Pinball Wizards Appear In North Texas For Annual Festival | KERA News

Pinball Wizards Appear In North Texas For Annual Festival

Mar 27, 2015

For 51 weekends a year, North Texas gamers are obsessed with everything from Candy Crush Saga to World of Warcraft. Except this weekend, in Frisco, where the hottest game in town is pinball

The Texas Pinball Festival got underway Friday night.

If you’re always referencing flippers, sling shots, and pop bumpers, you probably get a lot of funny looks. Talk that way at the Frisco Convention Center this weekend, and you’re royalty.

The Thompson family speaks fluent pinball. They came down from Topeka, Kansas, a trip Don Thompson looks forward to all year.

“I probably have not had a car in my garage for the last five years. There is no room, there’s a two car over-sized garage full of machines," he says.

Don's daughter Becca won second place in the women’s tournament at the Pinball Festival last year. Besides competition, there’s also a pinball auction, swap meet, even seminars on repair tips.

But the big draw this weekend is the free play. Once you pay up to 35 dollars the door, you can play unlimited games. Festival organizer Paul McKinney says for the Minecraft generation, pinball is a brand new concept.

“But they take to it pretty quick.  In fact we’ve had some people come from Japan who didn’t realize pinball machines were actually real. They thought they were only available virtually, so they got all excited when they found out there were such things as real pinball machines," he says.

McKinney helped get this event off the ground back in 2002 and says it’s kind of like a car show. Collectors come with their favorites, show them off and share them with other enthusiasts.

 Even if you don’t take home a tournament trophy, or score a sweet replay, between the people-watching and the pinball, it sounds like you can’t go wrong.