If you had asked me a week ago what pinball machine I wanted to own, I would have emphatically said, "World Cup Soccer", without missing a beat. In college, we had an arcade, which contained a few arcade and a few pinball games. While there was always the more popular pinball machine, such as Attack from Mars or Medieval Madness, there was also the massive unloved World Cup Soccer.
The concept of World Cup Soccer is pretty simple, it is a soccer themed pinball machine tied to the World Cup played in the United States in 1994. There was a giant dog who might have infringed on Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddie, bonuses for each city and even a chip shot which was unmissable if you had any sense of timing, which was called a penalty kick.
I often think back to that machine and think how wonderful it would be to have a generation old arcade machine weighing half a ton taking up space in my dining room. (For example, I have a dining room table where I've eaten exactly two meals in 4.25 years. Wouldn't I play World Cup Soccer more than once every two years? Goodbye dining room table! Hello Pinball Machine!!!) Of course, I've never been serious about finding a pinball machine and to be honest, I'm not sure it is an apartment item. But in my casual glances, there are days I think...well, it is only $3,000 and I can neither move it nor repair it should something happen. And seriously, I would own a pinball machine.
So, as I drove to Boston this weekend, I stopped at the first rest stop in Massachusetts. After having a quick slice of god-awful pizza due to not having eaten by 4 PM, I use the facilities. Upon leaving the men's room, I see it, like a ray from heaven. World Cup Soccer. In retrospect, I remember seeing this basically every time I go to this particular rest stop, but since my traveling for pleasure was significantly curtailed for the past few years, I eagerly approach the machine and hope there are quarters in my pocket.
Fortunately, I had a fistful of quarters and a handful of restraint, as I only deposit two quarters to play one game. And for two minutes, I remembered why I do not own a pinball machine. The game was a disappointment. It felt tilted high and the center was a ball magnet. I think I hit about three good shots in three balls, lasting those two minutes. After which, I thought to myself, did I really enjoy playing World Cup Soccer all of those years ago. I thought perhaps not, though then again, perhaps I was much easier to please at 20 than I am at 35. In reality, a broken pinball machine in a rest stop is no way to reclaim anything from your past, though it is a good lesson that the past exists as that for a reason.
Of course, this also means I need to find a new pinball machine that I want to purchase, but I'm just not ready for that yet.