We were in Seattle for the Northwest Pinball & Arcade Show but before that event started we had the opportunity to spend a couple of days visiting pinball haunts old and new.
A new location (to us) was found just a five-minute walk away from our accommodation in Capitol Hill.
The Raygun Lounge is an odd place, catering to the board game and RPG enthusiasts while sporting an impressive-looking line-up of pinballs at the back of the room. The owners used to operate two locations, called Gamma Ray Games and The Raygun Lounge, but the former closed and merged into the latter in this single large room on East Pine Street in Seattle’s Capitol Hill district.
Capitol Hill is a trendy area East of the I-5 freeway which runs North-South through Seattle. That means it’s not in the touristy Pike Place/Pioneer Square area, so most of the customers in the stores, restaurants and bars tend to be locals.
Those customers can sit at any of the tables which occupy around half the floor space. At the back are the pinballs, while on the right is the service desk and the bar.
Decorating the walls is an eclectic mix of posters, toys and promotional items, while strings of lamps stretch above the tables providing most of the interior lighting once the sun sets.
The eleven pinballs are equally eclectic, with late-’70s and early-’80s solid-state games from Bally and Williams sitting alongside the latest Star Wars model from Stern.
Dungeons & Dragons
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The condition of the pinballs varies. They all looked clean and the Ghostbusters played just fine, but the Demolition Man had weak flippers and couldn’t launch the ball properly, while the left orbit on Johnny Mnemonic wasn’t registering shots which made collecting the extra ball difficult.
Pricing was very attractive with most games costing 50¢. Only Ghostbusters and Star Wars were more at 75¢ per play. A couple offered a little extra value if you inserted $2.
The Raygun Lounge was understandably fairly quiet when we called in on Tuesday afternoon, meaning we could play any of the pinballs we wanted.
If you want to take a break from pinball, multiple board games are available for rental. Alternatively, if you buy any food or beverage from the service counter you get the game rental free.
The food available is of the ‘fast food’ variety – hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, popcorn, etc. – while the drinks selection include coffees, soft drinks and assorted wines, with beers and ciders available from the fridge and on three taps.
While it may not be the very best place to play pinball in Seattle, The Raygun Lounge is a nice, relaxed, casual place to drop into for a few games, meet friends and enjoy a quick bite.