A retro hub of flashing bulbs, mechanical bells, and cartoon figures shines brightly on the Asbury Park boardwalk. The Silverball Museum Arcade is home to 180+ functioning pinball and arcade machines that transport the beach-goer to a 1960s diner.
For $10, the pinball wizard enters Rob Ilvento’s vintage collection of 1960s to modern arcade games. The pinball museum (one of only three in the world according to its owner) provides an entertaining and interactive journey through pinball history. Well-placed placards describe how to navigate the levers, knobs, and slides of each game and also honor the high-scorers who have conquered the game.
The machines’ vibrant interfaces display a range of cultural events and icons from the last half-century. Take a look at “Beat Time,” the pinball machine created at the height of 1960s Beatlemania. The 1979 “KISS” and 1980 “Ali” games will evoke multi-generational nostalgia. The younger generation might enjoy taking a whack at The Sopranos or Simpsons games. The museum reflects the evolution of American pop culture through the arcade’s display of celebrities, sport teams, and dance moves.
The Arcade Museum also offers “Pitch N Hit” baseball, mechanical bowling, and Skee Ball for those uninfected by the pinball bug. Pinball junkies will also have to tolerate some “modern” games such as Ms. Pacman, Galaga, Centipede, Asteroids, Super-Breakout, and of course, Pong.
After besting the high score of a favorite game, celebrate at the Arcade’s café with a hot dog, funnel cake or NJ’s classic salt-water taffy.
If you’re at the beach and need a break from the sun, grab a flipper, pound a few bumpers, and experience what the kids of yesteryear played before video games.