Pinball wizards celebrate classic game in Halifax league

Interest in the vintage games has grown to the point where a local pinball league has come together.

'You can emulate it on a computer, but it's not the same,' says Dan Baldwin

A new tournament celebrates the classic game of pinball. (Carsten Knox/CBC)

Pinball is on replay in Nova Scotia.

Interest in the vintage games has grown to the point where a local league as come together, says Dan Baldwin, owner-operator of Halifax Vintage Arcades.

"The internet willed it into existence," Baldwin said.

A league tournament is taking place Saturday at a private home in Bedford, the winner of which will compete Feb. 13 at the Nova Scotia provincial championship.

That's an invite-only affair sanctioned by the International Flipper Pinball Association. The Nova Scotia champion will qualify for world ranking and have a chance to head to Las Vegas for the IFPA's World Pinball Championships.    

'It's the physical aspect of it'

When Baldwin first started his business it was about refurbishing and renting video games, but people kept asking him to provide pinball machines. Now he loves it, and pinball is the main thing he offers. 

"It's the physical aspect of it," Baldwin said.

"You can emulate it on a computer, but it's not the same … with a pinball machine you need to feel it, to touch it, to see the art, the lights." 

Baldwin has become very active in the Halifax pinball community. (Carsten Knox/CBC)

Baldwin is now a tournament director with Halifax's Greatest Pinball League

"Since meeting the players who've asked us to get involved in it, I'm hooked," Baldwin said. "I would never call it a comeback — it never went away. It's just more obvious to see now that people are playing and interested in it."

The league's greatest appeal is it's as supportive as it is competitive, he said.

"It's brought out a group of people who enjoy watching other people play and enjoy playing themselves," Baldwin said. "When you get down to the finals, the last competitor is cheering for the person playing, even if they're playing against them." 

About the Author

Carsten Knox

Associate Producer

Carsten Knox is a writer, editor and broadcaster who helps produce CBC Nova Scotia's current affairs radio shows, including Information Morning and Mainstreet.

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