Press “Start.” Play again. It’s all free.
After outgrowing its five-year home in Seattle, the Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show has arrived at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center, and its here through Sunday.
Collectors, enthusiasts, vendors, passionate pinball wizards both amateur and professional, plus just plain fans of the pinball and arcade game industry are gathered in Tacoma this weekend to celebrate their sport and share their games with novices and old-timers alike.
“Anyone who loves to play games, loves nostalgia, fun, should come,” said Mike Lorrain, a member of the board of directors that sponsors the show.
“For me, when I was a kid, I spent all of my quarters at the arcade,” he said. “It gave me other worlds to escape to. We’re really about passing this on to future generations.”
That’s exactly what drove Roderic Sisk down from Sequim. He stood watching his son Killian, 7, play pinball.
“I played when I was a kid and I was sorry to see it die,” Sisk said.
If pinball died, it has arisen anew.
“A lot of parents my age, we try to get our kids to play,” Sisk said. “It’s something that’s mechanical, not something that’s digital and happens automatically. At home, all of his friends come over to play.”
Masha Hass came to the opening Friday with her fiancé Russell Dare, and they will stay through Sunday and then fly home to San Jose.
She’s playing a new game called Metallica, which will celebrate its launch party at the Tacoma gathering.
“We’re in a league in the Bay Area,” she said.
“We just like pinball. We go to shows in California, and we’re going to Chicago. We’re branching out,” said Russell.
At home, they play their nine machines.
Brian Cady has 19.
“I had one, then three, and then the next time I thought about it, I had 10. Now, at home, I’m down to 19,” he said.
The Microsoft employee has been collecting for 10 years. “I find it relaxing to work on the pinballs and arcade games,” he said. “Other collectors, they’re friendly and helpful. We really want to encourage people to become a part of the hobby.”
A used machine might go for as little as several hundred dollars or as much as $4,000, or more, depending on age, rarity and condition.
Medieval Madness, one of the rarest pinballs at the show, could sell for upwards of $10,000.
Cady’s wife, he said, holds the world record on the Gottlieb-produced Sky-Line machine.
“People are buying pins as investments,” Cady said. “For me, it’s just a great way to unwind and relax. And it’s a lot of fun.”
More than 400 machines, both pinball games and arcade games, are on display and available for free play at the show.
There’s Frogger, from 1981, and the iconic Winner, just like Pong, the tennis-styled game where a white dot is hit from side to side. There’s Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Add X-Men, Star Wars, Family Guy and also The Simpsons, wherein the voice of Bart Simpson will remark on a bad shot, “Hey, man, we’re both underachievers.”
Here’s Hercules, the world’s largest pinball machine, and Mazuma, one of the oldest machines in the hall, art deco-influenced, from 1937. And Ballerina, with graphics best suited for a burlesque house. The artwork painted on the glass speaks to an earlier, more buxom-fixated world view.
From its beginnings, where a ball simply bounced about and rolled while scoring points, pinballs have evolved to include LCD graphics fit for the 21st century.
Dorothy appears as if by magic within the smoke of a crystal ball in the playing area of Wizard of Oz. It’s actual footage of Judy Garland, and there’s Toto, and here comes the Wicked Witch.
Across the way, there’s a 1979 game that immortalizes the supersonic transport (SST) aircraft, and it works — even though none of the actual SSTs still do.
And for those who may once have visited Tacoma’s Fun Circus, here’s something called Big Buck Hunter II, complete with attached rifle, reminiscent of a machine popular more than 50 years ago.
From 1983, there’s Atari’s Star Wars. And there’s Ms. Pac-Man, and Tron, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
The show continues through Sunday, when the board of directors will award $9,000 in college scholarships to students who might one day benefit the industry.
Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/06/07/2629921/northwest-pinball-and-arcade-show.html#storylink=cpy