January 25, 2012

Photo Essay: Pinball Hall of Fame, Vegas (Updated for 2024)

[Last updated 5/4/24 11:59 AM PT—In 2021, the Pinball Hall of Fame moved to its new location on South Las Vegas Boulevard, just south of the Vegas Strip. See the bottom of this post for some new photos.]

I'm like a bird.

Or a cat.

I like shiny things.

And bells and whistles.

And flashing lights.

This attraction leads me to amusement parks, Times Square, Hollywood Blvd, arcades, and Vegas, which is full of all of those things.

Vegas' Pinball Hall of Fame is billed as sort of a roadside attraction - a museum of oddities - but really it's just an arcade full of old pinball machines (and some video games) from the last several decades, dating back at least to the 1960s, maybe earlier.


And with enough quarters, you can play almost all of them.

Revenge from Mars

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone

Eight Ball Deluxe


Pinball Wizard


Big Flipper

Dr. Dude


The Bally Game Show

The Bally Game Show


After playing nearly 20 of them, all circa 1970-2000, I realized I have a strong affinity for the pinball machines of the 1980s. Perhaps it's merely because of the familiarity of my childhood and what I must've played at Chuck E. Cheese, but given the fact I wasn't really allowed out of the house and never went to an arcade besides Chuck E. Cheese until I was an adult, I think it's more than that. In the 1980s, the pinball machines hit a nice sweet spot between electronic technology (at least, the score-keeping) and analog, manual mechanism. This era pre-dates the time when you press a button to launch the ball, and the predominant sounds are those of rattling metal, contracting springs, flipping flippers, bumping bumpers and kicking targets. You don't need LED video projections or movie quote sound effects to generate excitement. You feel the entire box quake.

Yet another amusement worthy of a trip away from The Strip.

Update 2024: Well, the Pinball Hall of Fame is now basically on the Las Vegas Strip, having moved to South Las Vegas Boulevard in 2021. 

Although the collection remains similar (though many machines were dark during my recent visit), it's got a brand-new sign worthy of its new location. 

And there's no mistaking where you've arrived. 

I enjoyed playing some newer pinball additions, based on more current brands and franchises...

...and refreshes of more classic IP, like James Bond/007 (featuring the most recent actor in the role, Daniel Craig)... well as more vintage varieties of coin-operated, mechanical entertainment.

It's a good place for me to get my ya-ya's out, so I'm not so tempted by the slot machines I've got to walk by to get to my hotel room. 

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