for more details.”

Reached for comment, Nucore co-creator Chuck Hess exclaimed, “Building Nucore has been like a handful of guys playing iron-man football against the Chicago Bears. With legal issues behind us it’s now like the defensive line decided to hit the showers early and there is nothing between us and the end-zone.”

This is an amazing product that will instill new life into all Pinball 2000 games. Chuck and partner Don Weingarden presented their “baby” at Pinball Expo 08. Look for a full review of the Nucore system in a near future PGJ issue. But for now (well, by tonight when I get home from work) you can find more info at the PGJ web site ( in the form of a mini-interview with Chuck Hess.

Speaking of announcements, as the last of the 2009 calendars (PGJ issue #130) are finally getting to subscribers (It’s just a shame that something sent out nearly two months ago has not yet been delivered by the post office to some people … and they get to increase their cost this May for that stellar “service.”) I am gratified to have received basically 100% positive comments. I was concerned that some subscribers would not like a calendar for an issue, but either that is not the case or those who don’t, have decided not to share that with me. In either case, thank you. With that in mind, Alex Fuchs, creator of the calendar for the past few years, has offered the opportunity for the PGJ to continue this recent annual tradition and I have accepted. While I’m not sure what focus it will take, one thing is certain: We’ll get it done and printed BEFORE the start of 2010 (what a concept!). The delivery will, as usual, be the responsibility of the USPS, so if 2009 is going to be a year of change, we can only hope.

From the Honest Mistake Department comes the fact that Dan Loosen of the Midwest Gaming Classic sent in an ad to be included in the calendar and I just plain forgot it. It happens, fortunately not often, but it does. So I’d like to remind you all of this fine event that takes place on March 21-22 in Oconomowoc Wisconsin (30 min west of Milwaukee) at the Olympia Resort. (It seems I also “added” an extra day to the show on the calendar. It does not extend to the 23rd --- But, SHHHHH, don’t tell him, he might not notice!) Besides TONS of games (pinball and others) the show will feature guest speaker John Trudeau! Check out more details at .

While we’re at it, don’t forget the Ohio Pinball and Gameroom Show starting the day before the Midwest, on March 20 through the weekend. Check out details on that show at . The week before these shows, next week infact, the Texas Pinball Festival gets under way. It will be in gear from March 13-15 and you can learn more at . Not to play favorites, and to round out March as far as big shows go, the Fairfax Pinball Open will be held the weekend of March 27 and more info can be had at . (Boy, it’s great to have a calendar hanging right next to the computer with all this information on it … who could have possibly thought this up?)

Work continues on the next issue of the PGJ #131. I remind new subscribers that we don’t do an issue every month and we average about 8 issues a year. While there are many people who generously give their time and knowledge to creating parts of the magazine, this is basically a one person operation. I’m fond of saying that I never could have gotten through 18 years (this May) without going insane or worse if I had the pressure of a monthly schedule. Most recently, I dropped pretty much everything to focus on the calendar and have been spending time recently catching up with all the stuff I let go (pinball, PGJ, and life issues). While there are still some major hurdles I need to get over, I am starting to get back to the issues and am hoping #131 will be done soon. Thank you to all subscribers for your patience.

Also, thanks to Megan Riggs of What’s On, The Las Vegas Guide ( for including our favorite Vegas pinball place, the Pinball Hall of Fame, in the current edition. Tim and the Hall will be making an official announcement soon, but the operation is moving. In summary it will be to a building owned not rented, will have about twice the space and be located half the distance to the Strip than the current location. Very cool. (

Word just into the PGJ from Gary Flower of the massive auction of the property of Michael Jackson. The on line catalogue has a few familiar items in it as part of the Amusements, Arcade Games & Entertainment section. .

Meanwhile, a lot of you reading this are NOT. What’s up with THAT? Get with it! Keep in mind that all of you who subscribe or renew now will be on the list to get the 2010 Pinball Calendar as part of your subscription. Don’t let it get by you!

That will do it for now, thank you all for reading. Spread the word, support pinball! JIM

12/12/08 Greetings to all PinGame Journal Supporters

Since the last issue of the magazine was a bit more unusual than usual (#129 combined with the Pinball Expo Souvenir Guide) I thought why stop now! So the next issue, #130, will be even more unusual for an issue of the PGJ but pretty normal for a 2009 Pinball Calendar.

This PGJ Newsletter will deal with that upcoming issue. There is a message for all PINBALL EVENT ORGANIZERS further down, so pay attention!

The facts are these: Alex Fuchs, the creator of the pinball calendar for the past few years decided to skip 2009 due to personal issues that needed attention. He has every intention to return in 2010. While the prospect of no 2009 calendar saddened me (my 2008 edition is hanging a foot and a half from my head as I type this) I also heard from many others who felt the same.

The problem was money, as I nor anyone else I talked to was keen on fronting the few thousand dollars it would take to do the printing, not to mention spending the many, many hours it would take to create the calendar.

It wasn’t until I was driving to work three weeks ago that it occurred to me to make an issue of the PGJ the calendar and solve the money problem. So after some discussion, consideration and some discouragement, I decided to just go ahead and do it. Since then I’ve been spending those hours and hours working on the project. The focus became pinball artists. One month per artist’s art. Choosing the artists was not easy as there are way more than 12. Trust me when I say I went through nearly all of them looking at pros and cons to come up with the group I did. Some that you might think should be included are not and some you many never have heard of, are. The same was true in most cases in picking the art to show: It's not going to always be the most common examples. However, in all this I had a lot of help, especially in getting images to use.

Alex not only sent me the template file for the 2008 edition, he sent me photos of needed games that appeared in past calendars. Duncan Brown was invaluable as he graciously allowed me access to his vast collection of backglass images and responded to requests immediately, most recently last night! Clay Harrell invited me to his house and helped me photograph a number of his games for the project. Todd Seaver directed me to his online gallery of backglasses for me to pick from. David Silverman of the National Pinball Museum supplied his high quality collection of Roy Parker backglass art ( Charles Bombardier supplied a great photo of his ’61 Williams Metro glass (he’s looking for photos of the cabinet to restore his … if anyone can help, let me know.)

I also received the very kind assistance of the following pinball artists, who supplied photos of backglass art and in some cases, of original paintings: Paul Faris, Greg Freres, Pat McMahon, Kevin O’Connor, John Youssi.

One of the most frustrating parts of this project was choosing the artists and deciding who not to include. Two of those, Margaret Hudson and Stan Fukuoka, are friends, which made the decision even more difficult.

While Margaret has done only couple of games completely, she has had a hand in many dozens of others in many different ways and it was difficult to leave her out. She even did the graphic work to convert the current PGJ masthead to a digital vector file. However, as the realities of space became clear, I realized it was not to be and I only hope she’ll talk to me when I see her at Pinball Expo in October.

Stan is a talented graphic artist though his pinball exposure was limited to three games for Capcom, including the legendary Big Bang Bar. It is very cool that Stan has consented to provide art created especially for PGJ issues the past few holiday seasons and this one is no exception. He has submitted a calendar type “pinup” image that will grace the cover of this special PGJ edition.

EVENT ORGANIZER NOTE: I am planning to include pinball events’ names and web site addresses on the dates of events. Ed Klamp with help from Trent Augenstein has been collecting names and dates for the project but if you are not sure they have info for your event, please let me know. ALSO-- Unfortunately, this calendar project is turning out to be a little more expensive than usual so I’m accepting ads for events to be placed on one of the calendar pages the month before or of the show! At $60 per ad this is a good way to help us all and the cool part is that a reminder the show will be sitting there, staring people in the face for a whole month! I know this is short notice, but I need to know by Monday so contact me at if you’re interested.

If you know any organizers or are part of the staff for an event, please get this info to the right person as soon as possible so they don’t miss out!

Update: The 12 art pages and the cover are nearly done, the calendar part, thanks to Alex is framed out. I have to now start juggling month names and dates and information like holidays, ads and other info. There are only a few million other little details to deal with, but it’s getting there. I’m hoping to have it to the printer early next week and in the mail before this Christmas.

I say all that to say this. If you want this issue of the PGJ you need to be a subscriber. Marco Specialties ( has made a very kind offer to buy a quantity of this issue and offer it for sale to their customers. In return, there will be no back issues available from the PGJ until at least April 2009. SO—If you need to renew, DO IT …. If you have been thinking of subscribing, now is the time to act. If you haven’t been thinking of subscribing, now’s the time to start thinking! ( As usual, because time is short, at least let me know you want to join the PGJ and I can put you on the list and get your payment later.

Issue #131 is also well on it’s way to completion. This calendar thing has generated some interesting conversations and I’ll present some of them in #131. A number of other articles are ready to go including interviews about the new Stern game CSI and the third and final part of Paul Backer’s epic on Capcom’s Pinball Magic.

Big things are happening so don’t miss them. Subscribe or renew now. Thanks. JIM

Dear Pinball Lovers …

I’m sending out this special edition of the Pingame Newsletter to announce that Michael Shalhoub’s latest book, Pinball Compendium The Electro-Mechanical Years is now available from Schiffer Publishing. As many PGJ subscribers know, I always try to offer the lowest price anywhere on pinball books as a service to our supporters. This time is no exception however the place to buy the book has changed. I have found a place that is offering the book, at least for US buyers, at a price roughly equal to the PGJ COST price. That place is The link is as follows:

Interestingly enough, when I checked this site yesterday, the price was $49.95. Today, Saturday, November 8, going there to get this link, I see the price listed at $44.09!

You can get more info on the book and view sample pages here:

There may be some savings I can offer to European subscribers, especially to groups having a number of books shipped to one address so let me know if you are interested.

Thank you to all who responded to the last Newsletter expressing your desire not to be dropped from the PGJ subscriber rolls and saying, “ the check’s in the mail.” The mailing list for #129 has been submitted and the issue should be on its way by Tuesday. However, it’s not too late for the rest of you to help keep the PGJ alive by starting or renewing a subscription so you can get in on the next exciting issue, #130!—JIM

11-08 Greetings Pinball Lovers

I was sitting at the computer last evening after spending most of the weekend catching up on subscription stuff that has piled up since Pinball Expo. As I said in the past, my trusty helper, Sue, has retired and I'm left to do all the tasks she did. It's not difficult stuff, but it does take time and there are many little problems that crop up. So, if you are involved in any of them, please give me a break and try to help as much as possible. I love to get things resolved and done, finished, fixed, sorted.

Now that I have the database in near perfect order . I just sent out a number of group emails to certain subscribers who need to renew their subscriptions. It's great. I just send the email and little by little people respond with notes to please not let them miss an issue, the check's in the mail to sending a paypal payment right then and there. I tend to send these ramblings to anyone I have an email address for: subscribers, x-subscribers, back issue orderers, book buyers and even industry types so if the mood hits you, and you're NOT a subscriber, please feel free to become one. (Of course, if you wish not to get these in the future, please let me know.)

Speaking of industry types, I'm very sorry to have to report that a number of them who were working on Friday are not working now. I'm sure most of you have heard, but if not, there was a fairly hefty round of layoffs at Stern last week. There is not an official, accurate list of those involved so I won't name names at this point. Gary Stern has said that he is committed to making pinballs and this action was needed to survive in this weak economic period. Stern has a new game in sample production and at least two others nearly finished so apparently they can continue well into 2009 even with the reduced staff. The situation after that remains unclear. I'm sure you all join me in wishing those laid off all the best and in support for Gary and his Stern Pinball, Inc

The issue I'm about to send to subscribers is a little different than most. It is a combination PGJ issue #129 and the Pinball Expo Souvenir Guide Book. This issue was given out to registrants at Expo and also was for sale at the show. The typical PGJ issue is 32 pages long. This issue is a whopping 48! It's got all the stuff you've come to love in the PGJ plus some interesting information usually only available to Expo attendees. Plus, this issue will be mailed along with a Stern Batman flyer, not given out at Expo. SO, if you were at Expo and got this issue and DON'T want the Batman flyer, let me know and I'll not send you #129 and will increase your subscription by one issue. What a deal!

Well, I guess that's about enough for this time, but there's LOTS bubbling just under the surface and you won't know about it if you're not a subscriber, so fix that! --JIM

April 4, 2008--GREETINGS to all former, present and future PGJ Subscribers. One purpose of this edition of the PGJ Newsletter is to report on the progress of the next issue of the PinGame Journal (#126). It’s progressing. As periodically is the case, silly things like work and family matters have, of late, taken my attention away from the serious business of pinball. Work is still a challenge, but I find myself getting back into pinball so an issue can’t be far behind. I’m hoping for the issue to hit the printer by mid-month and then be in the mail soon after that. As with the last two issues, I’m also hoping to get another issue (#127) done very soon after this one. If this all happens (a lot of hoping) that will be four issues by the end of June which will keep me on track with the discussion in the last newsletter explaining a workable number of issues per year, for me, is eight. Time will tell.

BREAKING NEWS! Just a few days ago, Fox Business News visited the Stern Pinball factory and filmed a segment on the new Indiana Jones machine and its designer John Borg. Go to the PGJ web site at and click the link to see the video. Also recently, the History Channel’s Modern Marvels crew spent a day at Stern for an upcoming segment.

While not exactly breaking news, another recent video has come to our attention chronicling a visit to High End Pins and its one man team, Chris Hutchins. You’ll find a link to that video at the PGJ site also. If you are not in a hurry for any of the above videos, they are all slated to be included in PGJ Media Clips, Vol. 3 which should be available by fall.

WOODRAILS and woodlegs too! While there is plenty of stuff in the PGJ “publication pouch” and on its way to me for publication, one subject that could always be covered more is woodrail era games.

SEND WOODRAIL ARTICLES. Bob Herbison has been fantastic in this area but it isn’t fair to ask him to do it alone. I know we have readers who think a classic game is Black Knight 2000 and that’s fine. But there are plenty more who long for the simpler times of the woodrail or at least EM games, so stories about them would be very welcome. Contact me and we’ll talk.

Ok, so what’s in the next issue so far? At the moment, there is the final part of the Solar Fire restoration by Phoebe Smith. She also throws in some comments about Pinball Expo and her experience giving a seminar on restoration. We have letters from readers and one from a game show host. Well, not actually FROM a game show host but a reader who is acquainted with WOF host Pat Sajak and asked him some questions relating to pinball. Other areas are still a bit fuzzy, but in the mix are show reports, product reviews, the latest from the Pinball Company and Illinois Pinball and more.

The issue will end with a lengthy discussion with Lyman Sheats, Jr. For those who don’t know, Lyman is a collector, player and programmer who is currently working at Stern and has spent the last few years designing Stern’s new pinball operating system. While the operating system will be the subject of a future article, this time we start to focus on his first full programming assignment in a long time, Spider-Man. But we got a little off the subject and into some interesting detail about life at Stern and game design philosophy. Lyman and I have been working on this for almost a year and most of it is stuff you have not read, or heard, any place else. Don’t miss it.

That should do it for now and I’ve got to get back to work. If you are not a subscriber, please help support the effort and become one. “Thank You” to all who do or will support the magazine: It wouldn’t happen without you! JIM

January, 2008--Greetings all PinGame Journal supporters and well-wishers. The BIG news, at least for me, is that the January, 2008 Issue, #124, is in the mail and working it’s way across the country and to points beyond. It’s always of interest to me how it can get to say Texas or even California, from its southern Illinois mailing point, BEFORE getting to me, in Michigan, only one state away! A while back I asked you all to let me know when an issue got to you and many, many responded. It was great. EXCEPT, that I felt obligated to try to answer you all individually and there were hundreds. So, I’m not asking that this time. I will ask that you all give our poor US Postal Service time to get the PGJ to you all.

Just because you hear of someone in Florida who got theirs (or even in Austrailia), it doesn’t mean you were left out if didn’t get yours in Ohio yet. Rest assured that I probably don’t have mine! On the other hand, please feel free to check with us if you really do think your issue has gone AWOL. Or if it comes damaged. We’re happy to send out replacements when needed.

You would think (I would) that given the three or four months that have past since the last issue, I’d be able to get an issue out without mistakes. You’d be wrong. Proof reader, among other things, Gary Flower headed off a number of them, but at least one got through that was down to me. It is a date that should have been January 18th, but I printed January 19. The subject is the pinball segment set to air as part of ABC’s Good Morning America this Friday (January 18th …). Stern produced a one off GMA model that was to be shown in the January issue of the PGJ, but that was when the segment was scheduled for last month. It has been moved to this Friday, the 18th and will feature a number of Stern games as well as an appearance by Zach and Josh Sharpe to talk about the state of pinball. If you don’t catch it this Friday, January 18th, there will be a report in the PGJ and I’m pretty sure the segment will find its way into the soon to be released PGJ Media Clips Vol. 3. But if you are or know a Nielson family, make sure you or they watch the show to let the network execs know how much pinball can affect the ratings. January 18th, this Friday, ABC.

PGJ Fundraiser. It wasn’t easy. Not at all. But friend, collector, contributor and Expo speaker, Mark Bakula got tired of hearing me whine about how costs to produce the PGJ are going up while ways to off set those costs are limited. Mark knew I had collected a quantity of Williams game posters and suggested we sell some on Ebay and give the entire proceeds to the PGJ. Arranging that was a generous offer by Mark but he also knows I don’t give up stuff easily. I never really thought of selling anything given to me, as most stuff was to everyone, at no cost. But Mark finally convinced me this would be a win/win/win situation as it would support the PGJ, clean out a bit of my basement and those who bought them would be helping out the PGJ and enjoying their new poster. But that’s not all! Mark also suggested that since we were about to go to Pinball Expo I should ask the people who made the games to sign the posters and increase the appeal. I was skeptical and I really didn’t want to bother these guys. But, I made some calls and everyone asked said they’d be glad to help. I was amazed how nice everyone was. Thanks guys. More about this when the items are available.

And miracles of miracles, I’m actually working on the next issue now. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to try to get more issues out, hopefully eight. I’ve come to realize that eight is a number I probably can manage, especially if the great help from coming from contributors keeps up. Just look at the current and future issues to see who they are. Contributing writers, advertisers and subscribers all move things along and will help us keep the PGJ coming! Thanks to you all and that’s all till next time. JIM

May, 2006--Pingame Newsletter—Greetings to ALL ... All current subscribers should have their issue 115 by now and I know you’ve enjoyed it. Those who’s subscription is at an end … RENEW NOW!!

May marks the 15th Anniversary for the Pingame Journal. I was hoping to have a May, 2006 issue, but that’s not gonna happen and so it goes. I often tell people that much of the reason I haven’t burned out or gone insane after 15 years is due to our “casually monthly” publication schedule so why change now.

Speaking of May, I hope all of you who have the 2006 Pinball Calendar from Alex Fuchs realize the featured game is my 1948 Genco Triple Action which appeared on the cover of PGJ Issue #1. It’s the first game designed by Steve Kordek, Genco’s first game with flippers and the first game ever to have only two flippers at the bottom where they’ve been ever since. The photos in the calendar are special due to the digital edition of playfield scores and wording that have faded from this and every other example of this game I’ve ever seen. The stamping left indents in the wood which I followed to reproduce the graphics digitally, but have not yet restored the actual playfield. Thanks to Alex for letting me celebrate the PGJ’s 15th in this way and present the Triple Action playfield in its completed form.

As you may have read on the back cover of PGJ Issue #115, Mike Minchew led the effort to convert a few No Good Gofers pinballs into Mega Ball Frenzy games connected to EDS’s sponsorship of the Byron Nelson Championship this weekend. The games will be auctioned off and the proceeds given to charity. No need to go into detail here, there will be more in future Pingame Journals as well as more right now at the EDS/Byron Nelson/pinball site:

Don’t miss the EDS Minute video about the creation of the games. Also check out and bid on the custom game, signed by many of the greats of golf on ebay at:

ALSO—watch your next PGJ for some very special items. Mike, with the blessing of EDS, had special flyers and plastics, including a stand-up, made for the game. The PGJ will be sending a flyer and plastics to every subscriber. The stand-ups are very rare and we have a few that will be available to the lucky subscribers who get a voucher in their envelope for one of these beauties. I’ll have NO control over this, so don’t ask.

There’s lots of cool stuff going on all the time and the PGJ will get you in on the ground floor. All you have to do is subscribe and get others to do the same. It’s the main thing we need to help this all keep moving. Subscribers.

On the other hand, we could use a few more writers. People to cover shows, clubs and events. People to tell about the cool game they just got and why it’s so cool. People to write about anything as long as it concerns pinball. This really is your magazine, I just put it together.

Thanks to you all for your support and help with the PGJ. “Doing” this for 15 years is not really something that would drive me crazy but, instead, something to keep me sane with all the insanity that surrounds me. JIM

(3/6/04) Issue #103 should be in the mail Wednesday! Check out the unusual cover at our web site. (no secrets revealed!) Of course the BIG news is that it will disclose two of the biggest secrets in pinball history: How to play the "brick game" in Star Trek The Next Generation and the meaning of DOHO! I kind of went a little wild with the cover in their honor, but I like it. There's lots of other stuff there too, from a Norm's Nest game room to a bingo story, to Pinball On Record, to some interesting letters, to a few show reports, to part 4 of the History of Pinball and, believe it or not, even MORE! Don't miss out, subscribe or renew NOW! Help support PINBALL!

Also, the PGJ has be selected as the EXCLUSIVE US distributor for the new book by Federico Croci called Pinball Machines for Italy. This book describes the classic Gottlieb games that were produced in versions specifically for the Italian market. Contact the PinGame Journal for details.

(6/28/03) Issue #99 is at the printer and should be in the mail by Wednesday. The PGJ has reprinted two of its most popular T-shirts --- No Fear and Scared Stiff. The PGJ video tape project is done and explained in #99 as well. See details in the issue on both of these very interesting and long anticipated items! Issue 100 is just around the corner and we have lots of cool pinball surprises in store for readers of that issue and the next 100. Don't miss them, subscribe today!

(2/5/03) #97 has gone to press. We are getting more and more digital and this issue was placed on a ftp site and the printer got it that way ... no human contact. Not really always the best, but it is pretty convenient! This issue will be mailed with a Simpsons flyer as well as the flyer for the new ToPS tournament system from Stern. #97, among a ton of stuff, features a detailed article on this feature.

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