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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    D&D Pinball gives wizards their fix

    Rebecca Noble

    Matt Tropman plays pinball at D&D Pinball on Fourth Avenue and Seventh Street on Thursday. Tropman comes to play once every week or two and said that it’s “nice that this place is here.”

    Amongst the collection of bars, shops and restaurants that populate the ever-busy Fourth Avenue is the hidden gem of old-school arcades: D&D Pinball.

    D&D Pinball is located inside what used to be a large garage on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Seventh Street and is packed with 30 retro pinball machines of various themes, ages and skill levels. From “Creature from the Black Lagoon” to “The Twilight Zone” and everything in between, the collection includes something for everyone to recognize and play. There’s even a multi-game system where patrons can play one of almost 50 classic arcade games, including hits like “Pacman,” “Millipede” and “Galaga.”

    The place is a nostalgic arcade-lover’s dream and every week between Thursday and Sunday, anyone can walk in and play — if they have quarters, of course. All of the machines are coin-operated, with some of the more popular ones that provide longer gameplay running 75 cents a play, while others are either 50 or 25 cents. There’s a coin dispenser in the shop, just in case you forget to empty your piggy bank before visiting. 

    D&D Pinball has only been in Tucson for a little under a year and a half. Originally, the place was just a venue for the two original owners to exhibit their pinball collection to Tucson. They said they thought it would be fun to run the place for six months, so they set it up and ran it for half a year. 

    Throughout the beginning of D&D, the popularity of the place grew thanks to pinball players and Tucson residents alike. With its success and the positivity it received from the community, two friends of the original owners decided to take over the place and keep it running.

    Constance Negley and Robert Noble took ownership of D&D Pinball last May and have continued to run and improve it over the past year. They each have a history of enjoying pinball and they said they wanted to protect it, since it isn’t very prominent in Tucson. D&D Pinball is one of the only places in the state that has classic arcade pinball machines, and they said the handful of other places don’t have nearly as nice of a collection as this one.

    “I get people coming into our shop all the time telling us that they’re so happy to have found this place when there’s nothing else like it in Arizona,” Noble said.

    Negley and Noble said their main priority is to provide classic entertainment to all ages in a family-friendly environment with high-quality pinball machines, and they continue to add things to help contribute to these goals.

    People are constantly calling up the pinball partners, offering to sell old machines that they don’t want or have a use for anymore. Oftentimes, Negley and Noble decline because the machines tend to be those that are in significant disrepair, but on the occasion that they are offered a nice machine, they can add another member to the collection. 

    Being one of the only pinball arcades in Tucson, many people from around the state and sometimes even out of state stop by to play. 

    “We’re the only big arcade in Arizona and the second largest in the Southwest,” Negley said. “We have a lot of players who come in and make a day of it, eat down on Fourth and then come play some pinball.”

    Negley and Noble also host tournaments at least once each month on the third Sunday of the month, beginning at 10 a.m. The International Flipper Pinball Association also held its state championship tournament at D&D this past February, and continues to hold a number of other special tournaments each month.

    Tournaments, like the rest of D&D Pinball, are meant for all ages and skill levels, but are also fun for those who like some healthy competition.

    Negley and Noble said they hope for D&D Pinball to become a permanent fixture in the Fourth Avenue street scene and to continue to grow the collection and spread the love of pinball. So put in your quarters, pull back the trigger and get your fingers on the flippers, because pinball’s taking Tucson by storm.


    Follow Victoria Pereira on Twitter.

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