[Where to Play]
Places to Play:
Access the Bay Area Pinball Map at http://pinballmachine.org
Access the mobile pinball map apps for iPhone ($1) and Droid (free): http://pinballmap.com/bayarea/apps. They have a cool feature that shows the location of the nearest pinball machine.
There are over 200 locations and 450 machines in the Bay Area. But lets face it, there are some games in bad condition out there. Where can you go and always find a good selection of games in working order?
Pacific Pinball Museum (Alameda) – 80+ games set to free play. Play all day for one entry fee. Games range from the very first pinball ever to the very latest. Lots of cool pinball art. Open until midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Playland-not-at-the-Beach (El Cerrito) – 30+ games set to free play, but much more than just pinball. This is the best venue to take the kids or hold a birthday party.
Phoenix Games (Concord) – 13 games – The home of the East Bay Pinball League. An excellent line-up of games.
Scandia + Escape (Rohnert Park) – 11 games, mostly new STERNs, along with a large arcade, mini golf, paintball and other attractions.
Kimball’s Carnival (Oakland) – 6 games, including “A-List” games such as Medieval Madness, Twilight Zone and Scared Stiff. Kimballs also has an ACDC Pro machine.
Metreon (San Francisco) – 7 games - Mostly new STERN machines.
Free Gold Watch (San Francisco) – 8 games – Bally/Williams games.
Like tournaments, leagues are as much about socializing and talking tech as they are about competing so don’t worry if your skills are in question. You’ll get better!
Bay Area Pinball Association (BAPA) – usually meets in the South Bay on Thursday nights.
East Bay Pinball League (EBPL) - usually meets in Concord on Thursday nights.
Capital Corridor League (CCPL) - meets in Vacaville twice per month.
San Francisco Pinball Department - meets twice per month at Free Gold Watch in SF.
The largest tournament each year is held at California Extreme (July). Check their site (http://www.caextreme.org) for rules and info. I help out with both but I don’t run it. There is also a fun Pin Golf tournament at Pin a Go Go that supports local youth organizations, which I do run.
Local tournaments are announced on this blog as well as on Pinballmachine.org. Most tournaments are very fun and laid back. Don’t be afraid to come out and join us. We’ll help you get better.
Where can I talk pinball online, or get repair tips?
I like three forums:
Pinside – A forum that supports editing and images, avatars, and lots of great community features. A good group with friendly people. This is my favorite forum.
Rec.games.pinball - This used to be the most popular place to talk pinball but as of 2013, Pinside has taken over the top spot. Historically, RGP has the greatest depth of technical expertise, but is also the least user friendly and the most full of nutty people. RGP is un-moderated (anything goes) and you cannot edit after posting.
KLOV - Also supports editing and images. Most talk is about pinball tech and collector/hobby topics. Note that as of 2012, KLOV requires either a $2 fee or a referral from another member.
Big Local Events/Shows:
May: Pin a Go Go (in Dixon, a town near Sacramento)
July: California Extreme (Santa Clara)
Who is this NES guy whose initials I see everywhere?