Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I have never liked video games much. I find them immensely stressful: you chase some impossible quarry, and/or flee from something that wants to kill you, and always you die trying. Over and over you die. What a nightmare. Even Pac Man overwhelms me.

But I love old-school arcades, the way I love rinky-dink carnivals--the lights and sounds and dimness, the unlikely euphony of all those machines going at once, the mismatched machines and people--and I really love pinball. I love the friendly analog thunks and pings and dings that soundtrack it, I love pulling back the spring on the thing that shoots the ball out of the chute, I love that nothing is pursuing you, I love that you can score millions and millions of points. Pinball wants you to succeed.

So a couple days when we stepped into the Pinball Gallery in Lyons, Colorado on a rainy drive out of Estes Park, I discovered my personal heaven: an ALL-PINBALL ARCADE. The place holds someone's personal collection of machines from the 1950s to the present, ranging from 25¢ to 75¢ to play, all expertly maintained.
A prematurely lost ball cruelly doused my blazing run of luck with the Simpsons game.

No matter how newfangled and barky and gimmicky a pinball machine gets, it always comes down to a real ball and real flippers. Forever analog at heart. I'd move to Lyons to be near this.


Max said...

ahhh! I drove through Lyons not two days ago, only to find the arcade closed for the day! Luckily I'd hit up the musee mecanique in SF a few days earlier, and got my analog fill.


Tragic! It's worth a return trip, I tell you!