It’s been two years since we were last at the Museum of Pinball in Banning for an Arcade Expo show. In that time there has been a number of changes to the building and the collection, but the essence of the show remains the same – an amazing collection of pinballs of all ages combined with an equally impressive range of video games, all available to play over the event’s three days.

The hills surrounding the Museum of Pinball

The Museum of Pinball is located in semi-desert around 75 miles East of Los Angeles, at the foot of a mountainous landscape. It may be March, but there is still snow on the peaks and while the daytime temperatures might be warm in the sunshine, they drop away quickly once the sun drops behind the hills.

New signage at the entrance to the compound

The Museum doesn’t open to the public daily, weekly, or even monthly. Instead, it hosts four major events each year – Arcade Pinvasion and INDISC Pinball Festival in January, Arcade Expo in March, and Pinball Madness in October.

The reason we are here

Tickets for Arcade Expo could be pre-purchased online, or bought on the day from the ticket desk. A purchased entry got you a coloured wristband with which you could come and go as often as you wished.

The ticket desk

Friday and Sunday entry cost $50 each for an adult, while Saturday is $65. Kids entry is priced at $15 per day, while a three-day adult pass is also available at $130 ($35 for kids). These are online prices. On the day prices are $5 higher.

The show began in the courtyard outside the Museum building where food vendors had set up. On Friday there were two stalls selling hot dogs, ice creams, burgers and other ‘street food’.

The first food vendor

The second food vendor

With no food allowed inside the Museum, there is an outdoor seating area in front of the food stands. At night the area is warmed by living flame heaters.

The seating area

A little further down the hill from the Museum building we find a shooting gallery with electromechanical gun games along