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Roger Sharpe who is one of the most idolized people in pinball history. He is the Babe Ruth of pinball when he called his shot in 1976 to help legalize pinball. Roger was considered one of the top players in the world  and now his sons are among the top in the world also. He has worked in game licensing and marketing for over 35 years.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [0:24] Jeremy’s introduction of Roger Sharpe, pinball businessman and legend.
  • [1:40] Why Roger gets emotional talking about his life and career.
  • [4:15] When Roger’s sons began to beat him at pinball.
  • [9:30] How a person trains for a pinball tournament.
  • [15:02] The winnings of major pinball tournaments.
  • [16:10] What was the pinball game Roger dominated the most?
  • [18:15] The thought process behind designing pinball machines.
  • [27:44] What makes a pinball game more expensive or costly?
  • [31:15] How Roger got to own the first pinball game ever patented.
  • [35:35] The origin of Roger’s pinball book.
  • [40:00] Roger’s young life and what he aspired to and did as a kid.
  • [48:50] How the desire to be good a pinball came about.
  • [53:40] The “Drunk History” thing Roger was involved in (see it below).
  • [57:05] How Roger got the gig writing a feature in GQ Magazine.
  • [1:18:11] Strange laws surrounding pinball playing that Roger has experienced.
  • [1:23:01] Testifying in city council in New York City to get pinball legalized.
  • [1:30:10] The “Babe Ruth” type call Roger made in his demonstration.
  • [1:33:14] The most successful licensing deal Roger was able to put together.
  • [1:45:37] Working in marketing, tradeshows, and licensing for manufacturers.
  • [1:49:03] The mechanics of setting up a licensing deal.
  • [1:51:16] How licensing deals are partly predicting the future.
  • [2:10:10] Working with Arnold Schwarzenegger on a licensing deal.
  • [2:13:02] Roger’s lowest point in Roger’s life: The loss of his Dad.
  • [2:16:36] The proudest career accomplishments.
  • [2:19:13] The most difficult situation to track down to gain permission for a product.

In this episode…

When you think of pinball, you probably think of flashing lights, ringing bells, and distinctive sounds that only come from a pinball machine. That is the world of Roger Sharpe. Roger is a legend in the pinball industry, being one of the most successful pinball players in all history, and also a licensing agent and industry Rep. who has been very instrumental in shaping the industry.

On this episode of Inspired Insider, Jeremy talks with Roger about how he got into Penn ball in the first place, what it was about the game that drew his interest and kept him so absorbed in it, and how he carved out his place in the industry during the time when confusion about the nature of the very game he played was part and parcel of the era he lived in.

Roger has many observations to share from his time as a competitive pinball player and also from his experience in leading the charge for fairer laws regarding pinball machines and their use, and the licensing and distribution pinball machines as he worked for big manufacturers of the games. His lessons go beyond business, into all areas of life, thinking, and action.

On this episode Roger will share his lowest point in life, the death of his father, and also his highest points both in life and in his career. It’s obvious from listening to Roger that he still has passion for the game that brought him notoriety and opportunity.

Resources and People Mentioned on this episode

Drunk History resource mentioned:

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