Accomplishing Goals, Easy or Not
by Jack Guarnieri, Jersey Jack Pinball & PinballSales.com
I might talk about Jersey Jack Pinball from time to time in this column, but try hard not to make it sound like a sales pitch when I do, usually using my experiences or observations to talk about the industry at large. That said, I hope you’ll indulge me a bit this time as I dive a bit deeper into the “pinball factory that Jack built.” In short, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and excited to witness the reaction to our latest game.
Most people think it’s easy to do something. They may go out to eat and say they can operate a better restaurant. They might go into a business and when they’re shocked by the poor customer service, remark that they could do better if it was their business. They may call a plumber to fix their sink and be shocked at how much the service costs.
If you can do it better, don’t just think or wish it, go and do it!
On Jan. 1, 2011, I did exactly that by founding Jersey Jack Pinball. It wasn’t easy and much of it has been publicly chronicled. It was a long struggle, but it was something that I wanted to do at the time. Did it go as planned? No. Not much ever does. But, I knew all along the way that if I didn’t give up, I couldn’t fail.
My only goal was to design and create great games for our customers, whoever they would eventually be. I sat in a big empty building and mused that there would be people working here, they just didn’t know it yet. There would be deliveries here, but nothing had been ordered yet. And customers would be coming here to pick up games, but they couldn’t order them because they didn’t exist yet.
I knew that if you can dream it, you can do it. How does a little acorn become a mighty oak tree? I believe that once the acorn is put into the ground and watered, like everything in the universe, it finds its way. So was it with Jersey Jack Pinball.
From its humble beginnings, it gathered many talented people. They worked to create the building blocks of what would become the design elements for the first game, The Wizard of Oz. We were very fortunate to have some people who love pinball believe in Jersey Jack – both the company and the person (me) – ordering the first game before they could even play one.
Sprinting ahead a bit, RePlay Magazine reported in August of 2021 that Hall of Fame pinball designer Steve Ritchie joined JJP. And we’re very proud to announce that this month at IAAPA booth 829, you can come see and play what Steve and his team have been working on for the last two years. I cannot say what it is here because at the time of this writing the game hasn’t been announced, but what I can tell you is that it’s one of the very best games Steve and his team has ever created.
Whether you stop by our booth or not, remember as you walk the IAAPA aisles, that you’re seeing hundreds of products created by people who decided to go beyond thinking and wishing. Many of them will be new to the market from hopeful creators, and their success or failure lies with you and your response. Can you tell if their product will make money for you? Will your customers put money into their games to play? Will they work reliably? How long will it take you for a return on your investment?
I asked myself these questions over and over through the years as I walked the aisles looking at new equipment. I never went to the IAAPA without finding what I thought was the winner of the show. And, most of the time, I was right but at some shows, I missed the big hit! Maybe it was a sleeper that went on to huge earnings, so that I eventually piled into it, too. After all, if everyone else is buying it, it must be a good game, right?
IAAPA is a big room full of believers trying to get your attention, from plush to food to games, attractions and services. So, don’t just think or wish it, go and do it!
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 was an operator in NYC, then began a distributorship in 1999, PinballSales.com, selling coin-op to the consumer market. In January of 2011, he founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which builds award-winning, full-featured, coin-op pinball machines. Email Jack at [email protected].