Location: Hayling Island is located between Portsmouth and Chichester on England's south coast. It's a real island with just one road on and off, and it gets rather busy in the summer. To get there take the M27 or A3M to Bedhampton and head east along the A27. Take the next exit to Havant and follow the signs.
Beside the pinball games, there are several other amusements and rides mainly catering to smaller children and a large tent-like structure which helped keep the rain off.
There's also a rickety roller coaster where the scares aren't from the dips and dives of the track, but the fear that you might be unexpectedly parting company with it at any moment. Nobody died while we were there, but there's no sign saying "x days since last fatality" so make your own mind up!
There are some more arcades at the eastern end of the Island, but there are no pins there and probably not worth the detour.
Hayling Island is not a place acustomed to change and this extends to the selection of pinball machines which appear largely untouched since 2004 as this series of reports from Pinball News readers demonstrates.
Andy Davies Paid a visit in July 2008 and gives us his impressions.
On holiday again, so time to take some of my hard earned to find some pinballs.
This quest is getting harder and harder. However a good target to visit in the past has been Funland at Hayling Island. So a tank of petrol and off.
Hayling hasn't changed much over the years. The rides outside Funland have been updated to suit the young thrill seekers but the three arcades are still as they were the last time I visited a few years back.
However, standing just outside the busy toilets the sight of six pinballs side by side greeted me. It was almost like the old days were sights like this could be found in every seaside arcade along the coast of Britain. A quick glance and some cracking titles are there; Addams Family, Star Trek TNG, Indy Jones (Williams), Roadshow, Attack from Mars and Medieval Madness were all turned on the flashing for my money.
But on closer inspection my heart sank. All of the pinballs were in a very poor cosmetic condition. I've seen toilets in a mechanics' cleaner than all of the playfields in front of me.
However a pound coin fell into Medieval Madness and a quick flip of the flipper to see if they were working lead to my first disappointment. The right flipper didn't stay up, then I fired and the lane channels didn't register, then neither of the ramps registered, so I walked away from that one and gave Addams a go.
The dirt on the playfield was so bad that some of the mansion lights couldn't shine through. However the pinball still played well and if it would have had a slightly more powerful top left flipper, I could have stayed on this for some time.
Moving to one of my favourites, Roadshow. Not only was this pin as dirty as the others, there was a broken rubber in the playfield!
Enough was enough and with a very heavy heart I left via the other large arcade where a Fish Tales could be seen. Pity you couldn't see the playfield on this one either for the dirt was thicker than layer of dust on the topper box.
I'm not usually one to moan, no really I'm not, however there is pinball gold here; 6 good quality pins that must feature in many people's top 10 pinballs. All could change hands on Ebay for 4 figures, but with all of them in the state that they are, they might have well not been turned on.
With pinballs in the wild becoming very much a dying breed, if these were worked on to get them into a good playing condition I'm sure that these machines would indeed become a money maker for the arcade owner. But probably not as much as a £100 fruit machine does, seeing how the hundred of these in the arcade that were all in perfect working order.
Jon Ashley visited at the end of August 2005 and gives us his detailed report.
After my update on the shenanigans at the Amusement Arcades of Portsmouth and Southsea, I thought this time to get an update on what is going on at the Beachlands Amusement park in Hayling Island,just a stone throw along the cost from Portsmouth.
Upon entering, the first thing that hits you is the noise and the heat no air conditioning and machines on maximum volume! I made my way to where the Pinball tables were located and found the following machines.
Attack from Mars is not one of my favourite machines, but I wanted to put it through it's paces. 50p for 2 credits was quite generous so I started the game.
From what I could see there were some chipped plastics and rubbers really needed replacing. The flippers were OK but you could tell they weren't perfect, and some of the bulbs had obviously blown. A real shame for such a good machine. I almost felt like leaving 3 bottles of Novus.
Our next pin was Star Trek the Next Generation. Now I own this machine so I guess you could call me critical of any others. Just like Indiana Jones, ST:TNG needs to be tip top condition for it to function correctly.
But first of all, the thing that really made me cringe was the appalling paint job! Yes, someone had taken some bright paints to all the playfield models and they look absolutely terrible.
As you can see this picture shows you what travesty has happened here. Forget the fact the playfield was again filthy and in a desperate need of a clean, the paintjob was just well, embarrassing! The cannons reminded me of a Mark III Ford Escort XR3i paintjob the one with go faster stripes.
It wasn't just the cannons that had suffered but also the Klingon and Romulan ships had not escaped this picture does not show too well the colour of the Bird of Prey, but believe me it was green. Very, very green. With red tips. Oh dear At least the Borg ship and Shuttle had escaped. I just hope it's not on the to do list.
Playing the machine revealed little in the way of defects, the machine played well, at least someone had fitted a cliffy protector proving at one time they did have some sense.
A real shame to treat a brilliant game like this. In the 20 minutes I was in there, only I was brave enough to play it. No-one else touched it and it wasn't difficult to see why.
The last arcade on the beachfront used to have about 8 machines at one time. Alas, they have now disappeared completely for the sake of Fruit Machines. So I left disappointed.
So all in all, the machines at Hayling, although a good collection, really do need some urgent work to bring them back to full glory. You can tell that pinball is not a priority here. So much so that the machines could be seen as neglected. It just says to me they don't make any money, so why waste time on them. Annoyingly it wouldn't take more than an hour each machine (and some Nitromors for ST:TNG) to get them back to 100%. When I I return, I'll let you know what has or hasn't been done. I fear the emphasis will be on hasn't.
Andy Thomson went to Hayling Island in August 2004 and brought us this report.
Hayling Island is good for Machines.
The main Funland arcade on the seafront has an Addams Family, Attack From Mars, Star Trek The Next Generation, Demolition Man, Roadshow and Indiana Jones in row - I couldn't believe my luck - though a couple of the machines were a bit tired, they were all 30p a go - bargain!
Only £12 for the ferry from Portsmouth - worth it to find four of the top ten machines in one place at one time and all working. Great for comparison.
Bit geeky but three of us were there and rated all machines on the categories that you find on the IPDB site - most surprisingly was: we all had Attack from Mars down as the most uninspiring out of the six to look at - the one we would least like to play on sight - but it took top marks across the board in game play. So you can't always go on first impressions when it comes to these things.
Adams family is a good one but what is all the fuss about with the Indiana Jones machine? No matter how good a movie is it can't make a dull game a top 10!
There's a second arcade next door that has a very tired Fish Tales machine in it.
© Pinball News 2004