Assuming Freelance is still reading this topic (maybe she doesn\'t revisit past hunting grounds?): Freelance, you\'d get a kick out of the place I visited today. I sure did. I\'m in the Baltimore area this weekend visiting family, and I dropped by the newly opened National Pinball Museum (well, new in its new Baltimore location, where it moved from Washington, D.C.). It\'s fairly small in its reincarnation, only a fraction of all the hardware actually owned by the curator, but it\'s got quality stuff. Loads of pinball history, including tables from the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and up (the playable machines start from the 50s, as far as I can recall, and go through the 90s).
The playable machines there which I\'ve played video game simulations of before: Slick Chick, Funhouse, Whirlwind, Black Knight. The non-playable machines there which I\'ve played video game simulations of before: Humpty Dumpty (yes, they have the first flipper pin, and its flippers were powered on and working), Gorgar, Baffle Ball (1931!), Knock-Out. There\'s also a fair amount of historical presentation going on, with verbose exhibit descriptions, like for Montague Redgrave (I did not know of this guy, but he patented the spring-loaded bagatelle shooting mechanism in 1871 that is now a pinball fundamental), the creation of Humpty Dumpty\'s flipper, the rolldown pinball (another thing I\'d never heard of, pins which had the player manually drop the ball in from an opening in the glass at the top of the table; it was a workaround for cities who considered the plunger to be the same as a slot machine handle, and thus pinball a form of illegal gambling), Williams\' entry into the market, etc. I spent something like an hour (a significant part of my 4 hours of admission . . .) just talking to the curator about his collection and pinball history. Naturally, I also played a lot of pinball, though not even close to half of what was available. Missed out on their Whirlwind, Funhouse, Addams Family, and Twilight Zone, darn it. I did play the ST:TNG machine, though! And I discovered I suck at real Black Knight even more so than in Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection (my worst leaderboard position in that is that table).
National Pinball Museum! Go have a visit!