December 15, 2008
To help celebrate this season of ravenous craving and financial splurging, Puck Daddy presents its list of quirky luxury items for the hockey fan that has everything. Any suggestions? E-mail us, please.)
What: Bobby Orr Power Play pinball machine from Bally.
Price: $1,479.00 (according to this eBay auction.)
A common ice-breaking conversation among individuals born between the release of Pac-Man and the release of PlayStation is what coin-operated video game they'd have in their rec room or basement.
My go-to answer is always Spy Hunter; although if I could find three other people to play hooky during the work week, Gauntlet would have been totally worth it. Inevitably, after Donkey Kong and Mortal Kombat and Paperboy have all been mentioned, someone will bring up a pinball machine they used to love playing; then someone makes a "Tommy" reference (usually me), everyone pretends to laugh (everyone but me) and the topic is closed.
But what are we really talking about here: Video games or home furnishings? You walk into a house that has a Centipede coin-op game in the corner, and your first thought isn't about track-ball control on Level 10, it's, "Hey, this house is crazy fun."
If you own the Bobby Orr Power Play pinball machine from Bally, you are a crazy fun hockey fan. There were 13,750 units of the Orr machine produced beginning in 1978, in which Bobby Orr's Chicago Blackhawks take on ... well, "Canada" in a hockey showdown. There are Indian heads on the sides, skates and random hockey terms like "slap shot" in the scoring area.
It's a darn pretty machine, making up in charm what it lacks in modern amenities or Playboy models. Hopefully, it's pretty enough where a Boston Bruins fan doesn't feel compelled to take a sledgehammer to it for depicting No. 4 as a Blackhawk.
I've seen the game listed on eBay a few times in varying conditions. Check out gamer Steve Kulpa's painstaking account of his restoration of a Power Play pinball game, with nerd-tastic lines like "the Molex connectors will take the high power better than the original pin connectors, so it seemed like a good idea." Better head down to Tashi Station to pick up some power converters, too.