The Pinball Blog. The Machines. The People. The Events. The Addiction! Pinball Heroes: Industry Interviews.

Saturday 17 January 2009

Pinball Heroes: John Trudeau

John Trudeau was the first ever guest speaker at the UK Pinball Show in 2008, becoming the inaugural inductee into the UK Pinball Hall of Fame and certainly made an impact on the UK pin-heads.

A few months have now passed and The Pinball Blog catches up with John to see what he's been up to and to find out what he really thought about the guys over here!

The Pinball Blog. You were the first ever guest speaker at the UK Pinball Show, and certainly helped us secure the evening function as an essential part of the show for visitors. What or who was the influential factor in your agreement to come over for the event, and are you glad you did?

John Trudeau. The real deciding factor was your decision to ask me if I was interested. Gary Flower was our go-between, I believe. He may have even suggested my name. As you can tell, I was very happy to get and accept your invitation. There was never any hesitation in my decision to go. I enjoyed my stay (way too short) and the show and just everything!

TPB. What have you been doing since the show?

JT. I returned to a new engineering design employment opportunity. I am still engaged there. Not as much fun as pinball design, but it pays the bills.

TPB. A little birdie tells me you're working with some of the UK guys on a secret project? Is there anything you can share with us at this time?

JT. Your little birdie is correct. I am laying out a playfield (and designing some new toys) for a group of pinball enthusiasts I met while at the UK Pinball Show. I really don't know how much of this is supposed to be public knowledge, I
wasn't told anything either way. I am patterning the theme after the <<<< Editor Snip >>>>>. All of the actual devices (toys) aren't finished, so I am not going to promise anything I can't make good on :o)

TPB. You were certainly a captivating speaker for the UK pinball enthusiasts, do you have any other speaking engagements planned?

JT. Yes. I am talking to the Midwest Gaming Classic (MGC) convention in March in Milwaukee, WI.
That's only 90 miles from here. Nice short trip. I haven't been there before (for the convention) but I have heard that it is a really great show. It crosses over to videos and other genres. Should be fun.

Also scheduled to speak at the Pacific Pinball Expo (PPE) in the fall, in San Rafel, CA. Th
at is the biggest west coast convention for the silver balls. I have some family out there, so I am staying a little longer to spend some time with them. Again looks like a fun time! :o)

TPB. Steve Ritchie has agreed to come over as our guest in 2009, did your paths cross during your time designing machines, and do you think he'll have much to say?

JT. Steve and I were friendly competitors for many years, while I was with the competition (Gottlieb/Premier). We became good work friends when I got to WMS. We always have a good word for each other and I have always loved his design work. He will have PLENTY to say at your next get-together! He's an excellent choice for your next guest. I am sure you will not be disappointed! He's a great guy!

TPB. The recent job lay-offs at Stern were a concern for many. Do you think in 5 years ther
e'll be anybody earning their living from designing or building pinball machines?

JT. Only if they are allowed the freedom to design and manufacture the product without outside interference. This, I believe, is what is stopping anyone from starting up something new right now.

If you had to own a single pinball machine (regardless of designer), what would it be?

JT. This is always the toughest question.... How can I pick from so many? If only I could choose a machine from each designer, but only one machine? To be diplomatic about this I am going to pick my own Creature from the Black Lagoon. But there are an awful lot of great games out there to choose from....

TPB. Are you sure you don't have a secret stash of Judge Dredd toppers?

JT. I wish! I did have a couple in the beginning, but they were given away to friends and family (of course).

TPB. We welcomed you as the inaugural inductee to the new UK Pinball Hall of Fame. Over time we hope the list will build into an industry who's who. Is there anybody you think we simply must have over to be inducted in the future, and why?

JT. I believe any of the pinball designers that have demonstrated their ability to repeatedly bring a fun product to the masses should be in there. If you want a real practical answer I guess you should go by age. We are not a lot of spring chickens, for the most part :o) Let me suggest that there may be a need to bring in some designers (into the Hall of Fame) that can't attend for one reason or another (either health or no longer among the living). I did notice that there weren't any "wood rails" at the show. Perhaps you could put some enticement there for the collectors to bring them too. Just a few would be a nice addition!

TPB. If you had to sum up your time in the industry in one word or sentence, what would it be?

JT. Fantastic! I never dreamt that I would be fortunate enough to have a 'job' that I could love so much. For almost 20 years I went to 'play' not to 'work'. If I could, I would wish this experience for everyone!

Many thanks to John Trudeau for being an exceptional special guest and for taking the time to answer our questions. More Pinball Heroes coming soon, and don't forget to send in your suggestions so we can send out the stalkers.


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