Pinball Makes A Comeback

Published: Friday, December 29, 2017 - 2:46pm
Updated: Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - 8:55am
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Sometimes moving forward means taking a look to the past. Lots of 2017 trends might easily make you nostalgic.

Vinyl continues to sell, "Stranger Things" shows some love for the 1980s, Polaroid-style cameras are back — and so is pinball.

According to the International Flipper Pinball Association, there were more than 55,000 registered competitive pinball players in 2017.

"Places are getting them," said Tracy Lindbergh, founder of the Arizona chapter of Belles and Chimes. "I think there’s the nostalgia of coming back to childhood arcades and things like that. Now that the machines are on location, people are playing it and saying, ‘Oh yeah, I like this, I love this."

Belles and Chimes is a competitive women’s pinball league. She’s been competing for three years, but says she’s been playing at Castles and Coasters for fun for over 20.

Meeting the world pinball champion at the Pacific Pinball Museum in California inspired her to create a chapter of the organization. Even though Lindbergh knows way more about bumpers and tilts than you or I ever will, she says there are more rules to competitive pinball than she expected — and that each machine is a little different to master.

“It may look like organized chaos but every game has its own rule set and specific shots that are more lucrative than other shots. And, you know, I’ve got a strategy for most games that I’ve ever played before and implementing the strategy when you’ve got physics and gravity against you is always the challenge.”

Who knew there was so much math involved?

Belles and Chimes will launch their way through their last tournament of the season Saturday, but Lindbergh hosts a weekly, casual meeting for beginners or people who want to hone their skills before a facing off against the real pinball wizards.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Tracy Lindbergh's name. 

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