With gaming at its highest peaks of popularity and ‘retro’ quite possibly doing the same, it makes perfect sense that there has been a renewed interested in the arcade games of yesterday. Corvallis is not exempt, with a handful of places to catch new and vintage arcade video games and pinball around town, not to mention the tendrils of drool that appear at every local gamer’s mouth when The Dam, Corvallis’ upcoming arcade bar, is mentioned.
At the forefront is nineteen year old local Brian Morrissette, your average guy with a very above average capability. Having worked on games for the last eleven years, studying under his father and then independently, Brian has acquired a unique skillset that allows him to restore, rebuild and essentially bring arcade machines back to life. A magician of nostalgia, if you will. Specializing in pinball machines, Brian’s Coin Op Repair service can handle just about anything that’s in a cabinet or table and can be called a game. Local businesses and private owners can come calling from as far away as Portland to get an expert consultation and efficient, affordable and passionate work done on the machines they love. With an industry that has been on a long decline, gaming heroes like Morrissette are some of the only people standing between functional pieces of gaming art and total oblivion.
Though things are on the rise as gamers seek a more authentic experience, it’s a tough industry to survive in and the work can be grueling. So why does he do it? “Well, I love pinball. And it’s fun, it’s challenging, gives you something to do. And I’m… sorta good at it,” he laughs.
While most people just assume a game is turned on and that’s that, Morrisette know better. Especially with mechanically-driven machines such as pinball, every day of operation presents a new opportunity for something to go wrong. Ever played a game that just felt slow? Proper playfield care can turn miserable into as-good-as-new. Public games get kicked, hit, shaken and have beer (and sometimes drool) poured on them. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“Most of what I run into is bad wiring jobs done by amateurs trying to save a buck, but one time I was working with a coin door and someone had drilled a huge hole through it in order to install a button to put credits on the machine. Problem is, the machine already had a free play mode. I guess they didn’t read the directions. Damaged a perfectly good game.”
Currently the lead gaming technician over at the yet-to-be-opened The Dam arcade bar, Morrissette can be contacted via his Coin Op Repair facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/brianscoinop) as well as firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Johnny Beaver