The lights, the bells, the feeling of slapping that shiny metal ball and sending it exactly where you want it to go—it’s hard to beat the tactile, analog experience of playing pinball. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to bring back a part of your childhood—or you’re just getting tired of your Xbox—consider this a sign: The Museum of Pinball, home to one of the world’s largest collections of pinball machines, is closing down and auctioning off its entire roster of 700 machines, along with other vintage arcade games.
In an interview with The New York Times, the museum’s founder, John Weeks, said the unfortunate closure came about when plans to move the museum from its current home in Banning, CA, to nearby Palm Springs fell through. It was already losing money, and he couldn’t afford to keep it open.
“It’s just sadness,” Weeks told the Times. “People would come from all over the world to go to this place.”
Although the museum’s closure is certainly a loss, it’s also a golden opportunity for pinball enthusiasts to pick up some rare and unique machines. Weeks’s collection of hundreds of pinball machines includes rarities like a machine made for the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise—one of very few examples produced. There are plenty of other film-inspired machines, including ones with Ghostbusters, Superman, and Spiderman themes, as well as other oddities, like a pinball machine dedicated to the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team.
In addition to the pinball machines, the auction will also include a large number of arcade games, including classics like Pac-Man and more obscure machines like a hulking console called Mr. Viking (whatever that is). Pinball and vintage game enthusiasts are already sizing up the collection.
“I’m optimistic that the equipment will move to good places,” said Chris Campbell, the owner of the company hosting the auction. “The interest is insane.”
The auction will take place both in person (at the Museum of Pinball) and online in two separate sessions: Sept. 10–12 and Sept. 24–26. You can get more info on how to bid on the auction website.
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