Greenfield, Ind. – You wouldn’t know it driving down a country road in Greenfield, but listen closely and you might hear the dings of pinball machines.
Mark Wagner specializes in bringing out the kid in you! His shop, Doc Pinball, is one of the largest and longest-running providers of coin-operated equipment.
“It’s come back strong!” said Mark. “What happened is all the kids back in the day who used to go to Washington Square and Castleton to play games are now old enough that they miss all that and they have disposable income.”
Mark used to do electronics on B-52’s and KC 135 aircraft for the US Air Force. He left the service in the early 1980’s and worked for a big coin-operated gaming company. Then one day he was laid off.
He and his wife decided to take a big risk and see what they could do with their own mom and pop shop.
“I was a well known technician and was getting paid at the upper end of the pay scale and just one day I was released and decided I can go back and work my way up again or give it a go on our own.”
They met in seventh grade and the day we met the couple, they were celebrating 41 years of marriage! They’re also preparing one of their sons to take over the family business.
Jason Wagner grew up testing games for his dad.
“I just love bringing an old machine back to life,” said Jason.
“People don’t do this a lot so when I tell them what I do for a living, they kind of look at me sideways! A little shocked I guess you could say.”
Together they not only fix and sell machines, but they’ll work to find you the one you want.
“You never walk in here and have the same day over again,” said Jason. “It’s always something new and something different. When I see the end result that gives me the push to want to keep doing it.”
They say today people play pins almost like they do the stock market.
Mark explains, “You buy that one pinball machine for $3,000 and possibly five years later it’s worth five or six thousand dollars. There’s no other toy you can buy, have enjoyment out of and then hope to gain value with.”
The Addams Family is one of the most popular pinball games in history and today it sells used for three to four times the original price.
Pinball also brings generations together.
“So my kids can have fun with my dad, that kind of thing,” said Jason.
Jason’s dream machine is the Metallica game.
“There is really a lot to pinball machines that you can’t replicate with an Xbox or PlayStation. What keeps a lot of people entertained is that it’s physical moving parts on a play field versus looking at a virtual screen.”
They said typically today you’re looking at spending anywhere from $2,500 to $15,000, depending on whether it’s new, used or a collectible.