Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Pinball Hall of Fame is a 10,000-square-foot public gallery displaying the world’s largest pinball collection, featuring game machines and memorabilia from the 1950s through the present day. The Pinball Hall of Fame was the vision of Michigan resident Tim Arnold, who began playing pinball game machines in 1972. After purchasing his first pinball machine at the age of 16, Arnold began displaying game machines in public business spaces within the Lansing area, charging 10 cents per game.
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In 1976, banking on the increased popularity of coin-operated games, Arnold opened the Pinball Pete’s arcade, which soon expanded to a second branch in nearby Ann Arbor, and steadily began to accumulate a large personal collection of pinball machines. Following an early retirement in 1990 and a transfer of his arcade business to his younger brother Ted, Arnold moved his pinball machine collection, which totaled nearly 1,000 machines, to Las Vegas and displayed them within a tennis court facility adjacent to his personal property. Between 1992 and 2004, Arnold constructed a large L-shaped shed facility to house and restore his game collection and began to hold regular Fun Night pinball parties for those involved in restoration efforts. Over the course of the 1990s and 2000s, Arnold’s Fun Night events were used to raise money for charities and held in conjunction with the annual AMOA Amusement Expo International trade show. In 2009, Arnold’s collection was moved to a location near the Las Vegas Strip and opened to the public as the Pinball Hall of Fame museum.
Permanent Exhibits and Attractions
Today, the Pinball Hall of Fame is operated as a private nonprofit organization, with a portion of all visitor proceeds donated to local charities such as the Salvation Army. More than 10,000 square feet of display space showcases pinball machines from the 1950s through the present day, with a particular focus on machines of the 1960s through the 1980s, widely considered to be the heyday of coin-operated game machines. Over 200 machines from Arnold’s personal collection are displayed, including 152 pinball models by famous makers such as Gottlieb, Bally, and Williams.
Early pinball technologies are showcased with a collection of woodrail machines from the 1950s, along with single-player metalrail games from the 1960s commonly referred to as “wedgeheads.” Electro-mechanical games, known as EM games, comprise the dominant technology displayed from the early 1970s, including noted multi-player games such as a 1971 Bally Fireball. Solidstate games featuring computer CPUs and digital score displays date back to 1977. A variety of classic arcade games from the 1980s and 1990s are also showcased, including early Atari and Nintendo models. Many games feature pop culture themes from classic films and television series such as Star Trek, Indiana Jones, and The Simpsons, as well as games themed around characters from the Marvel and DC Comics franchises.
All pinball machines have been restored to their original working condition and are available for game play for visitors of all ages. Older game models are offered at a cost of 25 cents, with newer models set to a 50-cent fee. The game hall is structured as a family-friendly alternative to nearby casinos and slot machine halls, with all proceeds from game play going to charity.
The Pinball Hall of Fame is located on Tropicana Avenue between Maryland Parkway and Eastern Avenue, approximately 12 blocks away from the main Las Vegas Strip area and directly across the street from the Liberace Museum. It is open seven days a week, with the exception of major national holidays, and admission to the facility is free, excluding the cost of game play. A number of local taxis serve the Tropicana Avenue area, and Regional Transportation Commission bus route #201 provides direct transportation from the Pinball Hall of Fame building to the Strip.
Las Vegas Strip
Stretching approximately 4.2 miles along South Las Vegas Boulevard immediately outside Las Vegas city limits, the famed Las Vegas Strip is one of the most iconic resort areas in the world, known for its high concentration of world-class casinos, hotel properties, and live entertainment offerings. Best known for its contemporary architecture and use of neon lights in its property design, the Strip is a designated All-American Road and attracts more than 42 million annual visitors. In addition to casino gambling floors, hotels such as the Paris Las Vegas, Caesars Palace, and MGM Grand offer high-end and casual shopping and dining options, along with performance venues for live music and comedy acts. Other major attractions include the Adventuredome and Stratsophere amusement parks, the Shark Reef aquarium at Mandalay Bay, and the famous Bellagio Fountains, which feature 1,200 water cannons timed to choreographed music and lighting displays.
1610 E Tropicana Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89119, Phone: 702-597-2627