Profs & Pints: Pinball's Wizardry
Profs and Pints presents: Pinballs Wizardry, with Adam Ruben, host of the Science Channel's Outrageous Acts of Science and author of Pinball Wizards: Jackpots, Drains, and the Cult of the Silver Ball.
Pinball has had a bumpy, zig-zagging, pot-holed past, with the passion for it repeatedly springing back to life even after it seemed the game was over. In a way, pinball's trajectory has mirrored America's history, with the pastime being steered by the zeitgeist of every era.
Cities, counties, and states banned pinball machines in the 1930's and 1940's, alleging that the games were no better than illegal slot-machines-plus-physics. The mayor of New York City even made a point of having machines dragged out onto the street where he could publicly smash them with a sledgehammer. After becoming re-legalized decades later, pinball reigned supreme in arcades in the '80's and '90's, only to almost disappear from the face of the earth at the end of the millennium.
Strangely, despite its ups and downs, the most interesting time in pinball's history might actually be right now. It's more popular than it's been in a quarter century. In an era when almost everyone carries unlimited video games on a glass rectangle in their pocket, this bizarre 250-pound behemoth of plywood, plastic, glass, and steel is somehow soaring in popularity.
Hear Adam Ruben, who is also a comedian and molecular biologist, discuss the rocky road that pinball has traveled and the unlikely reasons it's racking up points with new fans now.
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1523 22nd St NW
Washington, DC 20037
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