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As We See It

Paddle and scan

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The Pinball Hall of Fame
Photo: Bill Hughes

Pinball is more than ball bearings and high scores—it’s a cultural register, it’s game titles that tell us about ourselves: Like “Nugent,” “Dr. Dude,” or “Capt. Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy.” Our games, ourselves. To remind you of this, Pinball Hall of Fame owner Tim Arnold has stuck cell-phone-readable bar codes on all the games—little black-and-white scraps of paper that prompt your phone to summon a website with critical stats: The history of the particular game, a video of the game in action, a rating system and a section for comments—should you want to post a high score, or defend a low one. The bar codes meld old technology (metal balls, clanging sounds, joy that isn’t computer-mediated) with new (bar-code-reading phones, Big Brother) at the Hall of Fame, where entry is free and the quarters you spend on games are donated to charity. “It’s an attempt to become more museum-like,” says Arnold. “To get people to appreciate the history and the uniqueness of the Pinball Hall of Fame.”

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Abigail Goldman

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