I got an early present today.

I drove down to Fife (a indistinguishable suburb of Tacoma, and picked up a new pinball machine. Well, not a new machine, as there are no new machines, what with the demise of Williams in October of 1999, but thoroughly-reconditioned machine. In some respects, it's better than new, as there are some improvements designed by enthusiasts.

Which machine? Well, if you're an addict, the title probably gave it away. I got my first machine - a Williams "Bad Cats" (it has to be a Williams or Bally machine, as they make the best stuff) - around 6 or 7 years ago. It's an okay machine, but it's pretty retro - it doesn't even have multi-ball - and it doesn't have a ton of challenge. So, I wanted a different machine, and after a lot of thought, decided that if I was going to get a new machine, I'd get best.

So, after a lot of searching and a bit of manual labor, I now have a Twilight Zone pin sitting next to the XBox in the basement. Twilight zone is one of the most popular pins around, and has a couple of distinctive features.

First, it has a small upper playfield where you battle "the Power". When the ball is in that playfield, you control it by energizing a couple of magnets that are under it. Time it just right, and you can bounce it out the top of the playfield.

Second, it has a "Powerball", which is a small ceramic ball that is used instead of one of the pinballs. It's a little bit lighter, and therefore a lot faster than the normal pinball.

Seems like I'm going to be playing a little less Halo 2...