I remember it was a nice spring day. Mid 70's in northern California. I had a job, I had the girl, I had a great place to live. I was living the dream.
Something, however, was tugging at the back of my mind and had been for some time. I couldn't put it into words until one Saturday morning, lying in bed, it crystalized into a coherent thought. "I want a Data East Star Wars Pinball Game," I thought suddenly.
The journey started. I mentioned it to my girlfriend at the time in passing (while feverishly scouring Craigslist for my grail game). You see, I used to own one. Long before. I sold it to buy an engagement ring for my first wife. I should have kept the game.
Long story, long, I finally found one that was in Colfax. It was 2 thousand dollars and I wanted it. I asked my girlfriend if she wanted to go and she was all in. It was an adventure. Beautiful day, rented van, dinner on the way home. We were excited.
What we found when we got to Colfax was a Star Wars game that was sitting in a barn and was basically destroyed. I was somewhat dejected, but my girlfriend said we should get it anyways. We did. 1 thousand bucks for a machine that didn't even turn on.
It was a blessing in disguise. It took me two years (very slowly) restoring the game to it's former glory and it touched a part of me that to this day I cannot describe. It was like I had righted a wrong. The game was beautiful, played out of this world, and I loved it. And it loved me. That is how all of this started. I love to restore games to their former glory (and sometimes far beyond that). A pinball game is a piece of art. Sounds, colors, artwork, gameplay, stories. They bring out something in me that is a welcomed feeling. It feels like I am righting a wrong.
To this day, my wife (formally my girlfriend) share that memory of the ride up to Colfax on that beautiful California day. Loading that poor game in our rented van, having dinner on the way home. It was a fun day. A day of redemption for me, and a day of redemption for that Data East Star Wars game.