Designer: Norm Clark
Art: Christian Marche
Added to my collection: October 10, 2014
Current Condition : Working 100%
Anyone who has been following this site knows that, over the years, my interests have been shifting from video games to pinball machines. Ever since I picked up my first pin, The Addams Family--and that's been 10 years ago, now!--I've found myself spending a lot more time playing pinball than playing video games. My virtual pinball machine has only intensified my pinball fever...but it has also had the effect of making me feel less compelled to buy more real pinball machines. Currently, I can play 76 games on my virtual pin, and I can add more any time I want--all without spending more money or taking up more space.
Even so, I still look at Craigslist a few times a week to see what's out there. You never know when a good deal might come along, and I do hate to pass up a good deal.
So, while I was browsing Craigslist, I came across a collector/dealer who was liquidating his stock. He had a fully-working, fully-shopped Gulfstream--an electromechanical (EM) pin in great physical shape. The thing that instantly attracted me to it was that Christian Marche--the same artist who did the art for Doodle Bug--created the artwork for this machine. I love his artwork--the pointy people rock!
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I once again count myself lucky that I managed to come across an EM that is so well preserved. Although it's a little more worn than Doodle Bug, it's still in amazing shape. Jonathan, the gentleman who sold it to me, has been working on pins since he was eight years old, so he knows how to treat them right. The game plays well, with only a slight flicker from time to time in a few of the lights (nothing that affects play). Very little wood is showing on the playfield, and the backglass isn't flaking at all--only a few thin spots make it look slightly less than perfect. Not bad for a machine this old!
Like Doodle Bug, the gameplay for Gulfstream is surprisingly fun and fast for an old machine. Obviously, Norm Clark knew his stuff--who needs a lot of ramps and toys on the playfield if you can get fun flow out of the basics (which is, of course, what all early 70s machines did). One thing that sets it apart from Doodle Bug is that it uses three chimes rather than bells for sound. I've always prefered chimes over bells...it reminds me of the machines I played when I was a kid. Which makes sense, because I started playing pinball when I was seven, and this particular machine was brand new when I was six.
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Like the EMs that I've bought previously, I have very little about the inner workings of this game beyond rebuilding flippers and the like. Luckily, I have a repair guy I can trust. Knock wood...
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