Designer: Norm Clark
Art: Christian Marche
Added to my collection: November 7, 2010
Current Condition : Working 100%
I love pinball. I've really gotten back into it since I picked up my first pin (The Addams Family). The new games--and by "new," I mean solid-state games from the 80s on--are great, and the amount of stuff going on in the playfield is awesome, but my earliest memories of pinball are very different. The games I played when I was around 7 or 8 were electro-mechanical pins with analog digit counters and bells and chimes for sound. I have always associated pinball with that sound an EM machine makes when you start a game--the digit counters resetting (chu-chu-chu-chu-CHUNK, chu-chu-chu-chu-CHUNK) and the ball dropping into play (ka-THUMP). And I've always wanted those sounds in my arcade.
Doodle Bug is a single-player machine (you don't see those anymore). There was a 4-player version called Dipsy Doodle and an add-a-ball version (one that gives free balls rather than free games) called Love Bug.
The thing that attracted me to this game in the first place wasn't that I had played it before (I hadn't). It was the artwork. The distinctive artwork of this era--the angular people and the bright colors--was another thing that I remembered from playing EM machines as a kid. Come to find out, the artist who created that style was Christian Marche. And who knew I'd end up picking up two of his machines in the same day?
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I came across Doodle Bug on Cragislist, and I watched it for a while. It was originally listed at $425, and I wasn't really sure that I wanted to pay that much. Then, the owner posted another machine (Zip-A-Doo, also an EM) for $300. Tempting, but still too much for such an old game. Then, he posted both at the same time and dropped the price. I took the bait and went to grab Zip-A-Doo. I ended up picking up both for $550 because, although Zip-A-Doo was in okay shape, Doodle Bug looked like it had just come out of the showroom.
The machine is extremely well preserved, and it plays pretty fast for an old game--EM machines tend to be slower-paced. It has all the charm I wanted with regard to the sound and feel, and the artwork is fabulous. And it has something that none of my other games have--nickel and dime coin mechs! The game is set up to give you one play for a dime or two nickels, and three games for a quarter. Ah, the old days...
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Knock wood, everything is working perfectly on the game at present. it's going to be an adventure learning about this "ancient" technology when I have to fix something, but Russ (the gentleman who sold it to me) has put in a bunch of time maintaining EM machines, and promised to give me advice whenever I need it.
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