Pinball players at the 2012 NW Pinball and Arcade Show

I grew up with an old pinball machine in the basement, spending countless hours knocking the silver ball against the bumpers (to the annoyance of my parents). Given that early introduction to the sport, I had to make a special trek to the Northwest Pinball & Arcade Show, which is being held this weekend at the Seattle Center.

Young and old alike love pinball

Hundreds of pinball machines filled two rooms, creating an almost overwhelming display of lights and sounds. Some classic games from the 1930s, including those from the Seattle Pinball Museum, as well as new entrants such as Jersey Jack’s The Wizard of Oz Emerald City limited edition, were on display.

And here’s the great thing: Nearly all of the machines are free to play. (The show also features dozens of classic arcade games, from Joust to Warlords to Ms. Pac-Man).

The show continues through Sunday. Tickets are $15, and kids under the age of six enter for free.

So, what were some of my favorites? I played a little bit of everything. There were the 1970s era machines — like KISS, Harlem Globetrotters and Wild Life (complete with banana-shaped flippers). And then there were some more modern fare.

I didn’t get a chance to jump on my all-time favorite pinball machine: Whitewater. However, we did spend a bit of time on another game I love: World Cup Soccer. And I discovered a new game too that was quite good, Tales of the Arabian Nights.

For more on the show, we featured Dan Halligan, a pinball machine collector; and Linda Nasfell, a competitive pinball player, on the GeekWire podcast last month. Check out the episode here.

Previously on GeekWire: Man vs. machine: Valve game designer looks to defend world pinball title

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  • Chris Pirillo

    Photos did not do this justice. ;)

  • Ass

    They have Whitewater at Full Tilt Ice Cream in Ballard and Calamity Jane’s down in Georgetown 

    • johnhcook

      Thanks. I’ve played the Whitewater at Full Tilt in Ballard. Didn’t know they had it at Calamity Jane’s so thanks for that tip!! I am a bit bummed that Snoose Junction in Ballard closed, given that they had World Cup Soccer. 

  • Greg Wright

    Did they have Comet there? Would love to hear that “A Million!” line again.

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