Date: January 2016
Location: 22500 Town Cir #2030, Moreno Valley, CA 92553, USA

On our way back from Arcade Expo in Banning, we stopped off at Moreno Valley to do some last minute shopping and gather supplies for the journey to LAX.

Having got our fill of T-shirts in the shopping mall, we couldn’t help but notice what looked like a large family entertainment centre upstairs.

Round 1 in Moreno Valley
Round 1 in Moreno Valley

Round 1 is a chain of ten amusement centres spread around southern California, the Chicago area, southern Seattle, western Dallas, and southern Massachusetts. In other words, many of the pinball hot spots in the US.

It’s easy to underestimate how large the Moreno Valley location really is. Here’s a picture showing the facia inside the mall. In fact it continues for another couple of units into the distance but we couldn’t get far back enough to photograph it all with our phone.

It's all Round 1
It’s all Round 1

Inside is an impressive selection of the latest hot amusement and redemption games we’d seen at various trade shows. Among them is Fishbowl Frenzy (below, left) created by Team Play Inc., a company based in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, and co-owned by Ken Fedesna, VP and General Manager of both WMS Industries (Williams) and Midway Games.

A few of the many games at Round 1
A few of the many games at Round 1

These are joined by an interesting selection of obscure (to us) Japanese games, some in hugely elaborate enclosures while others were strangely utilitarian.

Some of the Japanese games
Some of the Japanese games

The premises are large enough to contain a set of full-size bowling lanes.

The bowling lanes at Round 1
The bowling lanes at Round 1

They also have quite a few billiards and ping pong tables set up, along with darts and special private karaoke rooms, with songs available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Japanese.

As you can see, the place was largely deserted on this Monday afternoon, with most interest in the Japanese games, such as the rock guitarist and drummer simulators, the DJ mixing tables, and sit-down racers.

Thankfully they also has four pinballs as part of their offer to customers. They were all recent Pro model Stern titles, arranged in pairs back-to-back.

Kiss Pro and The Walking Dead Pro
Kiss Pro and The Walking Dead Pro
Metallica Pro and Star Trek Pro
Metallica Pro and Star Trek Pro

The machines all had plenty of space around them and all four appeared to be in very good condition.

The Kiss Pro playfied
The Kiss Pro playfield

We say they “appeared” to be in good condition because, although the games’ pricing cards say they cost $1 a game or 3 games for £2, the whole complex uses a proprietary swipe-card payment system.

The card reader fitted to every game
The game is priced in dollars but uses a card reader

With just a few minutes to kill before returning to the car it didn’t seem worthwhile investing in a card.

But if you have longer to spend there, Round 1 has an excellent selection of games, amusements and other entertainments to keep you and your friends busy all day. If you’re going to the Texas or NW Pinball Shows, check out their Grapevine or Tukwila locations near the airports.

More details of all their locations, the games, food, prices and opening hours are on their website at round1usa.com.

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