OK. I may be committing some kind of blasphemy here, but I'm going to speak my mind on this matter: there is a place (coincidentally also in New Hampshire) with a better selection of arcade games than Funspot (Weirs Beach, NH). I know! I know! And I feel traitorous just thinking it! But here I am, spreading these evil thoughts on the interwebs! But before you excommunicate me from the church of awesomest places, hear me out.
The arcade in question is called The Pinball Wizard (Pelham, NH), and to be fair the main category in which I am comparing it to the classic arcade mecca is in the pinball department. They offer over 100 active pinball machines, a good collection of older electro magnetic tables as well as a huge number of solid state machines. They also have over 150 arcade games, giving Funspot a run for their money in terms of numbers alone.
|Jamie playing the #1 rated pinball machine (ipdb.org), The Twilight Zone|
|Was that an extra game pop I heard, or do my ears deceive me?!|
Not only does Pinball Wizard totally blow the competition away with the number of Pinball tables on the floor, they also have a fantastic selection, including 7 out of the 10 top rated pinball machines according to the internet pinball machine database (www.ipdb.org), including my favorites: Star Trek: Next Generation, The Adams Family, and Medieval Madness.
|I asked in the summer what their electric bill was: over $10,000...A MONTH!|
OK, so I said my piece comparing it to Funspot, and if pinball is your thing I really must say that you must check this place out. It is also a lot closer to Boston than Lake Winnipesaukee. But now I am getting to the drawbacks in which Funspot wins out. Price-wise, Funspot is way cheaper and probably always will be. Funspot's main attraction for me is the unique non-profit, playable, arcade museum, and at one token per game and their progressive token pricing (and free 50 token coupons), you are looking at something like 13 cents a game. Pretty impressive. Pinball Wizard gives you a few extra tokens if you buy 20 dollars worth (nothing like what Funspot yields), but the average game will take two tokens and the rarer/most popular machines go up to four tokens (Medieval Madness being one of them). This is understandable given the electricity costs, the fact it is a for profit business (Funspot gets a lot of their machines donated nowadays), and the value of some of these rarer tables (15-20k!).
Funspot also sports a lot more of what I call "token wasters", skill games in which winning tickets is the objective. They also have a pretty fun prize counter where one can redeem these tickets. While at this point in my life I don't really gravitate towards these so much, I am a pretty big fan of ski ball and Funspot also has that department on lock. So if these sort of things are for you, Funspot may win out in your book, and I think for kids this will actually usually be the case. But getting back to the difference in price, if you are using your tokens for pinball/arcade games only, I discovered that 20 bucks goes nearly as far in terms of time playing.
My final point of comparison would be atmosphere, in which Funspot will always win in my book. Hell, I had my bachelor party there as it has such an important place in my heart. My heart rate still doubles when we pull onto the familiar road approaching the place. The three floor layout is unique (and zany), it has all the games I remember from my childhood, has a bowling alley (candle pin AND big ball), a pizza shop, and a bar. Kind of hard to compete with all that. Pinball Wizard has a soda machine and is located in a more or less pedestrian plaza.
SO, my review/comparison ends here and I must say that in terms of straight up pinball gaming quality the Pinball Wizard is VERY hard to beat and a pilgrimage should be in order for anyone in the greater Boston area who loves pinball. But don't go forgetting about Funspot either - just make a weekend trip out of these two establishments and compare them for yourself.