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EGYPT LAKE - Let the games begin - again
PINBALL1It starts with an electronic game that has long since seen better days, between 10 and 50 years old. After years of use and abuse in an arcade, bowling alley or bar, it finds its way into the home of a collector attempting to relive his or her youth and post the high score on a favorite table.

Then, finding that the bumpers don't bump and the flippers don't flip as well as they used to, the game is packed up and shipped to Game Gallery Amusements and Rentals, 7941 N. Armenia Ave. That's where Bill Calosso and Dann Jarvis work their magic.

It starts by stripping the game right down to the wood, Calosso said. He or Jarvis will spend hours taking the game apart, removing every piece of plastic, rubber and metal.

Plastic parts are soaked in a bucket of citrus cleaner, then cleaned by hand with a toothbrush.


The wood part of the table is cleaned and waxed, Calosso said, as he draws a fingertip through the grease and grime accumulated on a table being disassembled by Jarvis. Metal parts are put into a tumbler and spun around in ground walnut to remove rust and corrosion. The rubber on the bumpers and flippers is replaced, as are broken parts.

When a game is put back together, ``Everything gets tugged on, everything gets pulled,'' Calosso said. ``I don't need to hear from a customer saying that something broke right after they got it back.''

It costs about $250 to $350, on average, to refurbish a machine at the shop, which has been in business for 25 years. It has been at its current location about 10 years. One benefit of the job is getting to play the games - all in the interest of giving the game a final check before returning it to the customer, of course.

``We play each game about 20 or 30 times before we let it leave,'' Calosso said. ``It helps us to find the little quirks that you can't find until at least the 19th or 20th time.''

A week later, that antique ``Star Wars,'' ``Kiss'' or ``Indiana Jones'' pinball machine looks as good and works as well as it did 20 or 30 years ago.

Calosso has worked his pinball wizardry for 18 years. He learned through trial and error, disassembling the games to find out what makes them tick. There were no books or schools that taught arcade game repair.

``I just started going through them, learning about them as I went along,'' Calosso said.

Pinball restoration is only a part of the business at Game Gallery Amusements and Rentals, owner Andy Kline said. They restore classic arcade games such as Pong and Space Invaders, and sell and rent everything from pool tables to jukeboxes. Clients come from all over the world, Kline said. They have received games from as far away as Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

``A lot of these people get these games on eBay, then they call us to fix them,'' Kline said.

``It's amazing what people put in their house,'' he said. ``We had some people put these large Skee-Ball games in their house.''

Jarvis, who used to repair video games in Detroit, said that working on pinball games gave him a respect for the form.

``With video games, you can play for an hour and you'll eventually beat the game,'' Jarvis said. ``But it's very difficult to beat a pinball game.''

monopoly1Repairing pinball games also is tougher, Jarvis said. ``With pinball, you've got mechanical parts and electronics,'' Jarvis said. ``Some games even have hydraulics. But the classic video games are easier. They just have electronics.'' Kline said he started out 25 years ago, when Space Invaders was state-of-the-art. Today, he's seeing those games make a comeback. ``Ms. Pac Man, Galaga, Donkey Kong,'' Kline said. ``People my age can remember those games and they want them.'' Antique pinball games are a big business, Kline said, with some games going for several thousand dollars.
``The Medieval Madness pinball is going for $8,000 to $10,000,'' Kline said. ``The [rock group] Kiss pinball is also very collectible. People are paying $5,000 to $6,000 for that.''

For Calosso, the best part of his job is returning a game to a customer.``When people get their game back, you should look in their eyes when they see it,'' Calosso said.

Reporter Sean C. Ledig can be reached at (813) 865-1507.

This story can be found at:




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 Thank you for visiting our website at We have been in business buying, selling, trading arcade amusement machines since 1975. We market and ship to the following cities and states Akron, OH Colorado Springs, CO Indianapolis, IN Nashville, TN San Francisco, CA Albuquerque, NM Columbus, OH Irving, TX New Orleans, LA San Jose, CA Anaheim, CA Corpus Christi, TX Jacksonville, FL Orlando, FL Ft. Lauderdale, FL Boca Raton, FL Naples, FL New York, NY Santa Ana, CA Anchorage, AK Dallas, TX Jersey City, NJ Newark, NJ Scottsdale, AZ Arlington, TX Denver, CO Kansas City, MO Norfolk, VA Seattle, WA Atlanta, GA Des Moines, IA Las Vegas, NV Oakland, CA Shreveport, LA Augusta, GA Detroit, MI Lexington, KY Oklahoma City, OK Spokane, WA Aurora, CO El Paso, TX Lincoln, NE Omaha, NE St. Louis, MO Austin, TX Fort Wayne, IN Long Beach, CA Philadelphia, PA St. Paul, MN Bakersfield, CA Fort Worth, TX Los Angeles, CA Phoenix, AZ St. Petersburg, FL Baltimore, MD Fremont, CA Louisville, KY Pittsburgh, PA Stockton, CA Baton Rouge, LA Fresno, CA Lubbock, TX Plano, TX Tacoma, WA Birmingham, AL Garland, TX Madison, WI Portland, OR Tampa, FL Boston, MA Glendale, AZ Memphis, TN Raleigh, NC Toledo, OH Buffalo, NY Glendale, CA Mesa, AZ Richmond, VA Tucson, AZ Charlotte, NC Grand Rapids, MI Miami, FL Riverside, CA Tulsa, OK Chesapeake, VA Greensboro, NC Milwaukee, WI Rochester, NY Virginia Beach, VA Chicago, IL Hialeah, FL Minneapolis, MN Sacramento, CA Washington, DC Cincinnati, OH Honolulu, HI Mobile, AL San Antonio, TX Wichita, KS Cleveland, OH Houston, TX Montgomery, AL San Diego, CA Yonkers, NY Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming. We also ship overseas and would be glad to arrange this service for you. We also service and repair all types of machines. We specialize in corporate and private parties and events and provide daily, weekly and monthly rentals.  

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