Silverstone, Weerenweg 21-23 in Zwanenburg, Nr. Amsterdam,
Article and pictures by Pinball News reader Mike Parkins.
We did the usual touristy things over the weekend and then on Monday morning I was told we were going on a little excursion... Although I'd seen the website for PinballMagic a few weeks back, it had slipped my mind and I was rather confused as to the purpose of this trip.
On Monday morning we headed down to Centraal station and took the short train journey to Amsterdam Sloterdijk, a few km to the West of the city, followed by a ten minute bus journey (No.85) to the small town of Zwanenburg. There then followed a 15 minute walk through the neighbourhood and onto an industrial estate, ending up at a large warehouse unit painted black and with a sign outside which said Silverstone - Karting, Lasergame and Partycentre.
Unfortunately, another sign gave the opening times as 1600-late, everyday except Monday.
Not to be downhearted, we returned late on Tuesday afternoon to find the centre open this time with a few people driving round the indoor Kart track and one or two others drinking at the bar. There were a couple of driving games in one corner and what looked like a eerily lit tunnel entrance to the laser games section.
Venturing down the tunnel (beware if you are averse to strobe lighting!) we came across a corridor which was lined with a Capcom Pinball Magic back to back with a Williams No Fear.
Further on revealed the full splendour of the PinballMagic centre - About 30 machines arranged around the walls of a high room which was painted black with a central strip of very bright fluorescent lights and a ring of Ultraviolet lamps over the tables (the latter were not switched on unfortunately).
Apart from a Jurassic Park, a Guns 'N Roses and the Capcom in the corridor, all were Dot Matrix Williams/Bally machines. There were two MMs together, as well as a TOM, T2, NF, FT, DM, SS, MB, CP, RFM, TAFG, STTNG, NBAFB, RS, TOTAN, IJ, CV, TZ, GI, Corvette, Junkyard, Popeye, Congo, Shadow & Dracula. In one corner lurked a Safe Cracker (without any payout facility) and one machine (TOM) had an 'Out of Order' sign on the glass.
Many countries were represented on the coin doors but a large sign reminded visitors that 1 Token = 1 Game, though not where to obtain your tokens! Back in the lasergames reception area it was possible to get 7 tokens for 5 Euros, amounting to approx. 50p a game.
Between the two of us we managed to get through about 30 Euros worth of tokens and a similar amount was spent on drinks from the bar. It seems that drink prices are a little higher in Holland generally and a Bacardi Breezer was 4 Euros even here in a place frequented mainly by locals.
Back to the machines and it's good to report that all bar the TOM were not only working but working well, very clean and properly levelled. Of course there were a few niggles such as the intermittent Cryoclaw on DM and the gate on MM number 1 which was stuck in the up position.
The inevitable stuck ball turn out not to be a problem since the machines' keys were kept close by for staff to use in such circumstances.
Later on we were joined by two or three locals, then some children thought it would be fun to go around pressing every start and flipper button in turn.
Due to the fairly high volume settings on the tables, it might be wise to take ear plugs if you intend visiting as a large group. The close spacing of the machines, combined with the cavernous acoustics of the room made it difficult to hear your own machine when others were playing, but when playing alone, the high volume made for quite an intense game!
While it's possible to do Amsterdam in a day, I think it would be sensible to stay overnight in Zwanenburg and return the next morning rather than trying to do it in a day trip. Because of the late opening, you will probably find yourself leaving the centre quite late. The last bus leaves Zwanenburg at about 2340 but a taxi could also be summoned if required.
Lastly, neither of us managed to leave a Grand Champion score on anything but if you do, it's worth noting that the website has a page devoted to GCs - Go for it!
© Pinball News 2002