Welcome to Dave's Pinball Arcade
Dave's Pinball Arcade (2019-????)
The arcade today. Eight pinball machines (seven real, one virtual), two video games, and a table hockey game.
There's now a lot more room on the TV end of the basement. No more classic consoles...I sold those. But I still have the pinball coffee table, the TARDIS door, and the 65" TV for movies and modern consoles. I got rid of the Pac-Man wall in favor of hanging some awesome Star Trek art from one of my favorite artists.
I decided that the Star Trek machines belonged together...so I moved Centaur back with the EMs.
Another angle on the EMs and Centaur.
I'm a child of the 80s...or, more accurately, I was a teenager of the 80s. I was in high school and college when arcade video games ruled the world, and I spent a lot of time (and a lot of quarters) playing those games in every arcade, bowling alley, and convenience store I could find.
In the late 90s, when I discovered that people actually collected the coin-op games I grew up on, I dove in head-first. At various times, I have owned as many as 15 80s arcade games. My arcade started in a one-car garage, and grew to take up most of the basement (when we moved to a house that had one).
Then, in 2004, I rediscovered pinball.
I had been playing pinball even longer than I had been playing video games. As I remember it, I was around 7 when I played my first pinball machine. My interest in pinball waned when video games came along, but it never entirely went away. I put in quite a few hours on Centaur II at an arcade called Gadgets in Towson, Maryland. That was the game that taught me that pinball had rules and goals and wasn't just a frenzy of flipping to keep the ball in play as long as possible. But video games were my main focus. Pinball was an afterthought in the 80s.
In the 90s, pinball had a renaissance. There were a lot of good games then--and the best of the bunch was The Addams Family. My wife and I played the heck out of it. And, in 2004--when my video game collecting obsession was at its peak--we bought an Addams as an anniversary present to ourselves. I really started getting back into pinball at that point and little did I know that it would eventually lead to a shift from "Dave's Classic Arcade" to "Dave's Pinball Arcade."
Check out the evolution of Dave's Arcade below. And use the nav bar above to dig deeper into this ever-evolving arcade obsession of mine.
The single-car garage at our house in Durham, NC was Arcade 1.0. It started out as just games in a garage--but some black paint, curtains, and creative decorating transformed it into a full-blown arcade, including a DVD player and monitor that played non-stop 80s music videos.
Hand-painted Space Wars and Star Castle murals with plasma discs for the star and Star Castle weapon.
The left side of the garage (pre-renovation).
Looking back from the garage door (pre-renovation).
Basement Arcade 1.0 (2008-2014)
When we moved from Durham, NC to Sanford, NC, Meghan (my wife) made finding a home with a basement a priority in our house search. This was specifically to accommodate my growing arcade. In this hobby, it really helps to have a supportive wife.
With a few additional outlets, our partially-finished basement turned out to be the perfect arcade.
At one time, I collected classic video game consoles, too. They were displayed around the TV. You can also see the pinball coffee table I built.
The unfinished side of the basement, where the video games lived.
NBA Jam, 60-in-1 multicade, Wizard of Wor, and Mario Bros.
Basement Arcade 2.0 (2014-2019)
So, a couple of things made me gravitate away from video games. First, I was finding myself spending more time repairing the games than playing them. That's fun for some collectors, but I'm not great at electronic repair so, for me, it was frustrating.
Second, I got laid off and I needed the money more than the games.
At any rate, I had a huge sell-off of video games, keeping only my multicade, a MAME machine (built in my NBA Jam cabinet after the monitor died), Spy Hunter, and Food Fight. I also kept the pinball machines I had at the time. By this time, I played the pinball machines way more often than the video games.
And the consoles remained, surrounding a slightly larger TV. The pinball coffee table is still there, too.
After the sell-off, there was more room--and a lot fewer video games. (This is before NBA Jam became a MAME cabinet.) I used the X-COM Interceptor wall display to build...well, a wall to hid the storage area formerly obscured by the games.