For the first time here on Retro Game SuperHyper, I’m revisiting an arcade that I’ve featured before! Of course today I’m talking about the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas, Nevada.
While the PHOF was a long-running attraction for pinheads and arcade gamers for many years, in 2021 it made a much-publicized move from its original location on Tropicana to a huge, brand-new home located on the south end of the strip itself, right across the street from the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.
The PHOF relocation project was actually in jeopardy for a moment, when it appeared they were going to come up a bit short of their needed funding. Thanks to a wildly successful crowdfunding effort (full disclosure: I donated), the PHOF was able to meet their goal and complete their new facility.
I hadn’t been to Vegas since 2014, but in May of 2022, my wife and I took a short vacation to Sin City to relax, see a few sights, and visit some friends. While my lovely bride is not a gamer per se, she does love her some pinball, so the new Pinball Hall of Fame was definitely on our list of things to check out this trip.
One of the craziest things about the new PHOF building is the absurdly gigantic lettering on the side that very clearly marks what’s inside. A big step up from the old location’s modest, almost missable little signage.
There’s also a gorgeous mid-mod-style sign on the side of the road.
Inside, things are actually much the same as they were in the old location: No frills, no flashy lights, no posters. Just rows and rows and rows of pinball of all vintages.
Brand-new tables, ’80s and ’90s classics, vintage wedgeheads and woodrails. Almost all of them still have little handwritten signs full of historical information on each game.
They even have a great collection of electromechanical games and novelty machines.
With this many beautiful pinball machines, who needs decor?
Of course, they still have a nice selection of classic video games as well — more than they did at the old place, even.
While the space is much larger and there can be a little more room between rows, I feel like there were quite a few games missing from the last time I was here. Maybe I just didn’t see them, but I missed out on playing a few of my favorites.
What I consider the star of the show — Williams’ prototype Pinball Circus machine, one of only two in existence — is still there, and very playable. This is actually my wife’s favorite game, and one of mine too. It boggles the mind why this unique machine never made it to wide manufacture and release.
And yes, I finally got to play Godzilla, which I missed out on at MGC a couple days earlier.
All in all, although it’s in a big, new, airy building right on the Las Vegas strip with a ridiculously gigantic sign, the core of the Pinball Hall of Fame hasn’t changed all that much: all the pinball you can possibly play, all day long. Period. And what more could it need?