We had so much fun at Modern Pinball NYC in Manhattan. We met Steve Marsh, a patent attorney and scientist who works there, and Steve Zahler, the owner of Modern Pinball NYC, who taught us about pinball. We learned about the different parts of a pinball machine. He also opened up an old pinball machine and a new one, and showed us the difference between the two. We had some time to play with the different pinball machines after the interview.
Here’s our interview with Marsh and Zahler:
Why do you think it’s important that kids be exposed to games like pinball instead of just video games?
Marsh: Pinball is a real game. You can physically interact with the game and play it knowing there are no software glitches.
Does understanding physics help make you better at pinball?
Marsh: Understanding angles and ball spin help. Figuring out how to nudge the machine without an illegal tilt is also very useful.
What motivated you to teach kids through pinball?
Marsh: I like teaching and pinball. I think pinball is a fun way to teach kids science and engineering.
Have you ever made a pinball machine or thought about making one?
Marsh: I’ve never made an electronic one. When I was younger, I made my own little machine using wood, nails and rubber bands.
Are there any pinball machines that you’ve wanted but couldn’t get?
Marsh: There are a lot, but I don’t have room. I try to keep a mental note on old and new ones that I want.
What’s the importance of a patent attorney, and can people run a successful business without one?
Marsh: Lots of successful businesses don’t have one. Patents are like money. They’re important to protect things that you invent, or trade rights with other companies with them.
You’re a scientist and a patent attorney. What’s your favorite part of your job?
Marsh: The science part is my favorite. I enjoy inventing and explaining things. My least favorite part is writing all my patents and designs out.
Did you ever imagine that pinball would become your job?
Zahler: I always had dreams of working in pinball. I wanted to be that guy who fixed the machines. I didn’t actually think it would happen, but now — here I am!
Modern Pinball NYC was tons of fun! There are pinball machines for everyone. It is located at 362 Third Ave., Manhattan. For information: modernpinballnyc.com