When Canada’s top-ranked pinball player first tried the game in its heyday, he hated it so much he vowed to never play again.

Nearly 30 years later, White Rock native Eden Stamm is preparing to compete against the world’s best at the International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA) championship in England.

“I used to go to this little smoke shop and play Donkey Kong, and one time they had a pinball game and I put a quarter in and I was like, ‘This is the stupidest game that’s ever been made, it’s a waste of my quarter,’” said Stamm, 37, who delivers pizzas for Boston Pizza.

He held the game in the highest of disdain until he was 19, when he reluctantly gave it another go.

“Next thing you know I started loving it,” he said.

Stamm bought two pinball machines for his apartment, joined a local league and started playing in competitions.

Now, he’s gearing up for the invitation-only world championship — which runs from July 31 to Aug. 2 — and is playing every day.

“Most people find (my hobby) pretty neat,” he said, adding that pinball will always be around — despite the popularity of video games — for the same reasons books will survive the Internet era.

“It’s the simplicity that grabs you. We want to connect with things that are real,” said Stamm.

“There is a girl in our group … who’s 11 years old and she’s deadly good … Stuff like that makes me smile.”