The pinball wizard

Dean Morgan is always looking for more pinball machines to add to his extensive collection. 42842 Dean Morgan is always looking for more pinball machines to add to his extensive collection. 42842

By Kara Irving
FOR some, pinball machines are distant childhood memories but for Kooweerup resident Dean Morgan, the echo of sirens and whirring flashes of light are a significant part of his life.
With a passion for all things technical, Dean was drawn to pinball machines from a young age. At just 15 years old, he recalls being asked to mend a faulty pinball machine at his dad’s workplace and has since then spent most of his spare time collecting, repairing and restoring the vintage arcade machines.
“I’m technical by nature,” admits Dean who owns more than 14 pinball machines. “It’s just something I’ve been interested in from a young age. So far I’ve sold a few to support my hobby”.
With a price tag ranging between $1000 and $20,000 dollars per machine and with many machines only available in the United States, collecting the authentic gaming device is proving an expensive habit.
In the 1970s pinball machines were in high demand with shows like Happy Days inspiring bored teenagers to clock up time on several arcade games after school.
By the 1980s pinball machines had changed their dynamics, with electronic speakers, flashing lights and ramps installed to improve the gaming experience. However by the late 1990s, it seemed the pinball phenomenon had died down in Australia, with the elimination of many ‘Penny Arcades’ across the nation.
“Technology has changed a lot. The oldest machine I currently have is a 1973 electro mechanical model, with no electronics” Dean said.
Among his dated collectables, Dean also owns some of the most sought-after novelty machines in the industry, including the limited edition Star Wars ‘Empire Strikes Back’ and Rocky Balboa machines.
In the last decade several small businesses have helped propel the pinball machine to modern gaming audiences, with the pre-loved machines being featured at regular swap meets and gaming festivals. But PlayStation and Wii games aside, Dean still believes pinball machines will be an iconic childhood pastime and will continue to fuel his passion.
“I’m always on the lookout for more”, said Dean, “I’m always collecting”.