I have the honor to play one of the full functional Magic Girl Pinball machines. A dutch team took the challenge and did what other couldn’t. What a pin! I am a big fan of the designer John Popadiuk and this machine looks like his Mona Lisa. Theatre of Magic, Tales of the Arabian Nights and Circus Voltaire had a hot love night and Magic Girl came out of it. After a few plays I am sitting at the bar with two guys of the dutch Team, Max and Eric:
For a long time now, the Magic Girl Pinball Machine has been around like Big Foot. You think you have seen it and then it disappears again in the dark. The pinball machine should have been released by Zidware almost a decade ago. They never finished the pin. Then American Pinball tried to rescue the project. They never finished the pin. It almost feels like a never ending story.
Are we come to an end ?
I hope so! – Eric is smiling
Max adds – First, after buying these machines, we had to find out, what was wrong with them. We tested a lot and made a long list. So many parts were missing and functions, that could have never worked without a proper technical installation. The whole software had to be re-written as well. We still have to fix two or three little bugs, but luckily everything is working right now.
They forgot switches, coils and many other parts. You can not lock a ball, if there isn’t a lock mechanism. Now we have a good game!
Without Eric’s technical knowledge we could never done it.
Was there such a big problem, that you almost quit ?
No, we always found a solution.
I always found a solution! – Eric interrupts, both are laughing.
It was important to us, that we keep the original design of Popadiuk. In most of the points it went well!
Except the upper playfield. We had to change the magnets and installed two more slings, so that the upper playfield is reachable and also doable. When we released the first video on YouTube, we got a call from American Pinball. They were very interested about the code, but the code is worthless, if you don’t install the hardware.
Two pinball companies couldn’t do, what you did, but where does this passion for pinball comes from ?
It all started with an EM pinball machine when I was 9 years old (Pat Hand). I then went to a workshop, where I learned how to clean the playfield, how to handle the mechanics and everything else. I kept going for over 40 years now with the professional repair service for pinball machines, arcades and video games. Every year you are learning something new, and of course find a new solution for a new problem. This knowledge was essential to complete the Magic Girl.
I always loved playing pinball. In my youth there was an EM pin standing at a snack bar. Every time I passed by, I had to play at least one game. Many years later we moved to a new house with a huge basement. First thing that came into my mind: We need a pinball machine here. I bought a Harley Davidson by Stern and later Indiana Jones by Bally/Williams. The Harley Davidson was gone very fast, but the Indi stays with me. I would never sell this pinball machine, it’s my all time favorite!
The Magic Girl project is done. What is the next project ?
The Pinball market is over heated right now. There are so many new manufactures, new pins, new ideas, it very interests me. Sadly we also have been watching how it shouldn’t work. Companies are gone as fast as they came. Mistakes have been made, but we can learn from that. I would love to create my own pinball machine. Let’s see what this new year will bring!
Thanks again that you guys took the time for this interview !
In the following video Eric explains in detail the technical problems they had during this project: