Arcade Week | Pinball is Alive and Well at Tilt Toronto


Arcade Week concludes at In Third Person! Let’s end the series with a spotlight on one of the coolest gaming spots in Toronto! Maybe I’ll see you there someday!


By the time I started visiting arcades in the late 80s and early 90s, pinball machines were already on the decline. Losing ground to arcade video games and other amusement games, they were basically extinct by the time I was tall enough to see the boards.

Finding a pinball machine in the wild these days is tough, but Tilt in Toronto is doing the world a favour by keeping pinball gaming alive.

Located in downtown Toronto, Tilt is one of the hottest hangout spots in the city. Featuring arcade machines, sit-down areas for retro console gaming, and a bar for beverages of all sorts, players line up in droves to get in on the action. For one flat fee at the door, you can play anything you want for free. Just don’t be a jerk and hog the machines if others are waiting to play please!

Having gone a few times, I always make it a point to play Battlezone, NBA Jam, and Street Fighter II. But my primary focus when I get there is to play pinball. They cycle machines in-and-out, but they have over a dozen machines at any given time spanning the history of the medium. From primitive machines with simplistic boards, to recent releases with mind-blowing effects, you can take a crash course through the history of pinball in an afternoon.

Though I’ve been playing video game pinball since Pinball on the NES, there’s nothing quite like playing the real thing. Having the tactile feedback of smacking the buttons to activate the flippers, watching all of the lights flash, and trying your best to keep pace with the pinball is a real treat. With the benefit of Tilt’s selection, it’s fascinating to play the old machines and the new ones back-to-back and see how far pinball machines have come and continue to go.

I’m awful at pinball, but it’s such a joy to play. Being behind the flippers and keeping the ball in play just hits this carnal pleasure centre within me that’s so satisfying. I may never become a pinball wizard, but I love having the opportunity to play them at Tilt Toronto!


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