Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Jim Schelberg, who is displayed on card number 284, from the Superstars of 2012. Jim is also featured on cards 739 and 1714. Jim is the editor and publisher of “PinGame Journal”. He has a passion to spread the news and history of pinball as well as the breaking news, records and other information about the industry. On October 17th, 2009, Jim was inducted into the Pinball Expo Hall of Fame. You can see Jim at various pinball events around the United States.
What’s your opinion of the Console Pinball games (Xbox, PlayStation) that recreate the original machines onto the TV screen?
They are fine for what they are. But it's not pinball. It's another game. Pinball requires a physical ball governed only by physics. This is not remotely a new thought. One commonly quoted statement from pinball pioneer Harry Williams is "The ball is wild." In any video game the ball is programmed, not wild.
In your opinion, are there enough or too little Pinball Expos and conferences held each year?
If there's a problem there it's not the number of events but the scheduling. I don't like having to make a decision to attend one show and not another because their schedules overlap.
Did you agree on the pinball ban in New York City on the 1970s? What is your opinion on this topic?
There was a problem but as governments often do, they tried to fix it with a shotgun instead of a scalpel.
Do you remember your first pinball machine you played and what do you remember about it?
I came to pinball a bit late. My wife bought me my first game for my 40th birthday. It was a 1959 Gottlieb Straight Shooter.
When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?
The Pinball Expo in Chicago.
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Walter can’t be restricted by only one word. Awesome or amazing might be general descriptions but his focus and energy and excitement has no bounds.
What was the best era for Pinball gaming in your opinion?
In terms of competition, the best era is now. While there has been plenty of it in the past -- Gottlieb said "it's more fun to compete!" -- The advent of the Internet has allowed the process to grow in many ways.
What does it take to be a Pinball Journalist?
Insanity helps a lot.
Are pinball machines aimed mainly at children, adolescents or adults?
The classic general focus is young adult males. That is changing a bit as more and more women are involved, locations morph from the classic arcade to other types of street venues and the home market is the strongest in history. Pinball is a business and is always striving to be attractive to its customers.
What are your opinions about today’s generation of Pinball? How do you compare them to older, classic machines?
They each have their own unique features. It's like cars. It's cool to drive a Model T or a new Tesla or anything else. Each is a very different but equally interesting experience. To paraphrase a song from the play Finian's Rainbow, "When I'm not near the game I love, I love the game I'm near”.
Do you prefer playing pinball alone or against someone and why?
Another classic quote exclaims, "It's more fun to compete." As I'm not the best player in the world and not really that competitive; I much prefer playing pinball WITH others.
Which company makes/made the best pinball machines and why?
I refer you to that Finian's Rainbow paraphrase, "When I'm not near the game I love, I love the game I'm near”.
Are pinball machines good for relieving stress?
Playing them can be. It's a place where you can focus your attention that is safe and contained. Making a difficult shot at the right time can be liberating
Where do you see the pinball world in the next 20 years?
That's very difficult to know. Pinball has experienced an ebb and flow since its inception. Headlines have announced "pinball is dead" a number of times but it always reinvents itself and comes back. I'm not sure where it will be but to quote George Carlin, "Man will always play pinball”.