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Scott here. I hope you liked your Ryan time because I’m the less fun parent in this divorce scenario, and you now face court-ordered time with me. There’s no way out of it. It’s meant to build a stronger relationship between the two of us. Maybe I’ll look the other way if you break some of the rules that are enforced during Ryan’s month of reviewing new pinball locations. Maybe we can have McDonald’s for dinner.
I have found myself playing a lot more location pinball in the latter half of 2023. As a result, I have sharpened my eyeball blades as to what makes a good location for pinball. And, like an axe flying through the air inside of an axe-throwing-themed bar, I am hurtling towards truth — truth in analysis of a new pinball location. Please join me on this quest, or simply close the tab of your web browser. You already have too many tabs open.
As per my contract with Kineticist, I will also disclose which machine I would like to play if I were to ever go to the location.
Flipperz Pinball (Cleves, OH)
Whenever we swap out an “s” for a “z”, I am of two minds: 1) You are trying to make the place sound edgy and memorable. Maybe a little dangerous? I’m OK with this. 2) You thought about whether the name would be flippers or flipper’s or flippers’ and you were flummoxed. I’m sympathetic to this.
Flipperz Pinball has 40 pinball machines. That’s a lot of machines. Only a fool or a liar would claim otherwise. But I think the real magic of Flipperz is their malt beverage options. I count 11 flavours of Truly (is “WHAT?” a flavour?) and 12 flavours of White Claw. I don’t get out much, but this seems like a lot of variety. Is this a normal amount of malt beverage options? I think it’s wonderful.
If I were here, I’d be playing Data East’s Last Action Hero. I recently read Arnold’s new book about being useful. There’s a lot of swear words in it. I like the guy, but let’s never forget that he cheated on his wife.
Lumberjack Johnny's Appleton - Axe Throwing & Pinball (Appleton, WI)
Congratulations to Lumberjack Johnny’s on their second location. And, nice work taking a stand on ‘s here instead of z. If two of your interests are throwing axes against a cork board (is it cork?) and playing pinball, then Johnny’s should be a pretty good evening for you. Do you think Johnny himself plays a lot of pinball and is just grabbing stuff from his warehouse to fill up his axe bar, or is it a friend of Johnny’s that is seizing an opportunity? It doesn’t really matter, they are there, and you should go there and see if they play real good.
I would play, of course, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. I tried this out at the Chicago Pinball Expo, and I remember a lot of ambient music in the background while I tried in vain to start modes. It seems like a cool game, though!
Port City Pinball (Portsmouth, NH)
This place is owned by one of the Scorbit people. That’s pretty cool? Presumably, every single machine is Scorbit-enabled. Some day, I would like to better understand how Scorbit works. It’s like a Fitbit for pinball. If I just shake the machine, does it add points? Haha, just kidding (but does it?).
Port City Pinball is open to general play on Tuesdays and Fridays. It looks to be mostly tournament-driven on other days. So, maybe check the website before you decide to head over there. They sell bags of chips.
If I’m ever in New Hampshire and I find myself at Port City Pinball, I would post up on Fathom. Unpopular opinion: I think pre-90s pinball is generally kind of floaty and boring. SORRY, but that’s my truth. Fathom seems to be one of the games that everyone likes, so my intention while playing it would be to better understand why floaty and boring pinball is fun. (sorry)
Pop2 - Pinball on Perry 2 (Attica, IN)
I don’t have a Facebook account. I’ve tried to explain that to you a number of times on this website. That means that some of the websites for these businesses are inaccessible to me. Pop2 - Pinball on Perry 2 fits this mold. So, I’m working without a lot of info here. Ryan left me this note on the location “(appears to be immediately adjacent to Pinball on Perry 1. This one is maybe more of an event/rental space, with one open day a week…?)” .. which honestly is the most solid thing I can say about it.
What I have done in my spare time, though is to pull up Google Maps and look for proof of life, and try to make an educated guess about the location’s nature. The street view I unveiled shook me to my core:
It appears that Pop - Pinball On Perry (can we just pick one or the other?) is in a completely empty town. The door for Pop2 - Pinball On Perry 2 says “card and board games”. Is there pinball in there too? I guess so.
WHEN I go there, because I’m definitely going to go there, maybe I’ll retire in Attica. When I go there… I’ll play Ultraman: Kaiju Rumble, because I heard that it’s kind of bad, and I think it’s important that we seek out many different kinds of experiences while we have the chance.
Arcade Monsters International Drive (Orlando, FL)
I love Arcade Monsters as a name for a chain of arcade locations. I’m also intrigued to read that each location offers an “anime art exhibit”. If you take a still image of an anime, does it not become manga? Think about it.
Arcade Monsters in Orlando does seem pretty cool. I was worried that it would just be claw/redemption games, but their Instagram is painting a more vivid picture of fun. However, I read through all of their webpage material, and I’m a little concerned about the hubris that’s on display here. They claim: 1) “A legendary place for get-togethers, parties, events, and play that the country has never seen before.“ By definition, is not every single new location a place that the country has never seen before? 2) “GREATEST LINEUP OF ARCADE GAMES ON THE PLANET”. I need a list of machines to verify whether or not this is true, but this feels like a bold statement!
If I’m ever in Florida, it’s because of Disney World. But if I’m kicked out of Disney World, and I find my way to one of the five Arcade Monster locations, I’d play Lord of the Rings.
PinBowl Alley (Limon, CO)
- Address: 499 K Ave, Limon, CO 80828
- Pinball Map Link
- 15 machines
PinBowl Alley presents an interesting foil to Arcade Monsters. If you toss out Rush (2022), the newest machine they have on-location is Bride of Pin-Bot (1991). That’s kind of cool? The average birth year of a machine at this location is 1984. You can go here, bowl, and play old pinball machines. You can even eat a hot dog (I’m guessing about the hot dog, this place doesn’t have a website).
If I’m at PinBowl Alley, I’m playing F-14 Tomcat. It’s fast, has a cool theme, and is based on an airplane that is still being used for combat by the Iranian Air Force.
Union Brothers Brewing (Harmony, PA)
I’ve read the comments on Reddit. I’m aware that people aren’t fully on board with the brand of location pinball analysis that’s offered here. And hey, I get it. If we’re being fully transparent with each other, I’ll say that my primary interest is figuring out the thought process that led to the location’s name. I’m also curious about the snacks and food offerings and any interesting photos or bits of history that I can find about the location itself. I posit that the machine lineup is tertiary to the actual quality of a location. (#2 is snacks/food/name/history, #1 are the friends (or friends to be) that you are surrounded with)
So, with that lens in mind, Union Brothers Brewing immediately hit upon some common themes. It is a brewery owned by a husband and wife pairing. We keep finding these. Search for “husband and wife breweries” on Bing, and you will get a sense of what I’m talking about. Does this arrangement strengthen a marriage?
Their menu is interesting. You can buy a quart of “brown gravy” for $7.50. They have a sub-menu that’s just for dogs (dog sweet potato, $3). They serve pistachio almond cake, and that sounds delightful. I think Union Brothers Brewing sounds like a nice place, and I’d like to go.
If I were there, I’d play Celts, by Haggis pinball, because what the heck?? I’ve never heard of or seen this one before.
And I suppose that’s it. I’ll roll up my yoga mat and get the hell out of your cyber life for another month or so. What are you up to this December? I plan on riding the bus more often, burning wood, eating healthier, drinking more alcohol, and maybe going up 5 pounds in my barbell bench press. Are you planning to play more pinball during the cold winter months? You should. I have a very fond memory of Ryan and I wearing matching moon boots and sloshing up a winter road in order to play Spider-Man at a bar. Location pinball is playable in December, you just have to plan a little better for it. Anyway, I hope you are well, and I look forward to talking with you again soon.