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Friday, June 6-Sunday, June 8: Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show

Tacoma Convention Center

The Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show will feature the work of nearly 3,000 collectors. Photo courtesy of Facebook

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No matter how advanced video games get, there's still something special about smacking a metal ball around a ringing, blinking maze of machinery. Celebrate the bliss of pinball with collectors, enthusiasts and exhibitors alike at this weekend's Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show at the Tacoma Convention Center.

For those not in the know, this is the largest pinball convention in the Northwest. The hype starts Friday morning with a rapid dash of people setting up the machines as well as taking broken ones to the pinball hospital to get fixed before the big opening. Then, with everything in place, the doors open at noon and the Pinball wizards have at it. With more than 400 unique pinball and arcade games available, the $25 door price is worth it. The machines span from 1930s to the past few years, and with different artists, eras and companies behind each game, every gaming experience is exclusive to that machine. For those want to test their grit against fellow enthusiasts, multiple tournaments offer opportunities for casual play as well as taking on the professionals.

Grabbing a local take on the show, I headed to Dorky's Arcade in downtown Tacoma. Dorky's co-owner Les Voros-Bond express his love for the game and how "you can gain control of the ball and do what you want with it," allowing for each player to bring their own style and strategy into the game. His business partner, Caroline Dennewith, says it's amazing the amount of time and effort artists put into each machine, creating a playable work of art.

"I got friends at Microsoft who love the game," says Voros-Bond. "Pinball was what they played when they were kids, and what got them interested in technology the first place. This convention gives all these guys a chance to let people play their games and connect with people who enjoy pinball as much as they do. It's a great experience."

If you're a novice like me than this may seem intimidating. The Dorky's crew says it's a great opportunity to break out of that shell and try something different.

The Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show non-profit group produce the show, earmarking money for several college scholarships that benefit the pinball community.

NORTHWEST PINBALL AND ARCADE SHOW, noon to 11:30 p.m. June 6, 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. June 7, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 8, Tacoma Convention Center, 1500 Broadway, Tacoma, $10-$30, $30-$65 weekend pass,

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