I finally picked up a suitable candidate to make a pinball coffee table with, so this blog will serve to document the proccess of the project and provide a forum for input and advice for anyone that's interested.
I'm pretty excited about this project. Every since Shorty's opened up in Seattle maybe a decade ago with tables made from old pinball playfields I've been wanting to do something similar for my home. Then last year Roya's boyfriend Greg did one and put a web page up on the project, that helped serve as inspiration. He just used an old playfield and built a table for it and it turned out awesome, check it out on the Instructables website.
I've been keeping my eyes out for a cheap pinball playfield or full game that wasn't worth saving. Last Saturday I spotted a $100 Atari Time 2000 pinball table project on Craigslist. It was in good shape, but missing all it's game boards. Atari only made about 10 pins in the late '70s and early '80s. The games were considered not very good to play, hard to keep alive electronically (they put the game boards under the playfield where dust and bits of metal from the playfield could drop on them and short them out), but they did have pretty good artwork. I got the machine on Sunday and thought the artwork was great! It has bright colors and was in really good shape. Such good shape that I had to reconsider making it into a table. The dilemna for pinball and arcade game collectors like me is we never want to part out or destroy an old game, hell we will spend countles hours and too much money converting crappy Jamma games in classic game cabinets back to their original game in all it's glory. Saving one more game from the scrap heap and preserving the golden era of gaming! So I searched the web and pin newsgroups for Atari game boards and reviews of the table. Time 2000 wasn't a liked game, it has two sets of flippers and was thought to be really boring to play. And it turned out Atari game boards were pretty much impossible to find... and even if I did find them and restore the game, it would be worth $300 tops and I'd sink a lot more into getting it running. That cemented the deal for me, this was the perfect candidate for my pinball coffee table project!