20 Years in the Making – A Dream Comes True [Photos]
We all have dreams - some of us have a dream car. Some of us dream of getting a boat, jet ski, or motorcycle. Some of us have a dream vacation destination. The dream I've had for the last 20 years was a little different...
I had a dream of owning a pinball machine.
But it was a very specific pinball machine.
A little backstory - when I was a teenager, like a lot of us, I plugged massive amounts of quarters into mall arcades. I grew up in Middlesex County and would play the games at the arcade that used to be right next to the movie theater at Menlo Park Mall.
There was one pinball machine in particular that I loved. It had lots of cool "toys" to bounce the ball off of, cool features, and fun art.
In 1994, the World Cup Soccer Tournament came to the USA, and Midway Manufacturing Company put out an official World Cup themed pinball machine.
Of all the things from childhood, that is one of the main happy memories that's stuck with me. It's something I enjoyed, looked forward to, and was good at. When I was 16 years old, playing that game, I said to myself that I would own it someday.
Over the years, every now and then I would poke around the internet just to see if it still existed. It would pop up on eBay, with sellers from exotic destinations and with prices way out of my reach.
Last year, I made my first trip to the Pinball Museum in Asbury Park, and it reignited the passion. Just for fun, I asked one of the managers if he was familiar with the World Cup game. He said that he was, and gave me a business card for a guy who buys, sells, and services classic arcade games.
I gave him a call. Not expecting anything aside from knowing the machine, when I asked about it, he actually said, "yeah, I have that one".
It was one of the few times in my life that I didn't know what to say.
We chatted on and off over the next couple of months. I had the mess with my home flood, which set the whole thing on to the back burner, but it was still in the back of my mind.
Something that my 16 year old self dreamed of having, was literally within reach.
I saved up my money, kept in touch with the seller, did the things that I had to do with my new home for repairs, etc, and then made the phone call.
I said, "Jim, I'm ready to go when you are".
This weekend, I took delivery.
I am now the proud owner of Bally/Midway's World Cup Soccer 94 pinball machine.
It may sound silly. It may seem like just a toy. But to me, it's the fulfillment of a dream. I proved to myself that I can do things that I've always wanted to do. I proved to myself that fulfilling something, even if it takes you 20 years, is one of the most satisfying things in the world.
Here are some pictures of my new pride and joy: