Report by Jim Bibby

Every summer for the past twelve years I’ve taken my kids to Northwest Wales for a holiday. Every summer I’ve looked forwards to finding some nice pins to play… and every summer it has become harder and harder to find any. This is a brief report on the current state of pinball there.

The holiday always starts well as we’ve discovered Colwyn Bay Pier. It’s about halfway on our journey and so we always have a break there. The owner is doing a wonderful job of restoration, a real labour of love as the pier was in a poor state (you can find details at ). It has a nice arcade with plenty of old slot machines to keep the kids happy… and there’s usually a pinball machine. In 1994 I found a Roadshow here, but in 1995 this had been swapped for an Addams Family. And you can tell that the owner, Steve Hunt, has a love of pinball as it was in excellent condition; nicely clean and really fast to play. My wife had to drag me away.

Colwyn Bay Pier

We always stay near Nefyn in the Lleyn Peninsula (the sticky-out bit at the top left of Wales, for you southerners). Pins are hard to find in this area, but one place has had some every year I’ve been. It’s the Penny Arcade at the West end of the little market square in Pwllheli, beside the main bus station. This year it was sadly down to two machines: an Addams Family and a Star Wars Episode One

Both were in okay condition and were playable (30p a game, four for a pound), although on the Star Wars the ball got stuck four times in the lane just right-of-centre at the top. For any desperate pinheads stuck in the area, I’d recommend this arcade as the one place where you will always find a working machine.

Jim and son Jack at the Penny Arcade, Pwllheli.

Sadly, this year I could only find one other machine in the area. This was a Jackbot at the Vaynol Arms in Abersoch, and what a commentary on the sad state of pinball today it was.

We found it in the corner of a tiny, shed-like appendage on the front of the pub, wedged into one corner behind a row of modern shoot-‘em-up machines.

Although the cabinet looked in nice condition, the playing surface, the rubbers and the flippers were FILTHY and the left flipper wasn’t working, rendering it unplayable (I’m told this latter defect has been fixed).

It looks like a lovely clean-up project for someone, but don’t bother asking… I’ve already tried to buy it to go with my BOP, but the owner won’t sell.

So that’s it. Just three locations that I could find in the whole of the northwest corner of Wales. Perhaps I’ll find some more in 2006… but don’t hold your breath…


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