Hello and welcome to The Ball is Wild, a new pinball culture podcast! This podcast was founded and is run by me, Robert Glashüttner, from Vienna, Austria. I’m in my early 40ies and I am a radio editor and presenter for almost 20 years now. I work at Radio FM4, a public service station in Austria, Europe, which is part of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF. At FM4, I’m in charge of the game culture department. There we do everything from reviewing videogames, interviewing interesting creators and designers to creating weekly podcasts as well as hosting a Twitch livestream every Thursday.

Pinball has always been part of gaming culture for me but it wasn’t for my late teenage years that I really played on physical machines for the first time. I remember it was Creature From the Black Lagoon and Attack From Mars that I played in the late 90ies. Before that, it was all video pinball for me, of the likes of Epic Pinball, Pinball Dreams and – of course – the infamous Space Cadet table that came built in with Windows 95 until Windows XP. In 2004, I did a radio piece about a pinball competition in Vienna and witnessed a tournament for the first time. Then, a few years later, I started diving into the pinball community in full effect. I am an average player, I guess, and I like competing, but most importantly, I enjoy pinball for its unique characteristics: It’s a game of skill with a little bit of luck involved, and you can – and should! – play it with your whole body. You mostly only play with two buttons yet pinball it so complex and it requires such refined skills to really play well. This is what always draws me in to pinball.

In 2014, I started a little blog called The Ball is Wild where I tried to come up with unconventional stories, interviews and approaches and also topics that hadn’t been covered within other pinball media. For example, I wrote about pinball in fashion shows, about pinball stances, or the legendary old pinball documentary “Welcome to Xenon” from the late 70ies. I also incorporated a lot of video pinball stuff as this is, I think, something that’s still a bit underrepresented within the pinball community.

I eventually stopped coming up and writing new stories for the blog because … well, it takes time to write decent stories, and I always prefer quality over quantity. And to be honest, sometimes you just want to relax – and play pinball instead of thinking, writing or talking about it. But now, seven years later, I want to come back to the original concept but do it in a way that is easier for me to pull off at a regular pace. In this regard, there are two things that fit well together for me: First, I’m a radio editor for nearly 20 years now. And second: Podcasts are all over the place since about two to three years – so, there you go: The Ball is Wild is now a pinball culture podcast!

Let’s briefly go over what this podcast doesn’t cover, and that is a) competitive pinball b) news, commentary and interviews about physical pinball tables, and c) technical stuff like maintaining or modding machines. I feel that these are areas which are covered quite well in other pinball websites, blogs, podcasts, videos or livestreams. The Ball is Wild instead focusses on pinball culture in general where I talk to creators, curators, exhibitors, designers and enthusiasts about their pinball projects. It’s about unconventional approaches, innovative ideas and – again – also about video pinball and games that incorporate pinball elements or ideas, but aren’t pinball per se. I am really interested in how pinball inspires people outside the hobby and what they find interesting in it.

This podcast is planned to get new episodes bi-weekly, and episodes won’t be too long – I am aiming for a length of about 15-30 minutes each. The first episodes will feature interviews with Márk Pataki from Hungarian Pinball Museum, Bohdon Sayre from Flight School Games who did the pinball-inspired videogame Creature In The Well, Chris Friebus from Blahcade Pinball Podcast, and Stan Dmitriev from remote play company Surrogate.TV where you can play online pinball with real machines. I hope that this sounds interesting to you, and if it does, please subsribe to The Ball is Wild pinball culture podcast and also have a look at out Twitter page.