Born in the late 1960s, I recall playing pinball here and there, mostly on vacations to New Jersey's Seaside Heights Boardwalk, in the 1970s. At first, I couldn't tell you what games I played, but they would have been electromechanical games and I was just barely tall enough to see over the lockdown bar.
In the mid-1970s, at the Great America amusement park in Gurnee, IL (what is now Six Flags Great America), we were there for the day and taking a break from walking around the park. My dad handed me a dollar and sent me in to the arcade to kill some time while he and my mom sat down for a few minutes. I recall pinball being $0.25/game then, and getting 3 or 5 balls per game. The arcade was full of pinball games. That dollar would get me four games. I recall walking down the line of pinball machines, and finding one that really stood out, for two reasons. One was the artwork. Fireball. It didn't look anything like the games around it. The other was the pricing, it was set on $0.10/game! Kid heaven! Ten games for a dollar! How could I resist?
At the time, I was probably only eight or nine years old. I wasn't very good at playing pinball. I knew that replays were, in theory, possible, but that was something that older kids got. Still, ten games for a buck!
So, I got change and put in my first dime. Not knowing very much beyond "plunge the ball" and "use the flippers", the skill shot was initially lost on me. But, Fireball had other cool tricks to show me. Zipper Flippers! More kid heaven! And a kickback on the outlane. And a spinning disk! Boy was this game cool!
Several games were played before I figured out that the ramp at the top was special, and I probably only managed one, if any, skill shots. But, random flailing with the flippers managed to lock a ball. And lock another one. And, one thing led to another, and I hit the captive ball. Whoa! I had never heard of anything like multi-ball before. No game I had ever seen or played had more than one ball in play.
And then, it happened. Thwack! The replay. Not only did this game have way-cool artwork, Zipper Flippers, a spinning disk that hurled balls in all directions, an outlane kickback, and multi-ball, but I got a replay on it. I was playing for free!
Looking back, it is hard to describe the way a kid feels when something like this happens and have it make sense. This was, by far, the coolest single thing I had ever seen in my life.
But, being a kid, there wasn't much I could do about it. I could still try to creatively acquire a quarter or two from time to time. And, if I saw one somewhere, I could still play pinball every now and then, but the traveling range of an eight year old is not very far and there weren't many opportunities.
The video game craze of the 1980s hit. Games were everywhere. But they were video games. Early stuff, like Asteroids and Defender and Pac Man and Robotron. They were cool to see other kids play, but I wasn't very good at them, and they weren't very interesting. I played a few, but not many.
Going forward another couple of years, to high school, and pinball was back. There was a small arcade within bicycle range that had four or five pinball machines, and a bunch of video games. There was a much larger arcade somewhat further away, but that required driving so I didn't get there very often until after I got my license and a car to drive.
Then came college. Across the street from the dorm I moved in to as a freshman at Northern Illinois University, was a Bally Electronics 101 arcade. This was the mid-1980s and pinball was still popular, and Bally 101 usually had four to six pinball machines using about half their floorspace, and the rest was video games. Games like Cybernaut, Eight Ball Deluxe, Genesis, Raven, Spring Break, Motodrome, Miami Heat. From my first day on campus, I was in here often, as were friends. We played against each other, or individual games. We hung out. We spent money.
Fall semester of my freshman year was the rekindling of my old interest in pinball, but with a new twist. Bally Electronics 101 had "for sale" signs on their games. Everything was for sale. With prices that seemed astronomical to a college kid, but it planted a seed. There was this one game on the floor, with an outrageous colour scheme, and an out-of-order sign. It was a Farfalla, which meant nothing to me, and since it didn't work, I didn't pay much attention to it other than to note that the playfield looked interesting (two levels, wild colours), and that it was for sale. $750.
I continued to notice Farfalla sitting there, taking up floor space, and with the price dropping a little bit every month or so. $750 became $700, which gave way to $600. I was living, with a roommate, in a 12' x 14' room. I had no money. But boy, wouldn't it be cool to own a pinball machine?
By the fall of my sophomore year, I had moved out of the dorms and in to an apartment off campus. I was to have a roommate, and we were splitting the cost of the two bedroom apartment. Until the start of school when my roommate didn't show up. At all. A couple of weeks and some phone calls later, I found that my roommate had dropped out of school, joined the Air Force, and moved. To Spain. That left me with a lease on an apartment, not nearly enough money to pay the rent on it, and very few options. By October things were looking bad.
I talked a friend of mine in to moving in with me. He needed a place to live, and I needed a roommate to help with the bills. Perfect. He was (and is) one of my closest friends. Now that the money situation was in hand, we could actually afford to go to the arcade, and probably wouldn't even have to starve to death. Or freeze.
By the end of the fall semester, that Farfalla was still there. It was working now, with a few problems. And it was still for sale. The price continued to drop. We spent a lot of time, and a lot of money, in that arcade. Talking about it, and watching the price tag on that Farfalla, we came to a conclusion. It didn't look like it could get much cheaper, since it was down to $150. Reverse-auction mentality set in, and we figured that somebody was going to buy it, and that it was likely to happen soon. We also added up what we were spending, per week, in the token machines and some quick math said that we were going to spend at least $75 each in there during the spring semester. Further quick math said that if we spent it, now, and took the game home, that we wouldn't be spending nearly as much in the arcade. And there was the additional benefits of not having to deal with "closing time" and we wouldn't have to walk all the way up to the arcade and back. This seemed like a perfect plan.
We got the arcade manager, and the deal was struck. He'd help us get it out the door and we'd go get a cashiers check, and a truck. I managed to borrow a truck from somebody, and we hit the bank to get the check. By the time we got back, the manager was looking somewhat unhappy. He had managed to drop the backbox as he was folding it down, and had cracked the backglass. Two large pieces (not temperred glass) were there. He offered us a few bags of free tokens to make up for it, and we took them.
We got the game home and set up in our kitchen. The only place in the apartment where it would fit. Neither one of us knew anything at all about owning a pinball machine, so it didn't seem to be a big deal to us that we didn't know anything at all about one made in Italy. We didn't know anything about owning a Bally, a Gottlieb, or a Williams, either. Not knowing what we didn't know, we actually managed to fix the problems the game had. And, the arcade manager had been nice enough to include both the owners manual and the schematics.
My friend and I put many, many games on that Farfalla. Sober, or not. With other friends, or not. Against each other, or solo. We played it daily, for hours. We got a lot better at playing pinball, too.
My friend moved out, and I kept the apartment for my last year of college. The game stayed. I kept playing it. After college, my girlfriend and I got a nicer apartment. The University hired me, so we stayed in town, but moved away from campus. Farfalla moved with me. We got married, and bought a house, and Farfalla moved again.
Then it died. My old friend was dead. I hadn't known any better at the time, and the NiCd battery had started to leak. The game was about ten years old at the time, well past its expected life in an arcade or an operator's rotation of locations. It sat dead for a while, while I tried to figure out what to do next. I didn't know anything about fixing electronics. I knew how to solder, and I knew how to take things apart and put them together again, but this was out of my league. I didn't know where to get parts, or what to do.
So, I started with friends. I knew some friends that knew more about electronics than I did, so I started asking them where I could get parts. I didn't think I'd find anybody that could fix ten year old Italian electronics, and I had been raised to know that if you wanted something fixed, you fixed it yourself. I got a few leads and some help from friends, and managed to get some ICs that were obviously bad from the battery corrosion.
My first board repair was, well, not very good. But, it worked. Farfalla was alive again.
I have been hanging around the rec.games.pinball newsgroup since 1992 or so. In that time, there have been some postings requesting help with Zaccaria games. A few people, primarily Britt Brooks, Federico Croci, Clive Jones, and Peter Clare provided information that I have been able to use myself over the years to keep my own Farfalla running, and I have, in turn, attempted to help others restore or repair their Zaccaria games.
A couple of years ago, Clay Harrell (cfh) started his web site, offering pinball repair and restoration information, advice, and opinions. I have used, and recommended his site to dozens of people. Unfortunatly, I think Clay sold the only Zaccaria game he had, so he is unlikely to produce a repair guide for them.
The original version of what has become this web site was written in the hopes of filling that need. I went back through my own archives, and what I could dig out of Google, and my own repair experiences with my Farfalla and other Zaccaria games, and attempted to put it all in one place for easy reference. It was not as well organized as I would have liked, but it did serve to collect much of what needed to be put together, and many people have found it useful over the years.
In breaking up the original (large) document in to subsections to better organize it, I hope to also have made it easier to edit and expand. As soon as the reorganization is completed, I will be adding documentation on the 1st Generation games to match what is already here covering the 2nd Generation games. I hope to also add information on the EM and 8060 games eventually.
It is my hope that if you have or are considering getting a Zaccaria game that this web site will be useful to you. If it is, or isn't, I would appreciate hearing about it. If you have suggestions, or information, I would be happy to incorporate them. Please let me know.
This document is not a replacement for the game manual and schematics. If you own a pinball machine, you will need the documentation. This guide is intended to accompany the information found in the original documentation, to better explain things that are not clear, and to cover things that are not included.