Delaware Pinball Collective Wants to Give Pinball a Comeback

Photos by Joe Del Tufo

Magnolia native Chad Hastings is on a mission to bring pinball back into the zeitgeist, one flipper at a time.

Hastings helps lead a collective of enthusiasts who have joined forces to create Delaware’s first members-only dedicated pinball social club. Their nonprofit Delaware Pinball Collective debuted in December.

“Pinball, for a lot of people, died in the ’90s when arcades went away,” says Hastings. “But they’re still out there and they’re very plentiful.”

In our era of reboots, reunions and nostalgia mining, pinball could be primed for a comeback. Therein lies the appeal of a monthly membership with the Collective. A nominal subscription fee gains members access to the club’s collection-quality games (up to 55 this first half of this year), a clubhouse bar and an inside track to the intense-but-friendly competition scene.

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Whether you possess crazy flipper fingers (meaning you play a mean pinball) or bricks for hands, the Collective welcomes all. The group plans to host regular open nights throughout the year to serve as both sneak previews and membership drives.

Photo by Joe Del Tufo

Hastings has been a fixture in the mid-Atlantic pinball circuit since 2017, when he began running competitive tournaments (officially sanctioned by the International Flipper Pinball Association) from a friend’s basement. Decades earlier, his mother served as general manager for three arcades around southern Delaware, including the Silver Dollar Arcade in Laurel. When they closed down, the owner gifted the Hastings a Harlem Globetrotters pinball machine, which germinated Hasting’s love for the game.

“There’s dodgeball leagues and there’s dart leagues and pool leagues and bowling leagues—there’s pinball leagues too,” he says. “I’ve done all those other hobbies as well. But this is the most fun hobby I’ve been involved in.”

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