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Pinball museum and arcade coming to Brussels
While some of us are old enough to remember the tell-tale ping-ping sounds of the pinball machine in our local bowling alley or arcade, others of us are invited to discover the pre-1990s craze when the new Brussels Pinball Museum opens in Brussels in a few weeks.
The name suggests you can only look, but no, all of the pinball machines can also be played. Aside from a café, there will be rooms dedicated to pinball machines with different themes.
Devoted players are invited to step up to the flippers, while the mildly curious can just come in and take a look. “No two pinball machines are alike,” says Ludo, a pinball enthusiast who started up the space. “They all have different characteristics. We have one here with an electronic magnet, for instance, that captures the ball.”
Indeed, in a video (see below), the Circus Voltaire model snags the metal ball and pushes it skywards on a little platform in the shape of a creepy head that laugh maniacally. This is one of 50 models Ludo has collected for the museum. There’s also, for instance, Revenge from Mars, Tales from the Crypt and Back to the Future.
Petit reportage de Bruzz sur l ouverture de mon musée du flipper à Bruxelles. Infos @ Brussels Pinball MuseumPosted by Brussels Pinball Museum on Monday, 13 July 2020
Whatever the theme, pinball machines all offer the same basic challenge – keep the ball moving around, hitting various objects to gain points before it falls down into the middle of the flippers controlled by the player on either side, going out of play.
Ludo repairs and maintains old pinballs machines and also customises them for owners, adding or eliminating certain elements of play. “They are actually quite complicated in terms of wiring,” he says.
Visitors to his workshop in fact convinced Ludo that he should share his old machines with the rest of the public. “People are always so taken by them. I eventually just really wanted people to be able to experience them.”
The Brussels Pinball Museum will be located on Rue de l’Enseignement, across the street from Cirque Royal. Ludo hopes it will become a community hub, somewhere people will gather for a little recreation and healthy competition.
The space will be split between the museum, where visitors will pay one price to play the machines, and the bar, where it’s a pay-per-play kind of deal. There will also be themed play rooms as well as a space dedicated to other 1980s toys. In the basement space will be “creepy” areas dedicated to, for instance, jungle or horror movie-themed machines.
“I want to have a sort of Disney effect,” says Ludo, “like how you feel as a kid wandering around a giant amusement park. Your eyes get so big, and everything seems surreal.”
He says he will open the space in a few weeks, though it won’t be completely finished. A month later, he promises, he’ll have a grand opening.
Photo courtesy Brussels Pinball Museum/Facebook