Introduction to Tim Arnold's Pinball Hall of Fame.3D tour of the Pinball Hall of Fame! (click below.)
10,000 square feet is dedicated in the new facility to the Pinball Hall of Fame, where the entire family can enjoy non-violent pinball arcade games for small dinero. All machines are available for play, so not only can you see them, you can actually play your old favorites. The pinball machines are all restored to like-new playing condition by people that love pinball and understand how a machine should work. All older pinballs are set to 25 cents per play, and newer 1990s models are set to 50 cents per play. A far better return on fun than any Las Vegas casino environment, and the PHoF actually has windows and a clock in the room! It takes more than slot machines to keep tourists happy, and the Pinball Hall of Fame is trying its best to do just that.3D tour of the Pinball Hall of Fame! (click below.)
The PHoF is grounded by a quality-for-quality's-sake, Zen-and-the-art-of-pinball-maintenance philosophy. The machines here all *work*, and they deliver what they promise - fun. The club members make sure of this, often clad in a carpenter's apron and strung in wire. The Pinball Hall of Fame's reputation is on the line, and it's causing a stir among 'pinheads' worldwide.3D tour of the Pinball Hall of Fame! (click below.)
The PHoF is run by Tim Arnold, a veteran arcade operator who made it big in the 1970s and 1980s during the Pacman era. In 1976 Tim and his brother opened 'Pinball Pete's' in Lansing, Michigan, and it quickly became a gamer's mecca. At the height of their success, the Arnold brothers weren't counting coins, they were counting shovelfuls of coins. When Arnold sold his part of the business and moved to Las Vegas in 1990, he picked up the phone and started talking to the Salvation Army. Midge Arthur, the administrative assistant of the Las Vega branch of the Salvation Army says, 'I got a telephone call from Tim about 15 years ago, and he said, 'If I had money to give, what would you do with it?' We had a long discussion about our different rehabilitation programs. He was, I think, kind of skeptical of all organizations. He wanted to make sure the money was going to help people.' Not long after that conversation, Midge Arthur started receiving checks for thousands of dollars from the man she says is, 'one of my strangest, out-of-the-ordinary donors we have ever had.'
The Pinball Hall of Fame is a registered 501c3 non-profit. It relies on visitors stopping by to play these games, restored pinball machine sales, and 'This Old Pinball' repair dvd videos (available for sale at the museum). The PHoF has also helped out with fundraising for the local Salvation Army, accepting donations to benefit them. There is a candy vending stand, where the entire 25 cents of each quarter goes directly to the Salvation Army. And after the PHoF covers its monthly expenses for rent, electricity, insurance, endowment savings, the remainder of the money goes to the Salvation Army.
The best thing about the Pinball Hall of Fame is their complete lack of a 'profit' mindset. It's about the games and charity, and not about making money. Tim explains, 'we just don't care that this or that game isn't making any money. The minute we start becoming professional, it's all gonna be about the dollars and it's not gonna be about the games. I mean like the kind of things we do to maintain these games - we change the rubber rings more often than we have to. We replace light bulbs the minute they burn out. That doesn't make any economic sense. If we were professional, we'd let things slide a little. There's no real economic reason for this to exist, or capitalism would've already built it.'
That 'cheap side' approach gives the Pinball Hall of Fame its disarming, thrift-store feeling. The royal-blue carpet? It's scrap from a Convention Center weekend show. The change machines? Grabed from the Golden Nugget's trash dock before the garbage men came. But it's not about cutting corners - it's about maintaining an almost obsessive focus on the pinball games themselves. Forget about public relations, marketing, uniforms, or even a sign outside. 'If the games play, the people will come, quarters at the ready. There's stuff here that hasn't been seen since my mom was a kid. And it's all up here, and it's playable.'
* * * * * * * * * *
Hosting paid for by LED Gaming Inc.