Full Tilt

Full Tilt
Some of the best times in Las Vegas can be had in the least likely places.

Some of the best times in Las Vegas can be had in the least likely places. Take the putty-colored stucco box on East Tropicana Avenue, way out beyond the tourist haunts on the Strip. The exterior has all the charm of a discount shoe warehouse. Inside, it's full-tilt family fun at cheapskate-friendly prices.

The Pinball Hall of Fame is one of the world’s largest collections of pinball machines open to the public. It’s got aisles and aisles of games — 250 in all — every one playable. Admission is free; you can entertain yourself all afternoon for $10.
The oldest machines date to the postwar years, when Bally, Gottlieb and other manufacturers were turning out electro-mechanical games with wood rails, turning-dial score reels and names like “Bowling Queen.”
“If you want to see the holy grail of pinball machines, it’s over here,” said owner Tim Arnold, walking down a dimly lighted aisle to a 1993 game called “Pinball Circus.”
The machine is incredibly complicated, with seven flippers, four pop bumpers and a kick-out hole all stretched out over multiple playfields. In one, an elephant raises its head to roll a ball along its trunk.

“You’re looking at a million and a half dollars here,” Arnold said. “They only made two of these. You can play it for $1 but if I were smart, I wouldn’t let anybody touch it.”


Anne Burke, Custom Publishing Writer