Monday, January 17, 2011

Vegas Pinball

Recently my girlfriend and I went on a vacation to Las Vegas.  We needed to get away from White River Junction and its crippling winter.  Las Vegas wasn't a steaming jacuzi, but it was warm enough!  Neither of us had any intention of gambling more than $10 or so.  We both planned to take advantage of all the free stuff that Vegas throws around to the poor people getting fleeced alive.  Also, as I explained before, Vegas was a criminally cheap vacation to take.  There was one other major factor to the decision to go to Vegas, though: the Pinball Hall of Fame.  Tim Arnold has amassed a truely amazing collection of games.  I'm getting ahead of myself, though.  There were a couple of pinball machines that I encountered before me and my grilfirend took our legendary trip to the PHoF.

First, within minutes of checking into our hotel, I discovered that the arcade had the Ripley's Believe It or Not, No Fear, White Water, and NBA Fastbreak machines!  A nice little line up!  The NBA Fastbreak game was super fun to play.  I had never tried it before.  I had also never played Ripley's Believe It or Not, and I had a blast with it!  Another great Stern game!

There was an awesome bank of pinball machines in the hotel across the street, Circus Circus.  All of the great recent Stern machines like Simpson's Pinball Party and Pirates of the Caribbean.  Unfortunately they were all not working.  Or, at least, they were all turned off.  Here's a Sad Chad:

Ugh...too bad.  I also found a copy of Star Wars Episode 1 in Excalibur that played great, but didn't have the lightsaber!  What does a guy have to do!?  There was a Shrek and Family Guy in the Bellagio hotel, which was really funny to see side by side (they both have the same playfield, just different art).  My girlfriend and I also had an epic couple of games on the new Stern Indiana Jones machine in the Sahara arcade.  At first, I saw that the machine was pretty filthy and looked kinda gross, but I decided to go for it and WOW!  The thing played like a dream!

All of the shots felt really satisfying.  Hitting that Ark and getting the huge multiball was completely off the hook.

Finally, last Monday, on MY BIRTHDAY (!!) Colleen and I went to the Pinball Hall of Fame located a couple of miles off of the Las Vegas strip.  We took a local bus to get there, and the whole time I was completely freaking out!  When we finally found it, it solicited this response:

I was completely going bonkers!  I love the matter-of-fact sign.  "Prepare to replay, ye who enter here."  I don't even know where to begin with describing this collection.  It was huge.  Here is the game list.  There were a ton of games there that I have always wanted to try, but have never found out in the wilds including Black Hole, Haunted House, The Champion Pub, the Gottlieb Super Mario World, the new Stern Avatar, the Data East Star Wars, and Monster Bash.  I'm barely scratching the surface of thegames I played, but needless to say that they were all in impecible order, and MANY replays were had!  Every new Stern game was there, and there was a massive collection of Gottlieb wood rail games.  There's nothing like playing some old EM games and hearing those chimes and bells!

Oh man.  Time Machine, I LOVE that game...
The crowning jewel of the hall of fame wasn't a machine, though, it was Time Arnold himself.  Tim has put together an amazing collection with the help of his club members and works tirelessly to see that they are all clean and in perfect working order.  He was gracious enough to grant me an interview where he told me about the history of the Pinball Hall of Fame, a lot more about the collection, and a ton of other stuff about pinball!  He's a real pinball genius and it was a real pleasure to get to talk to him.  When I first approached him and introduced myself, I found him working on an extremely rare game called Pinball Circus.  It was a completely innovative game that made it all the way through the design phase, but was never fully produced.  Only THREE copies of the game exist and Tim Arnold has one!!!

Me freaking out.

Me getting a replay, word.
If you are EVER near Vegas and like pinball, you HAVE to check this place out.  It is literally pinball heaven.  A great place to play.  Not only that, but Vegas is really cheap.  They just kept giving us free drinks and shows, who would want to gamble!?

The last thing I'd like to say is that I officially have a new favorite game: Cactus Canyon.  I played it at the PHoF and I couldn't get enough of it.  It's the coolest thing ever.  There's a gold mine, a quick draw, a train.  AHH!  IT'S THE BEST!!  Anybody got one!  Wanna let me in on that hawt flipper action!?  I can't believe I'd never heard of it until now, but it seems like it had pretty low production numbers, which is crazy because this game is beautiful.

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