Around the Playfield with Jon Norris

Around the Playfield with Jon Norris
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Around the Playfield with Jon Norris
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Around the Playfield with Jon Norris
Published on
May 24, 2018
Updated on
May 24, 2018
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Jon Norris is a pinball designer, currently working for deeproot Pinball.

Around the Playfield with Jon Norris

The Start Button: How did you first get into pinball?

My first job was working at a bicycle shop that had a candy machine and a pinball machine. The game was Sweetheart, priced at 10 cents per play. At first, I just played a few games per week, but I eventually found myself going to bowling alleys and the local miniature golf course to play pinball. I even remember the operator installing a brand new Rogo in the bowling alley. This was the first time I ever saw a brand new machine.

The Plunge: What was the first pinball machine you bought?

The bike shop owner decided that we were putting too much money into the pinball machine, so he bought a Gulfstream (I later bought that game from him). The year would have been 1974 or 1975.

The Skill Shot: What is your best pinball achievement or favorite pinball moment?

Achievement: Inventing Mode Based Games.

Moment: At the Stan Harris Auction, Dick Buschell told me that a game I had just won an auction bid on was Stan’s favorite game. (The auction was a 2 day affair in 1995 that had 100s of games and vending machines, Stan Harris was a well-known game & vending operator)

Good Shots, Bad Bounces: What is your favorite and least favorite pinball machine?

Least Favorite: Any Multiplayer game made prior to 3″ flippers (with a couple of exceptions such as Scuba).

Most Favorite Wood rail: Straight Shooter

Most Favorite Metal rail EM: Slick Chick

Most Favorite EM (w/ 3″ Flippers): King Pin (GTB)

Most Favorite Early SS: Eight Ball Deluxe

Most Favorite Modern (made within last 10 years): TRON: Legacy

The Wizard Mode: What is your dream theme you’d like to see made into a pinball machine?

I can’t talk about this subject today. Ask me this question again next year.

The Tilt: What is the dumbest mistake you’ve made in pinball (mishap moving a machine, messing up trying to fix a machine, etc.)?

Don’t Ever put a Bookshelf Speaker on top of the Backbox of a Pinball Machine!!! Everybody reading this knows what happened next.

The High Score: Describe the pinball hobby in one word.


Match – Next Game: Where do you see the pinball hobby in 5-10 years?

Deepening and expanding. Social media has really made pinball into an international hobby. I have FB friends from many different countries and regions around the world. I also see competitive pinball expanding and becoming more popular.