Driving 5 Hours To Buy a Pinball Table That Doesn’t Fit: A Review

Patience, persistence... pinball. Specifically, atGames Legends Pinball.

I've spent the last few months searching Facebook Marketplace for a virtual pinball machine, specifically the atGames Legends Pinball. I chose the ALP over Arcade1Up's pinball offerings because I felt its retro cabinet art, 32" screen, and native resolution/FPS of 1080p/60 offered a better experience than the Arcade1Up tables, which feature modern branded artwork and an upscaled 720p signal on a 24" 1080p display. (The Arcade1Up machines apparently have much better haptics than the ALP, but this matters little to me. I care not for your mechanical lies.) I simply wanted to buy a pinball table.

Purists would argue that neither company manufactures pinball machines, and that these are actually expensive and convoluted arcade machines configured in such a way as to pantomime pinball, in a way that is as inaccurate as it is blasphemous. Besides, they'll tell you, for the $700 this thing goes for at Sam's Club, you're close enough to buying a real machine (albeit an older one with, quite literally, fewer bells and whistles) that you should just save a little longer and get the real deal. And to these people I say: No. Pinball machines are as loud as they are heavy, which is to say, very, and as a single person living in an apartment complex with very thin walls, the real thing will have to wait.

Last night, I finally found a deal that met all of my criteria — the machine was in like-new condition, it was listed for under half of retail price, it came from a non-smoking home and the backgrounds looked like the people selling it made enough money that I wouldn't have to feel bad for paying so little for it. So after mixing and uploading this week's episode of Friends Reunion (which just so happens to be a must-listen episode thanks to our annual "Great British British Off" competition), I slipped on my pink-and-white checkered Vans Slip-Ons™ and got in the car.

The only downside? It was in Houston, two and a half hours away in each direction.

[Caveat emptor: This is a microreview of buying the table, not of the table itself. Seems pretty cool so far!]