Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pinball Wizard!

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 (, 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 (, 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.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Universal Studios

As some of you may know, when we finished hiking we went on a cruise.  One of the stops was at Cape Canaveral in Florida.  Did we go to the Kennedy Space Center?  Why would you even suggest that?  We went to Hogsmeade instead!

Hogsmeade was great and we were lucky that it wasn't to crowded.  And let's be clear. It felt crowded walking around but we hardly had to wait for any of the rides.  Most of the ride "wait" time was actually us walking to through the line barriers.  

The line through Hogwarts was pretty awesome.  The line was like a tour through the school and in lots of rooms there were little scenes with the actual actors from Harry Potter setting the story for you.  It was gorgeous!  It looked like you were really walking through the castle.   In the halls where there was no "action" they had the portraits that moved/talked.  And nothing looked tacky. It was all incredible!  I kept wishing Bo Keller (my younger brother and huge HP fan) could be there with us!    The ride itself was also pretty amazing.  It was a moving ride but with the use of 3D animation to make it seem like you were moving at great speed. It was like a Motion Oddyssey  Movie on crack.   I was amazed at how far the technology has come. Hogwarts' wasn't the only ride like this, there were many in the park and I was impressed with them all!   Overall, a great (but expensive) day.  

Oh you know, just waiting to go to Hogwarts! 
I have never wanted to go shopping more in my life! 


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There's a creepy snowman in this photo.  

Snow! In the summer! 

Many many peeps. 

We saw some other stuff too. 

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

It's official!

We got our certificates in the mail the other day!  Very exciting.  We framed them and put them up on the wall.   It's still a bit weird to not be hiking.   I miss being outside all the time.  It's frustrating to have to "take advantage" of a great weather day.  I liked it when there was no way I could miss it!

But!  No need to get down!  We have a hiking trip planned this coming May!  Its unbelievably exciting to think about walking again and I'm loving the planning process!