Pinball Takes DC Back to the Arcade

On the top floor of the Georgetown Park Mall lies a wonderful secret – the home of the National Pinball Museum. A surprisingly informative tour yields all kinds of fascinating tidbits about the history of the game, including its origin – the French billiard game bagatelle. C’mon, hipsters — someone start an ironic bagatelle league already!

The vast space includes tons of machines, colorful, clever pinball decor — all of which combine to create a recipe for fun. The National Pinball Museum has the largest collection of pinball machines in the world (including unique unreleased ones from recent days), and there’s even a wonderful arcade where you can play til your fingers get tired.

Who knew pinball had such a sordid history? As of yesterday, me. Apparently it was used primarily for…well, I won’t spoil it, dear friends. You’ll just have to see for yourselves.

What interested me the most were the intricacies of the machines — all the sliders and lights and mechanical parts — these engineers have obviously poured their hearts and souls into creating these things. It’s a shame that in today’s Playstation world, the pinball machine has been left in the corner, discarded by youth culture and gathering dust. It also made me nostalgic for arcades — yes kids, back in my day you had to ride your bike to go play video games in a *gasp* public place.

Admission is cheap – at only $3, it’s a steal – but come soon — apparently the maniacal villains who run the mall are threatening to kick the museum out (the lease is up by Labor Day)Open daily for now.

Written by Joel Church.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Marie says:

    Hey, that’s MY idea for a bagatelle league. Don’t just give away golden ideas like that!

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