Well I’m back from my travels. I had a great week in California this year and was fortunate enough to take in lots of classic arcade sights and sounds along the way. I had a few plans in place to visit friends and a few tourist spots, but I timed my trip to coincide with the Museum of Pinball’s annual Arcade Expo event which takes place over three days mid-March.
I visited the Expo last year, and thoroughly enjoyed my time there, but only managed a few hours as our schedule was very tight. This time around I was determined to spend the full three days of the expo acquainting myself with as much of the inventory on show as I could.
I won’t repeat what I wrote last year – if you want some general context about the totality of this amazing facility hidden away in Banning, California, check out the link above. If you can’t be bothered to do that, let me tell you there are some 1,200 pinball and classic video arcade machines here, and pretty much every one of them are playable.
It’s really difficult to describe how overwhelming it is to walk into either side of the building. You can’t really “start” anywhere, it’s really a matter of picking a machine and start playing.
So let’s start with pinball:
There were many highlights in the pinball section, and I’ve tried to pick out a few here:
Moving over to the video game side of the building is no less impressive.
Again here’s a few highlights I thought worthy of attention:
I mentioned before that many of the video games are organised by manufacturer. Here’s a few examples that are worth pointing out:
I’ll leave you with this great walk-through video posted by YouTuber “coasterlvr” which is well worth a watch.
So there you have it – Arcade Expo. There were rumblings that quite a few machines were down over the weekend. I can’t say that everything was working, but you have to be realistic. I own 12 machines and it’s a real challenge to keep those up and working 100%. Imagine dealing with a hundred times that amount! Any disappointment about machines not working should really be taken in the context of the whole experience. I had a great time and so did thousands of other attendees. Hats off to the team of volunteers who work tirelessly throughout the year to keep this stuff up and running for the public to enjoy.
If you’ve yet to make it out to Banning for this great Expo, do try to make the effort. As well as the machines, there are bands playing outside, great food, craft beer, plenty of parking and a good vibe about the place. It has to be the largest collection of pinball and video games under one roof. Three days really wasn’t enough to get through everything and I’m already making plans for 2020’s event and hope to see you there.