2014 or 2015: I had dreams of making a custom pinball game, and picked up this basket case of a game for $300. It was in poor condition, with tons of hacks. And, rather than try to get it into a somewhat playable state, I thought it best to tear it apart and get to work and cause even more issues.
And then the dunning/kruger veil was lifted. And this game sat in sad shape, occasionally I'd pick it apart if I needed a part for another game.
I've been toying with just parting it out, the circuit boards are more desirable than this game - I could probably get around $600 for them. Maybe use the cab for a virtual pinball machine? But that doesn't sit well with me, so I'm about to embark on the 2nd phase of absolute stupidity with this, and try to get it working. God help me. Even if I get it running well, it's not worth much. But if I can get this going, I can likely get any game going.
I had a similar response when I started cleaning my Whirlwind. At first I was like, "How hard can it be" but once you start taking things apart, I started to realize just how little I knew about working on a pinball machine.
I still haven't finished cleaning it. I kinda feel bad about it. I just sits there, wanting to be played. And year after year, I do nothing about it.
You can do it! I had my Earthshaker, Whirlwind's sibling, in pieces for about 6 months when I hit a snag (had to take the entire topside apart for new plastics, rubber, lights, ramps) - funny enough that snag was literally like 20 minutes of extra work and I felt silly for leaving it so long. Too bad we're not local, I'm sure we could get Whirlwind up and running together.