Lloyd has been operating SS Billiards in Hopkins, Minnesota for more than forty-one years and has been in the coin-op business since his childhood.

For many years Lloyd answered technical questions on the Rec.Games.Pinball newsgroup, racking up his 50,000th post in 2011. Since then he has hosted his Dear Lloyd feature on Pinside, and has taken on a front-line technical support role for Jersey Jack Pinball and Planetary Pinball Supply.

Interview by John Greatwich

Lloyd Olson

Name: Lloyd Olson

Owner/operator of SS Billiards in Hopkins, Minnesota, and provider of technical support to JJP and PPS.

Age: 59

When did you first play pinball?
No idea. My first recollection of pinball was cleaning them when I was about four years old.

Where are your favorite places to play pinball?
If I get a chance, at a show.

What types of pinball machines do you own (EM, solid-state, DMD)?
None personally. All are used in my business.

How many do you own now, and what are some of your favorites?
Sixteen machines. My all time favorite is Capcom's Kingpin.

Do you still have any local commercial locations to play pinball?

Are there any restrictions on operating or playing pinball in your area?

Which shows do you attend?
Pinball Expo always. Maybe the Jersey Shore Pinball Show this year in August. In the past, the Midwest Gaming Classic and the Texas Pinball Festival.

We are seeing more pinball machines being developed by small companies other than Stern Pinball. What is your opinion on this new interest in the game?
I hope they are all successful and can do it. They can do things a large manufacturer might not be able to risk.

Where would you like to see the pinball machine technology go in the future?
Wi-Fi capability, so the game can update itself. Or so players could challenge other players in other locations.

Do you like mods for pinball machines?
Things like the ColorDMDs? Yes. Toys all over the playfield? No.

How do you like new lighting technology?
Long overdue.

What do you think the cost per play of new pins should be?

What annoys you the most about pinball on location?
If the game is neglected.

How can we get more new people interested in playing pinball?
Shows. More games on location. Not tournaments.

Do you think we need to return to simpler and easier to understand pinballs?
No. Once you let the genie out of the bottle you can't put it back in.

How do you think pinball manufacturers can make a more playable and friendly game?
Keep an eye on the small manufacturers. The best new ideas may pop up there.

How annoyed do you get with missing balls or hang-ups on games?
I don't! I grab the keys and go fix it.

Do you think pinball manufacturers should get smart and kick out another ball quickly if there is a ball missing or not scoring?
Missing? Yes. Not scoring? You need to be sure it isn't a poor player.

How do you rank yourself as a player, and do you play in tournaments?
One notch below Helen Keller.

The cost of new pinball ownership has increased greatly over the last few years. Does this stop you from buying new machines?

With the introduction of new technology, do you think pinball machines have become easier to service and more reliable?
No. When they went solid-state they said it would eliminate a lot of maintenance. It didn't. They snuck a computer in there and made more to learn and fix.

Pinballs machines are heavy objects to move around. Do you think they need to be lighter?

How do you like the warranty offered for new pinball machines and parts?
Never think of it. If something's broke, I fix it.

Does traditional mechanical pinball need more radical changes?
No. Pinball has always had small leaps. Anything huge would make it too much less like the game we know.

Any other thoughts?
Pinball has come a long way since Williams closed. It may never be what it once was, but its future sure can be very special.

If readers would like more information?
My website is

Thanks for your time Lloyd.

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