ARCADE EXPO 2019 – LIVE

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      ARCADE EXPO 2019 – LIVE

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      It’s been two years since we were last at the Museum of Pinball in Banning for an Arcade Expo show. In that time there has been a number of changes to the building and the collection, but the essence of the show remains the same – an amazing collection of pinballs of all ages combined with an equally impressive range of video games, all available to play over the event’s three days.

      The hills surrounding the Museum of Pinball
      The hills surrounding the Museum of Pinball

      The Museum of Pinball is located in semi-desert around 75 miles East of Los Angeles, at the foot of a mountainous landscape. It may be March, but there is still snow on the peaks and while the daytime temperatures might be warm in the sunshine, they drop away quickly once the sun drops behind the hills.

      New signage at the entrance to the compound
      New signage at the entrance to the compound

      The Museum doesn’t open to the public daily, weekly, or even monthly. Instead, it hosts four major events each year – Arcade Pinvasion and INDISC Pinball Festival in January, Arcade Expo in March, and Pinball Madness in October.

      The reason we are here
      The reason we are here

      Tickets for Arcade Expo could be pre-purchased online, or bought on the day from the ticket desk. A purchased entry got you a coloured wristband with which you could come and go as often as you wished.

      The ticket desk
      The ticket desk

      Friday and Sunday entry cost $50 each for an adult, while Saturday is $65. Kids entry is priced at $15 per day, while a three-day adult pass is also available at $130 ($35 for kids). These are online prices. On the day prices are $5 higher.

      The show began in the courtyard outside the Museum building where food vendors had set up. On Friday there were two stalls selling hot dogs, ice creams, burgers and other ‘street food’.

      The first food vendor
      The first food vendor
      The second food vendor
      The second food vendor

      With no food allowed inside the Museum, there is an outdoor seating area in front of the food stands. At night the area is warmed by living flame heaters.

      The seating area
      The seating area

      A little further down the hill from the Museum building we find a shooting gallery with electromechanical gun games along with a seating area where live music would be performed later in the day.

      The gun games collection
      The gun games collection
      Seating for the live music audience
      Seating for the live music audience

      There was also a Funhouse facade which is presumably used for some of the other events held at the Museum.

      The entrance to the Funhouse
      The entrance to the Funhouse

      Back up the hill, we return to the main entrance to the Museum.

      Arcade Expo rules to enjoying the epicness
      Arcade Expo rules to enjoying the epicness

      On the wall is a large white space where visitors are invited to make their mark using the pens provided.

      It was early in the day when we took this picture - the wall soon received more visitor contributions
      It was early in the day when we took this picture – the wall soon received more visitor contributions

      Beyond that is a display case showing some items found inside pinballs which arrive at the Museum, as well as the collection’s oldest exhibit.

      Some of the few exhibits not available to play
      Some of the few exhibits not available to play

      As you enter the Museum you have two main choices – turn left for pinballs, or turn right for videos.

      This way to the pinball collection
      This way to the pinball collection
      This way to the video games
      This way to the video games

      There is a third choice, and that is the Museum’s gift shop which has a selection on T-shirts, posters, patches, coasters, and other pinball and gaming items for sale.

      The Museum gift shop
      The Museum gift shop
      More items from the gift shop
      More items from the gift shop
      More shirts just outside the gift shop
      More shirts just outside the gift shop

      Entering the pinball hall, you immediately appreciate the scale of the collection, with rows upon rows of games from all eras. For anyone experiencing this for the first time, this is often a jaw-dropping moment.

      The central rows of machines
      The central rows of machines

      The newest machines are at the front of the hall, while the machines in each row are broadly determined by the manufacturer.

      Bally dot matrix machines
      Bally dot matrix machines
      Williams solid-state machines
      Williams solid-state machines
      Bally solid-state games
      Bally solid-state games
      Data East and Sega titles
      Data East and Sega titles
      More Data East Pinball games
      More Data East Pinball games

      There is also a shorter row showcasing the latest (or sometimes, last) titles from other pinball manufacturers Dutch Pinball, American Pinball, Heighway Pinball, HomePin and Spooky Pinball.

      Recent machines from assorted manufacturer at the back, Sega pinballs at the front
      Recent machines from assorted manufacturer at the back, Sega pinballs at the front
      The Big Lebowski, Houdini, Alien and Full Throttle
      The Big Lebowski, Houdini, Alien and Full Throttle
      Thunderbirds
      Thunderbirds
      Spooky Pinball titles - Alice Cooper's Nightmare Castle, Domino's Pizza, Rob Zombie's Spookshow International, America's Most Haunted, The Jetsons and Total
      Spooky Pinball titles – Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle, Domino’s Pizza, Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International, America’s Most Haunted, The Jetsons and Total Nuclear Annihilation

      The other newest titles are from Stern Pinball and they are found on the other side of the hall in the Stern zone.

      Players on some of the Stern Pinball machines
      Players on some of the Stern Pinball machines
      Stern Pinball games
      Stern Pinball games
      A second row of Stern titles
      A second row of Stern titles
      Some of the more recent releases
      Some of the more recent releases
      Newer Stern games
      Newer Stern games
      The current title - The Munsters - in LE form, along with Gold and Platinum The Beatles machines, Deadpool and more
      The current title – The Munsters – in LE form, along with Gold and Platinum The Beatles machines, Deadpool and more

      Jersey Jack Pinball have their own dedicated area with three of their titles featured. Only Pirates of the Caribbean is not in this collection.

      The Jersey Jack Pinball collection: Dialed In!, The Wizard of Oz and The Hobbit
      The Jersey Jack Pinball collection: Dialed In!, The Wizard of Oz and The Hobbit

      We are updating this report live across the weekend, and we’ll be back shortly with much more from Arcade Expo, including a look at the huge EM machine collection, more of the newer games, the seminars which have taken place so far, and more vendors inside the Museum building.

      So, check back a little later for our continuing reports.

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