Oakland Reverses 80-Year Ban on Pinball Machines, Celebrates With Monthlong Tournament

Zain Meghji
Odd NewsAugust 20, 2014

Not since the fictional town of Bomont in the movie "Footloose" lifted its ban on dancing have more people rejoiced in in their freedom of entertainment than in Oakland, California, where just last month an 80-year ban on the public use of pinball machines was removed. Yes, pinball machines.  

Back in the 1930s, the Bay Area city laid down the law prohibiting the machines because they were being used for illegal gambling.  

Josh Sharpe, the president of the International Flipper Pinball Association, told Wired magazine, "There was this stigma for what pinball was, which stuck around as it evolved into an amusement machine, with electricity and the opportunity to control the ball via flippers."

Now that the pings and clangs of the pinball machines can be heard without repercussion, Radio Shack is hosting a monthlong pinball tournament inside its Oakland location to celebrate. Participants must score 50 million points or more to qualify for the competition, and then the top 16 players will be invited back in September for the finals. The gamers are playing on an "Iron Man"-edition machine, which one lucky winner gets to take home as the grand prize.