Vegas isn't just a mecca for gambling, strip clubs and CES -- it's also the home of the Pinball Hall of Fame, situated a couple of miles off the strip. Although once you walk through these hallowed halls of gaming past, it's hard to figure out why a place like this isn't showcased in the middle of Mandalay Bay or in a sparkletronic gaming rotunda inside the Bellagio.
That's because Tim Arnold and the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club have made this a non-profit labor of love. They aren't interested in razzle-dazzle showmanship or a high-priced entry fee -- which is why you can enter for free anytime they're open and play one of their 141 pinball machines for a couple of quarters.
Joystiq took some time off during this year's CES to visit to the place, and we only left because they wouldn't let us stay overnight. The sheer amount of pinball games they have on display is staggering, including some extremely rare games like The Pinball Circus and Gottleib's two-player, head-to-head Challenger pinball machine.
Check out the highlights of our visit after the break, and make it a point to stop by the place if you're ever in Sin City. It's the most fun you can have without blowing your entire bankroll.
Gallery: Pinball Hall of Fame
Games ranged from the familiar -- like the uber-popular Addams Family pinball machine -- to the extremely rare, like the aforementioned The Pinball Circus. Just to put it in perspective, The Pinball Circus was developed by Williams Electronics in 1994 at a cost of $1.5 million dollars. It was an effort to break away from the "table" style and games produce a vertical pinball machine.
Another rare game they have waiting for your quarters is Gottleib's Challenger, from 1971. This is a head-to-head pinball machine that has a tilting playfield and plays a bit like soccer. If you're "kicking off," the playfield tilts down towards your end, and vice-versa. It's a really different way to square off against someone, and rather than trying to beat their high score on the same machine, you're literally trying to score via their goal, which they have to defend.
Of course, the personal highlight for this writer was the chance to play the greatest pinball machine ever made: The Machine: Bride of Pinbot. Through the course of the game you have to turn this robotic machine into a living, breathing woman. When you finally turn her fully human, the game comes to life with a beating heart.
If you have a love for pinball machines or just plain gaming in general, we can't recommend stopping by this place highly enough. Save your quarters.