Monday, March 11, 2013

Shiny Silver Balls. And Flippers

The other weekend I went to Pinball Museum in Baltimore.  I went for the first and last time - though not by choice.  Yeah, it was my choice not to go before but I would go again in a heartbeat but Sunday was closing day.  I'm so glad I went before it closed!

The museum part showed the history of the game.  That was cool.  They had old tabletop wooden games - similar to the "snake in the grass" game my grandparents had when I was growing up (I often wonder whatever happened to that!).  They showed the progression of the game design - it was seriously cool.

But the second and third floors were the really fun part.  I played pinball machines from the 40s through the 90s (I'm estimating the time frame - some of the games didn't have their dates listed).  Some had little stubs of flippers and others had ones that magically elongated when a magic button was hit (yes, that is making me laugh).  Some had the little thingys you pull to release the ball; others had buttons you push to get the ball in the chamber.  On the old machines you could feel the vibrations of the bumpers and balls.  The newer ones put me into sensory overload - the lights flashed, things dinged and music played.  All very fun.

It all brought me back to my summers down the shore.  We had a house in Ocean City, NJ.  Every summer, my brother would pick one evening and we would go play games at the arcade.  It meant a fun night of skee ball, air hockey, pinball and sometimes something like asteroids (yes, I just gave you a clue to just how old I am).  I looked forward to the nights every summer.  I think they started when I was about 10 or 11 and lasted through high school.  It's one of my favorite memories with him.

One summer, both my brother and I got our names up on the pinball machines.  You got your name up when you got the high score.  Oh, I miss all of that.

1 comment:

  1. I'd argue that the "arcade" part of the museum, where you could play the games, are still part of the "history of pinball" part of the museum: there's more to the history of pinball than just seeing how the backglass art or flipper size changed over time: pinball is a game, so really understanding its history means playing different games to see how the feel of the game has changed.

    You got your name up when you got the high score.

    I always entered my initials as "FOO", because "AA " (ay, ay, space) looks like some idiot who doesn't know how to enter his initials.