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Older News

... 24th October 2005: The Future is Now

Future Pinball, the logical successor to Visual Pinball, has finally reached the light of day as it was released two days ago. I'm all over it playing and experimenting a bit with the editor, and I tell ya, if you have a decent computer (most importantly a good video card), get it here, because it's simply the best you can get!

... 26th September 2005: Relaunch!

After a long time, Silverball Magic is back with a fresh look and new content! I've decided to overhaul the layout since it was about time to give the site a more professional and elegant appearance. In theory not much has changed, but I think the new colours and header graphics enhance the image quite a bit.

Here's what's new:

There is now a section in "My Pinball Machines" called "Related Articles" where I will put any pages I write about stuff that has to do with pinball, but isn't related to any specific pinball machine. The Stephanie Rogers meeting article now resides there and I have also written a new one about a topic I always had on my mind: what makes pinball special, why do people like it and can it hold up against today's modern forms of entertainment? Check out the article here.

The Stephanie Rogers meeting article and the page about The Machine: Bride of Pin*Bot have been revised, including better photos and some more info.

Several pages were updated to correct the last minor spelling and grammar mistakes I could find.

The audio recordings of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Stargate have been added to the articles.

I have learned that my digital camera was not operating at peak performance when I took all the photos you can find on this website, and in many cases this resulted in ugly line and dot noise. This doesn't have anything to do with the resolution or poor JPEG compression, it is the way my cam handles the picture compression internally. This is why I have exchanged lots of photos in the article about The Machine with new high-quality pictures I recently shot. Of course I cannot correct pictures of machines I no longer own, but I will try and take the best possible photos of future machines that appear on this website.

What's planned:

I wanted to complete both "Operator's Stuff" and "Visual Pinball", but then this site would still not be open for another three weeks or so. This is why I want to take my time with this and make it perfect while the finished content is up and running.

Enjoy this latest instalment of Silverball Magic!

... 1st August 2005: Boldly Go

Star Trek: The Next Generation has been finished; it's working, it's clean and it's touched up. I have completed the repair & restoration logs page and I've also updated the main article.

... 23rd July 2005: Meeting the Bride

In a most daring attempt, I rushed to Frankfurt last night to meet Stephanie Rogers - in person - and I chatted with her about more pin-ball and music stuff for a few hours. It was a rare and exclusive occasion, exclusive enough to warrant an article about it!

... 18th July 2005: Work in Progress

I added a little update section to the Stargate article in regard to the drop targets. An audio sample is still missing, but it will come soon!

I removed the mylar from STTNG's playfield and the result was a small catastrophe on the upper playfield. But I was able to touch it up nicely and a photo story of this has been added to the STTNG logs page.

... 11th July 2005: Stargate in Action

The Sin 2 announcement has been made and the official website is open at www.sinepisodes.com. Stargate arrived on Friday and I quickly embraced it and wrote an article about it. Beware: lots of detailed photos and text! An audio clip of a game will come soon.

When I looked over the CPU connectors in STTNG again, I noticed that there was a bridge between the connector on the CPU board and the one on the power driver board. On this bridge the wires met in another two connectors. I disconnected the bridge to inspect these connectors for any problems since I could not see any on the CPU board connector which I had suspected before. And guess what? The last time I had the machine running, I measured almost 5.05 volts arriving at the CPU board! This means that the bridge was the cause of the resistance and the low voltage, and reseating the connectors on it solved it! However, as Marvin always says, reseating doesn't fix it...

... 7th July 2005: It's Happening

On a non-pinball note, I want to spread the news that the first official and semi-official (hidden) information clearly states: SIN 2 is coming. Or rather "Sin Episodes", as the official name of the new game refers to its episodic release with one episode running about six gameplay hours, and all of them released via Valve's Steam publishing network. This is SO OMFG!! I'm one of the biggest Sin fans in this world; I was there when the game came out and it was my first person shooter debut as I had not played any FPS before, and Sin grabbed me with its style, comedy, story and realism. I played this game from start to finish thirty times, the last time being late 2004. Of course I'm not really into the game anymore since it's outdated for long, but I have very fond memories of it and the first year after its release I must have been working it 20 times already, the other ten times coming in bigger intervals until last year. And it's been great every single time (except that I now know every secret spot and the positions of all enemies and items in every level, making the game quite unspectacular). And Wages of Sin, the expansion pack which I had to look out on for a long time, was just as great.

And now it's happening, Sin 2 is finally around the corner. In the past it was suggested that Ritual Entertainment were working on it after releasing such games as Heavy Metal FAKK 2 and Star Trek: Elite Force II. The problem was that they didn't find a publisher to release Sin 2 since Sin 1 wasn't the big success it should have been, mostly due to Activision pushing the game out the door much too early, resulting in lots of big bugs (instead of big bucks, ha ha ha >_<). I always knew that they would make it one day, and recently checking Planet Half-Life revealed the news that Sin 2 was going to be released via Steam, without any publisher, in episodes, hence its official name "Sin Episodes". And the big news is that it's based on Valve's Source engine, the new tech wonder which powers Half-Life 2! It's kind of ironic since Half-Life was Sin's biggest concurrent (which won easily over Sin) in 1998, and now the companies making these games join forces for the production of Sin 2...

There has been a website opened for a company called LegionPharma which looks very real. However, to everyone who has read the Sin backstory on the game CD, the name LegionPharma and their CEO's name Sherilyn Palmer should ring a huge loud bell that this is a viral site created to advertise Sin 2 behind the curtain! There are clues coded into the site, be it little hints on the pages or in the source code, or even encrypted messages stuck where only the best puzzlers can find them. These clues lead to logins and passwords to secret sub-pages which offer Sin 2 content. So far we've seen concept art, very small screenshots and audio. There are also some letters or e-mails from characters who might be part of Sin's backstory, and the whole site is set up so that it looks as if the events were really happening. In fact it's 2005 now which means that Sin's true storyline kicks off in two years when the player character John Blade will be born to Sherilyn Palmer Blade... Sin has always been trying to be as real as possible in its original story and this website and the puzzles that Ritual put into it (and update every day!) are proof that they haven't lost the taste for the feel of the game, even before the game is released.

Now, without spoiling further details (did you come here to see Sin or pinball? XD), here are a few links to the most vital Sin 2 info:

www.ritual.com - the makers' website; right now there's a big "1" on the splash page which means ONE day to go until Sin 2's official announcement! (this counter started at 18, I think)
www.ritualistic.com - Ritual's official community page; if there are updates about Sin 2, we'll see them there first
www.legionpharma.com - the main entrance to LegionPharma's website; to get access to Sin 2 stuff, check the following link:
The Unfiction Forums: Sin 2 ARG - the ARGN players group has started to crack the mystery to the LegionPharma site and puts out the solutions to most complex puzzles with their knowledge to reveal the first Sin 2 content; definitely amazing to watch and very tensing!
Eurogamer's Sin Episodes Preview - a small summary of the first official gaming magazine preview from PC Gamer UK

I'm trying to get the PC Gamer UK issue with the eight-page preview in the coming time from a friend living in Britain. And if you are a Sin fan, make sure you watch the counter when it reaches 0!

Stargate has been picked up by the shipping company yesterday and might arrive this afternoon if not tomorrow.

... 3rd July 2005: Conclusions

I went straight from the previous news entry and decided to sell both System 11 games, Black Knight 2000 and Diner, so both went on eBay after the Pinball Network forum didn't want them. BK2000 went away for the buy-it-now price, so I got the money back which I originally paid for the machine. However, Diner wasn't that lucky and was sold far under its value, a risk you always have to take when selling pinball games on eBay - I wonder why so few people wanted it since there were 40 watchers shortly before the end of the auction. Well, it happens and I can name at least two situations in which I got similarly lucky when buying a machine.
I was at first afraid that the money wouldn't be sufficient to find a decent deal for one of three DMD machines I looked for: Stargate, Johnny Mnemonic or No Fear: Dangerous Sports. I tried the latter in Visual Pinball a few weeks ago while STTNG wasn't working yet and I found that No Fear is a very cool game which might even be a good successor to BK2000; however it's not the best or most complex game I could get, and for that reason I really wanted Stargate. And then, once I received some unexpected money rain, I suddenly had a lot more than I ever hoped for and thus it was now possible not only to buy one of these three games with security, but to look for the very best conditions! I was lucky as hell that day because when I entered to forum to ask for a Stargate, I found one still on sale in perfect condition, right out of a private collection which was handled with great care, and I only had to wait till afternoon to get approval from the seller because he still had a reservation on the machine for another potential buyer, but in the end I got the deal and paid a whoppin' 950 Euros (!!) for the first "mint condition" pinball machine I'm ever going to get, but I know that it will be worth it! I have played Stargate three times and it was an absolute blast every single time, and I've wanted this game for long. And after the very positive experience I now have with STTNG, I'm more than convinced that Stargate is the perfect companion - equally complex rules, very unique features (since it's not a Williams game) and a great theme/license as the basis. My friend Chris and I watched the Stargate movie on DVD yesterday in preparation for the machine's arrival which will hopefully be by the end of next week if everything goes well with the shipping company.

my Stargate in its current locationthe playfield - a dream come true

STTNG is now playable and has been extensively challenged for the past few days, and except for cosmetics and a small reset problem I'm still going to fix, the machine now works like a charm. What I suspected has turned out to be true: STTNG is in fact the first game ever since The Machine that gives me the addiction and affection for pinball back after so many months of boredom, and it also under-lines my decision to break with System 11 and older games and move on to complex DMD games, of course within my financial range. When I reconsider that I almost paid a four-digit number for Stargate, I'm forced to wonder how far this is going, but I know that the machine is in perfect shape and 950 isn't so much greater than a working but unshopped Stargate would cost. And I really have the money in my hand right now, so this is the best time to make pinball grand again!

I have finalized the long overdue STTNG article describing lots of the gameplay and feel of the game. The repair logs were moved to a separate page which is accessible from within the article in the "Repair & Restoration" section.

... 13th June 2005: Considerations

To keep the load time of the front page friendly, I have decided to cut off all old news except for the last seven entries. Since some info in the older news might still be interesting, I have added a link to a separate page which will contain all the old news, from the day this page opened to the eighth-newest entry. The link can be found at the bottom of the front page.

Another change in my life has made me wonder where I'm going with this. Summarizing the past 13 months, I see that I had six or seven classic or technically older pinball games in my collection, mainly driven by the ambition to get "the" classic pinball machine, which ended with a failure in Xenon. I had all the interesting System 11 Williams games like Pin*Bot, Space Station, Black Knight 2000 and Diner, and except for the last two, the other classic games never stayed very long. I guess I'm just not too lucky with finding the right game for me, the one I want to keep at least as long as I kept The Machine (which is the only game that stayed until now since I got it one year ago). My decision to buy Diner was inspired by the fall of the pinball hobby in my life, but already one month later I decided that it wasn't enough and that I needed a modern game with higher skill level, so I got Star Trek. But it still doesn't stop there!

In the past week I felt a little drawn back into summer 2004, which usually happens almost every year in a certain time when the weather is right or the situation around me is similar (deja-vu?). It surprised me because this year is like no other. Still, I remembered the games I had and the games I didn't have: Cirqus Voltaire, Johnny Mnemonic, Tales of the Arabian Nights, The Getaway, Stargate, these are all games I became interested in during 2004 and I played most of them at that time, either in other collections or on location. Of course, almost all of these games were out of my financial league and I was still finding many older games more attractive and wanted to check them out first. Of course I believed with almost every game that I would keep it forever. Today I looked over the T2 article where I wrote that I would not sell T2 for any reason. Well, now I have for a good reason. I think this page documents well how I develop my skills and go up with my desires, but it also surprises myself.

While STTNG still doesn't work because I'm still waiting for replacement parts and the fixed boards, I know this is the game I wanted and even though I got "used" to having it stand around, I keep watching the series and I prepare myself for the day when the game will play. I hope it will get me back into the action, make me addicted like only The Machine did one year ago because of its incredibly alluring atmosphere and the fact that I still had to learn how to play real pinball. The Machine still fascinates me and I pay more attention to her these days than I used to for a while, but it is and will always be done and STTNG is the game that I hope will challenge me again! But I'm waiting for that day... and meanwhile I start thinking about those other modern and complex games which might be equally challenging and would be great to have next to Star Trek...

Maybe it's just the flashback I have that makes me want these games. But if I face the two oldest games I own, which are Black Knight 2000 and Diner, and I compare them to the everlasting Machine and the new, modern, complex, challenging STTNG, I wonder whether I'm done with the whole System 11 generation once and for all, whether I should sell both to get a nice sum of money and continue on with another DMD game which is equally alluring as (the non-working) STTNG!

I'm almost sure that I'm going to do it. And what I sooo long for is Cirqus Voltaire which might be "the" DMD machine I want to have, but I'd have to sell all four games to get the money for it! >_<

Maybe this is the beginning of a time with less machines, but more quality? I am certainly ambitious about that.

... 6th June 2005: Thank You

After I had to reset the game ROM of The Machine because of experimentation with STTNG and lost all data, I set it all back up today and I put in this little advertising message as a tribute to the Bride's voice.

I want to thank Stephanie for all the info she gave me, especially in response to my article about The Machine. You're a great friend.

... 4th June 2005: Pinball Diary

I have opened the article page for Star Trek: The Next Generation. This page is a little special right now because it does not yet include information about the gameplay, the theme and whatnot; instead it describes how and why I got the machine and then opens the "restoration diary", a series of logs I wrote that come with photos of the progress I'm making. Since I have been working on the game for weeks now, there are a lot of logs and pictures already on the page, but there will be more logs until the machine is complete and working. After this, I will separate the logs from the article and store them elsewhere, and include the info about the game itself in the article.

... 23rd May 2005: Want to Eat From the Floor?

Now you can in my freshly cleaned-up Diner where the floor shines like it has rarely done before. The cleaning process is completed and the machine plays like butter now, and I have taken this point in time to write and finalize the article. Be warned though that I got carried away (which rarely happens these days) and this article may be the longest I ever wrote. It definitely has the most photos, but most of them are very worth watching!
STTNG is still unplayable, but I have not let it rest in peace. Instead I used the time to check for all errors I could find and to test some of the boards with the help of a pinball friend in Berlin. I have decided to open a kind of "log" to describe what I'm doing with the machine in steps until it works. This will be updated as I make progress. You have to imagine that my STTNG is like a puzzle with missing pieces: some have to be purchased first, others are here but don't fit in correctly, and some are damaged. Until this puzzle is complete, I'm playing Diner and try to go ahead with whatever ideas I'll have for STTNG.

... 15th May 2005: Construction Zone

My room is currently more of a work area than an arcade: a few days ago I started to disassemble and thoroughly clean Diner and the results are fantastic. I want to wait with my Diner article until the cleaning is complete because I'm taking photos along the way and I'll include them along with the description of the process. It always makes articles more interesting when they document restoration or a sort thereof.
But Diner isn't the only machine currently under construction. On Friday, when I was just working on the machine and my room was a little mess, a surprise visit by a shipping dude revealed that the Star Trek machine I bought two weeks ago out of the Pinball Network forum (the deal in the bar down the road didn't work) arrived already on this day even though it had been picked up in Cologne just one day before! So now I had four pins in my room and T2 as well as Xenon were planned to change location that evening, but now STTNG stood there in the corridor and there was no room to fit it anywhere until we had cleared out the space a few hours later. It now stands where T2 used to be, which has been sold for higher price than what I bought STTNG for (!), and Xenon is in the same place where T2 is now waiting to be picked up by the seller. You see, a lot happened that day.

Diner under cleaningSTTNG arrives

Now I am trying to get STTNG working. Several components are/were missing or are damaged and these need to be replaced, but I also worked on the machine the whole day yesterday, finding out a lot of errors and correcting them. The most obvious and blatant was the missing line fuse with a customized fuse holder which didn't allow me to install a standard pinball fuse! I stole the line fuse holder from Black Knight 2000 along with two coils and installed them in STTNG, so now I could finally turn the game on and see what happens. Unfortunately the audio driver board seems to be damaged and the brand new dot matrix display I ordered and received is incompatible with the machine! So I can't even see information on the display since it's blank while the game goes into attract mode. I can't play yet because the start button doesn't work, but that might be due to the fact that an important opto board is missing in the ball trough which has to be sent to me next week after it has been found by the seller. The guy who sent me the machine forgot to put the legs into the package, so these will be sent to me next week too! I'm currently using the T2 legs which will then be disattached and replaced by the (normally black) STTNG legs.

the machine in placea lot of work ahead

So, three machines don't work, Black Knight 2000 needs a new fuse holder and two new coils which I already ordered (I could install them in STTNG later too, but I wanted to be quick and so I decided to "lend" them from BK2000 which is rarely played), Diner's cleaning needs to be finished and it's a pain to get the right ramp and the cup disattached, plus I want to wait for new rubbers and lamps before I finish this up, and these come next week together with the coils. So, work is more ahead than play - and I hope that I'll get STTNG playable in an acceptable time as the machine itself looks beautiful, especially when it lights up. I only hope there's a way to get the DMD working or else... >_<

... 25th April 2005: Changes

For those who haven't figured it out yet when reading the previous news, I have a girlfriend who is not here in this moment and I need to keep my life as interesting and changing as possible while I am waiting for her return (which will be quite a while). So to sum it up, in the past couple of weeks and especially days, there have been some things running through my mind which I want to try. Some of these things are decisions I would probably not make if my life was still like it used to be, but this does not mean that these decisions aren't thought through. I am not somebody to make quick decisions just because I feel like it; I am a planning person and I reconsider most things twice.
In the pinball aspect the purchase of my Diner machine has helped me get some fun back into the hobby. In turn my other three machines still bore me. I have not written the Diner article yet because the package with the parts I need for repair just arrived and I wanted to wait with the shopping till I had them, so I will do it this week and take photos along the way which will make for a nice story. The other three games are not played much these days, but I did get to play them again when an older friend of mine came by to visit me after years and he had to try all of the machines together with me. I feel that Black Knight 2000 and The Machine still challenge me (BK2000 will probably never cease to do that; it's simply a pro game) and will get the fun and interest back after I have done a few good weeks with Diner. The downside is that my beloved Terminator 2 is starting to drop the excitement. When compared superficially, this is no wonder since every machine surpasses T2 with gameplay rules, speed and playfield assembly. T2 is a very open game which does not look all that exciting and while it has all of the coolness a Terminator item has to have - and I love this coolness the most about it - the gameplay might still be fluent, but the rules and the assembly are worn out after six months of continuous play. I probably played T2 the most of all three games I had before I got Diner, and thus it has lost the magic and excitement; not completely, but enough to rethink it.

I wouldn't say this if I had not met this girl. To some extent she is responsible for all the changes I am about to make, but of course I'm not very serious when I say this ;-) But what I feel now is just that while my life has already changed so much in just one week (which is now almost two months past me), I want to keep it changing and refreshed with all things I love. What I love most is not pinball anymore (it used to be like that before I met her) and so, saying goodbye to a machine I would otherwise have kept for a longer time is not so hard anymore! Maybe it's just the best time to quit it with one of them and get something in the upper class. I am advancing my lifestyle and my pinball skill at the same time, catching two birds with one stone.
At the moment I am heavily replaying the classic computer simulation The Web from the Pro Pinball series (I want to write a paragraph about it in the "Visual Pinball" section, but this will have to wait) and after nine years of playing (it got me into pinball seriously) I am finally starting to control the whole game, mastering the shots and upping my skill and tactical playing with every game. While The Web does not play at all like a real machine, I bet that the experience I got from one year of playing real pinball helped me accomplish this on the computer. As a result, I am looking at my machines now and seeing that maybe it's time to advance my level of play in reality as well.

There are great 90s games which are much more complex, have great technical features and keep you challenged far longer than T2 ever could. As I said, The Machine and BK2000 still challenge me a bit, so I am not tired of them (even if I was, I wouldn't sell my Bride) and Diner is new and exiciting even though its rules and skill level are not more than the other games I have. But that is why I think about it now - I have bought Diner to get something different in my collection and it was worth the money. I planned neither to buy a fifth machine nor to spend loads of money on a new game. But ever since my passion for pinball has shifted to a more realistic level, where I know that I simply cannot and don't want to have more than four machines and that they are just games I want to keep for entertainment, I had a flash of thought when I woke up yesterday morning: "I am going to sell my T2 and buy the Star Trek down the street in the bar." And if this doesn't work out, I will ask around the Pinball Network forum for a Stargate. The decision is simple: I paid less than 500 Euros for my T2 and that's why I highly value it, but if I sell it, I could easily get 650 or 700 for it because of its great shape. Add 100 or 200 to that (which I will have very soon) and I will get a really good machine which is complex and has a much greater long-time replay factor than any of the machines I own now. And this, together with my shifted view on pinball, makes it relatively easy to say goodbye to T2 with the thought in mind that I am simply moving up the ladder with my skill and I have to get a game which climbs with me. Star Trek: The Next Generation (STTNG) is said to be the best and most complex Steve Ritchie game of all time, and even though I don't like widebody machines much and I am not a Trekker at all, I have nothing against the theme (I did see a few episodes here and there and my friend Chris is an enthusiast I can ask) - and the machine was just wonderful the last time I played it in said bar down the street. At that point I did not think about attempting to buy it, but well, I wasn't aware that it might be the game I need to keep pinball exciting. The machine looks really dirty, has a few mechanical problems with the flippers and slings, but all the critical stuff like the cannons, the targets, ball trough, rollovers and optos seem to work. At least I did not see any problems when I played it, and it was beautiful to look at and admire. The game plays smooth as silk and it's definitely a true eyecatcher in a living room, and why shouldn't that be mine?
I would never buy a shopped STTNG from a forum member or other private source because I have vowed not to pay a lot of money anymore for any machine until my girl is back; I simply need the money elsewhere and frankly I am just happy enough with what I have so I do not feel like 1000 Euros or more are what I have to spend on pinball. But the shape this machine is in might drop down the price from the usual 1000 or 900 to 800 or 750, and I'm willing to pay that price since I expect to get a lot for my almost-perfect T2. So I will just go down there tomorrow and ask whether they are interested in my money offer. Should it not work, the Stargate I mentioned would be my second target since the price is usually between 700 and 900 for a good machine and while it is not as complex as STTNG, it is a game which is incredibly fast, has missions and sublevels and is very exciting even when you know your way around pinball. I played Stargate three times in the same location, every time I visited Peter to look at a machine I was going to buy from him.

So this is going to change soon. My T2 will go, decision made, and something new will arrive. Sometimes one new thing (Diner) just isn't enough!
Oh, and in case you wondered, I would sell all of my machines if it had to be done for the person I love - even though she would break my neck for doing that XD

the STTNG in the bar I aim fordirty as hell: the playfield

... 14th April 2005: The Diner is Open

Yesterday I got it and today I spent probably two hours of my tight spare time just to keep playing the machine, even though two features don't work like they should and there are cosmetic problems! Diner is indeed a very fine game; although mine is dirty and has some minor problems on the playfield, it plays extremely fluently. The ramps are broad and long, the bumpers pop loudly and with a lot of oomph, and the visuals are very cool and detailed once you start appreciating them. Features like the cash register or the cup just can't be found on any modern machine.
What I did not have in my mind anymore was the audio. Only a few voice clips were still in my head. On first contact the audio distracted me and will probably annoy some of my friends, but seriously, it takes some time to get used to and I started loving what I heard. The music isn't what I had expected, it's jazzy and funky and sticks in your mind, the voice samples are indeed a little naggy but they are cooler than I thought, and there are so many lovely little sound effects for the devices, the skill shot, the ramps and rollovers, and these effects simply make the game cute. Diner is stylish in the visuals, classic in its gameplay and sweet in the audio, and it is a great change from the sci-fi themes I usually collect.

Right now I am working on a few problems with the game and I will start writing the article after this (or most of it) is done. The seller offered to send me a new connector housing for the burnt GI connector and a few replacement parts, so if I receive these in time, the GI repair will be part of the initial article release.

the game in my roomthe unshopped playfield

... 10th April 2005: And a Little More

Although I am still feeling that it's hard for me to come up with good info at the moment (I'm simply not in a writing mood), I added the fourth part to the "Operator's Stuff" section, finally established the "Links" page with a basic set of links I instantly came up with (expect more links to follow later), and I also updated the articles for Black Knight 2000 and Terminator 2 with inside info from Stephanie Rogers, so make sure you check them out.

Xenon has been sold and disassembled, waiting in the next room to be picked up by somebody by the end of April (that wasn't planned, but it turned out this way). My Diner will arrive on Wednesday evening and take the spot in my room Xenon had before. Note of caution: the Xenon backbox which cannot be folded down fell on my right middle finger last night when we disattached it, resulting in a lot of pain and an over-sensitive fingertip today, and probably for a more few days. Looks like the head wound I got two weeks ago won't be the only injury of the year... when my girl comes back from Japan, she will face a guy who has been through a lot XD

Pics of the day:

Xenon packed and ready to gomy future Diner's playfield

... 7th April 2005: Little Update

I know the updates come in slower than expected, but I'm getting there. It's not the updating itself, it's the time and concentration I need to find to write all of the text on the site.
I wrote two more parts for "Operator's Stuff" covering the basic things and cleaning process. The "Links" section is still missing, but I will do this one right after I finished "Operator's Stuff" so you can find the sites that are of interest.

I'm having a regular e-mail contact with Stephanie Rogers at the moment and she comes out with little stories and details every now and then. I planned to compile an article from that, but obviously it's better if I put game-specific details into the game's respective article. This means that games like Black Knight 2000 and Terminator 2 will be updated shortly with inside info from Steph. Or did you know who sang the Choir of Angels on Black Knight 2000? ;-)

Great news for me is that Xenon is sold (it only needs to be picked up by the winning bidder) and while I didn't get the Diner on eBay because it went over 600 (!) Euros, I got a nice deal on the Pinball Network forum, where a Diner was offered by somebody living relatively near to Berlin. He will even bring the machine here himself. It should all be done by the middle of next week!

And Fine, if you are reading this by any circumstance... I'm missing you and I love you.

... 2nd April 2005: The Bride Speaks Out!

Half a year ago I wrote an e-mail to Stephanie Rogers, the voice of The Machine, and asked whether she could tell me anything about her work for Williams back in 1990. As you might have read in my Machine article, Stephanie is nowadays an independent rock music recording artist - and a great one at that.
Today I received an e-mail from her which she obviously wrote after she visited this site and read the article. While she said that she remembers writing to me earlier, that mail never reached me and I'm happy that she got back to me with some very interesting and funny details about the recording of the Bride's voice clips, and she gave me permission to put them on my site. So check the updated article's "Media" section to see what Stephanie said!

... 31st March 2005: One Thousand

That's right, Silverball Magic has had more than a thousand hits since it was launched. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and looked at my work, and more thanks to everyone who keeps coming back! Look out for the next update this weekend!

... 29th March 2005: BILLION!

I finally made it, after nine months of failed attempts: The Machine granted me access to the BILLION shot and I took it with ease, and all of this in a 20 minute game I had never expected - in the moment I'm not much into playing my current machines all that often and so I wasn't even very motivated tonight, but obviously my calm helped shape a great game - the loops flew like seldom before, the ramp shots came as if I had practised them for years, and then the Big Wheel awarded me the prize everyone aims for... and now I'm in!

... 27th March 2005: Update

My life is changing, but I am trying to get it all under control and so I took the time today to look over all pages and set some things right. For example, I updated some of the pinball machine articles with a notification saying that these machines were sold to someone or that their cosmetical status has changed after restoration. I also included two new machines on the "Machines I Want" page, however these are not all. You will also notice that the "Visual Pinball" and "Operator's Stuff" sections still don't have new content, but forgive me for that since I can only write so much in one day and the next update will include at least one finished section of the two, and it will come during the next week since I'm on vacation.
On another note, my changed day-to-day life has affected my pinball hobby and as a result I have decided to sell Xenon and buy a Diner, and I also do not plan anymore to buy a 1000 Euros WPC machine by the end of May, which was a goal I had ever since I started the job I will be quitting in seven weeks. But you know, some things are just more important than pinball and these things (or rather, a person) have (has) made me cut a few things short with pinball... at the moment I am quite out of it or at least I sure was for the past two weeks. I'm finding the interest in it again, but I need something new and unusual NOW to get me back up since my current machines bore me to death, and I wonder why. And so, Xenon will go - more details on why it's Xenon going and not one of the others can be found in the update in the lower half of the Xenon article.

... 12th March 2005: Break

I won't update the site for a while just like I haven't updated it in one month for personal reasons, and in the coming weeks it will be quite tough for me to live with a clear head, so please be patient until the next update which will include finished "Operator's Stuff" and "Visual Pinball" sections as well as more machine articles.

Fine, I'll miss you.

... 8th February 2005: Xenon Arrived

Yes, it's been here for a few days now and my room has been totally restructured to fit it in as the fourth pinball machine! Look at the madness of furniture moving in "My Room" and be sure to check out photos of Xenon and an accompanying article I just finished and put up here!

... 1st February 2005: Bug Alert!

After confusion, forum discussion and testing, I have found a bug in The Machine's software that has obviously been left unnoticed so far. If you make a score that is greater than highscore #4 but smaller than #3, your score will NOT be saved in the highscore list! You will still be asked to enter initials and be awarded the highscore credit if active, but the highscore list will NOT be updated with your new #4 spot! This can be tested and reproduced on any Machine with the final game ROM version L-7. This also means that there is no fix for this serious glitch and the only way you can save a #4 highscore is by scoring any of the first three spots so the score that used to be on #3 will move down to #4 - and be saved there. Rest assured that saving your #1, #2 and #3 highscores works, though! It is beyond me how Williams or any Machine player/owner could not notice and report this bug, so I'm doing that here. It's a sad fact, but we'll have to live with it.

... 31st January 2005: Tournament Time

The first Silverball Magic pinball tournament started later than planned on Friday. Originally I had set the start time at 19:00, but since not everybody arrived in time and my Terminator 2 brought up some minor problems when I tried to reinstall all the devices on the play-field after cleaning and polishing it, including flasher replacement and bumper lamp installation, the introduction phase commenced at 20:15 and the tournament started at 20:30. The rules were simple and are not mine: the players were separated in three groups for the three machines, each group being made of different skill level players. The weakest group (including an 11-year-old girl who had never played pinball before but was hot on joining the tournament the whole week) started on T2 while the "pro group" started on Black Knight 2000. The intermediate group started playing The Machine and after three games the groups circled machines. First place on a game inside the group resulted in three points for that player, second place awarded two and last place one point. After it was over, the points were added and the winner was the one with the most points.
The reaction of players who were new to the recent machines, like my friend Janine who last played The Machine and Pin*Bot when it was still here, were rather positive, however Elias got pissed off with The Machine since he's having a hard time with her recently and that didn't change for the tournament. Needless to say, the players who scored points on The Machine earlier scored them this night as well, so the game itself is not guilty! ;-)
You can find photos of the tournament in the updated "My Room" section.

And look what the due time cleaning and cosmetic repair of T2 led to!

dirty bumpers!ahh, clean and shiny - but lamp sockets are missingugly targetswhat a differencebumpers finally light up!new rubbers, clean plastics, polished playfield

... 24th January 2005: Deal Made!

And just four days later I can report my luck of finding a Xenon for sale (actually for exchange, but the seller accepted my purchase offer) and a deal I couldn't refuse! For 300 Euros plus roughly 100 bucks for shipping, I will get this baby driven to my home, hopefully by the end of next week! And now I really need to start thinking about organizing space for my pins... maybe somewhere else. But where?

the full machinethe worn down playfield - work ahead

So far the machine is 600 km away from me and I don't have a single cent in my hands, but this will change by the end of January and hopefully the shipping company will play along around that time. As visible on the photos, the machine needs some serious work, but I guess that many Xenons look like this as I've often enough read articles about complete playfield restoration, always with the comment, "Not many machines are in such a good shape when you buy them initially." Well, this babe is from 1980, so it's been 24 years. I could have had a perfectly tuned Xenon from Berlin which was restored and optimized by Berlin's pinball specialist enthusiast "MIB", but of course he won't sell the thing for 300 Euros (rather 600) and Xenon may be a legend and thus worth a little more than other simple EM games (compare these 300 bucks I pay for Xenon to the 200 I paid for F-14, Space Station, and Pin*Bot!), but it's still EM and simple and I'm not going to spend more than 300 on it, so this is what I get in return - a machine to work on. And to be honest, this is perfect be-cause... if you can remember the toy cars or Lego models you had in your childhood, what was more fun - building and caring for them or looking at the result in your dusty shelf all day? Of course Xenon plays well and is actually a little more exciting than comparable games, but I will get a lot out of restoring it instead of just playing, so the machine will keep me busy even if the gameplay has blown out. With the fair knowledge I gained from successfully changing my Machine's playfield and shopping it, I trust in my skills to try out a full restoration on this Xenon machine and I can learn a lot more by going this farther step, so that next time I buy another machine that might be even more devastated, I'll have even more skill to fix this up. Pinball is not just a game, it's a hobby which involves gradually improving your working skills, and especially with an old model like Xenon it'll just be nice to get it back up and running flawlessly, and maybe restoring the playfield so that it looks similar to the Xenons I've seen on photos (which looked close to perfect). If I can manage this, it will be a great reward for all the work and this machine will be really "mine".

Xenon, I'm looking forward to meeting you!

On another note, Silverball Magic will host its first in-house pinball tournament this Friday! That's right, my room will be converted into a real arcade for a day and since winter holidays are currently in effect, Friday night will be a real pinball party here. This all goes well with Winter-een-mas (www.wintereenmas.com) even though pinball is not literally video gaming, but it's still arcade gaming in a true form. So far about eight people will join the tournament and battle for the prize as master of my three games T2, The Machine and Black Knight 2000. Of course I'll take a lot of photos and post them here.

... 20th January 2005: Xenon

You can call me crazy, but I am seriously thinking about buying a fourth pinball machine. The reason for this is the lack of atmosphere I talked about in my article about my visit to Hobbykoch. In the last couple of weeks I have started feeling that I get more and more routined with my three machines since, well, they are perfect as they are (except for some restoration that needs to be done) and I keep circling between them every week. Today I play The Machine, next day T2, next day The Machine again, next day Black Knight 2000. The good news is that it took me seven months to find the three machines I am finally happy with. Who knew that I would have seven machines in these seven months and that my room would indeed be filled with the maximum possible amount by the end of 2004? And I sure as hell didn't expect to find the three games I really like that fast. I was disappointed or just not fully satisfied when I had Space Station and Pin*Bot for a while and thus gave up on the "searching for a classic" interlude I had in summer since none of these older games really gave me the old school pinball feeling I was looking for. But why did I look for that anyway?
I consider myself a complex player, i.e. I need a complex machine: lots of rules or at least a ruleset that can hold itself for quite a while without losing challenge. The machine is ideal if it has a single ultimate goal to work up to since that makes it all the more interesting to play for even if you don't score big points (and playing only for points can get boring). The games I have now give me that challenge time and time again although they are not as complex as the later 90s DMD games which have amazingly many secrets, modes and features, but most of these cost a price I cannot pay - I can by the end of May when I finish my civil service and that's when I'm planning to buy such a beast. Still, I did play pinball machines which were simple, old and classic and these things can give you a feeling that has a lot more "raw pinball" atmosphere than the new games have. Playing The Machine and BK2000 is not necessarily pinball in the classic sense if you look at the playfield construction, gameplay flow and the modern themes. They are great games and I love them for that. But why do they lose atmosphere? It might have to do with my room which is of course not completely pinball-customized. Then, I see them every minute I am here while many others have their machines in basements or spare rooms. The less you see something, the more you appreciate it, goes the saying? But the machines themselves, even if they challenge me (and I don't plan giving any of them away soon), aren't new anymore. The pinball collector's heart just wants more! It doesn't matter whether my space is tight or how good my current machines are. Three is not good enough. But the fact is, while May will hopefully bring me one of these cool DMD machines with lots o' features, that's a long time away... and I've been rethinking how a classic machine (and this time, a real classic) can bring new life into my collection and enhance the atmosphere of them all. I wouldn't want to own a classic game alone because of its simplicity. That's why I dropped out on buying a Space Shuttle or Xenon last year when the chances came. At that time I had already stopped trying with Pin*Bot and moved on to the newer games like T2, and the "phase" was over. But now it's winter, a classic and romantic season, and what I really want (again) now... is Xenon.

... 13th January 2005: 50 Pinball Machines

I got the chance to meet Berlin's probably biggest pinball machine collection two days ago! Fifty games of which I didn't even see every one are owned by Pinball Network forum member Hobbykoch who generously invited me to come see his collection and meet some of the greatest machines ever built - "so you know what the people in the forum keep talking about". I took more than 20 photos of which I selected about 15 and put those into a rather long article I just finished up. This article describes in detail what the visit was like and which machines I played, and gives a cool insight into a collection you've hardly seen before. I put this article into the slightly changed "My Machines" section where I will start including such articles of machines I played elsewhere. Check the article out here!
I am trying to find some time to actually write the other article about Berlin's pinball machines and locales I visited so far, update the "Operator's Stuff" section and generally refine the site a bit - you might have noticed that some things are being slightly redesigned to perfect the site's image. While I won't update it too regularly, I hope to bring you more information soon.

... 5th January 2005: Happy New Year

Hey, a happy new year to everyone and welcome back. I haven't been able to update the site for some time because I finally upgraded my computer to a new shiny ASUS A8V Deluxe motherboard and an Athlon 64 3000+ processor. The video card is still to follow. Now that I'm satisfied with my pinball collection for a while, I actually can afford to do this. After formatting my hard drive and restoring all the files and software, I realized that FrontPage was missing and I can't find the CD anymore, so I'm now writing this with NVU, the free graphical website editor based on Mozilla technology. So far it's a nice change, but I have trouble handling the minimal stuff like hyperlinks, tool-bars etc. Plus, it is a beta version and once I find FrontPage again, I'm gonna go back. (No, I'm not an HTML coding master, thankyou-verymuch ;-)

Since I won't be adding a new pinball game to my collection so soon (I expect the next to come in May, maybe a little earlier, depends on my taste, money and especially space), I will now concentrate on updating the other sections: "Visual Pinball", "Operator's Stuff" and the machines that I want in "My Pinball Machines". As I said before, this will take some time, but we're getting there.
My site can also be found on PinLinks.org now which lists all kinds of pinball pages sorted by page name and by offered games. If you check the Internet Pinball Database now and look for a game I own, click the link for more info at PinLinks and you'll find my site listed there with a direct link to the game article.

On another note, here's a little advertising from me as an anime fan: if you are only slightly interested in Japanese animation and science fiction, watch the just-released Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. Seriously, anything I have seen in anime is blown away by this. Of course you should at least watch the first Ghost in the Shell movie before that if you haven't seen it already, but since both movies kick ass (GITS fan here!) and they are attractive even to non anime fans because of the realistic design and live-action type story, mark my words - and especially Innocence with its brand new animation, audio and the latest story development in the GITS universe is a master-piece. The official site is http://www.gofishpictures.com/GITS2/main.html and you can find the trailer in a reasonable quality here.

... 25th December 2004: Merry X-Mas

Well, a merry Christmas to everyone who's reading this! In Berlin it's between 6 and 9 degrees celsius and there is of course no snow at all - a more and more usual condition. This year doesn't feel like Christmas to me at all, but at least I have the classic winter feeling that I love so much (even though I don't love winter). However, I thought I should use the time and wrote the complete Visual Pinball intro-duction which was missing for too long already. Now the links to the virtual pinball tables I put under my articles make sense, and you can find out how to play them by reading the "Visual Pinball" section. Some links are still missing and have been replaced by placeholders because VPForums is down at the moment of this writing. I will add these links along with parts 2 and 3 next time I update.

I won't update the site as often as I used to because I have come back to a project I left for a while and I want this project to gain atten-tion and progress. It's an anime-based game modification for Unreal Tournament 2004 I am working on with a small team of anime fans on the web. We are still looking for people with the technical understanding of the engine, especially coding, If you're interested in the game, look at this forum thread and read our design document which is outdated by now, but still informative and summarizes the ideas we have.

... 15th December 2004: Return of The Machine

Heh, this entitled just the last half hour. After playing Black Knight 2000 for exactly one week since arrival (and you've noticed that I haven't updated for exactly this time), I got so used to the flow of that game that when I turned The Machine on tonight and started my first game after seven days, I was overwhelmed by its quality, speed and game flow again. She's just so different! I mean, I played some WPC games which were set up in a nearby cinema recently, so my friend Chris and I went down last weekend to check them out - and I got into the flow of those new machines faster than I could get back into The Machine's flow now after being used to BK2000. Not only that, but also the perfect look of this restored beauty surprises me every time I leave her turned off for a few days and then go back to play her. It's like the first time, every time. Another great point why this game rocks so much! - and stays my favourite even though BK2000 is like the dream come true at the moment.
Speaking of him, the Knight is doing well and everyone who has seen him likes him. Read: really digs him. The little problems with the insert lamps, the nonfunctional u-turn switch and the dirty playfield are almost completely solved by now and I only need to finish the cleaning and polishing this weekend when I have more time, by disassembling the upper playfield and cleaning it separately. But the quick polishing job on both playfields in the visible areas proved to be very necessary: after this was done, the game almost doubled (!) in speed; well, at least it felt like that. Now it's really goddamn fast, but the flow is still the same. You get into a circular rush after a while because the playfield is designed so that the ball moves in a circle no matter where you shoot. The Machine's flow is totally different, so as I said, it was almost like playing her for the first time when I tested her tonight. It's even a different feeling to come out of the room's edge where BK2000 is and stand in the middle again...

During the next days, I will work out the "Visual Pinball" section so that all the references to that section will start making sense. This section will include links to all necessary software and detailed instructions how to install and configure it, so you can start playing away on your computer. I will also review some great and some not so great commercial computer pinball simulations in this section.

... 9th December 2004: Finally

BLACK! KNIGHT! 2000!

So it was Wednesday after all. Ever since yesterday afternoon I've been playing! I have now finally sat down and finished the article page about Black Knight 2000 which can be found here. Be aware though that this article is longer, has more pictures and other content compared to the articles I wrote for my other games. Black Knight 2000 just deserves it. It is THE game, no less! I promised you a big update? Well, go to the page and be surprised what I did to make it work! Premiere photos of a shipped machine and the unpacking process are included as well as detailed playfield shots, two audio files and a discussion of the Visual Pinball conversion. Maybe a video file will follow later, who knows?

I have four words to say. "Stand up and fight!"

... 7th December 2004: Black is Beautiful

Only a few hours separate me from the dream machine, the Black Knight 2000! If all goes really well, it should arrive today at 16:00, however they wrote in the confirmation e-mail that it might take at the latest till Wednesday to deliver the machine since they drive rounds and it's not clear whether they can manage to be here this afternoon. They said they would call and tell me which they didn't, so I will do the opposite and call them today once I have arrived at work. If they tell me it's today, I'll be off work early without asking and head home at double speed. I have never been as excited about a pinball game as this time! Tonight I took the music samples available on the IPDB and mixed them together to shape a five minute "song" which has all the segments of BK2000's music together. I have up-loaded this file already to my webspace and it can be found here. Note that the samples I made this song of are "copyrighted" by the IPDB and the original provider is unknown.
You can look forward to something huge once the machine is here. Tons of photos, multimedia, a comparison of the Visual Pinball table versus the real machine... it will be a bigger game page than the others in the list.

I haven't updated anything else yet because I didn't really know what to update, to be frank. Taking all the photos of devices and under-playfield technology will take some time, so the "Operator's Stuff" page will require a little overhaul. The only thing I could still add is the photo collection of the second Machine which is gone now. I got 40 Euros for the job; not a bad price considering that I wanted less.

... 4th December 2004: Back With a Vengeance

Well, the course is over and it was actually better than I thought. Good thing: I got to play two pinball machines in the city, The Shadow by Bally which was in pityful condition and quite unplayable (not that I bothered with the theme anyway) and a well-working Lord of the Rings by Stern from 2002 if I'm correct. The latter is not my taste with the fantasy theme and the film, but the gameplay is great. A lot of air action, fast loops, five multiball modes, what more can you ask for? If you see a LOTR around, go give it a run.
The second Machine is finished but it's far from perfect. A lot of GI lamps are dead and the insert lamps which work are dampened down because of contact resistance. The playfield with the mylar plays well, but it's nothing compared to an unmylared and waxed game. The left flipper's coilstop must be broken because as much power as the flippers have, the left one loses it on ball contact because of the missing coilstop. The ramps work though. The whole game feels a little broken and doesn't play as fluently as mine, but that's not my job to care for. The game will be picked up this evening and make room for the soon-to-arrive Black Knight 2000, coming next Tuesday or Wednesday. If there's something I am more eager and hot for than Half-Life 2, it's this game.
As you have noticed, the site has all of my machines accessible now. Next up is the addition of a small picture gallery of the twin sister Machines as a kind of memorial, followed by the extension of the "Operator's Stuff" section and the addition of the huge Black Knight 2000 feature next week.

... 25th November 2004: Double Vision

Am I seeing double? No, this is for real! The second Bride just arrived and took Pin*Bot's spot that was left empty for quite a while. Depending on the time it takes, she might even stay here until shortly before BK2000 shows up.

twins? or lesbians? XDthis game needs help! (pic dramatically brightened for view)

This game seriously needs help. It's not just about rebuilding the top playfield like he said; he "accidentally" cut quite a few wires going to the Heart Ramp instead of unplugging the connector of the ramp under the playfield. Reinstalling those will be a little puzzle. The helmet needs some screws, the head is totally dusty, and the left flipper assembly has a problem with the coilstop which I haven't looked at yet (maybe the coilstop is missing?!). Plus, the game is still mylared and the mylar is in similar condition like the one on my spare playfield used to be: scratches, but thankfully not as deep as mine were, and polishing might actually get some away. But bubbles are everywhere and where there's no mylar, the typical wear spots are visible. Funny thing is that the unmylared parts are almost not yellowish at all. I also find it interesting that the sexy sweet "wood and basement" scent my Machine originally had (but lost after restoring since being open all the time) is exactly copied by this one, i.e. this game has the exact same scent though it was located in a different place. He ;-)

I promise to add Pin*Bot and Space Station either tonight or tomorrow. I already edited the photos and they only need to be put together with the text and HTML. I'll also update the "Operator's Stuff" section with photos or schematic pictures of the devices I already des-cribed there, and of course the other parts will be added over time as well. So look out for some stuff to come next since I completed Half-Life 2 yesterday and I'm feeling much better and ready to go! Speaking of going, I'll have to leave for an annoying course of studies on Monday and won't be back till Friday, so this means silence on this site till then. I really don't want to go, but unless I coincidentally catch a real illness shortly before going, there's no choice. On the other hand, I'll know that my BK2000 is on the way to me the same day I return (Friday). Estimated arrival date is still 7th December though it might be the 8th instead (they said they'll call me and tell me).

... 21st November 2004

Added a part of the "Operator's Stuff" section which now includes the full first part, "how pinball machines work". head over if you're interested in learning the technical stuff. The other parts will come soon.
It seems that I might have a little delay with the left two machines I wanted to add this weekend. It's because of a personal problem I want to divert myself from which I can do best by having friends here and playing something instead of working.

... 19th November 2004

Added the section "How to Get Your Own" which describes what you need to do if you want to get yourself a pinball machine! Also, expect updates in the list of my pinball machines tomorrow or this weekend. I promise to finish Space Station and Pin*Bot quickly. Oh, and don't worry about the small German text at the bottom of this page: it's the new counter I registered at x-stat.de for free just to keep track of how many people are coming here.

... 18th November 2004

Whew! After Lycos repeatedly accused me of abusing my free Tripod account, which was *not* the case, I decided to switch to a more convenient webspace host and moved to 1&1. This time I pay (an affordable amount of) money to keep the webspace going, I've got 100 MB and a traffic limit of 7.5 GB, and the domain name is now a REAL domain named www.silverball-magic.com! So, welcome back to the site and forgive me for the short downtime as it was entirely Lycos' fault. Don't use them, they are a bunch of whackos who start bitching about traffic they never experienced only to make you sign up for paid webspace. But 1&1 is far cheaper while offering double the space and traffic.
So, have you been playing Half-Life 2? I got the game on its release day two days ago and I've been SO into it that it's really a great way to get back into computer gaming for a while which I kinda lost attachment to because of all those pinball-related things. Plus, HL2 will keep the waiting time for the Black Knight 2000 short. If you want to know what I think of the game, you can go to the Bubblegum Crisis Center forums and read a short review I wrote there after the first few hours of playing (German readers can go here for a German equivalent of my English review, rewritten for a German forum). In three words: GET THIS GAME. It's the BEST 3D shooter the gaming world ever had. Graphics, AUDIO (especially!), physics, character animation, voice acting, gameplay, innovation... it's all close to per-fection. Doom 3 was great, but HL2 beats it in all areas.

So, any pinball news? Well, there's an empty spot in my room which needs to be filled, and my T2 works again after I got the replace-ment parts including the plunger (which looks weird). I will attempt to repair the bumper lamps sometime in the future, but probably after I got BK2000 since I'm too busy playing Hl2 right now. XD

the parts I ordered for the T2a sample shot from Half-Life 2

... 14th November 2004

Added Terminator 2 to the list of my machines, refined some stuff on existing pages and extended the mini glossary. Expect Space Station and Pin*Bot to come tomorrow and/or Tuesday for completion of my collection. Tonight my Pin*Bot was picked up by the buyer and I now have 250 Euros in my pocket which I'll put securely away and wait for Black Knight 2000 coming on 7th December, just Tuesday after I come back from the course of studies which I'll have to go through from 29th November to 3rd December. It bugs me, really, but the great thing is that once I return home, I'll know the game is on the way to me and I'll sleep better. XD
My friends will be wondering where Pin*Bot has gone, but I won't tell anybody which machine is his followup because they will be sur-prised a lot when they see the Black Knight rolling around. The empty spot in my room is something to get used to for three weeks, but I will have a second Machine standing there next weekend for repair, so it will be an interesting time.

... 10th November 2004

And it's getting even better. The shipping costs were dramatically reduced from an actual 245 Euros (holy shit!) which the company wanted to have (130 was an estimation given by the seller of the Black Knight) down to only 70 for the whole way from Belgium to my doorstep. This is incredible! I greatly thank that shipping company in advance for this more than fair price, and this also explains why so many pinball collectors here use this company to get their machines shipped. So, finally this Black Knight 2000 is indeed cheaper than my Terminator 2 even with the shipping costs attached, and cheaper than the one on eBay would have been with shipping. But on top of that, it's much better in shape. What can I say? GRRREAT!
The site is slowly growing and as you have probably noticed, the pinball explanation section, two more of my machines and my room have been added. Don't worry, all the other stuff will come soon because I like the way this site is turning out so nothing will stop me from continuing.
When the Pin*Bot is picked up (maybe this weekend, maybe next), I will have an interesting situation in my room: the buyer asked me if I would fix and rebuild his Machine which is funny enough since I just did a complete overhaul of my own Machine (just look at the article I wrote about The Machine in my game list) and so I am the perfect candidate to ask for this. This means that I will have two Brides next to each other in my room for a day or two! It will be an interesting comparison in terms of quality and playability, and it's the first job I do for another pinball fan. Nice, I feel important now XD Just kidding.

... 8th November 2004

What a great day! I got my Black Knight 2000 settled after all by contacting the guy in Belgium and asking if he would sell the machine without the second playfield because I had not enough money otherwise. Well, he agreed and dropped the price about 100 Euros! He also sent photos along and wow, that playfield looks awesome; who needs one for spare if you've got this? The printed backglass (no translite on BK2000 even though it's from 1989, a specialty) looks awesome with the complete mirror effect. And to top it all off, this BK has the rare prototype plastics instead of the usual ones, and those look a lot better since they are more modern and industrial than the blue castle you normally have on this game. Still the price is under 500 and with 475 Euros it's even cheaper than my Terminator 2 and the BK on eBay. The only downside is that it's still the most expensive machine I ever bought since the shipping is 130 Euros. Well, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I also found a buyer for my Pin*Bot today which will give me some money (and space) back that will be used for BK2000. The new game will arrive in the beginning of December.
Here are a few pictures:

I will add information about Black Knight 2000 to the "machines that I want" subsection of my pinball machines. Check it out tomorrow when I expect it to be ready because this game is one you don't want to be caught not knowing about!

... 7th November 2004

I'm so disappointed! I had a Black Knight 2000 under my watch on eBay and missed it in the last five seconds by FOUR Euros. It went away for 507.99 before I could correct my bid up to 510. Argh! Getting a BK2000 is very hard these days, for one because there were not so many produced (5700) and also because it's a serious collector's item who only few people dare to sell. In the six months of my pinball career there has not been any BK2000 for sale anywhere, but this was the second on eBay in only four weeks and I missed both. There is one available in Belgium that I might get, but the price tag is high and the shipping would probably cost a lot... I am also thinking of bidding on a cheap Whirlwind since I've always been interested in that machine (beautiful playfield with lots of action), but the theme turns me off. Buying a Whirlwind would be like buying "the cat in the bag", so I'm not sure what I'll decide tonight.

 
 
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