On a weekend excursion to La Crosse recently, whilst sampling the local drinkeries, we ended up at a place that had a very special treat for me.
It was a long bar with a mish-mash of everything you would expect in a college town / downtown bar. It was March Madness and the TV’s were all on the games and people were carousing and we were stopping in for one. This turned into 2 as it so often does and while formulating our next move I explored the other side of the bar. There was a whole separate area through an near the entrance. On this “other side” was another long bar and more TV’s and pull tab machines and to my surprise, next to the Golden Tee knockoff game, was a pinball machine.
There are few things that stir the kid in me like a simple pinball game.
I spent many many MANY hours in front of a pinball machine in my formative years. Places I have probably mentioned before… the Quad and Union on the UW Michigan campus with Jeff when I lived in Ann Arbor, also at Mickey Rats downtown. Mickey Rats was a crazy second floor arcade that for a while had as many pinball machines as video games. There were the old school guys who were pinballers and wore gloves and were WAY into it, having intricate quarter stacking and etiquette rules of the road.
I remember the first time I played a pinball game that had the MATCH feature. A free game! No way. Then however the dreaded 2 quarters per play started happening. Ugh.
When I went to UW Milwaukee there was an arcade in the Union there that had a few of my favorites, though I split my time between Marble Madness and whatever pinball games they rotated in and out.
I would say that these days, except for a lunch at Tower Junction and a visit to the tiny “game room” there, my pinball experiences are few and far between.
So here, on this day… it was perfect. And, to make it even MORE perfect, it was music related pinball no less!
I was beyond stoked.
I played a quick game with the change I had in my pocket. 3 Quarters per play. Sigh.
Bong, boing, ping ping ping, choing choing, save it on the flipper, learn the slots and figure out the extra features… when you shot it straight up the middle it rang a deep sounding bell, like in the beginning of the song “Hell’s Bells” from “Back In Black”. Awesome.
After the first game I went in search of Cindy and more change and a photographer to document the event. She indulged me.
During the MATCH feature, a pixilated schoolboy drops his pants and reveals your match number. Classic. I did not match even once.
Angus’s face is emblazoned in the center area above the flippers.
I loved it. It was a huge blast from the past in more ways than one.
I returned to the area where the girls were drinking, and they still were, so I returned to Angus and fed it some more.
I stepped up to bills. This was so awesome. Pinball. AC/DC. T I L T !
This would only be topped if there was a Jimi Hendrix pinball machine, or if the Kiss pinball machine was at the next bar.