Updated: Aug 26, 2021
Years ago I lived I in Richmond, VA and I still have friends in the area, so that was the next stop on our college road trip / arcade tour.
Over the past several years, I have been dying to visit one of the various “Pinball Collectives” that have been forming across the country. A collective is essentially a bunch of collectors who form a group to open a location where they can gather to play pinball, hold tournaments and promote the hobby. There’s a couple of collectives up North but their hours are limited and they’re juuuust far enough away from my house that I haven’t been able to visit them yet. Richmond has one of these collectives and let me tell you, it’s an absolute must visit if you’re into pinball.
The Richmond Pinball Collective is located in a strip mall off of a highway. If you weren’t specifically looking for it you’d never know that it was there. It is truly a hidden gem of the pinball world. My family made it our first stop in our trip back north on the college tour. I met an old friend of mine who lives in the area there as well.
The collective’s pinball lineup is truly impressive. It had examples of every kind of machine imaginable…widebodies, EMs, Pinball 2000, solid state, new titles, classics, you name it. You literally couldn’t put together a better mix of games. Here’s their current lineup, courtesy of Pinball Map:
The Addams Family (Bally, 1992)
America's Most Haunted (Spooky Pinball, 2014)
Centaur (Bally, 1981)
Congo (Williams, 1995)
Demolition Man (Williams, 1994)
Diner (Williams, 1990)
Dirty Harry (Williams, 1995)
Doctor Who (Bally, 1992)
Elvira and the Party Monsters (Bally, 1989)
F-14 Tomcat (Williams, 1987)
Fish Tales (Williams, 1992)
Flip Flop (Bally, 1974)
Genesis (Gottlieb, 1986)
Goldeneye (Sega, 1996)
Gorgar (Williams, 1979)
Grand Lizard (Williams, 1986)
High Speed (Williams, 1986)
Indianapolis 500 (Bally, 1995)
Jungle Lord (Williams, 1981)
Jurassic Park (Pro) (Stern, 2019)
The Mandalorian (Pro) (Stern, 2021)
Monster Bash (Remake) (Chicago Gaming, 2018)
Pool Sharks (Bally, 1990)
Revenge from Mars (Bally, 1999)
River Boat (Williams, 1964)
Star Wars Episode 1 (Williams, 1999)
Star Wars Trilogy (Sega, 1997)
Taxi (Williams, 1988)
Whirlwind (Williams, 1990)
Wizard! (Bally, 1975)
World Cup Soccer (Bally, 1994)
Not only was the mix of games great, they were all in fantastic working order. When every single person at a location is a pinball collector who is allowed to work on the games, stuff gets fixed fast!
Speaking of the people, everyone at the collective was super friendly and welcoming. I spent a long while speaking with Clark Fraley, one of the many awesome people that I met that day. I wish that I lived closer to Richmond, I’d absolutely join the collective instantly if I did.
Guests are allowed to visit the location for a super reasonable $10/adult and $5/child. All of the games are set to free play. Good beer is available for sale at very low prices. Yes that’s right, amazing pinball and cheap beer 🍻. It doesn’t get much better than that.
So what did we play? For some reason I have an unusual attraction to Sega pinball machines, so the first games I hit were Sega Star Wars and Golden Eye, neither of which you see very often. I also have been obsessed with Demo Man lately. It is one of the best-flowing widebodies ever made. And how cool are the upper flipper handles?! I need a Demo Man. If anyone has one for sale, let me know.
The collective had both Williams Pinball 2000 games, Revenge From Mars and Star Wars Episode 1 next to each other, which was neat to see. They also had the newest Stern pin, Mandalorian. Let’s see, what else…ooh they had a very uncommon Spooky Pinball America’s Most Haunted. I played that for the first time there.
I could go on and on about how amazing this place is, but I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.
This early morning post is brought to you by the inability to sleep caused by too many consecutive nights of booze, eating out and sleeping in strange beds. We should be able to squeeze in one more stop on our whirlwind tour before a much needed return home. Talk to you soon. Thanks for reading!