Steve Young has attained legendary status in the pinball community, thanks to his unrivalled knowledge and stock of pinball parts at his company, The Pinball Resource.

Steve also manufactures many previously-unobtainable parts for EM and solid-state machines, and is the only official Gottlieb/Premier/Mylstar licensee.

Interview by John Greatwich

Steve Young

Name: Steve Young

Owner of The Pinball Resource based in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Age: Not stated

When did you first play pinball?
In 1972 at college - Lehigh University. First game I played was a Williams Cabaret. I operated games on campus, then came home sales, a career with IBM, and then pure pinball since 1992.

Where are your favorite places to play pinball?
Friends/collectors basement arcades.

What types of pinball machines do you own (EM, solid-state, DMD)?
Mostly EMs, with a few solid-state and DMDs.

How many do you own now, and what are some of your favorites?
I currently own one hundred EMs, one SS and two DMDs. Favorite games include Twin Bill, Comet, Monopoly, Safecracker, Slick Chick, Eldorado, Lawman, Lucky Hand and 4 Corners.

Do you still have any local commercial locations to play pinball?
Few in this area. The area is pinball-starved somewhat because New York outlawed replays in the '50s, making pinball less popular.

Are there any restrictions on operating or playing pinball in your area?
No. The replay ban was discontinued about two years ago.

Which shows do you attend?
Currently, none. We did many of the shows for more years than I care to remember... something like seventy-five shows if my math is any good.

Shows are great, but to do shows today I would need to have a separate 'show crew' in order to be less disruptive of general business.

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?
The more the merrier! It's all good for pinball.

Where would you like to see the pinball machine technology go in the future?
Better serviceability and repairability. Pinball games need maintenance but few designs accommodate easy serviceability, and today's designs incorporate an excessive amount of PCBs that are not easily repaired, creating a barrier to affordable ownership.

Do you like mods for pinball machines?
Mods are fine, but too many of them are made for a short time only, or made as a hobby. It becomes impossible to stock them as a retailer as they are not available for re-order on any type of a regular basis.

How do you like new lighting technology?
Great on some games, not so good overall. More development is needed before they become mainstream. Light dispersion, color balance, and the mechanical fit to existing lamp sockets are all areas that need improvement.

What do you think the cost per play of new pins should be?
Whatever is required to support the purchase and maintenance of new games.

What annoys you the most about pinball on location?
Games that are not working competently... a big turn-off to all.

How can we get more new people interested in playing pinball?
Get pinball exposure outside the normal hobby limits. For example, advertise shows in the local media in addition to advertising to the collectors alone. Bring folks off the street and convert them to pinball folks.

Do you think we need to return to simpler and easier to understand pinballs?

How do you think pinball manufacturers can make a more playable and friendly game?
Focus on playability and challenges that are just beyond reach but look achievable - we used to call it 'came close, try again' appeal.

How annoyed do you get with missing balls or hang-ups on games?
Very! Design and engineering should spend a little more time to perfect designs and hardware. It should not become the responsibility of the owner or operator to finish the design or engineering of a game.

Do you think pinball manufacturers should get smart and kick out another ball quickly if there is a ball missing or not scoring?
I think they do this.

How do you rank yourself as a player, and do you play in tournaments?
Average, and no.

The cost of new pinball ownership has increased greatly over the last few years. Does this stop you from buying new machines?
No. I have more of a problem with space, and I probably have enough! (see above)

With the introduction of new technology, do you think pinball machines have become easier to service and more reliable?
Only partially.

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?
It is pretty basic and could be improved.

Does traditional mechanical pinball need more radical changes?

Tell us a little about your company.
I have been manufacturing and selling pinball machine parts since the late '70s and have had a lot of fun picking up and restarting bits and pieces of the pinball industry... molding, hot stamping, switch fabrication, coil winding, motor rebuilding, and the like.

As companies have faded into the sunset, we have thrived on keeping old hardware and technology running. It is fun to find something that has not been made in years and make it available again. We were the first to break down the barrier to allow a non-distributor to purchase from the factories directly in the mid '90s. Our access to factory parts, expertise, tooling and vendors has stood us well in keeping games running that were intended for short commercial lives.

Long live pinball! The ball will allllllways be wild!

If readers would like more information?
Our website is, but only a portion of our extensive selection of parts is shown there. Please call, write, fax or email. It will be our pleasure to try to help.

Thanks for your time Steve.

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