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Keeping The Faith

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It’s a real shame that the video game arcade has gradually disappeared over the years. With the rise of the console, arcade gaming machines have become all but obsolete and with them, the pinball machine has sadly been phased out of public use. But the art and skill of pinball, both in the design of the machines and in the player’s own reflexes and ability, is hard to replicate at home with a video game.

I went along to South Melbourne to check out Bumper Action’s Pinball Faith, a night of pinball fun and, I must admit, nostalgia and vivid remembrance.

Held on the first Friday of every month, Pinball Faith is all the pinball you could handle. Featuring an impressive collection of vintage, modern and at times truly bizarre pinball machines, it’s like stepping into a time warp, being cast back to a childhood spent in arcades of bright neon and whirring sounds. The atmosphere and energy is replicated perfectly.

Vintage. Deadwood’s Cy Tolliver in his first pinball appearance.

Modern. Goldblum’s thinking, ‘If I had a lightsabre, this wouldn’t be happening.’

Bizarre…bizarre.

Along with the numerous pinball machines, as well as air hockey and foosball tables, Bumper Action has a range of your favourite arcade games, including some old school table-top machines featuring games like Frogger, Pacman, Donkey Kong—and each of their various spouses and progeny’s spin-offs.

The truly great thing about Pinball Faith is the love and energy that the participants bring to it. It is a very family-oriented environment, and it’s not hard to see why. Upon arrival, the demographic soon becomes clear: 30+ year old men (catered to with a great selection from the jukebox, namely Beatles and Beach Boys tunes) and children under 13. The reason for the age-gap becomes apparent when you spend some time watching the players: the men come along to rediscover and relive a youth spent in arcades, and bring their kids along to share in it and hopefully discover something that they’ve been deprived of in the world of disposable and easily accessible games that they play today.

There is something really sweet about this: it is a bonding, parents and children being able to find common ground and share for a few hours an activity that is for one a reliving of a time long past and for the other a new experience, fresh and exciting.

Pinball Faith holds knock-out tournaments and offers prizes on the night, as well as all the pizza you can eat. It’s not a typical Friday night out, but a special way to tap into your inner child. My only regret is that I didn’t get to have a go of The Twilight Zone pinball machine, as some poo-head was hogging it all night.

The next Pinball Faith is Friday, 1st April, 7:00PM – 11:00PM
Bumper Action, 562 – 566 City Rd, South Melbourne
Tickets $25 (includes all the games and pizza you can handle)
To book visit: www.bumper.com.au/pinball-faith/pinball-faith.html


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