Sometimes I just want to get out and try something new. I get stuck in a rut. I think I may have found that “something new” to do that’s both fun and entertaining but not too exhausting. Pinball! I know what you’re thinking: pinball? The game we played at the arcades and movie theaters in the 80’s? Yes, THAT kind of pinball. It is making a resurgence across the country and even here in Wichita. At the moment the movement is small but it is mighty.
I recently spoke with Adam Herrington, a local pinball aficionado who is making it easier for Wichitans to find games. Herrington says his love of pinball started during his childhood. He grew up in Wellington, which is a small town South of Wichita, where he would play pinball at a local pizza place any time that he could. He lost touch with the hobby for years, until a friend got him hooked again. “I bought a Pinball machine for $700 that needed a lot of work and my friend and I rebuilt it,” he says. “And it was all downhill from there.”
Herrington believes that the resurgence of pinball is about nostalgia. “Everything that is old becomes new again,” he says. “It’s really big on the coasts and in larger cities, so I figured if I loved the hobby as much as I do that there had to be others that would come out and play.”
Places to Play Pinball in Wichita
Currently, there isn’t much of a pinball scene in Wichita, but Herrington hopes that will change.
His Wichita Pinball Community Facebook group has made a convenient, easy to use interactive map of all the current pinball games in service in the Wichita area. Many laundry mats, restaurants, bowling alleys, theaters, etc. have pinball machines. For example, The Lost Sock laundry mat has a lot of pins. (However, Herrington warned, they are not always well maintained.) The pinball map is updated regularly to reflect any changes. Click HERE to find the map.
Pinball Events in Wichita
For those who would like to enjoy more of a night out, Industry Old Town now has a pinball lounge which currently has 7 pinball cabinets. The latest addition is Stars Wars. The pinball cabinets even have convenient drink holders. The lounge opens daily at 6p.m., except on Tuesdays. Every other Friday, Industry hosts pinball tournaments and has prizes for the winners. They even have free giveaway Fridays on various Friday evenings. Most of the tournaments have an entry fee of $5 plus coin drop. The tournaments also have 100% payout, which means that 100% of the money from the entry fees goes into the prize pool.
If you are like me and sometimes find it hard to find a babysitter or like to take your children with you, Industry is usually 21+ to enter. However, on league and tournament nights they make an exception. Children are welcome to play as long as they have a little bit of an understanding of the game. The recommended age is around 10, but there are currently no strict regulations. It’s really up to the discretion of the parents.
There are even $10 wristband nights where you pay one price and get unlimited games of pinball. There are usually drink specials that coincide with the different events. To learn more about specific events, visit the Industry Old Town Pinball Group on Facebook.
For those who are hesitant to try pinball, Herrington says that “90% of the people that come out (to play) either have never played or haven’t played in 20 years.” Which is great news for me! I hope to get out and play soon and I hope to see you there!