P inball wizards (and would-be wizards) are invited to Propeller Brewing Company's Propeller Arcade Room (2015 Gottingen Street) beginning at 4pm on Friday, January 31, for the arcade's first birthday party, featuring balloons, $5 beers, $10 t-shirts and lots of ball-flipping action.
Since opening last January with a modest collection of pinball and video games both vintage and new, the Arcade Room has blown Propeller up into one of the city's most eclectic pinball destinations, with brewery employee and pinball mastermind Ian Matheson squeezing in new machines "wherever he can find a few more square feet," says Propeller's Evelyn Hornbeck. It's also become a hub for Halifax Pinball League tournaments, and surprisingly raucous crowds of spectators.
Propeller's party caps off not just a big year for its arcade, but for pinball in general in Halifax, which now boasts eight destinations on pinballmap.com, the pinball scene's digital bible. Five belong to Silverball Games, which started four years ago with an arcade at the Best Western Chocolate Lake (250 St. Margarets Bay Road). Last December, Silverball opened the Pubcade, inside The Pint Public House (1575 Argyle Street).
According to Silverball's owner, Allison Amirault, the scene has become big enough and diverse enough that pinball cliques have begun to form. Older fans of vintage machines hit up the Sunnyside Mall Arcade (Sunnyside Mall, 1595 Bedford Highway), featuring classics from the '70s, '80s and '90s, whereas younger players make their way to the Pubcade, with newer offerings, from Iron Man to Game of Thrones to perennial favourite
Jurassic Park. “Everyone loves Jurassic Park,” Amirault says.
“It’s pretty exciting to see games that are popular and new internationally, and have them here in Halifax,” says Hornbeck. (You can battle raptors at Propeller, too.)
As for Friday’s celebrations, “There will also be some surprises, but we can’t share them just now,” says Hornbeck. “It’s really just celebrating the space, because it’s been incredibly exciting to see how much people have loved it this past year, and how so many other spaces have opened. It’s amazing how people are into in this kind of fun.”