PAUL DRABIK – CENTRAL NEW JERSEY
Q: Where are you located, how long have you been around pinball and how long have you been working on games for?
A: “Located in the middle of NJ about 25 miles outside of NYCity.
Started as a player over 50 years ago when EM games were 10c / 3 for 25c. Working on games since mid-90s and started as a business WannaPinball.com in 2005 after losing my corporate job. It’s a full-time business.”
Q: How did you first get into the hobby?
A: “My family picked up our first machine in mid 90’s among other used furniture we were buying. It was a single player EM called FLYING CARPET. Having several children, we needed a multiplayer game. So our next game was one of my favorites – “Whirlwind”. Then soon I bought a StarTrek: TNG from an operator in my local arcade. And this was the first game I was involved in an effort to “shop it out”. It was like being thrown in the deep end. But I was hooked.”
Q: Did you jump right into repairing machines or did you learn under someone else?
A: “This operator became a good friend and he worked on this STTNG game with me as an assistant. I felt overwhelmed. We took no pictures but he was confident on how to do the 3 hour job. Of course, it was an arcade level cleaning/re-rubbering. But I was intrigued and was able to obtain some games from several sources and started to explore.
Then, at my new corporate job, there were 4 of us pinball hobbyists that started to share ideas along with the growing number of helpful websites on the internet.
Q: Did you have a background in another field that made that transition easier?
A: “My corporate job was in computer tech support and programming. In this environment, I was intrigued by pinball machines and I saw them as specialized computers. So thinking of myself as a “logical solution provider”, I believe it did help to develop my ability to solve problems with pinball games.”
Q: Some techs have a particular aspect they really enjoy working on or they have a specialized set of skills (ie: boards, EMs, new Sterns, restoring cabinet art, etc) – Do you specialize in something? What’s your favorite aspect to work on?
A: “Interesting question… As I continue to grow, I’ve always kept my mind open to learning a variety of skills. Then I realized that a pinball game touches on a good number of trades or types of work. It’s a complete package that require bringing together a variety of talents. In the case of restoration/repair, I enjoy working with a number of talented colleagues to get some of the jobs done.”
Q: What are you working on now? What has been your favorite project/game that you worked on?
A: “My favorite game has been The Shadow. One of the best integrations with a movie theme, exciting music and unique complexity. It never feels repetitive. I call it my “desert island game”.
Currently, I am working a number of client projects in my home shop including playfield swaps. I have 2 active ones and 2 in the wings. You learn so much when doing a deep disassembly. I am fascinated how the older games were designed without a computer design program but on paper! Very talented people were doing these.
I also have a number personal projects involving the upgrade kits (like P3 Multimorphic, BOP2.0 and FH2.0). Cool stuff!”
Q: What is the best way to contact you and what areas do you service? Do you also operate your own route?
To contact me:
Phone – 732-208-7288
Email – [email protected]
I offer service to mostly clients in NJ, I am one hour to the borders East, West and North. I have some very nice clients in other states, if it works.
I only have one coindrop location close to home, with five games where I actually share the room with the same operator that sold me that first STTNG. We are still supporting a longtime pinball league from the 1990’s:
Eight On The Break in Dunellen, NJ