Tuesday, September 18, 2007

And soon I'll be hearing old winter's song

Many's the time when I've written posts about pinball. I make no excuses, it's a subject and a pasttime that I really enjoy. It's been on my mind a lot lately, for various reasons. Some of what follows may have been posted previously. Oh well . . .

1 - I think I finally decided on a theme, if not an actual design, for my next tattoo. Surprisingly enough, given this entry, that theme would be pinball. OK, sure, that's a start, but I'm not completely sure where to go from there. At first I was thinking of something incorporating the plunger, the shot gauge and a ball, which might indeed, be an interesting design in the right place. The concept of a pair of flippers as a tramp stamp was quickly discarded. The current thought is to do something with the classic trio of pop bumpers. I'll figure it out soon.

2 - Of course thinking of pinball in general makes me think of the poor old machine that's been sitting in the back room, neglected for way too long. It's the classic Williams game, Gorgar, from 1979, the very first talking pinball machine. Here is the IPDB entry. I played the hell out of the game at an arcade in Stratford, Connecticut when I had my first real job and lived in my first real apartment, post-college. Some years later, when I had my own house and what seemed like a disposable income, I was able to get my very own Gorgar machine. The IPDB entry above mentions that it has a seven word vocabulary, but the important thing is that the words were combined into several different phrases, the best, of course, being "You beat Gorgar." That phrase is usually quickly followed by the knocking sound that indicates a free game has been earned. The other words, for the record, are "me, speaks, hurt, got". But hey, even that isn't really the best part of the game. It has a heartbeat sound that gets faster and faster as you play, and that makes it even more exciting. Here is an MP3 of the promo record that was produced, which I just found on these amazing intrawebs.

3 - Combining parts 1 and 2, I'm thinking that maybe the tattoo design I'm looking for will be not just pinball-related, but Gorgar-related. Just the pop-bumper cap, perhaps?

Gorgar pop bumper cap
Or maybe a picture of the big red demon himself, or the hero dude? Lots of pics at the IPDB entry above. I dunno, on the one hand, the whole fantasy demon and/or warrior thing seems kind of played out for tat designs, but then again, if it's based on a classic pinball game?

4 - Searching earlier today for images to inspire me for the tat led me to several pages showing some very nicely restored pinballs. I have been pretty busy working on projects outside the house all summer, but as the weather begins to turn, I think it is time that I really get serious and get my old machine in working order. For a long time, all I've really had in mind was getting it operational, i.e. power up, lights on, bumpers working, etc., but it deserves more. And it's a pretty freakin' huge project from the looks of things --cleaning, painting, soldering, messing with electronics that I have no bloody right to be messing with. But damn, when I hear my very own machine saying "GORGAR speaks" when I power it up? Yeah, I won't be on the intrawebs, I'll be in the back room playing that silver ball.


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