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Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Pinball Wizard

There is a programme on tv that my husband enjoys. It is called Vintage Tech Hunters. Two mismatched men go around to various second hand, flea market type places and find old technology and purchase it in hopes of reselling it. There is usually an interesting explanation of the history of the item and as we are both over 50, there are moments of, "Oh, I remember that!" or "I had one of those!"

On one programme, the men found an arcade game called Berserk. My husband was gleeful because that was his favourite game when he was young. I never went to arcades. I lived in rural world surrounded by farms and new age Mennonites. He grew up in a city and hung out at a downtown mall after taking the city bus from his house. I had no clue what Berserk was. I have never even played Pacman.

This did bring up a memory of a game that was always at my grandmother / uncle's farm. I don't know how old it was when I was young, but I'm quite sure that grandchildren before me played with it, and probably their own parents. It was always referred to as the bagatelle game, although I didn't know if that was even the name of the game or the manufacturer (I'm assuming it was purchased, not homemade). I looked around on the web for pictures of it, or something similar.


                       source
www.vintagematters.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/D1036-Vintage-Wooden-Bagatelle-Game_1.jpg



                                         source
https://img0.etsystatic.com/122/0/6890669/il_340x270.1023312602_gq9c.jpg


This was a very early version of pinball. You loaded up a marble in the chamber are the right hand side and pulled back the little wooden handle which had a spring on it. The marble shot out, rolled around the curved top wall and pinged its way down, hopefully getting caught in the u-shaped traps which had different scores. I spent a lot of time playing with this old game. No lights, sounds, music, killing, headphones to communicate with someone across the country at the same time, graphics, electricity or computer chips required.

I would sprawl on the floor in the living room of the farmhouse, propped up, shooting marbles and having a great time. The only danger was accidentally leaning forward and putting your hand on the game board. The little pins were not protected with a nail head. They could practically impale you if you leaned too heavily!

I have no clue what happened to that game when my uncle died, grandmother moved into a senior's apartment, and the farm was sold. Hopefully whoever ended up with it spent a few good hours enjoying its simplistic fun.

31 comments:

  1. That's my kind of game. And....it's beautiful to look at.

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    1. This one was very nice, beautiful wood, and in excellent condition.

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  2. What a nice memory to have. We watch American Pickers here in the US, and it sounds like the American version of what you watch - although they don't stick to technology. My Pete has heard of bagatelle. He's a pinball collector. We have about 40 machines at the moment. He buys them in all conditions and fixes them up. He also buys and fixes up jukeboxes which are lots of fun.

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    1. Yes, we have a Canadian version of that show, and have seen the American one, too. It's amazing what they find.

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  3. Old games always stir up memories. Your writing presented it so well, good images.

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  4. You were ahead of your time and didn't even know it!

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    1. Well, that's a first. I'm never on the leading edge of anything!

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  5. We had bagatelle just like the one you illustrate in the first picture, and how you describe. It was only brought out at high days and holidays and had to be treated with great reverence. Very old memories there for me. Thanks Jenn. It makes me feel very nostalgic.

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    1. Now that you mentioned that, treating it with reverence, that was kind of the unspoken rule at the farm. You treated everything with respect. I remember, you always had to wash your hands before touching the piano, too.

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  6. I have never heard or seen this game, but I believe in our childhood, games like this were the "fun" things to do. At least until Pac-Man came out. That is my favorite game of all time!!

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  7. We had a couple of non-tech games that we played all the time. Like Chinese checkers and we had a game where you tilted the board and tried to get the ball all the way through the maze to the end, without falling in one of the many holes along the way!

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    1. I remember one of those tilt boards, like a maze. I don't think I was ever successful with it. I was pretty little at the time.

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  8. we had this game too, though it was a metal "box" with a plastic face so the ball wouldn't get lost. Another favorite in our house was crokinole. I still have my grandparents old board. I need to find a source for the little discs. Someone told me Lee Valley is a good source for stuff like that.

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    1. When I was searching for images, I saw some made of metal.

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  9. That was one of the first games we had, in the fifties. Metal, plastic encased (the marbles didn't get lost!). Somehow my brothers had it more often than I did. My youngest brother wound up a local barroom pinball wizard. In his single days.

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    1. Stayed out of the barrooms after he was married, did he?

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    2. Hang on, that came out sounding wrong. I just meant, when he was single, he had the time to be playing pinball. Ughh.

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  10. Reminds me of shuffle board that we used to play. Seeing how far we could push coins on a special board....or at least I think that's what we did. Must Google. We used to play pick up sticks too and grandkids love that

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    1. There were pick up sticks at the farm, too. They were very old. I imagine that they were all from the same time frame.

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  11. We had that game too back in England when we were kids. I don't think it was bought for one of us specifically so it was probably a pass down from an older family member. We, too, called it bagatelle. I can't remember a spring on ours I believe it had a baton like thing like a mini pool cue that we used to hit the balls with, but I may be wrong on that. I am 70 and my memory is sometimes not all it should be. But the board and the pins were identical to those on the picture.

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    1. Actually, I did a bit of reading and bagatelle usually was played like a mini version of pool (billiards) with pins to create obstacles and smaller versions did have little cues, too. So yours was probably one of those.

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  12. The one I remember is as others have mentioned . . . metal with a plastic top so the marbles always stayed inside. Oh, I think I must have played upwards of a million games of Chinese Checkers! And, yes, Pick-Up Sticks. Now I wonder what was so enthralling about trying to extract long, narrow sticks from a pile. As you say, much simpler times. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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    1. Ha, can you imagine suggesting to some kids today that fun could be had by picking up a small stick without disturbing the other sticks? They might throw their iPad at you! Ha ha.

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  13. The technology saturated kids of today often appreciate the old games. We have an old bingo game. As a child Uncle Bill wrote his name on the back of the cards he considered lucky, his nephew (my son) did the same and now 50 yrs later his great nephew is doing the same. We play for a prize, for the last two generations it has been homemade dried fruit, simple pleasures and good memories.

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    1. Bingo is fun! I like that you still have the old game.

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  14. Those are such nice memories. I grew up in the big city, so taking city buses to all kinds of places was pretty much the norm. Now I live in a smaller, quieter area and really like the peace.

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    1. I spent a lot of time on school buses. But that's not the same.

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  15. I would like to find out where the people in that show find the dealers that are willing to pay those prices. Having sold some antiques to dealers I have never found one that would shell out that kind of money. I have my doubts.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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  16. What a beautiful game board. Oh, I think that would be tremendous fun and such a wonderful memory. I could do with a good board game right now!

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