Sep 252012
Pinball show Calgary

Pinball! Once a year at the Calgary Pinball and Arcade show, we get to play. And we do it old school, with real pinballs, the stuff to make a serious pinhead jump with delight. The classics are all there – Williams, Bally and Gottlieb – the good stuff (and some Sterns and Data East example, but I don’t like either of them). We play until we’re dead and tired and we love every minute of it!

If you are a pinhead, you always have a few favourites and I am no exception. Of the ones at the show “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” and “High Speed 2, the Getaway”, both from Williams, stand above all else (IMO). Both date from the early 1990s, during one of pinball’s golden periods. There are other good ones and a few stinkers, but these two models are pinball-nirvana for me. Both have features I enjoy, very fast game play, good rules sets, and great sounds and graphics. Who ever owns these machines had them in absolute perfect shape, and I thank them for that.

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And then there’s the arcade games, Space Invaders, Pac Man. We recall the good old days when there was an arcade on every corner and our pockets bulged with quarters. I wasted a lot of time playing and it’s nice to relive that, if just for a few hours. Space Invaders, by the way is often considered to be THE game that started the arcade game revolution (around 1978).

One modern game seen, often also seen in pubs, is the shooting game Big Buck Hunter.

The pictures here were contributed by our good friend and professional photographer John Sharpe. Arcades were dark, seedy, gritty places and I think he did a great job of capturing that atmosphere.

All pictures are copyright John Sharpe of

Check out the Calgary Pinball and Arcade show Facebook page (now a dead link).

If you wish more information, by all means contact us!

Date: September 2012
Location: Calgary Alberta.

Big Buck Hunter

Big Buck Hunter a video game often seen in pubs.

Calgary Pinball show

At the Calgary Pinball show.

Space Invaders

The machine that helped start a revolution, Space Invaders.

Ripley's pinball

Ripley’s pinball from Stern.

Indiana Jones pinball

A 1990s era Indiana Jones pinball from Williams.

Pinball row

There were plenty of games for all.

AC DC pinball

AC/DC Pinball, a fairly new pin.

Pinball show Calgary

It’s like stepping back in time when there was an arcade on every corner.

Calgary arcade show

Kids in a toy store.

Chris and Connie play pinball

Chris and Connie play.

Playing pinball

Another player immersed in the game.

Terminator 2 pinball

I’ll be back!

Devil's Dare pinball

Devil’s Dare, an early 1980s model Gottlieb.

Punching bag game


Williams Taxi pinball

Taxi is a late 1980s Williams.

Space Invaders video game

Space Invaders!

John Sharpe photographer

Professional photographer John Sharpe.


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4 Comments on "Pinball!"

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Jenny Penny
Jenny Penny

Great pictures! I agree, Sterns just don’t have the magic. Could it be you was you who was playing HS2 with my husband? He said some bald guy was kicking his butt on that game. I am one of the rare girls who likes pinball.


You would likely enjoy the Musee Mechanique in San Francisco…put it on your list if you ever go.

You have quite the comprehensive travel blog! Great shots of the Crowsnest Pass, I love the ‘then and now’.