The Pinball Blog: So you're Todd MacCulloch, do you want to be remembered as a basketball player or pinball player?
Todd MacCulloch: I would like to be remembered as a pinball player but only on NBA Fastbreak. Just Kidding. I think I would like to be remembered f
TPB: You earned a few dollars playing basketball, do you get the "he's got money" treatment when buying pinball machines or do you look for a deal?
TM: I did earn a few dollars playing basketball. It is a little strange to have your salary posted in
TPB: When you're playing in a pinball tournament is there a certain machine you hope you don't have to play (and one you do)?
TM: I would rather not see Creature from the Black Lagoon. This game tends to end up being dreadful f
On the flip side, I have seemed to have some success at EARTHSHAKER. Im not sure why, I have been able to keep the game going f
TPB: When you were playing basketball you had arcades in 2 homes with pinball machines and other stuff from different eras of coin-op. When you sold your home in Philly did the arcade go with it?
TM: When we sold our house in Philly, my gameroom games were not part of the deal. I had cleared the game spaces out bef
TPB: If you could only own one pinball machine what would it be?
TM: That is a very difficult question. That's like saying if I only had one breath to take, how long could I live? I would have to ask myself if it would be w
TPB: You're coming to the UK this summer to play in the European Pinball Championship AND the World Pinball Championships, any chance you'll be winning them?
TPB: Of course being featured on The Pinball Blog must be one of your all time highlights but is there a moment in pinball that gets close to a basketball high?
TM: Being featured on The Pinball Blog is definitely a highlight f
TPB: My wife and family think I'm a nut with all this pinball stuff, is yours more understanding?
TM: My family has been very supp
TPB: Who that you met through basketball was the most influential to you and the same question for pinball?
TM: The most influential person I have met through basketball was an assistant coach of mine in college. His name is Ray Giacoletti. He helped me realized how good I could be and helped me believe it. He pushed when he had to, complimented when I needed it and gave me a kick in the pants when necessary. He helped prepare me f
The most influential person I have met through pinball is Bowen Kerins. There are a lot of similarities between he and Coach Giacoletti. Bowen has always believed I could be a good pinball player and has helped me improve my game drastically. The nice thing about pinball is that it is recreational so the kick in the pants is neither necessary
TPB: You've played in front of thousands of fans and on TV in front of millions. At a pinball tournament there's probably a handful of people watching but is the pressure similar?
TM: The pressure of competition is very similar at a pinball tournament; Even if there are only a handful of people watching, at some point, the number of spectat
I felt some pinball pressure this past weekend. I had qualified f
TPB: I think the people enjoying pinball today are generally more 'cool' than they were say 5 or 10 years ago, do you think pinball has historically given out the wrong image?
TM: I would agree, although since I was a pinball player both 5 and 10 years ago, I must have been one of the uncool guys playing and I was probably helping bring down the cool factor. That's one of the great things about pinball, is that you can't really generalize the type of person who is drawn to the game. it appeals to kids, grandparents, athletes, couch potatoes and everybody in between. The only real commonality I see running throughout the pinball population is that the vast majority of players are great people who are more than happy to open their game rooms for the enjoyment of a fellow pinballer.
I am not sure what image pinball itself has given out over time. I think it definitely has been misunderstood at times. I think at a time it had a negative image when it was unjustly thought of as a gambling machine. Even today, people are always surprised to find out that pinball can have strategy and that there is more to the game than luck and just trying to keep the ball above the flippers. I really think if more people knew how great the game is and everything that they encompass, that the market would be much stronger.
TPB: A little birdie told me you have a nice car collection, are some of these eye-candy as I guess you're a big guy to be driving some of them everyday?
TM: I have three cars from the sixties. A 1964 1/2 Mustang Coupe, a 1968 Mustang Fastback and a 1969 Chevy Camaro convertible. I thought I was going to collect more cars but I started collecting pinball machines instead. More people get more use out of them and you can fit more of them in the space you could put one car. All of a sudden, the plans for a classic car garage started to change to become gameroom plans. I have no regrets about this.
The old cars are more than eye candy. I really enjoy driving them on nice sunny days, especially the convertible. I have had them all modified by having the driver's seats unbolted and slid back as far as possible and rebolted firmly in place. I was once pulled over while in the 68 mustang. He pulled up next to me and said, "you look a little cramped in there!" I started wondering if he was going to give me a citation for operating a vehicle that I was too big for, possibly making it unsafe. I was relieved to find out he was a car fan and once traffic cleared, he instructed me to, "open her up and show me what she has got!" I wasn't sure if he would just pull me over again after but I followed directions and squealed my tires and peeled out.
TPB: You're currently the 4th best pinball player from Canada, I didn't even know there were 4 pinball people in Canada! Do you compete because you enjoy it or are you out to win every time?
TM: There aren't that many of us so I guess is isn't that great of an accomplishment. I will be proud to be representing Canada with one of the two Canadian exemption spots at the IFPA tournament in England this summer. I hope to do my country proud.
I compete because I enjoy it. I would love to win every time but that's not why I play or compete. I've had plenty of meaningful sporting competition over the years so I don't mind some competitions for the fun of it. I like to be challenged and with all the great pinball players out there, it is always a challenge to try and stay with them as long as I can.
TPB: You have a large collection of pinball machines, how do you maintain them all? Are you happy to pull the glass off, dive in and get your hands dirty?
TM: I don't mind getting my hands dirty, when it comes to donuts with icing
TPB: Finally I always ask our Pinball Heroes to sum up pinball in one word or sentence....
TM: "Perfect", as in the game of pinball is a perfect game. Everything you need to keep you coming back for more!
Many Thanks to Todd for answering the questions, no one gets paid for being interviewed, although I did offer to buy Todd's dinner at the UK Pinball Show banquet - he accepted - d'oh! He's one of a number of great guys I'm looking forward to meet in the summer and he certainly comes across as a very cool guy!
It's the Pinballers Anonymous Monster Meet here in the UK next weekend so no promises I'll have a Pinball Heroes interview done, but I'll try!
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