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Ryan here, back from my summer sabbatical. Scott wielded the keys (the keyboard attached to a computer used for typing) for the last two months-worth of Pinball Map New and Notable and Numerous (with pinball machines) Locations articles here on Kineticist. I suspect he’ll be back. Perhaps next month. Perhaps last month. Come to think of it, definitely last month.
How am I? I don’t know. Why are you asking me that?
But I have a question for you. Do you live in the southeast of the United States? If so, there were five (maybe six) “mac daddy” new venues that opened up in relative proximity to you in the month of September in the year of 1402 (Jalali calendar - sorry Gregorians, but you do the math).
As is tradition for this article series, I have not visited any of these venues. Kineticist offered to fly me out to all of them so that I could experience them for real. “Play their machines, get a sense of the vibe, ride the go-karts (if they have them), take pictures, interview the owners. It will be great, Ryan. Please?” And I said, “No!” I have to maintain the integrity of this series, where we just sit on a bed and type and make up things based on a couple of pictures and a funny name and maybe a city that makes us think of a nearby bigger city.
I’m going to copy Scott and choose one machine that I would definitely play at each location, with a brief, dry, and honest justification of my decision.
Game Over Arcade Bar (Southhaven, MS)
24 machines? Are you kidding? I thought so at first, but this place is serious about that. Game Over Arcade Bar is a short drive south of Memphis, basically a straight line down from Graceland. It’s right off of Elvis Presley Blvd, which unfortunately stops being called that after it crosses the Tennessee/Mississippi border. That’s bad. But Game Over Arcade Bar is good. Looking at their website, I have learned that this is not a NEW venue. It’s been around. We are proud to now host data about it on Pinball Map, including the name, street, city, zip, and a list of machines.
Their line-up is cool. Lots of ‘80s/’90s pins, including many Gottliebs and Data Easts. Were I to visit (which I shan’t), I would play Guns ‘N Roses (Data East, 1994). It’s been a long time since I’ve played it, and I remember it being challenging and fun.
We only list 9 locations in the entirety of Mississippi! In the words of Cristina, “Is that all there is?”
Retro City Arcade (Evans, GA)
Now let’s mosey eastward a couple states to the border of Georgia and South Carolina (though remaining safely in Georgia). Retro City Arcade is brand stinking new. They have 20 machines plus a bunch of arcades and multicades. If you’re visiting Retro City in Evans, you should try to hop a fence and sneak into the nearby Augusta National Golf Club. Get some putts in.
This venue is brand new! And the folks running it seem very nice via email. Did you know that we at Pinball Map email with a huge amount of business owners and operators? Thought you should know.
While pretending to visit Retro City Arcade, I prefer to imagine I would play Doctor Who. I really like Doctor Who. I like to loop all day and then spell W-H-O and then collect Sonic Booms.
Arcade Time Entertainment (Miami, FL)
And now let us hop into our hover car (pretend we’re in the future) and head south to the south of Florida. Arcade Time Entertainment (Miami) is our final destination! But hopefully not final final, as in we die here. But IF we were to die here, would it be such a bad place to perish? They have 18 pinball machines, and over 150 games en toto. They also have an arcade-themed restaurant and a full bar to get drunk at.
This venue is brand new. As in, so brand new they might not even be open yet due to permit issues but they are really close and by the time you read this they might be open.
In the future, when I am nearly dead and the fuel cells in my hover car are depleted, and I am spending my final quarters at Arcade Time, I will be playing Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast. I don’t think I’ve played it yet, and I want to. Luckily it is here.
Captain Crazy's Paradise (Foley, AL)
Did that last venue overwhelm you? Looking for a touch fewer (less?) machines than 18 at your venue of choice? Then head over to Captain Crazy’s Paradise and try this number on for size: 16. Told you you’d like it!
We have finally left Florida, and in our roundabout trip through the south we have entered the - checks the map - Gulf Shores sector of Alabama (literally near the gulf coast). This came as a surprise to me, but apparently one of the people behind this stellar venue is none other than Imoto Arcade! Cinematographer, arcade super enthusiast, TWIPY pinball award show host, and of course, Pinball Map administrator for the Atlanta region! I imagine, then, that this place is really cool. Take a vacation! Visit the gulf (if you do not already live there).
At Captain Crazy’s Paradise, I would play Motordome (Bally, 1986). This game looks neat.
Throwbacks (Jacksonville, FL)
- Address: 12041 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32246
- Pinball Map Link
- 9 machines
I know what you’re thinking: we are back in Florida? Here’s a thing you might not know: You are a virtual passenger in my cyber car - you are essentially in a simulation right now where these locations exist only in your mind via my words - and most roads in this simulation allow you to travel in up to two opposing directions and we have turned around. It’s that simple. But another thing you may not know is that the venues in this article are sorted by number of machines (and 9 is less than 16, which brings us back to Florida). I strongly believe that is the optimal method for sorting venues, though it is closely followed by sorting by proximity. But of course we can’t sort by proximity in this article because who knows (or cares) where you are. Maybe someday - perhaps next week - AI can lock onto your location and customizably sort this article based on your IP’s whereabouts.
But until then, who here is “game” to “throwbacks” a few at Throwbacks? This place has everything: pinball, pizza, beer, arcades, chairs, lights, and burgers.
If I were jacked into my cyberdeck and this venue, I would be playing Deadpool! I’m a big fan of it.
Hoyt's Next Door Lounge (Ludington, MI)
Adios, America’s Southland, we’re now in America’s Mitten Hand. This venue appears to be a tri-combo of bars all connected to each other via a series of connected tubes that are shaped like doors. You’ve got The Mitten Bar, which boasts that they only carry beer, wine, and spirits that are made within Michigan. And they have live music. You’ve got Sportsman’s Irish, which brags that they’ve been around since 1955 (founded by Hoyt and Ann Payment, which might be the coolest surname ever). And you’ve got Hoyt’s Next Door Lounge, which Pinball Map claims has 7 machines.
Personally, I hope this trilateral commission of bars eventually takes over the entire block. Imagine walking from bar to bar all while never having to step outside. Paradise.
At Hoyt’s, I would play No Fear: Dangerous Sports. It’s been like 13 years since I’ve played it.
Coastal Hemp Company (Wilmington, NC)
Are we back in the south? This state has “North” in the name, and so I suspect not. But if this is still the south, imagine having to tell people you live in North Carolina. Embarrassing. If this is the south, maybe they should change their name to Top Carolina in order to not confuse me.
Coastal Hemp Company is a natural goods shop with 7 pinball machines! I would love to shop here for my tinctures and play some pinball. Looks like it has a fish tank, too.
At Coastal Hemp, I would play Rush. I’m trying to get better at it so I can have better results in league.
Game On Retro Arcade (Riverhead, NY)
Game On Retro Arcade is in Riverhead, New York, as opposed to Game Over mentioned above that springs from Southaven, Mississippi. One thing that always surprises me about Long Island is how large it is. Like if you zoom a map around this island, you realize that there are like 100 cities in it and it’s quite a bit bigger than nearby Manhattan. Looks pretty from above. Lotta trees.
At Game On, I would play Spider-Man. This is a game that I have played a bunch with Scott, but I haven’t played in over a decade (since moving from Portland). I would like to revisit it. Perhaps it will be at Pinball Expo and I can play it again with Scott.
Well, our time has come to an end. Not sure about you, but I learned something. I learned that as I type away at this article into the night, I get more tired as I go. That is not something I had realized about myself before. What will I do with this new self-knowledge? I’ll probably do a round of editing in the morning to catch typos. And, if you’re anything like me, I suggest you do the same.
If you want to catch me and Scott and Beth at Pinball Expo this month (October) and year (1402), you can! Please come to our seminar. It’s on Friday right after the Kineticist seminar.