The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

January 12, 2013

Slate: Can this man save pinball?

(Continued)

LAKEWOOD, N.J. —

Pinball first captivated the spare-change-having masses during the otherwise unamusing Great Depression, then surged again after World War II with the game-changing advent of the flipper. The pinball wizardry chronicled in the Who's "Tommy" launched a silver-ball renaissance in 1969, and the development of bell-and-whistle-larded computerized machines in the 1970s kept those balls rolling. New York City also ended its three-decade-plus pinball ban in 1976 — Mayor Fiorello La Guardia had believed it was "a racket dominated by interests heavily tainted with criminality" that pilfered from the "pockets of schoolchildren in the form of nickels and dimes given them as lunch money" — further clearing the way for the game's cultural ascension.

It was right around that time that Guarnieri got into the business, taking a job as a pinball mechanic after graduating from high school in Brooklyn in the mid-1970s. Soon after, Pac-Man came along and chomped up all the coins. In 1979, pinball manufacturers sold more than 200,000 machines in the United States; three years later, they sold 33,000. During that same period, video games went from collecting around $1 billion per year in quarters to a high of $8 billion, with 1980's Pac-Man reportedly earning more than $1 billion in coins in its first year on the street.

As silver balls lost their capacity to thrill in the 1980s, Guarnieri rode the video game wave. At his peak as an arcade operator and service person, he oversaw 400 video games in and around New York City, in pizzerias and hardware stores and barber shops, as well as the Waldorf-Astoria and the World Trade Center's Skydive Restaurant. For a time, Guarnieri says, the joystick tycoon's biggest concern was excessive profitability — once in a while, a massively popular game like Asteroids would jam up with quarters, rendering it inoperable.

Text Only
World, nation, state
  • U.S. blasts Israel for Kerry criticism

    The Obama administration pushed back strongly Monday at a torrent of Israeli criticism over Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest bid to secure a cease-fire with Hamas, accusing some in Israel of launching a “misinformation campaign” against the top American diplomat.

    July 29, 2014

  • Outlook on Medicare finances improves

    Medicare’s finances are looking brighter, the government said Monday. The program’s giant hospital trust fund won’t be exhausted until 2030 — four years later than last year’s estimate.

    July 29, 2014

  • Plan to simplify 2015 health renewals may backfire

    If you have health insurance on your job, you probably don’t give much thought to each year’s renewal. But make the same assumption in one of the new health law plans, and it could lead to costly surprises.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hospital shooting suspect charged with murder

    A man accused of fatally shooting his caseworker and grazing his psychiatrist at a suburban Philadelphia hospital complex before the doctor returned fire has been charged with murder.

    July 28, 2014

  • Man seeks video of Oklahoma City bombing

    One man’s quest to explain his brother’s mysterious jail cell death 19 years ago has rekindled long-dormant questions about whether others were involved in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

    July 28, 2014

  • Bill in Congress to help veterans with PTSD

    A group of lawmakers have joined together to help veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Post Traumatic Brain Injury (PTBI) and other war injuries get speedy medical treatment — and avoid Veteran’s Administration bureaucracy and Department of Defense lack of accountability.

    July 28, 2014

  • U.S.: Russia has fired rockets into Ukraine

    Stepping up pressure on Moscow, the U.S. on Sunday released satellite images it says show that rockets have been fired from Russia into neighboring eastern Ukraine and that heavy artillery for separatists also has crossed the border.

    July 28, 2014

  • U.S. says Russia is firing across border into Ukraine

    Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the crisis.

    July 25, 2014

  • Gaza sides agree to lull but truce efforts stall

     Israel-Hamas fighting looked headed for escalation after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry failed Friday to broker a weeklong truce as a first step toward a broader deal and Israel’s defense minister warned Israel might soon expand its Gaza ground operation “significantly.”

    July 25, 2014

  • Planes with Ukraine bodies arrive in Netherlands

    Two more military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the crash site which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels.

    July 24, 2014

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video