I interviewed Bryan Kelly as a bit of fun for Pinball Heroes and it proved to be a very popular item on The Pinball Blog. Pinball attracts a great diversity of characters into the hobby and I wanted to share some of these with the readers!
So I introduce....
Pinball Heroes LITE.
Consider it the low-alcohol, lo-carb, sugar-free alternative to Pinball Heroes.
I plan to continue with the 'proper' Pinball Heroes features, and my interview with Rob Berk of Pinball Expo is going up right now, but I wanted to find if there were other guys out there that I could poke fun at, and see how far I could push my luck before receiving a slap across the chops (by email of course).
This week... Mr. 68 AKA Kim Mitchell of PinZero DMD Glare Guard fame.
(!) This interview includes some adultish language & humour.
The Pinball Blog. So you're Mr. 68 from Wrong Crowd Productions. Your name sounds just one short of a decent night in.
Mr.68. Mr. 68 is based on an old joke. I asked my lady if she'd like to 68. She said "you mean 69" I said "no, 68". Puzzled she asked what that was. I told her 68 is where she goes down on me and I owe her one. =)
My first name is Kim and people on the internet often mistake that as female. Hence the "mister" in Mr. 68.
I'd like to also mention that a favorite game to play with my lady is "Pearl Harbor". Free Glare Guard to the first person on RGP to decipher that joke. =)
TPB. What inspired you to make the Horse-Flaps?
Mr. 68. Horse Flaps, Pooper Scoopers, Snack Trays, DMD Shields; my Glare Guards have been called many things. The humor on RGP is the best.
It was the DMD reflecting on the top of the playfield glass that got me started. I just couldn't see the top one fifth of the playfield clearly. It bugged me as I had to look through or around the glare into the game. There's a lot of action and great artwork at the top of a playfield and it was all obscured. I hated that distraction.
I tried the polarized film which is a fine alternative for some games and some people. But I chose to go another direction and opted for economy, simplicity, and ease. My game play enjoyment was immediately enhanced by blocking the glare and I knew I couldn't be the only one. I'm pleased so many people enjoy them.
TPB. I've seen some generous things said about you on RGP, it must be good to know that people think of you as the "Glare Guard Hairless Chihuahua"?
Mr. 68. Ah yes, a classic insult from one of the veteran stooges on RGP. Is it no wonder that I've named my company Wrong Crowd Productions with friends like this.
I've been shaving my head since May of 1990 and it's become fodder for the jealous. Ironically, the comment was made by a gentleman whose top of the head looks like he shaves it with a cheese grader. That being said I must say that the humor and good natured jabs on the newsgroup is a big part of what makes RGP special. Sometimes I think we take ourselves way too seriously and we need to be able to laugh at ourselves. Besides, if I'm going to dish it out, I need to be able to take it. =)
TPB. If I ever get my back-side over to America and get the chance to meet some of the guys from RGP, who should I avoid and why?
Mr. 68. The question really becomes; Who in America should be avoiding you? Sorry Nick, but I don't want to develop Carpal Tunnel typing up that list.
TPB. I hear at Expo last year, you wore a badge with somebody else's name on and it almost went spectacularly wrong - tell us more.
Mr. 68. Lloyd and I were hanging around Expo together and I wanted to goof on him a bit along with some of the other RGPer's. So I made up a badge with the name Lloyd Olson and wore it. Most people that know of Lloyd, knows what he looks like. And with him standing next to me we got some fun reactions. Korn and Phoebe, whom I'd never met before, were two of my favorites.
That evening Lloyd disappeared and I was standing amongst a sizeable gathering of RGP friends, new and old. Famed pinball designer Pat Lawlor was walking by and saw the name tag. All of us recognized who he was as he came near and our conversation kind of went quiet.
I could tell that Pat was targeting me as he approached and suddenly remembered the name tag I was wearing. "Oh shit" I thought.
As Pat is shaking my hand he is telling me how he has always wanted to meet me, meaning Lloyd. I immediately identified myself and began explaining I was only having a joke. Pat looked a little flustered and confused. Suddenly everybody burst out laughing at me and I think he felt a little bit embarrassed. He may have mistakenly thought the laughing was directed at him. It wasn't, but it did make for an awkward situation.
Earlier in the evening, prior to Pat Lawlor, I saw Gary Stern wandering around all by himself in the game room. So I walked up and introduced myself using my real name and forgetting I was wearing the Lloyd Olson name tag. We chatted for a bit and shook hands goodbye. Gary was gracious to speak with, but did look a bit puzzled at times.
I didn't put that one together until long after the Pat Lawlor incident.
But I've learned my lesson and won't make that mistake again. Next year I'm going as Cliffy.
TPB. I guess Glare Guards are up there with 'Ball Sacks', pin footies, cup holders and other essential after-market parts. Any plans for more 'must have' pinball accessories?
Mr. 68. I don't care for the way you wrote that question Nick. I've re-phrased it more to my liking here "I guess Glare Guards are up there with 'Ball Sacks', XXX XXXXXXX, cup holders and other essential after-market parts. Any plans for more 'must have' pinball accessories?"
Thank you Nick, those are impressive company's you've placed me with in the "must have" category. Yes, I now manufacture game specific back board mirrors.
TPB. A little birdie tells me you've been shortlisted for the Pinball Expo Hall of Fame. It must make you hugely proud to think your name could be there with Harry Williams and Sam Stern, although I wonder why it's taken them so long?
Mr. 68. Sadly you have been misinformed. I have been inducted into the lesser known, PESL. The Pinball Expo Shit List. It's a quiet ceremony at Expo each year where I'm personally escorted passed the entrance crowd and taken directly to the back door exit.
Alumni's such as myself then gather in the parking lot. So far I make a crowd of one. Every hour or so, Mike Pacak will stop by and get my attention by banging on the glass door. He will then turn, drop his pants and display a pressed ham against the glass. It's a unique bond Mike and I have and I'm honored by the recognition.
TPB. Mystery Painting. Any progress?
Mr. 68. No progress on the painting. However because of it, I did reconnect with a former juvenile delinquent friend of mine from 30 plus years ago. I don't want to embarrass him here so I will only refer to him by his initials, S.t.e.v.e. K.u.l.p.a.
TPB. There's a guy in Germany who's made some anti-glare glass, does this spell the end for the Glare Guard?
Mr. 68. No, the anti-glare glass does not eliminate the DMD glare. It eliminates reflection from every other light source to the glass, but not the DMD. I'm please to say that the glass and Glare Guards compliment one another.
The guy in Germany is a new friend and I'm very excited about his innovations. His name is Roman and he contacted me after finding a link on RGP. Roman had seen my Glare Guards over in Europe and was curious about its design and evolution. We have spoken several times on the phone since then and have been exchanging ideas and brainstorming pinball. Roman is quite brilliant and one of the good guys in this hobby.
TPB. Finally, I always ask everybody to sum up their involvement in pinball in one word or sentence, so for Mr. 68..... What's your favorite dinner?
Mr. 68. Theses aren't exactly Steve Ritchie type questions are they… My favorite dinner is crow. I've developed a taste for it over the years and have consumed more than my share. Disturbed blog interviewers have me entertaining the thought of cannibalism.
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Many thanks to Kim/Mr. 68. for taking the time to be interviewed for Pinball Heroes LITE.
If you know anyone else in pinball that can have a laugh at their own expense, then why not see if they'd be up for an interview and have their answers forever archived on the interweb (or until I get sued at take the blog down).
The Pinball Blog