…history so far
TILT.it is actually the fourth iteration of an online resource dedicated to the coin-op machines. The first incarnation was started in 1992 on the Fidonet, an amatorial network born some years before. Many of you may not have been “wired” back then, as the concept of the internet really hadn’t taken off, but going online meant something completely different in those days. If someone wanted to share information with another person, they didn’t design a web site, they started a BBS (this was a time when 9600 baud modems were considered lightning fast!). This limited most of the users to people in your own area code, and maybe the occasional long distance caller. TILT started out as a discussion message-base (known before as flipper.400, then flipper.332 and finally as flipper.ita) about everything related to pinballs: new machines’ sightings, play rules, high scores, etc. Please note:these message-bases are still available (italian language only) in the TILT’s cd. Skip forward to 1994. Here’s my first internet connection (thanks to Riccardo Pizzi, now webmaster of vecchiflipper.it) email address, the discovery of the international newsgroups, the first web sites, almost all based in USA. At this point, I decided to put on-line the listings of my collection of game papers, mainly flyers, but also manuals, electrical schemes, and other stuff. Following some suggestions, I digitalized some of the rarest flyers, curious pictures, some of the articles I wrote for local and international collector’s magazines. The first available in Italy about this hobby. …Why did I do this (I sometimes ask myself the same question)? Mainly because at the time, and eBay USA was barely one year old, all you can do to acquire new stuff in your collection was to trade with other collectors, and it was necessary a system to let them always have the most updated listings of what I was looking for, and what was available for sale or trade. Instead than having to snail-mail the listings, putting them on-line was meaning you could always download the more updated listing, when you’d like it. The great interest of foreing collectors for the italian-made machines, or the one built in USA especially for the italian market, did the rest, forcing me to include the forementioned articles and more similar stuff about them. This stuff, of a great amount still available on TILT only even nowadays, really made visits going up, and the site become an important reference for the italian collectors, and not only italian. Back in those years, it was not so important the graphics of the site, but its contents, also because not all of the available browsers could show correctly graphic contents. In 1995 I registered the www.TILT.it domain, as a result of the non profit association founded the year before, together with other italian collectors. In November of 1996 I came up with an idea – something even today few have wanted to try. I wanted to put online reserved infos, hard to find, things and pictures that only who visited the manufacturing facilities, or large warehouses full of old games, could offer to the visitors: I wanted to post periodical rare pictures, photo and description of prototype games, etc. So, it was born the “X-Files” section, together with what it would eventually become the “Bonus” chapter. In the first years of the new millenium, the italian collectors world are becoming more and more advanced. Dozens of new surfers are looking on the internet, and some of them are finally doing their own web sites (go check the section “your links“). TILT is no more alone! Now, with the valuable help of new fans, it was gave TILT a facelift (thanks to the providential work of Piero Cavina). Not only my articles, photos to be downloaded, without the possibility of sending personal contributions; but also a lively mailing-list where to talk about the new discoveries, more recent acquisitions, trades and others. After all this time, “X-Files” still has tens of hits, and the updated in the new “Bonus” section, which periodically shows curiosities and eccentric things of the coin-ops, are amongts the most visited of the site. As a note, the first “Bonus” was the famous picture of an italian extravaganza, the “Flipper Pub“. Still today I receive emails asking about that place. After about seven years of life, what does the future hold for the site? Who knows. I think I’ll keep on uploading rare images, the new flyers I’ll be able to locate for my collection, and with respect to the now distant 1995, it’s now easy to put online movies and audio files, and high resolution pictures. Some of the old images available in TILT are small 40kb long jpgs, as at the time this was considered a large file to be downloaded. I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has supported the site over the past years. Running the web site has been an extremely rewarding undertaking for me. I’ve met a lot of great people who share the same love for games as I do. I would have never been introduced to as much knowledge of the hobby as I have been in the past seven years if it hadn’t been for the ongoing email exchanges I have with other coin-op fans.
Federico Croci August, 2002
Update: another upgrade for Tilt.it, which after six years it becomes more similar to a blog, easier to upgrade and manipulate; thanks to the providential work of Max Negro!