Mata Hari

So there I was, browsing this new site I had just discovered in the spring of 1999. It was called “eBay”. It occurred to me that it might be fun to search for pinball machines — surely somebody somewhere was selling one, right? I can still remember bumming nickels from my mother to play during her weekly bowling league circa 1965 when I was all of six years old. I loved playing pinball as a kid and later in college, and I had harbored hopes then (long since forgotten in 1999) of having a machine of my very own one day. Lo and behold, eBay was chock full of pinball machines. I selected Mata Hari from a seller in North Carolina. I remembered playing Mata Hari during my freshman year of college in 1978. Made by Bally in that same year, Mata Hari was one of the first generation of solid-state machines. (For aficionados, my backglass has the writing on the dagger.)

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Eight Ball

After my adventures with my first pinball machine, Mata Hari (which amounted to a crash course in pinball machine repair), I figured I was ready for a new challenge. As I’ve already described, I had been in extensive email contact with the guys in North Carolina who sold me Mata Hari on eBay. In the course of all this I found out that they had an Eight Ball machine in storage that they were thinking of selling or restoring. They were quick to point out that this one really wasn’t in very good shape (unlike the Mata Hari…hah!). It was a restoration project with playfield wear, a beat-up cabinet, a rotten backglass, and an acid-eaten MPU board.

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