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Updated: Dec 22, 2021

Flashback to 2016, the popular Pittsburgh Pinball League had lost its home. The location that the group had been hosting their regular events at was on a block that was scheduled to be demolished by and replaced with condos. When the city literally shut off the water to the entire block, the group knew that they could not continue to meet there any more. But where to go? Two members of the organization, real estate expert and the golden-voiced former PAPA pinball announcer Jon Replogle and the master of pinball Zen Jake Kolojejchick jumped into action. Along with several other group members, they purchased and renovated a former bowling alley, turned karate dojo and transformed it into a beautiful pinball paradise aptly named the "Pittsburgh Pinball Dojo."

When it comes to the annual Fall Arcade Road Trip (TM), I select all of our destinations and Rob is in charge of logistics. The Dojo was one of the must visit locations on this year's trip to Pittsburgh. Much to my chagrin, after looking into it Rob informed me that the week we were going to be in town the Dojo was only scheduled to be open on Thursday night, before our arrival. So I reached out to several members of the group and Evan Bookbinder and Jake Kolojejchick were kind enough to agree to open up the Dojo on Saturday morning for us to get pictures of their amazing place for everyone. And pictures we did get. I finally finished sifting through hundreds of them this weekend, cleaning them up and supercharging them like I typically do (what can I say, I like colors). Below is a list of what we saw, courtesy of Pinball Map:

24 (Stern, 2009)

4 Square (Gottlieb, 1971)

AC/DC (Premium) (Stern, 2012)

The Addams Family (Bally, 1992)

Alien Poker (Williams, 1980)

Aquarius (Gottlieb, 1970)

Argosy (Williams, 1977)

Attack From Mars (Bally, 1995)

Bobby Orr's Power Play (Bally, 1977)

Class of 1812 (Gottlieb, 1991)

Congo (Williams, 1995)

Dialed In! (LE) (Jersey Jack, 2017)

Eight Ball Deluxe (LE) (Bally, 1982)

F-14 Tomcat (Williams, 1987)

Flight 2000 (Stern, 1980)

Genie (Gottlieb, 1979)

Ghostbusters (Pro) (Stern, 2016)

Grand Lizard (Williams, 1986)

Grand Prix (Williams, 1976)

Harlem Globetrotters On Tour (Bally, 1978)

Hi-Diver (Gottlieb, 1959)

Hollywood Heat (Gottlieb, 1986)

Hot Tip (Williams, 1977)

Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast (Pro) (Stern, 2018)

Jack-Bot (Williams, 1995)

Knockout (Bally, 1974)

Medusa (Bally, 1981)

Metallica (Pro) (Stern, 2013)

Meteor (Stern, 1979)

Old Chicago (Bally, 1975)

Orbitor 1 (Stern, 1982)

Paragon (Bally, 1978)

Pinball Lizard (Game Plan, 1980)

Pro-Football (Gottlieb, 1973)

Ripley's Believe It or Not! (Stern, 2003)

Silverball Mania (Bally, 1978)

Sorcerer (Williams, 1985)

Space Time (Bally, 1972)

Spider-Man (Stern, 2007)

Star Pool (Williams, 1974)

Star Trek (Pro) (Stern, 2013)

Stellar Wars (Williams, 1979)

Super Orbit (Gottlieb, 1983)

Super Score (Gottlieb, 1967)

Supersonic (Bally, 1979)

Twilight Zone (Bally, 1993)

The Walking Dead (Premium) (Stern, 2015)

The Wizard of Oz (Emerald City) (Jersey Jack, 2013)

Wizard! (Bally, 1975)

World Cup Soccer (Bally, 1994)

World Poker Tour (Stern, 2006)

That's some lineup! I don't think that I've seen a few of those games, like Stern Orbiter 1 and Game Plan Pinball Lizard, anywhere else on location. As impressive as this list is, so is the lineage of many of these games. If one looks closely at my pictures they will see small labels on the coin doors of many of the games. Those labels indicate that the game was once a part of the now liquidated famous PAPA pinball collection. Many of these actual games, such Williams Grand Prix, were featured in the amazing PAPA pinball tournaments that many of us watched live and in person or on YouTube over the years.

In addition to hosting pinball tournaments, the Dojo is open to the public once or twice per week. All of the games are set to free play and visitors can play all that they like for one flat fee ($15 I believe). The venue can be rented out for private parties as well. The folks at the Dojo even conduct pinball skills classes for beginners or even more seasoned players who would like to hone their skills. The group has big plans for future tournaments.

If you're a pinball fan who ever finds yourself in the Pittsburgh area, you owe it to yourself to check out the fantastic Pittsburgh Pinball Dojo. Once again, thanks so much to Evan and Jake who took the time to show us around. Make sure to check back at often because later this week I will have a report on the Indiana Jones secret government warehouse of arcade and pinball games. Thanks for reading everyone!