Sharon's Retro Arcade puts pinball back in style - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Sharon's Retro Arcade puts pinball back in style

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SHARON, Pa. -

It wasn't too long ago that arcades were all over the place. As those started to go away, pinball became sort of a lost art. 

But one man in Sharon is determined to bring it back with his own Retro Arcade.

Inside Sharon's Retro Arcade you'll see wall-to-wall pinball machines; 39 of them.

It's the brainchild of Eric Thomas, whose pinball passion is driving this one-room revival.

"There's so much history in pinball," said Thomas. "They tried to ban it. They tried to say it was gambling. Anything to keep it alive is what we need."

Believe it or not, he's built up this collection in less than a year. The addiction started with just a single game.

"I played the Jersey Jack Wizard of Oz. So I went and purchased one and then, here we are," said Thomas.

Quarter after quarter, he's turned this into his own personal mission to try and rescue kids from playing video games online. Instead, giving them real, social interaction over the bright lights and a little silver ball.

"We're trying to get that generation back into pinball," said Thomas. "If you're playing online, you don't really know the other person you're playing with so every time you log on that kid is on there and you talk to him every time, but you lose that physical interaction and that bond that you get by that."

The more games he collected, the more people started showing up. Now they have full leagues every Tuesday night and knockout tournaments every Wednesday all sanctioned by the International Flipper Pinball Association.

"Everything is done through them. The rules of how you play the different games. So we have a computer, we type in all the names into the computer and then it follows the sanctioning rules. We submit that to the International Flipper Pinball Association and that would be where your ranking is at in the world," said Thomas.

Even if you are not nationally-ranked, you can still pump a few quarters in and relive a little of the past at a place bringing pinball back to life.

The next league starts up next week: Tuesday nights at 7 p.m., with the knockouts every Wednesday at 7 p.m.

You can also go and play just about anytime. The Retro Arcade is open 9am-9pm most days and 11 a.m.-5.p.m. on Sundays on State Street across from Reyers in Sharon.

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