June 17

News : Attention, pinball wizards: There’s a museum in New Jersey just for you : The Washington Post

Here is an older article from March 8th, 2016 about The Silverball Museum located in Asbury Park NJ.  The article talks about the museum’s games and interview founder and owner Robert Ilvento.  The Silverball Museum is a great place that I always support through articles or with donations of parts.  It’s about 40 mins from where I live.  A great location to play some awesome pinball machines and arcade games.

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We didn’t have much money in the late 1980s, but my then-boyfriend and I could always grab a soda and make a few quarters last as we happily competed on, and occasionally tilted, pinball machines together. Decades later, that guy (clearly a romantic at heart) searched high and low until he located and bought a refurbished model of the game we played most back then, Data East’s Time Machine, which has pride of place in our family room. We practically salivated with excitement when we learned of the Silverball Museum in Asbury Park, on the New Jersey shore.

The Silverball Museum — a pinball fanatic’s dream come true — opened in 2009 in a basement on Cookman Avenue, right off the boardwalk. The timing could not have been better: Redevelopment and reinvigoration of the city and its attractions, including the legendary musical outpost the Stone Pony, were in full swing. Pinball enthusiasts quickly beat a path to the museum’s door. Founders Robert Ilvento and Steve Zuckerman immediately understood that they needed bigger and better-located digs. Not long after opening, the pair moved the museum onto the boardwalk.

From the outside, you might be forgiven if you mistake the joint for a seaside restaurant; tables with red-and-white-striped umbrellas encircle the outside of the completely windowed building. Just inside, the Silverball Cafe offers tomato pies, Nathan’s hot dogs, funnel cakes, soft pretzels, salt water taffy and other eats. But who can think about food when you’ve got literally hundreds of machines from so many eras and so many companies, all in fine condition, lining the walls?

Ilvento owns 600 machines — some digital, some electromechanical, some dot-matrix — and all playable. Some are in storage; approximately 200 grace the floor of the museum. “People have told us it’s the top pinball collection in the world,” Ilvento told me. “We have games [whose manufacturer] only made 150 machines. Collectors love it because we have games they have never seen — they’re rare — and we let them play them.” He’s got a rare 1932 Ballyhoo machine as well as the recently acquired and very rare Big Bang Bar game.

Visitors aren’t playing in some darkened mall game room or smoky dive bar: The Silverball is bright and filled with the sounds of dinging bells. Gone are the days when a quarter bought you a game. Here you pay one price — varying depending on how long you want to stay — and can take your pick from an overwhelming number of machines.

Fans of old-school video games can also get their fix at the Silverball: On the floor and playable are the original Pong game (released in 1972), along with Centipede, Pac-Man, Frogger, Asteroids, Galaga, Millipede, Ms. Pac-Man and many other favorites, some in a 300-game Ultracade machine (which looks like an arcade video-game console but has software that allows players to choose from among hundreds of video games). I revisited the Dig Dug video game, which I had played many summer evenings in the early 1980s on the Seaside Heights boardwalk. Aptly for the Asbury Park boardwalk, assorted arcade offerings abound as well: skee ball from Coney Island’s Eldorado, gun games, shuffle bowling and air hockey.

Read the rest of the article here :

Thanks to the Washington Post and Sheryl Stein for the article and pictures.