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The dream lives on


PN co-founder
Penquin mentioned a few days ago a pinball dream she recently had. I thought that I'd repost this, the story of a Pinball Dream I had probably two years ago, since a lot of newer folks may not have seen it in our review section. It reads just as I originally wrote it, so it might seem outdated, and it is. Enjoy

A Most Wonderful Pinball Dream

© Copyright 2002
By tiltjlp, John L Patton

A few nights ago, I had a most excellent dream. I’m usually online overnight every night, but that night I was ill due to my diabetes. The details aren’t important, nor the time of day, this is all about the best possible dream I’ve ever experienced.

Anyone who knows the user name tiltjlp knows that I am totally engrossed in VP, the forums, shivaSite and shivaForums, writing member profiles and even PinGame Journal articles. I make tables with two partners, and am part of two dev groups, plus working on a pair of tables on my own, and testing at least two dozen tables at any time.

So my dream wasn’t so much a surprise as it was a most pleasant delight and treat. My dream was that we held a VP convention, and magically every active member was able to attend. And I assume that there were no wheelchairs needed since my leg brace was gone, and I no longer limped, or had any problem with standing and walking as far or as long as needed.

And proving that Pinball is a universal language, we all understood each other perfectly. And since this was a dream, and anything is possible in a dream, when we sat down for our seven course dinner, we were able all able to sit around the same table, all within hearing range. Of course we all dined on our most favorite foods.

Likewise, we all heard our most preferred kinds of music, at just the right volume, and all our treasured tunes. I sensed that all the old designers and backglass artists were in attendance, and although I don’t recall any, I’m sure there were lectures and seminars the entire time. I’ll also assume that each of us won a prize of some sort, but mine didn’t survive to see the light of awakeness.

What I do remember quite vividly is that there was every single VP table ever made, originals as well as recreations and VPM conversions. What was unique about these countless tables is that they were all the size that we play them on our computer monitors, sort of flesh and blood table-top pins brought to life. And yes, I played all my favorites.

There were even non-working models of everyone’s WIP, and Black even brought along a working version of VP7, though he wouldn’t remove the plain brown wrapping paper for us to take a peek. And while we all wore name tags, there was one fellow who didn’t have a name tag on, I figured it was Randy Davis, although he seemed to spend the entire time avoiding everyone.

I even met a few people who weren’t really people, Duglis even brought Muttley to our gathering, and there was a Dalmatian who sat by himself in a corner, quietly wagged his tail constantly, and I had no doubt who he belonged to at all. There was an endless array of highly animated cartoon characters, who I can only guess came with SteveOz. BJ was of course the life of the party, as handsome as could be.

And just before it was time to leave, I challenged Bob and Warrior to a hot game of Gobble Ball, and they really enjoyed the game, grumbling the whole time about those dang, evil holes.

But best of all, as we were all leaving, I found that I was back in my old home town, and as I walked down a familiar sloping hill in a favorite park, I happened upon an old friend I hadn’t seen for thirty years. And as I began to awake, while still in a half-sleep, for once I struggled to fall back into a most wonderful dream. I can only hope I’ll be dreaming a rerun tonight, and for many nights to come.

PS: Shortly after I had this dream, I left the Internet and VP for almost 18 months. I didn’t miss the infighting or squabbles, but I did miss nearly all the people. The saddest part is that upon my return, many of the folks in my dream were now among the missing. Hopefully Rodgz will regain his health and rejoin us, just as I was able to. And druadic assures me he will be back, too. But some of the folks I really considered my friends are gone, probably for good, and that is a shame.

We’ve lost too many friends and talented authors. Let’s do our best to nurture the friendships that remain, and also welcome each newbie warmly, even if they do bug us with “dumb questions” which not that long ago, we were asking ourselves. My dream is still alive.

Final thoughts: It looks like we may eventually get a VP7 with some of the nifty features people have been requesting. We might also get Black's Future Pinball, which may or may not change how we feel about Visual Pinball altogether. But while VP or FP might make the collective forums different in the coming months, the important thing is us, the people who make up the VP community.

Throughout the nearly 3 1/2 years I've been around, minus my 15 month break, some meaningful freindships have been made, some differences have been mended, more battles have been waged. But the one constant is that we're still a community, and for the most part, we get along better than should be expected. So even if you don't always see eye to eye with everyone, so what. There's no rule that say we have to always like everyone in VP, but we do have to somehow peacefully co-exist. So the next time something really ticks me off, I plan to log off and play some pinball, and wait until I've cooled off before logging back on. The battles are a lot less important than the friendships. Think about it.