'One with the machine': Pop-up pinball expo brings excitement of arcades back to Winnipeg
Pinball is far from dead in the city of Winnipeg.
The Manitoba Pinball League has partnered with Phantom Amusement to bring a pop-up pinball expo to Forth in the Exchange District.
David Morris, chair of the Manitoba Pinball League, says the expo — which kicked off this week and will carry on until the end of April — aims to bring the excitement of arcades back to the city.
"A bunch of people that were wanting this to happen talked about all the great downtown arcades of the past," he said. "All these places that were there in the '90s, '80s and '70s that are gone — people miss it — so we brought this in a central location and we feel this is for everyone."
As well as bringing a room full of pinball machines back for Winnipeggers to enjoy, Morris says the expo will also see the unveiling of a brand new machine Saturday morning.
The machine — a Jersey Jack Dialed In model — will be unboxed live at Forth at 171 McDermot Ave. starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 17.
The unboxing will be followed by a launch party that starts at 1 p.m. and runs till 11 p.m.
"It's a really neat new machine that's got a bigger LCD screen some of the other ones that we have here and it offers a lot of new features that haven't been in pinball before," explained Morris.
One of those new features is an app that'll allow you to play the machine through your phone.
"You can be standing over here playing the real pinball machine with your phone, which is pretty cool."
League gaining popularity
The Manitoba Pinball League was started just over a year ago and Morris says the popularity of the game is steadily growing in Winnipeg and across the province.
Morris says the league consistently see 25 to 30 pinball players out for their events, and sometimes those numbers swell to 40.
Organizers also started a women's league last month.
"Pinball gives you an experience that you can't get in a lot of other places," he said. "You are one with the machine, you put your hands on that machine and you really become part of it — the sounds, the feel — it's real mechanical parts and it's something hard to duplicate."
The pop-up expo is open to everyone and it's free to get in the doors. Games start at 25 cents to play and range in price up to $1.
For more information go to manitobapinball.com.