Friday, May 11, 2018

[SCORE!] "Atlanta Pinball Museum" Being Pitched Via Kickstarter

Something called the Atlanta Pinball Museum (APM) is being proposed at an undisclosed location in West Midtown.  The business, which would include a beer & wine lounge and "free play" pinball, is being pitched to prospective investors via a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $250,000.  Despite having only raised $18 $3,280 of their overall goal, the page also promotes a "Winter 2018" opening. (between us starting this post Wednesday and publishing Friday, the donations increased tremendously.) The Kickstarter page goes on to say "We will open with the largest collection of machines in Georgia."
In his pitch, would-be pinball museum owner Tim Hightower says "Crowdfunding will allow us to open debt free so we can continue to grow the collection until it is complete. If we don't meet our goal we will open to the public as planned and skip the 30 days of members only. We will also have to make loan payments which will slow down the purchasing of pinball machines."

A typical older model pinball machine in OK condition and not highly collectible can be had for a few hundred bucks.  More desirable machines would likely run $500-$2,000 while collectible and new machines can run anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $125,000, the sum one person paid for a William Wiley pinball machine: Punball: Only One Earth.

The museum claims "Right now, if you want to play pinball in Atlanta, you're out of luck,"  but that is not really accurate.  At least one other pinball-centric business exists in metro Atlanta, Portal Pinball Arcade on Cherokee Street in Kennesaw, which opened this past December and promotes itself as "Metro Atlanta's largest retro arcade."  There are also a couple of dozen other places sprinkled around metro Atlanta that have a few machines, but nowhere near the variety that APM is planning and Portal already offers.  

A rendering of the interior of Atlanta Pinball Museum
APM does not specifically identify its West Midtown location saying only that it "is in one of Atlanta’s rising neighborhoods with a proven history of being a destination location." The museum itself is described as "a football field worth of space" that "gives us room to comfortably house our machines and continue to grow the collection."  The concept as a whole is called "A New Twist on the Classic “Arcade”"

The campaign page also enumerates all the "benefits" of pinball as an activity.  

What Makes Pinball so Great? – Each table has a story, from the art, to the table design, to the game-play itself. 

 – Pinball is a great challenge. It enhances hand-eye coordination, reaction speed, and strategic thinking. 

– It’s the most friendly of games. Everybody can play. Everybody can compete. 

 – You can play with a friend, in groups or play alone. 

– Equal playing field – Everybody is equal in the eyes of a pinball machine, regardless of age, strength, or gender.

Amazingly, brief internet searching returns results for another pinball heavy arcade already in Atlanta - Atlanta, Illinois that is.  The Route 66 Arcade Museum is right by the Paul Bunyan Statue in downtown Atlanta and opened in 2013.  The Museum features over 40 vintage pinball and video games, primarily from 1934 though 1982.  

The Chicago Reader recently published a great piece on pinball entitled "The First Family of pinball: Meet the local wizards behind the game's huge resurgence."  

APM's Kickstarter is an "all or nothing" meaning that the project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Saturday, July 7, 2018 at 10:00 PM EDT.

Do you plan to support the Atlanta Pinball Museum?  Where do you think it will open?  What is your favorite pinball game?

Please share your thoughts below.  


Anonymous said...

I love the idea of this happening but their chances of meeting that goal that quickly are zero. I'm assuming they meant to set it up as flexible funding and I genuinely hope they sort it out and manage to open regardless.

Anonymous said...

There's also one in Las Vegas called the "Pinball Hall Of Fame" in a non-descript building off the strip. It's a non-profit run by some collectors of vintage pinball machines and has most of them in playable condition in a 10,000 sq. ft facility. Since it's a non-profit, all excess proceeds are donated to non-denominational charities.

Here's their website:

This Atlanta idea takes this to the next level, with a more refined atmosphere.

SB said...

The one in Vegas is incredible. I spent hours there and could live there. Planning to go to the Kennesaw one soon. Just became aware of it a few months ago.

Everyone should check out the Southern Fried Gaming Expo next month:

Unknown said...

I imagine they are taking the idea from the Asheville, NC Pinball Museum that also serves Beer & Wine and is free play for a $10 entry fee.

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