Since the pandemic took over the world last year, we’ve written about how it has affected countless businesses, primarily those in the out-of-home entertainment industry. However, while we mostly focused our attention on the iconic Japanese arcade icons that have been forced to shut down due to growing financial strains, this time we’re focusing our gaze back home. Specifically, amidst the uncertainty of the ongoing health crisis, as well as the growing economic pressure, Banning’s very own Museum of Pinball was forced to permanently shut its doors, leaving its remarkable collection of over 1,700 arcade machines confined to a warehouse in Palm Springs.
The Museum of Pinball was originally founded in 2013 by pinball enthusiast and collector, John Weeks as a way to “savor” the fun of these types of arcade games. In their own words, pinball was making a comeback back when they first opened their doors, so the museum was created as a way to introduce the youngest gamers to these retro machines, as well as to appeal to the now older gamers by providing a space full of the games they grew up with. And this is something they seemingly achieved as, in 2015, the facility was introduced into the Guiness Book of World Records for the most people playing pinball simultaneously, with a record of a whopping 331 players.
Despite the accolades and its relatively short lifespan, the Museum of Pinball found itself in dire straits due to the increasing storage costs of their current location. Furthermore, after finding a new and more affordable venue to host their collection, the location was sold to another agent, which made it impossible for the team to move their collection within the established timeframe. This prompted the staff to seek crowdfunding in order to keep the museum open, which failed to meet the necessary funding goal, and so they announced that they would have to auction off their machines to reduce storage costs. However, in July of this year, the organization announced that they would be shutting its doors permanently, and set the auction dates September of the same year.
Despite the negativity surrounding this turn of events, not everything is lost, at least regarding the precious collection of electronic arcade games and pinball machines. This is because, while it’s not likely that they’ll ever be on display in one location like in their old home in Banning, collectors and enthusiasts around the world have a chance to purchase them in the ensuing auction and give them a brand new place, where they may continue entertaining people as they’ve been since they were first manufactured.
The 1,700-machine collection is said to be valued at around $7 million, and includes around 1,000 electronic arcade games, and 700 pinball machines. The crown jewel of the collection is the “Pirates of the Caribbean” collector’s edition game, which is reportedly valued at around $35,000. Other pinball machines featured include the ones from popular and classic franchises like Ghostbusters, Superman, and Star Wars, among many others.
The auction started this weekend, but will have a second round on September 24-26. The event is held at The Museum of Pinball itself in 700 S. Hathaway St. in Banning. However, it will also be held online, and you can find more information on their website. Those who wish to go and check out the selection personally need to register beforehand, though the event itself is open to the public.
Thanks for reading! Here at PrimeTime Amusements, we like to keep ahead of the curve in arcade game rental and sales and pride ourselves in providing the best service in the country. If you’re looking for a game in particular, or have a few questions about the industry, feel free to give us a call at 1.800.550.0090 or to swing by at 5300 Powerline Rd. Suite 210, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 33309.