Seattle Pinball Museum has a vintage collection worth checking out
photography by Meghan Nolt
The Seattle Pinball Museum is preserving these mostly bygone machines for generations to come. The museum opened in August 2010. For $15, you can play dozens of pinball machines, some dating back to 1960. The museum’s collection also includes vintage machines on display. Grab an old-timey soda or a craft beer and head back in time to your days as a pinball wizard.
Opening in August of 2010, the concept of the Pinball Museum was to be a place to provide vintage pinball machines as an interactive display of kinetic art. With games dating back to 1960 and going all the way up to 2018, the museum allows for a type of time travel as you play games and enjoy art from different eras. Side panels of retired pinball games decorate the walls at the Seattle Pinball Museum. Owner Cindy Martin said oftentimes, with the games all lined up next to each other, you aren’t able to see the great art on the side panels. She was happy to find a way for some of them to be on display. In addition to the playable games on the floor, others can be found around the museum on display.
Texan is the oldest playable game in the Seattle Pinball Museum. Released in 1960 in a production run of only 1,100, it was the last four-player woodrail game produced by D. Gottlieb & Co.
The 1990 pinball game FunHouse by Williams Electronics Games, Inc. is one of the all time best sellers. Perhaps its most recognizable feature is Rudy, a plastic head that looks like a ventriloquist dummy. Rudy conceals a kick-out hole behind his mouth.
Casey Campbell, 27, plays the Lord of the Rings pinball game. The Balrog feature in this fantasy-inspired game blocks your shots and the disappearing ball keeps you on your toes. Created by Stern in 2003, many consider this the hardest game to date, and it challenges even the best players. Campbell’s favorite game in the museum is Pacman, but he also enjoyed playing the Star Wars pinball game Stern released in 2017 celebrating the 40th anniversary of the original Star Wars trilogy.
Gottlieb’s 1965 pinball game Buckaroo features two flippers, three pop bumpers, three passive bumpers, two slingshots, two rotating targets, and one standup target. It’s been rated a 7.8/10 on The Internet Pinball Database fun scale.
Screwy was produced by Bally Manufacturing Co. in 1932.
The 1935 Criss Cross A-Lite game created by Genco sits on display in the front window of the Seattle Pinball Museum.
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