I started playing pinball when I was about 12 years old. That was way back in... Well, suffice it to say that I was 12.

I started on pins rather than video games because video games didn't really exist. Well, technically, this isn't true - the first video games had be in bars for a couple of years, and you could buy Pong for your TV for $150, but there weren't any vids in the 7-11 where I played pins.

I've always had a soft spot for pinball. There's something about the physicality of the game - to play well you need to know how to treat the game. If you don't shake it the right amount, you won't get a good score. If you shake it too much, you'll tilt it. But shake it the right amount...

It's hard to find good games to buy. Ideally, there would be a local place you could go to look at - and play - a pin before you buy it. There used to be place in Seattle (but it seems to no longer have a valid website, at least) called Music Vend, but their games were a) expensive and b) not always in great shape. Not to mention that they might not have the game that you wanted.

So, if you're going to buy a pin, you're probably going to be buying it over Ebay. And that likely means that you're going to be having it shipped, which will probably cost $150 - $300. Pins are big and heavy, and a pain to move around. So it pays to buy one that is close, if possible.

My pin came, from all places, Alaska, from a company the refurbishes and sells old games. A game that has been rebuilt is known as "shopped" in the trade, and that can mean anything from new rubber parts to pulling all the parts of the playfield and replacing everything that needs to be, and making any necessary mods. My game is the latter.

I didn't quite meet the reserve on the first game I bid on, and then got an email from somebody telling me that the first seller didn't pay, and the game was mine for what I bid. This is a common EBay scam, so beware - you can reach a seller through Ebay's system and know that you have the right person, but an email could be from anybody.

In this case, I spoke with the seller about this, didn't buy the first game, but did buy another TZ that he had (the better of the two, in fact). Shipping to Seattle was already factored into his price, so I likely saved about $500 over buying a machine somewhere else.