It's Play Day For Pinball Wizards, Arcade Enthusiasts
By Ashley Wiehle the southern
Pinball enthusiast Rob Craig of Marion with just a dozen of the more than 60 pinball and arcade machines in his personal collection. Craig is a member of the Southern Illinois Pinball Players Association which is The Heartland Pinball & Arcade Supershow Saturday at Williamson County Pavilion in Marion. (CEASAR MARAGNI/THE SOUTHERN) MARION - If your idea of nostalgia includes racing against three amorphous blobs who want to keep you from your cherries. If your goal in life is to spend your days smashing wooden barrels with a sledgehammer.Or if you fancy yourself as some sort of pinball wizard, then take note.Saturday is play day.The Heartland Pinball and Arcade Supershow opens at the Williamson County Pavilion at 8 a.m. Saturday, featuring more than 100 pinball and video arcade games.According to Rob Craig of the Southern Illinois Pinball Players Association - the show's sponsor - the event is ideal for both arcade game enthusiasts interested in adding to their collections and novice players.
An avid collector of pinball machines and arcade games himself, Craig will be bringing out his own machines - 43 of them.Present at the show will be unusual machines not easily found in street-corner arcades. Included among these is a game that will have players humming late 1980s rock music and, if someone doesn't stop them, accompanying it with an air guitar - Craig's own Guns 'n' Roses pinball machine. Sorry, Axl fans - this game is absolutely not for sale."There were a handful of pinball machines licensed through particular rock bands or individuals," Craig said. "There was the very popular KISS video game, and a Rolling Stones game. Licensing really didn't kick off until the 1970s. Guns 'n' Roses is an incredibly successful game, because the sound technology was able to incorporate a dozen or so songs from Guns 'n' Roses. It's an incredible game to play."If you don't have an "Appetite for Destruction" - to quote a popular Guns 'n' Roses song - there's no need to worry. With more than 100 arcade games for the price of an entry fee, there's likely to be a video game for everyone.Games will be available for those who are interested in buying, too.While not all games at the show will be for sale, there will be a wide variety of pinball and arcade machines looking for good homes, Craig said.Although all machines will be required to stay in the building until the show's completion, interested buyers are welcome to purchase a machine as soon as the doors open."The coolest thing about a show like this is that it lets people play all day, and if they like a pinball machine, they can tell if it's for sale," Craig said.A large convergence of pinball and video games in Southern Illinois is already drawing interest from arcade game enthusiasts across the region, Craig said.Organizing the event has kept Craig busy, but he said he is excited to be able to provide such an opportunity for Southern Illinois residents who aren't typically exposed to digitized nostalgia."It's a gift to them, so they can reap some type of fun factor," Craig said. "This isn't a show selling boats you can't use right there. This is an entertaining show."Admission is $10 for adults; $6 for children 6 to 12; and free for children 5 and under. Admission allows attendees to play games all day without dispensing a single quarter.Further information about this weekend's event is available at firstname.lastname@example.org x 5807