Before there were videogames there was pinball and it was a huge industry, even bigger than the entire American movie industry during the 50s and 60s if this documentary is to be believed. You could find pinball machines in all sort of places. They have now disappeared (well, you can still get them on your iPad although it’s not the same) and this movie tries to teach the viewer about its history and the enthusiasts who still care about them (and collect them). I did play quite a bit of pinball during the nineties, so I was interested in the story this documentary had to tell.
Special When Lit offers a good mix of interviews with people who worked in the industry who passionately talk about their experience and the fans of pinball. Just like other hobbies there are some which are very extreme/nerdy about it (like one guy who records people playing on them and sells DVDs of that). It made some parts of it look like a bit of a freak show, an entertaining one though. Then there are the collectors who have some amazing amount of machines on display. I especially was amazed by a French collector who had very early ones. As I mostly played pinball during the nineties it was fun seeing quick shots of machines I played on.
Even if you are not a fan of pinball, this movie manages to give you a good understanding of its world as it goes from the manufacturing to pinball tournaments. An entertaining watch if you are looking for something a little different.
Did you ever play pinball?