When I started working on On Beam. I noticed some of the trip bank armatures looked a bit weird. Some were broken, some were replaced with some strange mystery part that sorta did the job.
More importantly, I noticed that the first armature, on top of being all messed up, was missing a small 90 degree piece of metal that would stop half of the trip bank from resetting when the reset motor was running. Without that small 90 degree piece the game would never work properly.
The other trip armatures were not a problem to replace since I had a bunch of spares from parts machines as they are commonly used in later bingo machines.
|The first armature is cactus but the 4th trip has the part I need|
Serendipitously, I also noticed that the 4th armature was the wrong kind installed for that trip, but it was the correct armature I was missing for the first trip. The 1st trip required A-261-12. The 4th trip had a A-261-12 but required a A-261-11. So my missing part problem was solved...
|A hodgepodge of armatures|
|From the Bally 1976 parts catalog|
This whole story of the A-261-12 in the wrong place got me thinking. How or why was it installed in the wrong place, yet so conveniently...there for me to use it to fix the game?
Maybe it goes back to when the machine was assembled at the Bally factory. Maybe the factory worker assembling the trip bank ran out of A-261-11 and installed a A-261-12 instead.
Maybe that factory worker was really a latent precog. That he subconsciously knew that by installing that part, he would save a lot of grief to one of the future owners of the game that would be stuck with the broken missing part. Maybe the factory worker's precog ability subconsciously guided his hand to the wrong parts tray.
Maybe I got the part in there. That is the future me, reflecting on how I once had this On Beam game but that it never did work properly because of the missing part. But fortunately for the future me, Time Travel technology would be available, allowing the future me to go back in time, get that armature, hastily install the part in the game before I would first acquire the game...
Maybe it's a different me. That is, an analogue of myself in a parallel universe. Very similar to this one except that the Time Travel equations and all the other technological details are commonly available. In this parallel universe, time travel tourism is not illegal but strongly frowned upon. Unfortunately for my parallel self, the missing armature is no longer available in his universe. Therefore, it was simpler to go back in time to get the missing part. Maybe this other self from the parallel universe built a time machine to go back in time to the Bally factory in 1969 for a tour of the plant on the day that my On beam was being assembled. Maybe my other self distracted the factory worker at a critical moment, resulting in the wrong armature plate being installed. Unfortunately for my parallel self, he built his time machine from cheap eBay parts. Resulting in a faulty time machine that not only travels through time but also through parallel universes. He ended up in this (my) past timeline, similar enough to his own timeline for him not to notice the shift until he travelled back to his own present where he would find his On Beam still missing the part. Thinking his time altering actions were all in vain.
Eventually the Time police caught up with all these timeline altering shenanigans. To return the equilibrium to the timeline, a Time Police constable installed in my On Beam a faulty A-261-12 armature that broke soon after I got the machine working.
Fortunately for me in this timeline, Pinball Resource has the part in stock. I ordered a bunch. Apparently, PBR bought a parts inventory from a defunct amusement operator, the armature was part of that inventory lot, but maybe there's a lot more the this story....
Maybe one of my time travelling parallel self stepped on a cockroach in 1969 that wasn't supposed to die. It died only because of the On Beam armature saga. Maybe it resulted in a similar timeline chain reaction as in Ray Bradbury's short story A sound of thunder?