The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas is a museum where everything is touchable. The 10,000-square-foot space houses 152 games, making it one of the largest public pinball collections in the world. The oldest game here is Bally’s Heavy Hitter from 1947. The newest is CSI. Other fun quarter eaters include Asteroids (1979), Dr. Who (1992), and Guns ‘N’ Roses (1994). Hand-written index cards taped to each machine tell players a little about its history. These were inserted by Tim Arnold, veteran arcade geek and pinball wizard extraordinaire. (He co-ran the famed Pinball Pete’s in Lansing, MI, for decades.)
There are no “ticket spitters” at the PHoF, as Arnold calls the kiddie casino games where you cash in garbage bags full of tickets for plastic spider rings, but there is an air hockey table and a couple of claw grabbers. The PHoF keeps long hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. till midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Vintage games cost 25 cents to play; modern machines (’90s forward) cost 50 cents.
It’s all for a good cause, too. Once rent, electricity, and “endowment savings,” are met, Arnold donates the rest of the PHoF’s proceeds to the Salvation Army. “Today’s society is often too self-centered to bother doing community service,” says Arnold. “So I’m just giving [people] a vehicle where they think they’re being self-indulgent by playing pinball, but they are really helping charity.”
1610 E. Tropicana Ave., Las Vegas, NV; 702-597-2627.