Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Wanderlust Librarian | Pinball Wizard the First

When I was in school, I was a lonely gal. I had some friends but I spent most of my free time with books, musicals, video games and pinball. The town where I grew up was a small one. There was no public transit system, so you either had to have someone drive you, drive yourself, ride your bike or walk. Since my parents both worked and I was sans license, I did a ton of bike riding. 

The video gaming was easy. I played Nintendo with my brother at home. Through my many bike rides around town, I found the new pool hall. It was time to try a new gaming hobby. My billiard skills were awful (trust me, I tried to learn how to play). Apparently, having a long cue in my hands wasn't safe for me or the public. I learned the term "scratch" quickly. 

I tried darts. That didn't last long because I'm clumsy....and darts are pointy. Oh, and did I mention that I can't throw? Alas, thwarted again by arm movements.

I discovered that the pool hall had a small arcade in the dark backroom. None of the video games were ones I enjoyed spending money on. But, there were two pinball machines: 

     The Twilight Zone                           and                 Tales from the Crypt

I discovered that I was pretty good at pinball! I was mesmerized by the ramps, skill shots, multiball, the variety of missions to complete..... these machines had them all! I learned that the art of playing pinball wasn't all smashing the paddles constantly. There was an artful finesse about rolling the ball off the flipper at an exact time to get it up a ramp. It took patience to practice juggling the ball on the flippers to avoid losing it down the drain (space between the flippers). It was exhilarating to get the multiball bonus or win a free game. The games lasted a long time as I got better. It was a better bang for my buck! 

I was addicted. I played pinball at every arcade I went to. 

As I grew older, I moved into other nerdy gaming pursuits. Mostly of the electronic kind, but it was rare that I saw a pinball machine. 

That is, until, I was planning my trip to Las Vegas. I found the Pinball Hall of Fame . Holy. Cow. I had to go. I was vibrating with excitement. I wasn't much of a gambler and I knew my quarters would be much better spent on a game than giving it to a casino. The  was a huge werehouse chock-a-block full of pinball machines. My ideal pinball situation is a dark, windowless room. The Pinball Hall of Fame delivered. I was in heaven. I played my $10 like a champ. When I won games, I left them there for a lucky passerby and moved on to other machines. I've visited a number of times on my visits to Vegas and continue to squee with glee at the thought. It's free to go, but it costs some quarters to play the games! The pinball is in excellent condition and there are some vintage video games to warm your 1980s heart. 

Your favorite bloggess was interested in watching a documentary called "Special When Lit" but it never made it to the local area. There is, though, a book of the same title which covers the history of pinball. If you're interested, request it through our Link + system! 

After the overnight on the USS Hornet (read about it here), my friend Lizzie said we were visiting one more awesome spot.

A sequel to this post is out there (well... SOON it will be out there!)!

Until then, have a great holiday and keep warm! (play more pinball).

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