This was one of the things that I had planned to do solo on the trip as seeing it included a 6 mile round trip walk in the midday desert heat. Admittedly, it was kind of exhausting, but the destination proved to be worth it and the walk allowed me to see the everyday side of Vegas that usually eludes visitors. I hadn't really planned to walk the campus of UNLV, but I did, and I have to say that I got a strangely satisfying feeling when I finally reached the hall of fame and recognized the location from my brief exploration on Google maps.
Once inside the Pinball Hall of Fame, my eyes took a few minutes to adjust to the dark warehouse-like environment. Before me were rows and rows of glowing pinball machines, buzzing and flickering, a few even spouting movie catchphrases. I quickly recognized a few familiar machines from my youth, and was happy to stumble onto a South Park pinball machine that my friend Jay and I used to play in the small arcade below the residence we lived in while in university. I'm not really a pinball superfan, but I quickly became swept up in the nostalgia blinking around me.
As much fun as the newer machines were, it was the pinball machines from the 1960s and 1970s that really made the experience. Many of the older machines could be played for just 25 cents, and I'd never played anything like them before. Their simplicity, the buzzing electric flashes, the clacking flippers and bumpers, and high pitched bells made the machines seem so much more mechanical. There were no polished effects, the sounds were literally those of the machine operating, and that small ball bouncing into things. It was awesome!
I had a great time snapping pictures and ended up spending a couple of hours playing through a pocket full of quarters. What's really awesome about the Pinball Hall of Fame is that it's all about the games. They don't seem to care about making a fortune off of the machines or charging people to come and have a look, they're just happy that people are coming to enjoy them.
The silver lining of it all is that because the Pinball Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization, all excess revenues they make off of the machines are donated to charity. At the end of the day, it's probably one of the most guilt free ways to spend money in Vegas and it was an amazing experience that I won't soon forget.