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With Mike Vinikour
Mike Vinikour works at Stern Pinball and does software testing, helps with rule design, and runs the field test program at Stern Pinball. He’s worked in the game industry since 1993 when he started at Williams Bally/Midway.

Around the Playfield with Mike Vinikour
The Start Button: How did you first get into pinball?
When I was about six or seven years old (this was back in the 1970s), my dad took me to an arcade called Just Games. It was just down the street from our home in Downers Grove, IL. The place was wall to wall pinball machines along with some early EM shooters and stuff like that. My dad liked to play pinball a lot when he was growing up so when I was old enough to reach the flipper buttons he started taking me to the arcade on occasions to play a few games. I don’t recall what the first games were that I played, but I do have memories of playing EM’s and the early solid states at that arcade over the next few years. I also saw the first video games there and that changed my whole world. That arcade became one of the most important places in my life and at the time I had no idea that it would lead me to an eventual career in games, both video and pinball. I also made a lot of friends hanging out there who I’m still friends with to this day. When I was a teenager, I used to spend most days after school at that arcade and all day Saturday. When I was in my mid twenties I ended up working there as