Contest: Your Pinball Design Ideas for $$$$!!

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This is not a trick. I am looking for great ideas for a new customized pinball machine design.

If I decide to build one based on your design- and you will know since I will post it here- I will pay you $50. Not enough for college tuition, I know- but certainly worth a few minutes to brainstorm some ideas, and type them out in the comments below.

For reference, and to get you thinking, here are links to my prototype 3 designs thus far- (sorry, I have a few other secret commissioned designs in the works that I can’t share yet):

The Racer
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
Night of the Living Dead

Here are the rules:
1. Ideas must be submitted with your name and email address in the comments below. Additional explanation/concepts will be helpful to envision the idea (this could definitely influence my decision!)
2. Ideally, the theme or concept should be nostalgic- from the 60’s, 70’s, or early 80’s
3. Ideally, the theme should be one that has not already been used in a pinball design.
4. Be wary of ideas that directly relate to copyrighted works.
5. In a future blog posting, I will outline the entries as well as my thoughts in determining any “winners” for designs I choose.
6. In lieu of a $50 prize, winner(s) may choose to take a 50% discount on one of my donor machines to use for making your idea a reality.
7. If there are insufficient and/or inadequate entries, I reserve the right not to declare a winner.
8. Limit of 3 ideas per person.

This is not a joke, nor a trick. I am looking for inspiration and the next big idea for an art project. It costs nothing to provide your ideas! Good luck!

Dave
P.S. my new email address for the business is:
davegaskill@pinventions.com

My First Booth

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I hadn’t planned on getting serious about my custom pinball machine business endeavor for another year. I wanted to complete 3 sample/prototype machines, work through a business plan, meet with a lawyer and an accountant, etc.

But in the space of about three weeks, I’ve developed a “real” website, purchased my own domain name, worked up a pricing strategy, written a few blogs, and submitted one of my projects- Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out – for consideration in the local “Maker’s Faire” in Providence- a showcase of “Makers”- those like me who dabble in unique combinations of art, technology, etc. In other words, a place where weirdos can go to meet other weirdos so they don’t feel so weird.

I didn’t have high hopes that I would be accepted into the weirdo circles immediately- I suspected that they needed to get to know me, quiz me on my eccentricities, challenge me to prove that I deserved to be on the far end of the weirdo-spectrum. Only then could I be accepted to participate in their “Faire”.

But either they aren’t so weird or I’m weirder than I thought I was- my application was almost immediately accepted, and I was invited to put my creation on display in a booth at the event this Saturday. I was honored, pleased, and panicked a bit at the thought of putting something semi-professional to promote my business concept (and solicit potential clients) as part of the show.

This week has been a crash course in designing a hanging banner for my booth (designed in one night, submitted to Staples for printing yesterday, printed today, trimmed and ready for pick-up tomorrow), designing and printing business cards (complete with a QR code), designing tri-fold promotional fliers (inside designed and printed tonight, outside to be designed and printed tomorrow), and planning the layout of the booth (complete with the actual functioning machine, promotional materials, email sign-up sheets, price lists, free candy/bribes for the kiddies, etc. etc. etc.)

Oh yes- and I just returned from a week-long vacation so I had a lot of catching up to do at my real job. So my pinball work happens in the evenings. It will all magically come together on Saturday morning, I am certain.

So if anyone happens to read this, and if anyone reading this happens to be in Providence, RI on Saturday, please stop by to stare at the weirdos at our little Faire. I’ll be the one sleeping behind the booth as little kids steal all my candy.

A Fly on the Wall at Boston Comic Con

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I’ve always wanted to go to the “MOACC” (Mother of all Comic-Cons) in San Diego, and actually never even considered going to one of the lesser versions anywhere else. However, my wife and daughter had the idea to give me tickets to the local Boston show for my birthday- and today I return home with some observations- along with some ideas for arranging my own booth at the Rhode Island Mini Maker Faire this coming weekend.

First off, I need to note that I was pretty wiped out after a long drive back from PA yesterday- a trip that included trying to teach my parents how to use an iPhone, a family reunion, a trip to Kennywood Park (the inspiration for my RACER design), a Pirate baseball game in beautiful PNC Park, and a costly game of poker with my two brothers, Scott and Jeff.

So I wasn’t exactly fired-up about the Boston Comic-con, even though in theory I should have been.

I arrived with my wife Linda, my daughter Amanda, and her boyfriend Ben a little before noon. The lobby looked a bit like the Star Wars Cantina scene, and I felt underdressed (or more correctly- oddly dressed) with a throwback Pirates top and baseball cap. As we entered the hall, a full sized embodiment of Jabba the Hut was posing for pictures, a crew of Pirates taunted onlookers into sword fights, and several ghostbusters showed off their back-pack technology. My interest was piqued, and I even toyed with the idea of asking the Pirates if I could join their motley crew- given my ensemble and all. I thought better of this after realizing that I was in Red Sox territory, and that the idea was stupid.

I had heard about the cos players, and they did not disappoint- there were the expected super heroes and villains (I especially admired/was terrified by a Bane clone), along with the sexy (and not so sexy) women in skimpy costumes. I am not a huge comic book fan, but I love science fiction, video games and horror, so I was pleased to get most of the references. We met and spoke to a few independent artists and authors, and I tried to deposit some goodwill in my karma account by buying some of their wares.

We also attended a Q&A forum with authors and artists from the “Locke and Key” comics- a favorite of my daughter’s. I got an appreciation of the genre after listening to the creators- one of them the son of Steven King- he was obviously brilliant, insightful, funny, and extremely creative and talented. He gained a fan today and I will read/ look at their work.

As we exited the venue, I thought about what I observed, and what I could take away from this experience that I could apply to my little venture. I realize now more than ever that there are a lot of very talented people in the various genres on display here, and that they are very passionate about their work. These people tend to be pretty smart, and there is a depth to their work that most outsiders would not realize. I recognize the passion, the depth, and the intelligence as concepts that I too value, and want to cultivate in my own creations.

I also got some cool ideas for organizing my booth at Maker Faire.

Thank you cosmos.

Day Two- Crash Course in Web Design

So my tinkering in web design yesterday led to sharing a link on Facebook, and a few hundred views of my digital scrawling. I don’t think I embarrassed myself too much. I must say that the web design software is more of a grammar nazi than any of my friends. So I want to spell playfield as one word- just humor me, please.

I added links today. That was special. I replaced my lame order form with a too-long ramble about price comparisons and guidance on costs for potential clients- but I think it’s an improvement.

So my audience is no longer zero- but it is certainly not captive.

If only I didn’t have a day job, I could make a serious go at this….

Soon….