Call me old school, but there’s just a special kind of awesome embodied by pinball machines, that video games can’t compete with in my book. The artwork, the lights, the sounds, the feel, the super tactile nature, all the qualities of a good game just put the hugest smile on my face. And here in Northern California, we’re lucky to have Lucky Ju Ju and the Pacific Pinball Museum, home to hundreds of beautifully restored and maintained pinball machines from the past 80 years. Every year, they host the Pacific Pinball Expo, taking place this year on September 21-23 at the Marin County Civic Center. If you’re in the area, you won’t want to miss it.

These folks have been a playful presence at every one of our Bay Area Maker Faires, since the first in 2006. I love this quote from their fearless leader, Michael Schiess:

I really do believe there’s a soul to these machines, that they want to be played. And it’s really funny — if you don’t play them, they kind of stop working and they develop problems, but as long as you play them, they seem to go forever. Once you get one of these restored, they’re really a pretty amazing piece of American ingenuity.

They’re serious about preserving the history of pinball, and they currently have a campaign to create the epic Smithsonian of Pinball. Interested and have 10 minutes to spare? Check out their video, Pinheads: