If you’re ever anywhere near New York State…

…make sure you visit the U.S. National Museum of Play, and in particular their gobsmacking collection of early/classic era arcade games and pinball machines.

I mean, there are other things to do: the amazing countryside, Niagara Falls, head into the city and see the Statue of Liberty blah blah blah, but these people have got original Asteroids machines, and Donkey Kong, and Frogger, and Galaga, and Centipede, and Defender, and Zaxxon, and scores upon scores of others – did I mention Galaga? That one’s the best. And you play them at what are essentially classic era prices. (10p a go).

As you do the pinball machines, which fill a whole separate room.

Vintage pacman machine

I visited in a slightly professional capacity, to do with other writing stuff that I do (it was a tough job, but somebody… etc). It’s fair to say that I hadn’t *quite* explained the concept to the rest of the family in a great amount of detail, which led to a certain amount of pursed-lips ‘so, we’re at the Museum of Play for the childrens’ benefit, you say?’ but to be fair they caught on quick and were also very, very happy with the more kids-based exhibits and activities downstairs.

It was good because I could then educate and entertain them with the history of and my opinions of the sociological and technical development of those classic-era arcade machines during the subsequent nine-hour drive to Quebec City. I am the best dad in the world like that, like when I took the family to the Official Dukes of Hazzard Museum, or made a two-day round trip for a romantic meal at the original Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.

The only slight disappointment was that the collection is missing a Carnival machine (which was my favourite for ages), and their Gunfight/Boot Hill was out of commission somewhere. So if you have either of these historic artefacts in your garage somewhere, I encourage you to donate them to a good home.

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