Arcade veteran seeks to be pinball wizard

Kai Ryssdal Jan 21, 2013
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Arcade veteran seeks to be pinball wizard

Kai Ryssdal Jan 21, 2013
HTML EMBED:
COPY

If you of a certain age, pre-dating the PlayStation and Xbox and Wii, you probably remember the pinball machine. You maybe even played a bit back in the day. Flippers and bumpers and ringing bells haven’t fared so well in the digital age, though.

That’s where Jack Guarnieri comes in. He is — almost singlehandedly — trying to revitalize pinball as a pastime with a new high-tech game based on, of all things, “The Wizard of Oz.”

“When you license a theme you want something very rich and vibrant,” Guarnieri says. “With the ‘Wizard of Oz,’ we know we want to get Dorothy back to Oz, so we have a storyline [and] are able to create unique toys and mechanisms and playfields and animation. You have spinning house that lands and the witch’s legs pops out…so the eye candy of the game is outstanding.”

Guarnieri has been in the arcade business for decades and is a huge pinball fan, so he has faith his custom-made machines will take off.

“I knew if I assembled a great team we would be successful,” he says. “We have an amazing customer base and the support is there.”

Guarnieri has been been testing out the machines in high-traffic game centers and is enthusiastic about the player response. The machines will cost operators about $7,000, and Guarnieri bets that they’ll make their money back within a year.

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.

Raise a glass to Marketplace!

Just $7/month gets you a limited edition KaiPA pint glass. Plus bragging rights that you support independent journalism.
Donate today to get yours!