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October 2014

Jack GuarnieriJ
by Jack Guarnieri
ersey Jack

You're the Tops!

Doing anything for half of a Century is a major accomplishment. Most young people taking a job today will retire in 20-25 years. They may also have five to ten different jobs at many different companies. Eddie could have retired two and a half times already.

Less than 5% of Ameri­cans are employed over 70 years old. I always knew Eddie was a one-percenter. Asking him what’s been the best thing about doing this for 50 years and I would guess he say: “No peer pressure.”

At IAAPA in 2008, I remember giving Eddie a personal “Jersey Jack” column on the spot about coming into the electronic age of reporting and making RePlay an interactive, online, almost-daily resource for industry information. Eddie said he would talk to Al Gore about it.

I think he also told me: “My memory is not as sharp as it used to be…...also….my memory is not as sharp as it used to be.”

Eddie has seen and reported on so many changes in our industry and in our world. Think about 50 years. To buy what $1 bought in 1964 money, you will need $7.54 today.

Almost everything in our industry has changed in 50 years, and Eddie was there to report it. At the same time, many fundamentals of our industry barely changed, and Eddie was there to remind us of those as if to preserve the ideals of the industry and to pass it forward to new generations.

He has been a stalwart keeper of everything good in our industry and a relentless force to be better and to do better. When Eddie started, it was a nickel-and-dime business and soon we will be using a fingerprint on a smartphone to pay to play a game in a bar.

In 1964, I was playing with my Tonka trucks in the dirt in my backyard. I was outside every day and that involved playing ball, and all types of games with friends. Today, a toddler gets an iPad and never gets to play in dirt with a toy truck. Why would they? Mom won’t let them play in dirt or track that into the house either. People in our world play differently today than they did 50 years ago. Eddie gets it, and his magazine reflects that.

Years ago, I was honored to be asked to write for RePlay. Eddie was tasked with finding a catchy moniker for me. Apparently there were a good number of them that could not be used so Eddie chose “Jersey Jack.” At first I said, I’m not from Jersey, I’m from Brooklyn. But alas, Eddie chose Jersey Jack, and that I am. So we even named a company that builds pinball machines using Eddie’s suggested name. Thanks!

I’m not sure if you are the Prexy, Eddie, but you’re a Maven, and I know you are the Topper, the tops and the summit, you are at the peak of perfection and the pinnacle of success and you have built RePlay into the zenith of industry magazines.

Eddie, you have touched many lives and you have made our industry a better place these 50 years. Your passion, understanding, tact, finesse, guts, patience, conviction, resolve, faith and drive to be the best and tell the stories that needed to be told have helped shape the industry.

As I get ready to start my 40th year in the amusement game industry, I look to you as a shining example of doing what you love very well and having others love you for it.

Eddie is the richest of all as he has collected friends along these past 50 years. Many are gone, but many others remain here wishing for another 50 years of progress and innovation in the evolution of our beloved industry.

Thank you, Eddie, for doing what you love to do, and I hope you do it for as long as you wish. I know it would not have been possible without the love and support of your family and loyal, devoted RePlay staff.

Love you, thanks, Jack….Jersey Jack, that is.


Jack Guarnieri started servicing electro-mechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He operated a substantial game route in Brooklyn, N.Y., and developed amusement centers including Fuzzy’s Family Fun Factory. In 1999, he founded Pinball-Sales.com to sell coin-op to the home market. Last year, Jack founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which is designing and developing full-featured, full-sized commercial-arcade pinball machines for manufacture in early 2012. The first game is based on a licensed theme, the timeless The Wizard of Oz. To learn more, visit www.jerseyjackpinball.com. You can email him at jack@jerseyjackpinball.com or by phoning him directly at 800/473-JACK.

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