Delaware Pinball Collective Is a Hotspot for Top Players

Photo by Joe Del Tufo

Located in Newport, the Delaware club attracts the world’s top pinball players with tournaments and a massive number of games.

What was the world’s No. 2-ranked pinball player doing in Delaware this spring?

Popping flippers, naturally, at Delaware Pinball Collective in Newport—the state’s premier pinball club.

The clubhouse’s owner, Chad Hastings, has steadily built up the collective’s reputation since it launched in January 2022. Prior to that, Hastings regularly hosted pinball tournaments from his home. For the Delaware Pinball Collective, attracting top talent—like 19-year-old phenom Jason Zahler, the second-ranked player in the world according to the International Flipper Pinball Association—is the product of years of work. The March tournament also hosted the then-current No. 3-ranked player in the world, Raymond Davidson, as well as No. 8, Steven Bowden, and No. 14, Alberto Santana.

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“They came because they knew the games were going to be top-notch,” Hastings says. “In the pinball world, they talk about our collective and how well run our games are. … In total, we had six people inside the top 20 in the world at the event. And it was a huge success during the three-day tournament.”

The Delaware Pinball Collective in Newport has hosted the world’s top-ranked tournament players, including Raymond Davidson (pictured here).
The Delaware Pinball Collective in Newport has hosted the world’s top-ranked tournament players, including Roland Nadeau (pictured here). Photo by Joe Del Tufo.

Hastings, from Magnolia, has been a fixture in the mid-Atlantic pinball circuit since 2017, when he began running competitive tournaments from a friend’s basement. Decades earlier, his mother served as general manager for three arcades around Sussex County, including the Silver Dollar Arcade in Laurel.

He is helping lead a pinball resurgence in the area, and the newly constructed clubhouse is headquarters to not only high-quality tournaments but also casual players and nostalgia seekers of all stripes.

“The whole idea of forming the social club came because of the fact we needed more space to run tournaments,” says Hastings, who adds that the collective currently boasts 92 active memberships, about a third of whom compete in tournaments.

You don’t need to be a serious pinball player to hang with the collective. A nominal subscription fee gains members access to the club’s dozens of collection-quality games, a clubhouse bar and an inside track to the intense-but-friendly competition scene.

“In the pinball world, they talk about our collective and how well run our games are…In total, we had six people inside the top 20 in the world at the event.”

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The Pinball Collective rotates its lineup of games “to keep it fresh so members don’t get bored of the same game,” Hastings says. “While some of them are staples and have been there the entire year, every new game that comes out, we typically buy to put it into the collective so people can experience it.”

The newest game in town: a Foo Fighters pinball machine. It joins classic riffs on everything from Iron Man and Iron Maiden to Indiana Jones and The Twilight Zone and back—all in the largest selection of pinball machines in Delaware.

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