Beaver, 32, is part of a quietly growing the pinball scene in Corvallis. Pinball lovers are slowly expanding the availability of pinball machines in town. And they want bargoers who are focused more on beer instead of the game to join their community.
The Northwest far surpasses other regions in number of pinball locations, according to international machine tracker pinballmap.com. For example, Portland has 246 pinball locations, Seattle has 102 and Eugene is listed with 13, but insiders say there are far more.
Corvallis has five. Beaver and Brian Morrissette, the 18-year-old godfather of pinball in Corvallis, struggled to name even that many.
“(Pinball is) a growing renaissance in America, especially in the Northwest,” Morrissette said.
Contributing to the movement are men in their 30s and 40s who want to relive the game they grew up playing. In the past two years, Morrissette said, the number of collectors in town has at least doubled.
Jeff Obermann, 43, is one of them. He thought his grandparents having a pinball machine in their basement was the coolest thing in the world. He resolved that when he grew up, he would own pinball machines.
Play every pinball game Corvallis has to offer with this interactive Corvallis map. See what each location has to offer by viewing Corvallis pinball map in a larger map.
Now, at least 10 machines are practically stacked on top of each other in his kitchen.
Ben Metzger, 31, is hoping to provide people of all ages the same thrill he gets when he plays pinball. His restaurant and arcade, The Dam, is scheduled to open sometime this fall and will showcase at least a dozen 1970s and 80s era pinball machines, some rare.
Metzger is already building his collection with the help of Morrissette. Metzger keeps three in his future kitchen, where he plays his favorite machine -- Gottlieb’s 1981 Mars God of War -- because the dark basement workshop scares him.
He knows The Dam will make more money from beer sales than 25 cent pinball games, but games like the vintage Panthera 2 are converting guys like Beaver into a zealous community of pinballers.
-- Emiko Bledsoe, Parkrose High School sophomore
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