If you love pinball, your first thought when you open the door at the Pinball Hall of Fame is, “I’ve died and gone to heaven.” It’s that good. There are rows and rows of pinball machines at the Hall of Fame, currently located in a mall at the northwest corner of Pecos and Tropicana. Some of the machines are forty or fifty years old. Not only pinball; other arcade games are there too.
However, the focus is on pinball. If you want to trace the historical development of pinball machines, this is the place to see them in action, old and new. From simple-looking to complicated, they’re all here. To play them you’ll need to bring quarters, or bills to change. The good news is that you’ll pay exactly what the original cost was when the pinball machine was new. A quarter for the older games, more for the newer ones. I wanted to play “Fireball,” a favorite of mine when I was in college. I found it there, put my money in and started it up. It played just like I remembered back in the 70s.
It was in the 1970s that pinball machines started to become more scarce, due to the rising tide of video games. The same electronics advances that allowed pinball machines to become more sophisticated brought the competition of Pong, Space Invaders, and Pac-Man. Video games require less maintenance than pinball machines, and take up less space.
But now that everyone has a computer, PlayStation, or Wii at home, who wants to play video games in an arcade? It’s time for pinball to make a comeback. When I was at the Pinball Hall of Fame on Thursday I played a “Shrek” machine that was awesome. It had one of the best vocal soundtracks I’ve heard, beautifully coordinated with game play. The “Indiana Jones” machine was good, too, and if you want to play 3-D pinball, “The Pinball Circus” machine is there, waiting for you. Tournaments are held there — Megan Edwards talks about the PHoF and the Pinball World Championship here.
The Pinball Hall of Fame is for kids of all ages, but bring an adult if you’re a minor. I’ve seen families there sometimes. There are few chairs — most of the available area is occupied by the games. The PHoF is scheduled to move down Tropicana to the west, to a larger space closer to UNLV. As of October 2009, it’s still at Pecos. Pinball wizard or newbie, it’s the place to get your game on.
Click on a picture below to see the gallery