I just went to the Asheville Pinball Museum this past Friday (04/20/2018). I wanted to share my opinions about the place and the conditions of the machines.
There was very little people inside, on that Friday afternoon, which gave me a chance to try and play most of the pinball machines. Although there are quite a few old timer video games I have no interest for these and just played a game of Pac-Man to relive the good old times.
The museum has modern pinballs (DMD) and mid-seventies/Early-eighties machines. There are a few mechanical pinballs, too.
Before I say anything else about this location, let me be specific about my expectations: I am a pinball collector, grew up with these machines, have currently four at home in pristine condition and love a challenging game.
Well, the Asheville Pinball Museum does not offer any, or very little of what I was looking for. Very disappointing overall. I only stayed 1.5 hours in it.
Most machines are poorly maintained, with half of the lights burnt or not working. The Bally Eight Ball near the entrance door is almost impossible to play due to the light coming through the door (blinding you) and most of the playfield bulbs not working. Some machines have very weak flippers and one of them was not even working. A lot of the displays (Bally mostly) are weak or shot. They should be replaced by LEDs if no spare can be found.
My biggest issue was the slanting of the pinball machine or to be more precise, the absence of it. I love a fast pinball machine and cannot stand an almost horizontal playfield. In some cases, the ball would barely move especially in the upper part of the playfield. I suppose this is done intentionally to reduce the speed of the game and the wear on the playfield and bumpers.... but how boring....!!!
The Museum allowed me to try a few machines that I was considering purchasing in the future an eliminate a few as well. Silverball Mania would be a good candidate whereas the poor Eight Ball will likely get bumped out of my list. There is an old Gottlieb Buccaneer which has been poorly repainted and is unfortunately not in a very good condition for playing. The Bally Air Aces was a lot more interesting.
Incidentally, there is an article about the Asheville Pinball museum in one of the most recent issue of NC Home magazine and after reading the article, I better understand the essence of the "museum". The owner collects old pinball but no attempt at improving them or repairing them is made. They are all in their original condition....whatever that may mean.
The modern DMD pinball machines are all perfect but they do not present much interest to me and I did not spend much time on them: Listening to a computer generates noises, screeches and screams, while waiting for a ball stuck in some plastic gear, is not what I enjoy doing.
I had the opportunity and pleasure to go to Delray Beach pinball museum and had a blast there. The two places are diagonally opposed and cannot compare.