Where did it all go wrong? Folks in the business offer these explanations:
Rather than staying old school, the companies tried to compete with video games. "They gave pinball lots of glitz and gizmos," Levine said. "But they had games with very little soul."
The new, souped-up machines required expensive, time-consuming repairs when they broke. A video game ordinarily needed just a quick wipe with a dust rag.
The return on the games was insufficient. In 1976, a game of pinball cost 25 cents and a machine ran about $2,000. In 1990, the cost was still 25 cents; the price of a machine had doubled.
Who needs pinball anyway? Are there any arcades left since Nintendo, Sega and Sony came along?