Arts & Culture News

A Pocket Full of Quarters: There Will Be Pinball

There are a lot of things that people miss when they move to a new city. Friends? Sure. Favorite swimming holes? Yeah, I guess. But for me the real pull, the thing I cannot shake loose no matter how hard I try is my undying affinity for Austin's temple of dorkdom, Pinballz.

Yes, Pinballz with a "z" is a massive BYOB temple of hypnotic joy. I've lost months of my life within the confines of the 13,000 square foot space, flipping my way from Twilight Zone to Tales From the Crypt, over to Elvira and then around the corner to Haunted House. It grew to be a bit of a problem. I knew which machines stole your ball (I'm lookin' at you, Twister), which games were newly brought in and when the cost of certain machines would raise by a quarter.

The same way that you know which neighborhood bar you can scrape up your alchie friend at when they've gone missing, those closest to me knew that I'd be at Pinballz, hips pressed deep into Black Knight 2000, trying to make it sing.

Now Pinballz is far away and Dave and Buster's just feels so corporate and strange to me. I've found myself hitting the worst of withdrawal, darting into laundromats hoping for "lesser" pinball machines, like a drunk who settles for cooking sherry, and even then being let down. Arcade games are plentiful, as is my nemesis, the claw machine. But pinball is missing entirely, and here I am with a pocket full of quarters.

So when I found out about Texas Pinball Festival, it activated every ramp in my brain. If you fear dorky pasty folks, just avoid Grapevine the weekend of March 23 through 25. We will be there, standing united. Complaining about allergies and snort-laughing. Nervously jingling the quarters in our pockets like a pedophile near a Little League field. Simply stand back if you do not wish to smell us because bathing really cuts into pinball time.

Is there an arcade game that makes you equally passionate or do you know of a good pinball machine around town? Hit us up in the comments.