Do you remember pinball?
Do you remember pinball? Whether you played causally on an old desktop running on Windows 97 or in your Mom’s basement or spent every weekend at the local arcade every weekend using your last quarter and slowly getting Carpal Tunnel, most people have some brief recollection of the game that requires a lot of patience and even more luck.
RVAPinball is here to give you some childhood nostalgia and hopefully a new casual obsession.
Chris Booberg is the founder and organizer of RVAPinball, the site and community aimed at expanding the RVAPinball scene. The group hosts events to engage the public and let them know that the game is still thriving, and host public tournaments.
“We’re trying to explain to people that pinball is still out there,” said Booberg. “New pinball machines are being made, and there are people who collect and really enjoy pinball. We feel like if people have an opportunity to play it and come out to the tournament, they’d be into it.”
RVAPinball hosted it’s first tournament back in May at Isley Brewing Company (http://www.isleybrewingcompany.com/ ), in Scott’s Addition. The turnout for the event saw a diverse crowd come together.
“When we had the tournament, we had people come from North Carolina, Northern Virginia, the Tidewater area, and Charlottesville,” Booberg said. “We had kids, guys who were about 60 years old, and people who were about 19.”
Booberg is more than your casual pinball player. He played as a child, through college, and continued his love of the game, and collecting, throughout his adult life. It is the fact that you can never really control what will happen that makes pinball interesting to Booberg.
“It’s the combination of the lights and the sounds, unlike video games, a pinball machine is truly random,” he said. “Video game will have patterns and ways that you can play and approach it; but, every single pinball game is different because you never know what the pinball is going to do.”
Booberg is a part of Richmond’s own pinball league, The River City Flippers. The league consists of 20 members, pinball enthusiasts and collectors. They meet monthly to compete. Members of the league also donate machines to RVAPinball’s events.
“We meet every month on the 2nd tuesday of the month, and we compete against each other” said Booberg. “In that competition you are awarded points towards the state championship. So, the top 16 finishers by point, in the state go to the state championship and the winner of the state championship can go to the national championship.”
“RVAPinball is more to try and spread information about pinball and host public tournaments,” he added.
On August 16, RVAPinball will host its second tournament, the City Championships at Isley Brewing Company. Guests can hope to experience both quality pinball action, and an atmosphere of good people.
“People can expect to be greeted by very friendly people who are into pinball and want to share their pinball machines with them; a fantastic location at Isley Brewing that has great beer, and where you are welcome to bring in your own food, or sodas,” Booberg said. “It’s a good time to hang out, meet other people who are into pinball, and you’ll have a chance to be entered into the tournament.”
This comes at a time when pinball in Richmond is struggling. Bailey’s on West Broad recenty removed three of its pinball machines. Bailey’s is no longer the largest pinball location in Richmond. This leaves the Pour House (http://www.shortpumppourhouse.com/ ), in Short Pump, as the only location where you can find more than one pinball machine.
Despite this, Booberg is still encouraging people to go out and support pinball in Richmond.
“We try to keep frequent posts [on RVAPinball] so that people know what’s going on in pinball, what’s coming up,” he said. “We put links to podcasts, and we run monthly high-score tournaments in locations. We’re trying to encourage people to go out and support the few pinball machines that are out on location.”