In a former life I had a job working for a vending company in the Cleveland area. Part of the job entailed shopping out pinballs as they came in from the various bars getting them ready for their next location. And of course when finished you had to play them in order to ensure that everything was working properly.
During the 4 years I worked there, I became quite a fan of pinballs and though nowadays the industry is barely breathing, any stories about these machines brings back fond memories. So when I saw Joystiq’s story on the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas I was again longing for a local arcade to drop a few quarters.
The Joystiq story also got me thinking about which pinballs are my favorites. While that is certainly a tough choice I must also qualify it by saying that the vending company I worked for refused to buy Stern or Gottlieb pinballs instead staying with Bally, Williams and few from Data East so games from those companies will not be on my list. I am not sure why that was but the rumor was because they weren’t impressed with the reliability of the games which might now be considered funny as Stern is the only company still making pinballs. You will also not find any made after around 1995 as that is when I left the vending company and moved to South Dakota, not exactly a mecca for pinball aficionados.
As you can imagine, this list is strictly my opinion and based only on my aforementioned limited exposure to pinball manufacturers so feel free to chime in with your favorites