Growing up, my dad was a huge fan of The Who. As part of our cultural education, he made sure that we listened and learned from his rock gods. And to a kid, there couldn't be a cooler song than "Pinball Wizard".
"Ever since I was a young boy, I've played the silver ball."
Although I grew up in the age of Atari and Nintendo, there is something really special about the hands on gaming experience of a pinball machine. The lights, the sounds and the maddening hand-eye coordination make for an awesome gaming experience. So when I heard about the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, I knew I had to visit.
Visitors don't come to the Pinball Hall of Fame to experience the over the top luxury of Las Vegas. In fact, if you expect to play pinball in the plush surrounds of the Bellagio lobby you will be sorely disappointed. The Pinball Hall of Fame is housed in a slightly run-down but totally awesome 10,000 square foot warehouse packed full of buzzing, blinking and ball spinning fun.
It claims to have the world's largest collection of pinball machines. You can play machines dating from the 1950s up to the 1990s. The older machines are a bit clunky to play but it was a great experience to see how the games and technology have evolved.
This is truly a family friendly Las Vegas attraction. The games belong to Tim Arnold, one of the members of the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club. The Pinball Hall of Fame is run as a non-profit with all proceeds going to charity. The focus here is on Pinball and I really like Tim's approach. A quote from his website sums up the no-frills look the museum perfectly "Forget about public relations, marketing, uniforms, or even a sign outside. If the games play, the people will come, quarters at the ready."
And play we did. I promise you will get a lot more enjoyment out of sinking your money into the pinballs machines than you will the pokies and slots in the casinos. Just be prepared, it's hard to drag the boys (big and small) away.