Mata Hari was born Margaretha Zelle in The Netherlands in 1876, and went on to become perhaps the most famous femme fatale in history. An unsuccessful marriage to a Dutch Army Captain and the deaths of both their children eventually led her to move to Paris, where she initially performed as circus horse rider.
By 1905 she began to win fame as an exotic dancer and her flirtatious behaviour captivated audiences, but perhaps the most intriguing part of her story is the allegation that she worked as a double agent, using her profession as a means to cross borders without arousing suspicion. The idea of an exotic dancer working as a lethal spy and using her powers of seduction to extract military secrets from her many lovers made Mata Hari something of a legend, and although the allegations weren’t definitively proved at the time, she was ultimately executed by firing squad at the age of 41 in 1917.
Who could create a pinball table that would do justice to a story like that? Step forward Bally, whose 1978 effort has been variously described in the forums as ‘bodacious’, ‘addictive’ and ‘pure brilliance’! It’s certainly a terrific looking machine, with top class artwork from Dave Chistensen and a design by Jim Patla.
The gameplay is said to be exciting, with a deceptive playfield which appears simple but has enough challenges to keep you coming back for more, much like the lady herself one assumes. Fans have applauded the blazing speed of the ball and the ‘frenzied’ action, noting that you need lightning reflexes to keep up with the game as the scores accumulate.
And what of Mata Hari herself? Despite her protestations that she was always ‘just a dancer’, German documents unsealed in the 1970’s finally revealed that she had indeed entered the German Secret Service in 1915 and worked for them as a covert operative until the end of her days.
Allow us to explain how and why we go to such extreme lengths when repairing and restoring vintage games.
Over the years we are fortunate enough to have gathered together a select few individuals whose enthusiasm for jukeboxes, pinball machines and vintage arcade games ensures that they are never less than 100% committed to the task in hand. They quite simply love breathing new life into old circuitry and want to see as many of these classic pieces preserved for future generations as possible.
Not for them the perfunctory checklists and proverbial ‘tyre kicking’ which pass for an inspection at other dealers but instead an unflinching determination to get to grips with the detail. This usually begins with a thorough strip down of the machine and a forensic examination of the internal workings. They’ll be aware of the particular quirks and foibles of any given piece and instead of just replacing failed parts they’ll always go the extra mile, swapping out components which are likely to fail in the near future.
An obvious comparison would be between a classic car which remains on show in a garage and one that you can actually enjoy driving.
Rare though many of these machines are, rarer still are the examples which have been properly restored or can truthfully be said to be in full working order. It goes without saying that when unrestored machines come up for sale online or at auction, they’ll often be priced rather lower than the machines sold by The Games Room Company, and the point we wish to get across above all others is that there’s a reason for this.
In this business The Games Room Company’s reputation is second to none, and as it’s been hard won over the years it’s something we never take for granted. Every machine that goes off to a customer, be they corporate or private, is a potential advertisement for the business and if we didn’t do our job properly then we wouldn’t have the high number of loyal, returning customers that we do.
We’re justly proud of our One Year Parts and Labour Warranty, which extends to on-site visits so if your machine does require some attention, you won’t necessarily have to endure the pain of separation.
We’ve always recognised that with specialised products such as these the after sales service is just as important as the initial sale. It takes a long time to build a reputation and over the years our commitment has won us not just the loyalty of our clients but also the trust of the last remaining American Jukebox manufacturer, Rockola, who in 2014 appointed us as their Exclusive British dealer.
The Games Room Company is one of the oldest pinball dealers in the country. Our founder, Reginald Waldersmith, played his first pinball game in 1960, and described it without irony as being “flipping excellent”. We’ve been selling pinball machines since 1962, so know a thing or two about our products! Our showroom will gladly assist you on any questions you may have before or after you purchase any Games Room Company equipment.