Tim Sexton is a Software Engineer at Stern Pinball.
The Start Button: How did you first get into pinball?
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know pinball just from its massive presence in mainstream culture. However, I played very little physical pinball as a kid or teen since it was massively in decline. I was born in 1993 so I may have seen games like Lord of the Rings and Simpsons Pinball Party here and there but can’t remember playing them when I was young. Older pinball players usually don’t seem to care about this but almost everyone in my age range remembers the 3D Space Cadet pinball game that shipped with Windows XP. That OS shipped 1,000,000,000+ copies, which blows the Addams Family production numbers out of the water. 3D Space Cadet pinball was the main experience I had with pinball until I was 19 and decided to head over to the Pinball Gallery in Malvern, PA to check out the games they had. That place was really nice and the games were all in great shape. What really drew me in was when I noticed that they had league standings posted on a printed-out excel spreadsheet near the bathroom. Only then did I finally realize that pinball was a completely skill-based game. I wound up joining the Pinball Gallery summer league in 2013 and PAPA 16 that summer. Took a deep dive into all the internet content there was about competitive pinball after that.
The Plunge: What was the first pinball machine you bought?
The only game I’ve ever purchased was a World Poker Tour. However, I got a Rollergames as compensation for my summer internship at the Pinball Gallery so that was the first machine I ever had in my (parent’s) home.
The Skill Shot: What is your best pinball achievement or favorite pinball moment?
Probably when I was hired by Stern Pinball!
Good Shots, Bad Bounces: What is your favorite and least favorite pinball machine?
It’s really difficult for me to pick a favorite. Nostalgia isn’t affecting my judgment so I don’t have an all-time great. I really do think the team at Stern Pinball has a great understanding of what the contemporary pinball players want the most out of their games and what makes the games fun.
The Wizard Mode: What is your dream theme you’d like to see made into a pinball machine?
I’m going to keep this one to myself.
The Tilt: What is the dumbest mistake you’ve made in pinball (mishap moving a machine, messing up trying to fix a machine, etc.)?
Can’t think of anything too awful. However, I was never able to convince my former co-worker to sell me the Gold Strike machine she had sitting in her garage for many years. I shouldn’t have told her how much it was worth in working condition.
The High Score: Describe the pinball hobby in one word.
Match – Next Game: Where do you see the pinball hobby in 5-10 years?
I’m very confident in its continued growth. Pinball inspires an intense fanaticism in people for all sorts of reasons. Everyone today who is part of the pinball community wants pinball to do well.
I think that now the core group of players and the core group of enthusiasts/collectors both are growing steadily year after year. There is still tons of room for expansion into what people often refer to as the eSports arena now, but there is clear evidence to me that pinball has a great opportunity to grow in the changing media world. As we get better at presenting pinball for bigger and bigger audiences it will pull even more people in, just like the increase in locations, leagues, and pinball shows has pulled way more people into pinball than there were just a few years ago.