October 09, 2009

Pin-ball Expo at Marin Civic Center

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Old school pinball machines are pretty much relegated to history -- god, do I feel old.   But I felt like a little kid again when I was bouncing off over 400 vintage pin-ball machines Sunday afternoon at Pin-ball Expo at the Marin Civic Center exhibition hall.

There is an organization working to establish a permanent Pin-ball Museum right here in Marin County.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

They were charging an arm and a leg for admission, but play on all machines was free -- theoretically, at 25 cents per game, 100 games would cover admission.   I only shot one game -- I'm not a very good pinball player -- but I DID manage to shoot lots of photos.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

OXO (also known as Noughts and Crosses) is a tic-tac-toe computer game made for the EDSAC computer in 1952.   It was written by Alexander S. Douglas as an illustration for his Ph.D. thesis on human-computer interaction for the University of Cambridge.   OXO was the first digital graphical game to run on a computer.

This pin-ball back-glass has nothing to do with the EDSAC computer, although the game does have a very high-tech tic-tac-toe theme.

The simulation was played using a rotary telephone controller, and was designed for the world's first stored-program computer.   OXO is often listed as the first computer game.

In OXO the player played against the computer, and output was displayed on the computer's 35×16 pixel cathode ray tube.   The source code was short, yet it played a perfect game of noughts and crosses.   OXO did not have widespread popularity because the EDSAC was a computer unique to Cambridge.     source: Wikipedia

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Even though they aren't lit very evenly, pin-ball back-glasses are easy to shoot, but trying to get shots of the bumpers and ball-bouncers is difficult because of the odd angle and limited depth of field.   An overhead shot would have solved the problem but I didn't get permission to bring my ladder.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Super Straight eh?   Well folks, come back tomorrow and I'll show you some really sexy pinball back-glasses.

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Unknown said...

Pinball photos! What fun and what a flashback! Thanks for the info on the oxo (LOL)!!! You took some really great shots - the colors and detail are awesome. TFS.

Tomate Farcie said...

Great post!
I didn't know about OXO.

tangobaby said...

Oh, I'm so glad you got to go, Donald. Isn't that so much fun! I hardly played any games... I was so busy taking photos.

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