Southern California has a new ‘retro’ pinball and video game spot that focuses on the way arcades existed in a now-bygone era, without the domination of prize and/or ticket redemption games that are now the norm.
And that’s exactly how owner Bob Elson envisioned his place from the very beginning, with special emphasis on a family-friendly environment that preserves that same fun and magic that people fondly remember.
The appropriately-named Retrovolt Arcade is located in Calimesa, California, about 75 miles east of downtown Los Angeles (less than a 90-minute drive depending on the time of day). The arcade first opened in April 2017 in the neighboring town of Mentone but was forced into a 3-month-long relocation to its present site because of zoning issues at the original location.
As of this writing, the arcade is open for business four days a week (Thursday thru Sunday); doors open at 4pm Thu & Fri, 12 noon Sat & Sun, and close nightly at 11pm (9pm Sunday).
Retrovolt at present has approximately twenty-three pinballs and forty video games, all set on free play. Admission into the arcade is $10 (€8.47/£7.57) per hour per person, for unlimited play. Currently this is the only rate offered (no half-hours, child rates, etc.), but Bob says this may change in the future as the business gets more established.
Upon pre-paying your time at the front door, you are given a large white sticker (like the kind used for address labels) that has your “end” time written on it with a Sharpie, and you apply this sticker to the front of your shirt. Customers’ time is overseen using a large LED digital clock that hangs high over the front counter, and the Retrovolt employees walk the floor at regular intervals, letting people know their time is up as is necessary. Additional time can be purchased anytime at the front counter (up until one hour before closing, obviously).
The pinball lineup focuses on late-’70s to mid-’90s solid state pins, with some variation either way. The newest games presently on site are Star Trek and Ghostbusters (both Pro models).
The pins have all had considerable cleanup and restoration work done on them, resulting in very good overall playability. (One small example that caught my eye was the presence of a brand-new ‘Dunk the Dummy’ drop target on the 1985 Williams Comet pinball.) Several of the older pins have had their bulbs changed out to LEDs and are, for the most part, kept true-to-form in terms of lamp color and appearance. (Attack from Mars looks especially nice in this regard.)
The current Retrovolt pinball lineup:
Attack from Mars
Genie (w/PI-1 CPU board)
Indiana Jones (Williams)
Lost World, The: Jurassic Park
Monday Night Football
Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man
Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Simpsons, The (Data East)
Star Trek (Stern, Pro)
Star Wars (Data East)
Tales from the Crypt
World Cup Soccer
The video games are likewise from the ‘golden era’ of arcades, and all the biggies are here (Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Mario Bros. and Zaxxon, just to name a few). A small handful are modern-day recreations and/or outfitted with LCD screens, but many are vintage originals. There was even one multi-game cabinet that had 600+ games to select from (I believe it was called Pandora’s Box 4.)
No food or alcohol is available on site, but sodas and bottled water can be purchased from a cooler kept behind the front counter. There is also a New York-style pizzeria next door to Retrovolt that specializes in pizza, pasta and subs for dine-in or take out.
Retrovolt Arcade offers a well-thought-out and well-done look back at arcade gaming the way it used to be, and this, along with the friendly and knowledgeable staff, is already earning tremendous player appeal based on reviews on the site’s Facebook page and elsewhere online.
For those in the Inland Empire (or anywhere else, for that matter) that were part of those days – as well as those that simply can’t wait a full year for the next Arcade Expo show in nearby Banning – Retrovolt Arcade is definitely worth a look.
Last year we paid our first visit to the Museum of Pinball in Banning, California, for the second ever Arcade Expo show. This year we are back for Arcade Expo 3.0 which has moved from the usual January slot to the busier show season of March.
Once again, the Arcade Expo venue was the Museum of Pinball, at 700 South Hathaway in the semi-desert landscape at the base of snow-capped hills south of Banning.
The setting for the Arcade Expo show
The Museum of Pinball is sited in its own compound, consisting of the main museum building and numerous satellite storage units.
The Museum of Pinball compound
The main Museum of Pinball building
There was plenty of parking on site, both at the front of the building and elsewhere on the compound, while street parking was also an option.
Parking at the front of the building
Meanwhile for the adventurous, RV parking and camping was available a short distance from the main Museum building.
We arrived on Friday afternoon when the Arcade Expo show opened to the public. Although it was reasonably busy then, Saturday was when the most visitors arrived.
The queue for admission on Saturday
Entry cost $45 per day for the shorter Friday (2:30pm-midnight) and Sunday (11am – 7pm) sessions, or $55 for Saturday’s full day (11am – 2am). Children’s passes were priced at $20 a day, while a 3-day pass costs $120 for adults or $55 for kids aged three to twelve.
Even before visitors got into the Museum building there was plenty to see in the forecourt, from food trucks to beer and ice cream tents and vendor stalls.
Mexican food from this food truck
Ice cream, drinks, burgers, hot dogs and more from these food vendors
Crepes and grilled cheese sandwiches available here
Outdoor seating proved very popular thanks to the great weather
Local brewer, Brew Rebellion, had a stand here too
Mexican ice creams and sorbets were also available on Saturday
A little further along we have more stalls and some shooting games.
Rifle games in a side building
Into the vendor area
The biggest vendor by far was Marco Specialties who were showcasing the latest Stern Pinball games and also had a special guest.
Three Batman 66 premium models
A Pabst Can Crusher, three Ghostbusters, a Kiss and a Metallica
Two Aerosmiths, another Pabst Can Crusher and another Metallica
Many of the Stern Pinball games featured artwork by ‘Dirty’ Donny Gillies, and the man himself was here at the show to meet guests and autograph various pinball items.
‘Dirty’ Donny Gillies with some of his artwork
In addition to Donny and the latest games, Marco also had a selection of pinball spares on sale with their usual offer of free continental US shipping on orders made at the show.
Outside the tent, the David Trotter was stoking interest in his Launch the Ball movie venture and looking to raise the necessary funds from investors.
David Trotter on the Launch the Ball stand
In the tent next door, more arcade vendors had their stands set up to sell assorted video game systems and trinkets.
Video game items for sale
Video game items for sale
Video game items for sale
Also set up outside was a small music stage where bands and lone performers entertained guests to the show. Some acts were more annoying than enjoyable, but some talented musicians also played here with the music resonating around the compound.
Earlier in the day we had live singing to a pre-recorded backing track
The audience was small but enthusiastic
In addition to the food and drinks vendors we saw earlier, there was also a side window where visitors could purchase items from the cafeteria inside the main building without having to leave the glorious sunshine.
More drinks and snacks
Inside the cafeteria
Inside the cafeteria
Just outside the cafeteria, at the entrance to the main building – was a large canvas where visitors were encouraged to leave their mark.
Sign you name or leave your message
And so we come to the main part of the Arcade Expo show – the games halls. We say ‘halls’ because the building is split in two, with pinball machines on the left as we enter and video games on the right.
The main Museum sign
To the pinballs on the left
To the videos on the right
Before we get to either of those though, there’s the Museum’s gift shop.
Get your Museum of Pinball souvenirs here
Arcade Expo T-shirts
Assorted gamer swag
Assorted Pac-Man swag
Entering the main pinball hall, we have a jaw-dropping array of machines ranging from the early electromechanical to the newest LCD screen models, arranged in rows which disappear into the distance.
The central rows in the pinball hall
The hall is divided into sections dedicated to the various manufacturers. The Data East/Sega line is the first visitors get to see.
The Data East row
The Data East row
Part of the Williams row
More Williams games
Part of the Bally section
More Bally and Williams games
Some of the modern Stern games
There is also a comprehensive selection of Stern Electronics games
Some of the electronic Gottlieb games
More Gottliebs in the foreground and Sterns in the background
More Gottlieb games
There is also a dedicated area for Bally electromechanical games, with one row of wedgeheads and another of Gottlieb EMs.
Looking from the Williams solid state games to the Bally EM area
Part of the Bally electromechanical games section
Bally games, with part of the row of wedgeheads behind
More Bally EM games
More Bally EM games
Two Bally Freedoms – one early production or prototype and one regular game
The original bottom of the playfield
The main production version
Keeping all these games up and running takes a veritable army of hard-working tech volunteers. They were easily identified by their distinctive red T-shirts.
Another game gets urgent attention
Sometimes you need a second opinion, or a third, or a fourth…
More Ballys and wedgeheads
Gottlieb EM games
Even the seats are pinball-themed
Elsewhere around the pinball hall, various clusters of games are grouped together by manufacturer or according to another common theme.
Three Capcom games with an Alvin G added to the mix
This room uses black lights to showcase UV-reactive properties
More UV effects
In the very back corner of the pinball hall is an area dedicated to tournament play. This weekend there were various pinball tournaments – both IFPA-accredited and not – contested in the area.
The tournament area on Friday
The tournament area on Friday
During the Three-Strikes tournament on Saturday
During the Three-Strikes tournament on Saturday
During the Three-Strikes tournament on Saturday
Trophies for the Split-Flipper and One -Handed tournaments
There were also two side rooms – one with games just for the younger visitors, and another lounge with table-top games and a ball bowler.
The kids games room
The table-top lounge area
Here’s our exclusive Thirty Minute Tour video of the show. This skips the video games hall – we have a separate video of that – but covers everything else, including the stands outside and in the vendor area.
The video game hall there were hundreds of arcade games including all the classics and many rarer titles.
You can see them all in this Fifteen Minute Tour of the video game hall.
There were also a few physical pinballs to be found in the video hall, including three on the Pinball Arcade stand and another at the American Outreach Foundation.
The Pinball Arcade stand
The American Outreach stand
Starship Fantasy also had a large stand filled with their regular assortment of pinball plastics, ramps, backglasses and playfields. You can see all they had in our video above.
On Saturday there were two more events of note.
In the Trading Card Hall of Fame, Walter Day and Billy Mitchell were hosting several talks and Q&A sessions, as well as unveiling the latest trading card subjects.
Billy Mitchell answers questions from the audience
Walter and Billy introduce the latest people to be commemorated on a trading card
Then, on Saturday evening there was a special VIP meal to unveil Tim Moyers latest restoration. After last year’s Getaway, Tim returned to Arcade Expo with a Frontier. It was revealed at a party in the Beer Revolution taproom in Banning.
Beer Revolution in Banning
The unveiling party
Entry to the VIP party cost $40 per head and included free drinks and food.
Inside, five pinballs were set up; Frontier, Ghostbusters, NASCAR, Big Buck Hunter and Iron Man. Frontier was on free play, but the others were coin-operated.
Frontier headed the line-up of five machines
The star of the show
Tim with his Frontier
Once everyone had had the chance to try the game, food was served on the patio.
Chicken supreme, lasagne and rigatoni was served outside
The evening ended with live music
And that brings us to the end of our coverage of this year’s Arcade Expo show.
The Museum of Pinball has an amazing and unrivalled collection of pinball and video games, and gives the perfect basis for a large show such as Arcade Expo. The space available both inside and out means plenty of machine, parts, collectibles, food and drink vendors can be accommodated. This year’s hot sunny weather was especially helpful in getting guests to explore all corners of the compound.
The Museum’s remote location can’t be ignored though, and the distance from the Los Angeles metropolitan area (combined with the lane closures on the main freeway) must act to deter the more casual attendees, as did the price of entry.
$55 per person for Saturday appears high but is actually pretty good value when you consider the number and range of both pinball and video games available to play from 11am until 2am. It is, though, probably high enough to deter any families with only a casual interest in arcade games. Not that that seemed to affect numbers too much, especially on Saturday – the busiest of the thee days.
We would like to see more seminars from local pinheads. Last year’s Archer talk was a unique feature of this show, and there are surely plenty of local collectors and developers who would be willing to share details of their work.
After a four year hiatus, during which time efforts were focused on operations and expansion, the Pacific Pinball Museum resumed its highly successful series of PPM Expositions on November 11th, 12th and 13th, preceded by a special VIP early bird preview sale and party on the 10th.
Exposition 2016, the museum’s seventh, adopted the theme Shoot the Moon, borrowing the name and the George Molentin graphics from Williams’ 1951 pinball machine of the same name, which greeted visitors at the entrance to the show.
Shoot the Moon proved to be an all-together fitting title for the 2016 show reflecting the PPM’s cosmic accomplishments since their last Exposition. In the four year interim since the last show the museum space has increased significantly, the collection has continued to grow at a rapid pace and important progress has been made toward the funding required to relocate the PPM to the former Carnegie Library across from Alameda’s City Hall.
Most recently, the on-going issue of adequate storage was successfully addressed. Until July the PPM was faced with severe overcrowding in their former storage and restoration facility.
Even the narrow paths that separated aisles of games from one another had become impassable, requiring dozens, even hundreds of games, to be moved in order to unearth any given machine.
Having determined that more space was not just desirable but necessary, the PPM Board of Directors decided to move the museum’s entire inventory of games, except for those in the museum proper, into a huge new commercial space. PPM Exposition 7 was staged to celebrate the importance of that move, showcase the museum’s greatly expanded collection and share with the public what the PPM has recently accomplished and what lies ahead.
The gala event was held in the new Pacific Pinball Museum Annex at 1680 Viking Street in Alameda, California. The new Annex is just minutes away from the PPM Museum’s 1510 Webster Street location, which is open to the public 6 days a week, featuring a rotating line-up of 100-110 games set up on free play.
The new, 45,000 square foot PPM Annex provided the perfect venue to introduce visitors to nearly 500 pinball machines from the museum’s more than 1,300 game collection.
Games were arranged in back-to-back “islands” with extra-wide aisles between them allowing visitors plenty of room to play and the unique opportunity to walk, chronologically, year-by-year, through the development of pinball from 1947 through the present.
The time and effort required to successfully stage and manage such a pinball extravaganza could not have been achieved without the tireless efforts of an exceptional group of dedicated volunteers, some who began work as early as June to meet the November 10th deadline.
The thousands of hours required to prepare and mount the show were managed and coordinated by key members of the PPM team.
David Volansky, PPM’s newest Board member, was instrumental in the layout and engineering of the show and served as Floor Manager.
As Volunteer Coordinator, Brad Grant did an excellent job managing and scheduling the tasks of more than sixty hard-working volunteers.
PPM Assistant Director d’Arci Bruno served as Facilities Manager capably assisted by Lynn Gustafson.
PPM Curator Melissa Harmon’s artistic and managerial skills were constantly called upon as she multi-tasked throughout the four-day show.
All-important security and parking facilities were managed by Jim Strehlow and Jem Gruber.
Ron Chan was responsible for developing the full color Shoot the Moon program guide with generous funding provided by exhibitor Marco Specialties.
Of the games on display, 440 were available for free play throughout the weekend, maintained by a cadre of pinball tech volunteers who kept the games in good working order with a bare minimum of down time.
Among the show’s highlights were the presence of 132 working woodrail pins from Gottlieb’s 1947 Flying Trapeze (their last pre-flipper game) to Flipper (their first add-a-ball) and a choice selection of Gottlieb wedgeheads.
A sampling of the rare and highly desirable woodrail and wedgehead games from pinball’s ‘Golden Age’ on the show floor included:
Gottlieb 1949 College Daze – Wayne Neyen’s 1st design
Gottlieb 1950 Knock Out
Gottlieb 1951 Mermaid, Minstrel Man and Niagara
Williams 1951 Shoot the Moon
Chicago Coin 1951 Thing
Williams 1952 Paratrooper as well as their Majorettes and Olympics, both with Roy Parker art!
Genco 1952 Springtime featuring both a vertical and a horizontal playfield!
Gottlieb 1953 Grand Slam, the quintessential non-pitch & bat baseball-themed pinball game
Gottlieb 1954 double-coin Daisy May, Diamond Lill, Dragonette, Hawaiian Beauty and Mystic Marvel
Williams 1953 Screamo (based on Chicago’s Riverview Park) as well as the futuristic Skyway designed by Harry Williams
Gottlieb Sluggin’ Champ and Twin Bill from 1955
Genco 1957 Show Boat
Gottlieb 1958 Sittin’ Pretty and Rocket Ship
Bally 1960 ‘one balls’ Beach Queens and Beauty Contest
Gottlieb 1962 Flipper Cowboy
Gottlieb 1963 Slick Chick and Sweethearts
Gottlieb 1964 Majorettes and North Star
Gottlieb 1965 Cow Poke, Ice Revue and Kings & Queens
Gottlieb 1966 Cross Town
Gottlieb 1971 2001 and 4 Square
Gottlieb 1972 Pop-A-Card
Gottlieb 1975 El Dorado
While all but a handful of games at the show were gifted to the museum by a host of generous donors, special mention should be made of the 240 working woodrails and wedgeheads on the show floor contributed by Larry Zartarian, President and Treasurer of the PPM Board of Directors.
In addition to the woodrails available for play, there were 119 games from the 1960s, 129 from the 1970s, 28 from the 1980s, 31 from the 1990s, 3 from the 2000s and 5 from the 2010s.
It seems safe to say that there have never before been as many woodrails or wedgeheads available for play in a single venue, even in the most heavily populated arcades of the 1950s and 1960s!
In addition, a special treat was in store for attendees thanks to Dan Miller who made his pristine collection of the three finest pinball machines from the mechanical age available for both viewing and play.
The trio, all made by David Rockola, included his 1933 World’s Fair Jigsaw as well as Army & Navy and World’s Series both from 1934.
It was amazing to observe the number of attendees who played these games repeatedly, captivated by the ingenuity and exceptional play value of these more than 80-year-old, entirely mechanical marvels!
WORKING GAMES ON THE SHOW FLOOR
1933 World’s Fair Jigsaw, Rockola
1934 Army & Navy, Rockola
1934 World’s Series, Rockola
1947 Flying Trapeze, Gottlieb
1948 Ali-Baba, Gottlieb
1948 Barnacle Bill, Gottlieb
1948 Cinderella, Gottlieb
1949 De-Icer, Williams
1949 Basketball, Gottlieb
1949 Bowling Champ, Gottlieb
1949 College Daze, Gottlieb
1949 Double-Shuffle, Gottlieb
1949 K.C. Jones, Gottlieb
1949 King Arthur & His Round Table, Gottlieb
1949 Old Faithful, Gottlieb
1949 Telecard, Gottlieb
1949 Three Musketeers, Gottlieb
1950 Lucky Inning, Williams
1950 Bank-A-Ball, Gottlieb
1950 Buffalo Bill, Gottlieb
1950 Canasta, Genco
1950 Double-Feature, Gottlieb
1950 Just 21, Gottlieb
1950 Knock Out, Gottlieb
1950 Madison Square Gardens, Gottlieb
1950 Rockettes, Gottlieb
1950 Select-A-Card, Gottlieb
1950 Spot Bowler, Gottlieb
1950 The 4 Horsemen, Gottlieb
1950 Triplets, Gottlieb
1951 Arcade, Williams
1951 Control Tower, Williams
1951 Cyclone, Gottlieb
1951 Globe Trotter, Gottlieb
1951 Happy-Go-Lucky, Gottlieb
1951 Mermaid, Gottlieb
1951 Minstrel Man, Gottlieb
1951 Niagara, Gottlieb
1951 Rose-Bowl, Gottlieb
1951 Shoot The Moon, Williams
1951 Thing, Chicago Coin
1951 Watch My Line, Gottlieb
1951 Wild West, Gottlieb
1952 All-Star Basketball, Gottlieb
1952 Caravan, Williams
1952 Chinatown, Gottlieb
1952 Coronation, Gottlieb
1952 Crossroads, Gottlieb
1952 Four Corners, Williams
1952 Four Stars, Gottlieb
1952 Happy Days, Gottlieb
1952 Hit ‘N’ Run, Gottlieb
1952 Majorettes, Williams
1952 Olympics, Williams
1952 Paratrooper, Williams
1952 Quartette, Gottlieb
1952 Skill-Pool, Gottlieb
1952 Springtime, Genco
1953 Arabian Knights, Gottlieb
1953 Flying High, Gottlieb
1953 Grand Champion, Williams
1953 Grand Slam, Gottlieb
1953 Guys Dolls, Gottlieb
1953 Pin Wheel, Gottlieb
1953 Poker Face, Gottlieb
1953 Quintette, Gottlieb
1953 Shindig, Gottlieb
1953 Times Square, Williams
1954 4-Belles, Gottlieb
1954 Big Ben, Williams
1954 Daisy May, Gottlieb
1954 Diamond Lill, Gottlieb
1954 Dragonette, Gottlieb
1954 Green Pastures, Gottlieb
1954 Jockey Club, Gottlieb
1954 Lady Luck, Gottlieb
1954 Lovely Lucy, Gottlieb
1954 Mystic Marvel, Gottlieb
1954 Screamo, Williams
1954 Skyway, Williams
1954 Stage Coach, Gottlieb
1955 Duette, Gottlieb
1955 Duette Deluxe, Gottlieb
1955 Easy Aces, Gottlieb
1955 Frontiersman, Gottlieb
1955 Gypsy Queen, Gottlieb
1955 Sluggin’ Champ, Gottlieb
1955 Southern Belle, Gottlieb
1955 Sweet Add-A-Line, Gottlieb
1955 Tournament, Gottlieb
1955 Twin Bill, Gottlieb
1955 Wishing Well, Gottlieb
1955 Wonderland, Williams
1956 Auto Race, Gottlieb
1956 Classy Bowler, Gottlieb
1956 Derby Day, Gottlieb
1956 Fair Lady, Gottlieb
1956 Gladiator, Gottlieb
1956 Harbor Lites, Gottlieb
1956 Rainbow, Gottlieb
1956 Score-Board, Gottlieb
1957 Continental Café, Gottlieb
1957 Falstaff, Gottlieb
1957 Show Boat, Genco
1957 Silver, Gottlieb
1957 Whirl-Wind, Gottlieb
1957 World Champ, Gottlieb
1958 Contest, Gottlieb
1958 Criss Cross, Gottlieb
1958 Double Action, Gottlieb
1958 Gondolier, Gottlieb
1958 Rocket Ship, Gottlieb
1958 Roto Pool, Gottlieb
1958 Sittin’ Pretty, Gottlieb
1958 Sunshine, Gottlieb
1958 Turf Champ, Williams
1959 Hi-Diver, Gottlieb
1959 Lightning Ball, Gottlieb
1959 Miss Annabelle, Gottlieb
1959 Queen Of Diamonds, Gottlieb
1959 Straight Shooter, Gottlieb
1959 Sweet Sioux, Gottlieb
1959 Universe, Gottlieb
1959 World Beauties, Gottlieb
1960 Beach Queens, Bally
1960 Beauty Contest, Bally
1960 Captain Kidd, Gottlieb
1960 Dancing Dolls, Gottlieb
1960 Flipper, Gottlieb
1960 Jungle, Williams
1960 Melody Lane, Gottlieb
1960 Merry-Go-Round, Gottlieb
1960 Spot-A-Card, Gottlieb
1960 Wagon Train, Gottlieb
1961 Add-A-Ball, Williams
1961 Aloha, Gottlieb
1961 Big Casino, Gottlieb
1961 Bo Bo, Williams
1961 Corral, Gottlieb
1961 Double Barrel, Williams
1961 Egg Head, Gottlieb
1961 Flipper Fair, Gottlieb
1961 Flipper Parade, Gottlieb
1961 Flying Circus, Gottlieb
1961 Highways, Williams
1961 Lancers, Gottlieb
1961 Oklahoma, Gottlieb
1961 Show Boat, Gottlieb
1961 Space Ship, Williams
1961 Ten Spot, Williams
1962 4 Roses, Williams
1962 Arrowhead, Keeney
1962 Cover Girl, Gottlieb
1962 Fashion Show, Gottlieb
1962 Flipper Clown, Gottlieb
1962 Flipper Cowboy, Gottlieb
1962 Liberty Belle, Gottlieb
1962 Olympics, Gottlieb
1962 Preview, Gottlieb
1962 Rack-A-Ball, Gottlieb
1962 Sunset, Gottlieb
1962 Target Gallery, Midway
1962 Tropic Isle, Gottlieb
1963 Big Daddy, Williams
1963 Gaucho, Gottlieb
1963 Gigi, Gottlieb
1963 Jumpin’ Jacks, Williams
1963 Merry Widow, Williams
1963 Moon Shot, Bally
1963 Slick Chick, Gottlieb
1963 Square Head, Gottlieb
1963 Sweet Hearts, Gottlieb
1963 Swing-Along, Gottlieb
1963 Tom Tom, Williams
1964 Big Top, Gottlieb
1964 Bonanza, Gottlieb
1964 Bowling Queen, Gottlieb
1964 Happy Clown, Gottlieb
1964 Mad World, Bally
1964 Majorettes, Gottlieb
1964 Monte Carlo, Bally
1964 North Star, Gottlieb
1964 Ship-Mates, Gottlieb
1964 Stop ‘N’ Go, Williams
1964 World Fair, Gottlieb
1965 Band Wagon, Bally
1965 Bank-A-Ball, Gottlieb
1965 Cow Poke, Gottlieb
1965 Flipper Pool, Gottlieb
1965 Hi Dolly, Gottlieb
1965 Ice-Revue, Gottlieb
1965 Kings & Queens, Gottlieb
1965 Magic Circle, Bally
1965 Moulin Rouge, Williams
1965 Paradise, Gottlieb
1965 Pot ‘O’ Gold, Williams
1965 Sky-Line, Gottlieb
1965 Teacher’s Pet, Williams
1965 Thoro-Bred, Gottlieb
1965 Trio, Bally
1966 Campus Queen, Gottlieb
1966 Capersville, Bally
1966 Central Park, Gottlieb
1966 Cross Town, Gottlieb
1966 Full House, Williams
1966 Hot Line, Williams
1966 Hurdy Gurdy, Gottlieb
1966 Ice Show, Gottlieb
1966 Masquerade, Gottlieb
1966 Mayfair, Gottlieb
1966 Subway, Gottlieb
1967 Beat Time, Williams
1967 Diamond Jack, Gottlieb
1967 Dixieland, Bally
1967 Melody, Gottlieb
1967 Rocket III, Bally
1967 Shangri-La, Williams
1967 Super Score, Gottlieb
1967 West Club, Rally (France)
1968 Ding Dong, Williams
1968 Domino, Gottlieb
1968 Doozie, Williams
1968 Fun Land, Gottlieb
1968 Lady Luck, Williams
1968 Minizag, Bally
1968 Palace Guard, Gottlieb
1968 Paul Bunyan, Gottlieb
1968 Playmates, Gottlieb
1968 Playtime, Chicago Coin
1968 Royal Guard, Gottlieb
1968 Spin Wheel, Gottlieb
1969 Action, Chicago Coin
1969 Expo, Williams
1969 Hearts & Spades, Gottlieb
1969 Joust, Bally
1969 King Tut, Bally
1969 Mibs, Gottlieb
1969 Mini Pool, Gottlieb
1969 Miss-O, Williams
1969 Moon Shot, Chicago Coin
1969 On Beam, Bally
1969 Paddock, Williams
1969 Road Race, Gottlieb
1969 Skipper, Gottlieb
1969 Spin-A-Card, Gottlieb
1969 Target Pool, Gottlieb
1969 Wild Wild West, Gottlieb
1970 4 Queens, Bally
1970 Aquarius, Gottlieb
1970 Baseball, Gottlieb
1970 Batter Up, Gottlieb
1970 Big Valley, Bally
1970 Bowl-O, Bally
1970 Crescendo, Gottlieb
1970 Double-Up, Bally
1970 Flip-A-Card, Gottlieb
1970 Galahad, Bally
1970 Polo, Gottlieb
1970 Rock ‘N’ Roll, Williams
1970 Scuba, Gottlieb
1970 Zip-A-Doo, Bally
1971 2001, Gottlieb
1971 4 Square, Gottlieb
1971 Abra Ca Dabra, Gottlieb
1971 Astro, Gottlieb
1971 Bristol Hills!, Gottlieb
1971 Doodle Bug, Williams
1971 Drop-A-Card, Gottlieb
1971 Roller Coaster, Gottlieb
1971 Stardust, Williams
1972 El Toro, Bally
1972 Fan-Tas-Tic, Williams
1972 Fireball, Bally
1972 Flying Carpet, Gottlieb
1972 Jungle, Gottlieb
1972 King Kool, Gottlieb
1972 Outer Space, Gottlieb
1972 Pop-A-Card, Gottlieb
1972 Super Star, Williams
1972 Swinger, Williams
1973 Gulfstream, Williams
1973 Hot Shot, Gottlieb
1973 Jack In The Box, Gottlieb
1973 Jungle King, Gottlieb
1973 King Pin, Gottlieb
1973 Nip-It, Bally
1973 OXO, Williams
1973 Pro-Football, Gottlieb
1973 Time Zone, Bally
1973 Upper Deck, Williams
1974 Amigo, Bally
1974 Big Brave, Gottlieb
1974 Champ, Bally
1974 Dealer’s Choice, Williams
1974 Duotron, Gottlieb
1974 Gin, Chicago Coin
1974 Sky Jump, Gottlieb
1974 Sky Kings, Bally
1974 Skylab, Williams
1974 Star Pool, Williams
1974 Super-Flite, Williams
1974 Top Card, Gottlieb
1975 Big Ben, Williams
1975 Bow & Arrow, Bally
1975 El Dorado, Gottlieb
1975 Knockout, Bally
1975 Pat Hand, Williams
1975 Top Score, Gottlieb
1975 Top Speed, Recel (Spain)
1975 Wizard!, Bally
1976 Aladdin’s Castle, Bally
1976 Blue Chip, Williams
1976 Buccaneer, Gottlieb
1976 Card Whiz, Gottlieb
1976 Hang Glider, Bally
1976 Hokus Pokus, Bally
1976 Lady Luck, Recel (Spain)
1976 Moon Flight, Zaccaria (Italy)
1976 Old Chicago (2), Bally
1976 Royal Flush, Gottlieb
1976 Sound Stage, Chicago Coin
1976 Space Odyssey, Williams
1976 Sure Shot, Gottlieb
1976 Surf Champ, Gottlieb
1976 Target Alpha, Gottlieb
1976 Underwater, Recel (Spain)
1977 Bronco, Gottlieb
1977 Butterfly, Sonic (Spain)
1977 Captain Fantastic, Bally
1977 Cleopatra, Gottlieb
1977 Combat, Zaccaria (Italy)
1977 Dragon, Interflip (Spain)
1977 Eight Ball, Bally
1977 Evel Knievel, Bally
1977 Icarus, Recel (Spain)
1977 Jacks Open, Gottlieb
1977 Jet Spin, Gottlieb
1977 Jungle Princess, Gottlieb
1977 Liberty Bell, Williams
1977 Mars Trek, Sonic (Spain)
1977 Monaco, Segasa (Spain)
1977 Nautilus, Zaccaria (Italy)
1977 Night Rider, Bally
1977 Rawhide, Stern
1977 Stampede, Stern
1977 Stingray, Stern
1977 Super Straight, Sonic (Spain)
1977 Team One, Gottlieb
1977 Wild Card, Williams
1978 Chance, Playmatic (Spain)
1978 Charlie’s Angels, Gottlieb
1978 Close Encounters Of The 3rd Kind, Gottlieb
1978 Disco Fever, Williams
1978 Hit The Deck, Gottlieb
1978 Lucky Seven, Williams
1978 Mata Hari, Bally
1978 Playboy, Bally
1978 Power Play, Bally
1978 Stars, Stern
1979 Count-Down, Gottlieb
1979 Dracula, Stern
1979 Flash, Williams
1979 Genie, Gottlieb
1979 Harlem Globetrotters, Bally
1979 Laser Ball, Williams
1979 Magic, Stern
1979 Meteor, Stern
1979 Solar Ride, Gottlieb
1979 Superman, Atari
1979 Tri Zone, Williams
1980 Buck Rogers, Gottlieb
1980 Circus, Gottlieb
1980 Firepower, Williams
1980 Galaxy, Stern
1980 Nine Ball, Stern
1980 Star Race, Gottlieb
1980 Xenon, Bally
1981 Embryon, Bally
1981 Fathom, Bally
1981 Fireball II, Bally
1981 Flash Gordon, Bally
1981 Jungle Lord, Williams
1982 Rapid Fire, Bally
1982 Striker, Gottlieb
1983 Farfalla, Zaccaria (Italy)
1983 Super Orbit, Gottlieb
1984 Black Pyramid, Bally/Midway
1985 Beat The Clock, Bally/Midway
1985 Fireball Classic, Ballymidway
1986 Motordome, Bally/Midway
1986 Road Kings, Williams
1987 F-14 Tomcat, Williams
1987 Space Station, Williams
1988 Blackwater 100, Bally/Midway
1989 Black Knight, Williams
1989 Earthshaker!, Williams
1989 Robocop, Data East
1990 Dr. Dude, Bally/Midway
1990 Funhouse, Williams
1990 The Simpsons, Data East
1990 Whirlwind, Williams
1991 Cactus Jack’s, Gottlieb
1991 Checkpoint, Data East
1991 Gilligan’s Island, Bally/Midway
1991 Hurricane, Williams
1991 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Data East
1991 Terminator 2, Williams
1992 Black Rose, Bally/Midway
1992 The Addams Family (3), Bally/Midway
1992 The Getaway High Speed 2 (2), Williams
1993 Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Williams
1993 Twilight Zone, Bally/Midway
1993 Whitewater (2), Williams
1994 Popeye Saves The Earth, Bally/Midway
1994 Red & Ted’s Road Show, Williams
1994 Rescue 911, Gottlieb
1994 World Cup Soccer, Bally/Midway
1995 Attack From Mars (2), Bally/Midway
1995 Theatre Of Magic, Bally/Midway
1996 Flipper Football, Capcom
1997 Medieval Madness, Williams
1998 Cactus Canyon, Bally/Midway
2003 Terminator 3, Stern
2008 The Hellacopters Air Raid Serenades, re-themed from a 1973 Gottlieb King Pin by Wade Krause & Donny Gillies (aka ‘Dirty Donny’)
2013 Metallica (Premium), Stern
2013 Star Trek (Starfleet Pro), Stern
2016 Ghostbusters (Pro), Stern
In summary there were working games from 21 different makers on the floor of PPM Expo 7.
Excluding the games used for the tournaments and the pre-flipper view-only historical games the counts were as follows:
Number of Games
Percentage of Total
Dirty Donny/Wade Krauss
Despite the mind-boggling selection of games available for play at Shoot the Moon, a few attendees managed to find fault. In answer to grumbling from one of the younger attendees about the limited number of games from the current century I overheard a PPM board member patiently explain why:
PPM BOARD MEMBER: “Far fewer machines have come to market since Bally, Williams and Gottlieb’s successors closed their pinball operations at the end of the last century. And, since the PPM is a museum, not an arcade, our focus is on acquiring older, more historic games while they’re still available.
“Besides, many of the games made from 2000 on are in the hands of collectors. And since we rely most heavily upon donations, we don’t expect to receive many games from that era for quite a while.”
SHOOT THE MOON VISITOR: “So why not just buy some newer games?”
PPM BOARD MEMBER: “From time to time we do. But purchasing large numbers of new games for the PPM collection is cost prohibitive. And, if your main interest is in playing newer games, there are plenty of them available on location, at traditional pinball shows and in individual collections.”
Another Expo highlight was the display of 34 additional games from the pre-flipper era. Set up for viewing-only they ranged from proto-pinballs and the 1931 origin games Baffle Ball and Bingo, through wartime conversions like the politically incorrect Victory Games’ Smack the Japs to 1947’s Coed, one of Exhibit Supply’s (ESCO’s) last pre-flipper pinballs.
The complete list follows:
1871, Montague Redgrave, Parlor Bagatelle (proto-pinball)
1920, Mills Novelty Company, Target Shooter (proto-pinball)
1931, Bingo Novelty Manufacturing Company, Bingo
1931, Gottlieb, Baffle Ball
1932, Pace Manufacturing Company, Lucky Strike
1932, Mills Novelty Company, Official Pin Table
1932, Skilgames, Inc., Whirlpool
1934, Daval Manufacturing Company, American Beauty
1934, Pacific Amusement Manufacturing Company (PAMCO), Contact
1934, PAMCO, Major League
1934, Rockola, World’s Series
1937, Bally, Ballyhoo
1938, Mills, One-Two-Three
1938, Stoner Manufacturing Company, Ritz
1938, Bally, Rocket
1939, Exhibit Supply Company (ESCO), Sky-Rocket
1940, Bally, Beauty
1940, Bally, Glamour
1941, Gottlieb, Horoscope 1941, Genco, Jungle
1941, Genco, Metro
1942, Victory Games, Slap the Japs
(a conversion of Chicago Coin’s 1940 Strat-O-Liner)
1945, Gottlieb, Cover Girl
1947, Bally, Ballyhoo
1947, Exhibit, Coed
1947, Marvel, Lightning
1947, United, Singapore
1947, Exhibit, Treasure Chest
1948, Keeney, Band Leader
1948, Exhibit, Banjo
1948, Williams, Gizmo
1948, United, Serenade
1948, Chicago Coin, Shanghai
1948, Williams, Speedway
1949, Genco, Rip Snorter 1950, Exhibit, Be-Bop
SHOW HIGHLIGHT TOURS
Each day during the three days of the show PPM docents Larry Zartarian and Dan Miller conducted guided tours of the games on the show floor.
The tours provided an opportunity for attendees to learn about pinball’s evolution, the special significance of landmark games and to ask questions of the PPM’s knowledgeable tour guides. Four floor “highlight” tours were scheduled each day and all were well attended.
PPM’s ingenuity and commitment to teaching through pinball employing STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) was evident in the several interactive exhibits at Shoot the Moon. On display for viewing and play, the Visible Pinball Machine, developed by PPM Founder and Director Michael Schiess and master screen printer, craftsman, inventor and pinball artist Wade Krause, attracted many awed viewers and players!
In addition to the Visible Pinball, which allows viewers to observe all the internal workings of a 1976 Gottlieb Surf Champ, the following exhibits were available to help attendees understand the design and functioning of many of the most important components of pinball games:
Fun with Pinball’s Mark Gibson and his wife drove all the way from Colorado to share eighteen of his unique ‘Small Board’ and 3 of his ‘Game’ displays demonstrating electromechanical pinball functions. The three ‘Small Boards’ shown below demonstrate the operation of electromagnets, roto-target units and the Gottlieb score motor in EM games.
Mark’s ‘Baseball Game’ showed the operation of the classic Williams horizontal man-running unit, while his ‘Horseracing Game’ revealed the workings of Williams’ very popular chain-driven mechanism used to advance miniature horses, seahorses, speedboats and jalopies across the length of a variety of backbox race courses.
Australian Lucas Abela, an experimental musician, performance artist, inventor and founder of Dual Plover Records brought his spectacular sub-bass Bassballs musical instrument/pinball hybrid to Shoot the Moon for all to marvel at and to play!
Adding to the tangible sense of excitement that permeated Shoot the Moon were the spectacular displays of pinball backglass murals by local artists that hung from the ceiling of the PPM Annex.
Since the PPM’s inception the museum has sought to celebrate and promote pinball art as a uniquely American genre. This commitment has resulted in thirty beautifully rendered, oversized canvases by local artists that recreate iconic pinball backglass art. These magnificent tribute murals range in size from 6,794 square inches to a truly enormous 14,400 (120 x 120 inches) square inches. That’s ten feet by ten feet!
The following twelve oversized backglass murals were on display to engage attendee interest and promote their appreciation of pinball graphics:
Many of these murals are now in the hands of private collectors but some remain available for sale by the artists, who generously share the sale proceeds with the PPM. The complete list of Pacific Pinball Museum tribute murals, listed alphabetically by artist, appears below:
THE ARTISTS & THEIR WORK
1970, Bally, Sea Ray
1974, Gottlieb, Out of Sight
1975, Gottlieb, El Dorado
1976, Gottlieb, Card Whiz
1977, Gottlieb, Jungle Princess
1979, Gottlieb, Genie
1939, Exhibit, Golden
1939, Exhibit, Zip
1951, Gottlieb, Mermaid
1952, Gottlieb, Queen of Hearts
1954, Williams, Skyway
1958, United, Sky Raiders (rifle game)
1960, Gottlieb, Flipper
1961, Gottlieb, Corral
1963, Bally, Star Jet
1964, Gottlieb, Majorettes
1974, Gottlieb, Out of Sight
1975, Gottlieb, El Dorado
1976, Gottlieb, Card Whiz
1977, Gottlieb, Jungle Princess
1979, Gottlieb, Genie
Multi-Artist Cooperative Effort
The large mural that covers the wall in the Pacific Pinball Museum’s ‘Vintage Room’
LIL’ JU JU TRAVELING PINBALL MUSEUM
Another treat, especially for first-time PPM Exposition visitors, was the presence on the show floor of the converted Spartan Manor trailer, the PPM’s traveling exhibit known fondly as the Lil’ Ju Ju.
Tucked inside were the following five Gottlieb pinball machines available for play: Aquarius, Big Brave, Jacks Open, Jungle Princess and 2001. Not to mention the well-stocked, 1969 Seeburg Golden Jet jukebox to set the proper nostalgic mood!
The Lil’ Ju Ju enables the PPM’s growing outreach to individuals, schools and other institutions and communities unable to visit the PPM proper. Like the time-honored book mobiles, the PPM’s traveling museum makes its periodic rounds to neighborhoods and events where it can spread the PPM’s message of pinball art, history, science and unrivalled entertainment.
In a continuing effort to inform and educate about as many aspects of pinball as possible Shoot the Moon also featured a diverse agenda of seminars and video presentations.
Master pinball mechanic Chris Kuntz, owner of pinball repair and sales company Pinball Pirate, delivered his ‘how-to’ seminar My EM Doesn’t Work! What Now? once each day during the Expo, sharing tips and shortcuts drawn from years of experience as a pinball troubleshooter and repair expert.
During Saturday’s show, author and publisher Bernard “Bear” Kamoroff provided pinball owners and wannabees with invaluable advice on How to Buy and Maintain a Pinball Machine. The 3rd Edition of his best-selling book Pinball Machine Care and Maintenance, published by the Pacific Pinball Museum, sold briskly at the PPM table.
PPM Founder and Director Michael Schiess and PPM Treasurer and Board President Larry Zartarian gave a daily presentation Everything You Wanted to Know About the Pacific Pinball Museum covering the history, growth and ambitious future plans for the PPM.
In addition to restating their resolve to become the “Smithsonian of pinball”, they shared the progress made toward occupying Alameda’s 1902 Carnegie Library building as the PPM’s permanent home, as well as plans to launch two major pinball events each year in their expansive PPM Annex.
Mike and Larry revealed that, for the first time, the PPM was able to set up, on a permanent basis, a significant portion of their entire collection in the new PPM Annex. In addition to being able to display more than 500 working and restored games at any point in time, the 45,000 square foot Annex provides ample room for a workshop and restoration area as well as organized storage for the remainder of the museum’s rapidly expanding collection.
In addition to their plan to host two major pinball shows each year, the PPM envisions renting the Annex to individuals celebrating special occasions and to companies seeking a unique and engaging venue for parties, team-building, mixers, receptions and other corporate events.
Appealing to those with an interest in the ‘Golden Age’ of pinball as well as the merely curious, each day of the Expo Gordo presented the graphic seminar The Crest of Pinball’s Golden Age: 1954 and the Games of D. Gottlieb. The presentation explored the impact of popular culture on pinball theme development and a detailed discussion of Roy Parker’s artwork on four exceptional D. Gottlieb games released that year.
The presentation was a preview of Gordo’s about-to-be published book on all thirteen Gottlieb games from that memorable year. If you’re interested in knowing when it will be available drop him an e-mail at email@example.com.
A video tribute, An Interview with Pinball Designer Wayne Neyens, was screened for attendees each evening. The interview format hosted by PPM Board President Larry Zartarian proved to be an ideal approach revealing fascinating details of pinball’s most prolific and successful designer’s experiences during his more than 50 year career.
Almost solely responsible for 177 Gottlieb pinball designs from 1949 through 1976, during the decade of the 1950s Neyens produced an unending string of popular and profitable games at the astonishing rate of roughly one game per month! This classic video, a Will White production, is part of the PPM’s ongoing, archival Pioneers of Pinball series.
A number of vendors set up at the show offering a wide array of products and merchandise.
Jonathan Joosten’s Pinball Magazine
Marco Specialties – Everything Pinball™
Pacific Pinball Museum
Rob Anthony’s Lock When Lit
Rob Hawkins & Don Mueting’s Pinball Collectors Resource
In addition there were approximately a dozen pinball machines for sale at the show by various individuals.
PPM patrons and local area merchants generously contributed many unique items to be auctioned off during the course of the show.
A 1975 Bally Wizard! crossed the block at $3,000. A Panic City neon sign donated by Rhino Records founder Richard Foos: a large, revolving Lone Star Beer ‘Monkey Display’ and many ‘baskets of cheer’ found new homes at the end of a separate silent auction.
PPM Board Member Jim Strehlow donated a brand new Stern Ghostbusters to be raffled off during the show!
Jim’s generous gift resulted in the sale of more than $10,000 worth of tickets and the lucky winner was John Mayo, shown here with his new GHOSTBUSTERS.
PINBALL A LA CARTE
Show attendees enjoyed catered specialties from Chef Rutilio ‘Rudy’ Fanetti-Durance’s C’Era Una Volta – Ristorante Italiano. In addition, a broad selection of local wines and craft beers gave visitors the opportunity to enjoy some of the best of the Bay Area’s local fare.
Three different tournaments took place during the show. The tournament games shown below, reflected the design challenges of three distinct eras. All tournament entries were free with admission to the show!
1947, Williams, Torchy
1954, Gottlieb, 4-Belles
1961, Gottlieb, Egg Head
1976, Gottlieb, Royal Flush
1980, Stern, Galaxy
1991, Williams, Terminator 2
2001, Stern, High Roller Casino
2016, Stern, Ghostbusters Pro
A different tournament was held each day directed by Echa Schneider, under the auspices of the International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA).
The woodrail tournament took place on Friday, November 11 and the winners were:
Dan Dempsey, Walnut Creek, CA
Andrei Massenkoff, San Francisco, CA
Jared Garvey, Berkeley, CA
The 1960s and later electro-mechanical tournament took place on Saturday, November 12th and the winners were:
Karl Lind, Portland, Oregon
Alex Lambert, Roseville, CA
The Solid State & DMD tournament took place on Sunday, November 13th and the winners were:
Damien Charléty, Chambéry, France
Per Schwarzenberger, San Francisco, CA
Robin Lassonde, Berkeley, CA
(currently ranked #1 qualifier for the IFPA California State Championship)
Solid State & DMD Tournament Winners Per Schwartzenberger, Damien Charléty and Robin Lassonde
Follow-up surveys with Shoot the Moon attendees found that 99% of those polled who visited the show would come to the next PPM Exposition event.
Of those who took the guided show tours, 85% reported that they exceeded their expectations and, among seminar attendees, 65% reported that the sessions they attended exceeded their expectations.
Given the limited advance notice of the show the overwhelming majority of the more than 1,000 attendees came from the local San Francisco Bay Area.
An encouraging 52 attendees offered to serve as volunteers at the next PPM Expo.
Perhaps most interesting of all, 57% of those polled did NOT own a pinball machine! This surprising statistic served to validate that interest in the multiple objectives of the PPM and its variety of activities reaches well beyond the ‘pinhead’ community!
From the perspective of the PPM’s Board of Directors, this was a most satisfying and successful show, providing the impetus for even more exciting events in the future.
WHAT LIES AHEAD?
Given the success of Shoot the Moon, the PPM Board of Directors has tentatively planned for two PPM Expos each year from this point on.
The new Annex provides them with requisite space for individuals and companies to stage parties, celebrations, corporate and team-building events – any function seeking lots of fun and lots of space!
Revenues from these and other PPM-sponsored events will go toward the carrying and operating costs of the Annex and the continuing Carnegie Library fund-raising effort.
The new Annex provides ample space for an accelerated restoration program allowing more rare and desirable games to be made ready for play on a timely basis. Former problems of space for games, parts, and restoration tools and equipment have now been eliminated!
The Annex also permits the PPM to expand their STEM-based educational programs using pinball as a vehicle to teach art, history and science.
Those interested in becoming involved with the Pacific Pinball Museum as a donor, volunteer, or local point-of-contact in your area can email founder & Director Michael Schiess at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information regarding the Pacific Pinball Museum and its many initiatives visit: www.pacificpinball.org