For a pinball enthusiast, nothing is more enjoyable than watching the steel ball bounce off of the bumpers in a chaotic fashion while you try to regain control and keep it in play. The game as we know it originated in the early 1900s, but in 1940, it became illegal in several states. It wasn’t until 1976 that the ban on this was lifted, proving that the game was based on skill and not the luck of the player.
The game was still not that popular in the country until the early 2000s, which is when pinball parlors started opening and private pinball collections were opened to the public in pinball museums. If you like playing pinball, here are some of the places where you can check out dozens of pinball machines under one roof.
Pinball Hall of Fame
The first pinball palace that you will want to see for yourself is in fabulous Las Vegas. It is a warehouse that is located right off of the Vegas Strip that is filled with over 200 pinball machines. The Pinball Hall of Fame first opened during the year 2009, and today locals and visitors alike come to the Hall of Fame to see the flashing lights and hear the buzzing bells.
Most of the games that are available to play cost a quarter, but you can find a few rare antiques that only cost 10 cents to play. What a treat! In addition, the Pinball Hall of Fame also has some of the newest pinball machines that can be played for 50 cents a game.
Pennsylvania Coin Operated Gaming Hall of Fame and Museum
The next place where you can enjoy playing pinball machines of the past is located in Hopewell, Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Coin Operated Gaming Hall of Fame and Museum was once a dollar store that the locals enjoyed, but now it is game central for many locals as well as pinball enthusiasts looking for rare pinball machines.
This arcade is home to over 400 vintage machines, and the collection even includes the extremely rare pinball machine called Thunderball. Only 10 of these beauties were manufactured, and out of the four remaining models that are still around today, the one at this location is the only one that is in working condition.
Pacific Pinball Museum
Moving on to the West Coast, The Pacific Pinball Museum, which is located in Alameda, California, is another great spot for playing on some vintage pinball machines. It has over 90 different machines available for play, all of which have the buzzer and the bells that pinball players have nostalgia for. Behind the scenes at this pinball machine museum, you can find an additional 400 machines that are not available for pinball enthusiasts to play. Though the place is often crowded, it is definitely worth visiting.
Museum of Pinball
Another great pinball location to visit is also located in California, but this time it is located in the town of Banning. The Museum of Pinball was opened in 2013, and it is actually one of the largest arcades dedicated to pinball machines in the world. Displaying over 600 pinball machines on the arcade floor, there are a large number of favorites that pinball enthusiasts will love to get their hands on.
If you are heading to California, then check into the events at the Museum of Pinball. It is not open to tourists who want to just drop in for a visit, but there are a number of events throughout the year where you can see the pinball wizards of today compete.
Silverball Museum Arcade
The final pinball arcade that will be featured on this list is located in Asbury Park, New Jersey. The Silverball Museum Arcade can be found right off of the boardwalk in Ashbury Park. Once inside, you will find nearly 200 different pinball machines from throughout the ages. If you have nostalgia for pinball games from the 1970s, then you will be able to find games with mechanical buzzers that you will enjoy as well as more recent machines that have brighter, shinier lights.
As you search for some of the best pinball machines in the country, you will come across vintage pinball machines, restored machines, and rare gems. If you want to see some extremely talented pinball players go head-to-head, there is a tournament that is held in Pittsburg Pennsylvania twice a year. If you have the skills, you may even be crowned the next “World Pinball Champion.”
Jessica Kane is a writer for The Pinball Company, the best online source for new, used, and refurbished pinball machines, arcade cabinets, and more!