Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Noob's First Blogger Gathering: Pinball Hall of Fame

It all started with one one guys discovery. PirateLawyer had posted about inheriting a love of pinball from his father. In preparing for the Winter Gathering, he had discovered that there was a Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas. This post caught my attention and a few others. He definitely would not be travelling solo.

Being the married guy that I am, I realized that if I was taking OhCountess with me, I should probably talk this over with her...you know, ditching the wife is never a good plan.

I think my wife knew that there was no way I was missing this. She's been with me before at Chuck-E-Cheese. When there are pinball machines in the room, she's got 3 kids to watch over. I'm worthless as a dad around games.

While still feeling the next day love from way to many Bud Lights from the night before, I joined up with PL at the Geisha Bar at 1 PM Friday. Through the fog and haze of the night before, that was one detail I had not forgotten.

We were joined by MetsFan, Zeem, F-Train, Muhctim, VinNay, BuddyDank,California April and I think a couple of other guys that weren't bloggers.

Everyone didn't fit in F-Train's car. Apparently, he hasn't joined the minivan lifestyle yet, so several taxis were needed. Riding in F-Train's car was great. He lives in Vegas and had taken the time to find this place.  A word of warning for anyone attempting to visit this place, write down the address. Taxi cab drivers have no idea where it is. Thankfully, Buddy had my cell number...wireless to the rescue.

This little adventure was just one more huge leap of faith for me. Before getting into this black car and leaving the hotel, I really didn't know anyone. I mean, you know them through online poker and their writings, but really, am I driving to the Hotel California? I had every reason to believe there wasn't a problem here, but growing up in a small town in Minnesota, I just really wasn't used to riding in cars with strangers.

Whew! There's the sign for the Pinball Hall of Fame!

You really need to experience this place for yourself. I'm sharing with you today the pictures I took while there, but the sounds and the feel of the machines is nothing I can describe with typed words. The place is really well kept up, the machines are in great condition. You can tell that it is owned and operated by people that love pinball machines. There were a few locals here but surprisingly only a few "kids".

Kids. I watched the faces of my companions as we enter. In everyones eyes you could see their inner 12 year old jumping up and down. I think we all had same overwhelmed feeling just walking in the place. My god, there were over 200 machines to play. Where do you start? Most of us just walked around for a few minutes. I had grabbed some quarters out of my pockets and was rubbing them with my fingers. I knew they wouldn't be mine long. So many machines and so little time and quarters....

These pictures aren't in any particular order. They are pretty much just randomly uploaded. Some are of people (look for the inner 12 year old...it's there in their eyes). Some are of the machines that caught my attention. I actually filled a memory card, about 200 pictures, while wandering around. These are the highlights. If you are looking for something in particular, let me know, I probably shot it.

The pictures:

Not all the machines are old. This is one that just had to be on my poker blog...WPT Pinball? Who knew.
This sign was on one of the change machines. Come on, how funny is this. It makes you wonder though, did they need to hang this sign cause they were actually getting some?
Here's Buddy hitting the flippers. He's got that good form. One leg forward. Perfect balance.
PL, F-Train and Zeem. We were quite often joining for multi-player action.
Holy Crap! It's Play Ball! This is that game that the stealy comes out from under a metal flap. I played this with Muhctim for a while. We would hit the pitching buttons for the other guy. He's not as big a baseball fan as I am...I ran it up a bit...sorry.
I dropped way too much money in this machine growing up. I was shocked to see it here. The funny thing about pinball games, they were marketed with famous people or show or themes, but for me, it was the action that was important. This game rocked! Or it was the only one available where I played sometimes at as kid.

VinNay, a guy I don't know and MetsFan. Yep. Inner 12 year old spotted.

Tron and Centipede definitely brought back the memories. My Mom didn't let me see Tron but she couldn't stop me from playing this game. I was well versed in this game long before I ever saw the movie.
Classic.
I had never heard of this one before, but this is a poker blog.
Zeem running up the score. This shot does give you a good idea of what it was like in here. The lighting was horrible, but that's just fine, glare on glass sucks.
Old school...and poker themed.
No one was immune from the allure of the old school games. Who needs digital scores?
As far as the eye could see.
There was one sound there that really got my attention. I hadn't heard it in years. For those of you that play pinball or wasted untold hours and days of your youth, you'll know what I mean. There is the crack of the machine when you win a free game. It's just the most beautiful sound you can imagine. It's here in spades.

9 comments:

Ignatious said...

crack of the machine indeed. well said.

am very sad i didn't make it, especially after reading your post.

i know a glitch in centipede, damnit.

Memphis MOJO said...

Amazing place. Thx for some great photos.

lightning36 said...

Dang - now you have me searching for Xenon on the internet!

BWoP said...

Ummmmm . . . F-Train doesn't have a car :-)

Glad you had a good time at the museum!

Fred aka TwoBlackAces said...

You brought some very interesting memories for me, thx for sharing...esp the 'crack' sound...got love that free game!

jamyhawk said...

Great post! Brings back some fond memories.

Growing up, we traveled in an RV every summer and stayed at KOA's. They always had the "older" pinball machines than the local arcades, but they were always cheaper.

It wasn't odd to find a machine that gave 3 plays for 25cents. And they were the old style "non-digital" scoring.

So much fun...

Shrike said...

What can I say ... I am so very glad I stumbled across this place. It didn't disappoint!

Just the look on everyone's face as we walked in ... priceless.

-PL

Drizztdj said...

My only regret of the trip.

Getting there too late for the pinball trip.

Alan aka RecessRampage said...

Great post dude. Not much more I can say than that.