Okay, Pinside. Help me fantasize here.
I've always wanted an awesome pinball arcade in my home. When my wife and kids and I bought our house three years ago, I started looking around to see where games might go. But our house is a semi-detached row house in the city, and we still don't have a lot of room. I've spent a lot of mental energy searching for wall space. There's no room downstairs, and there's no room upstairs. Believe me, I've looked.
I did get a #monopoly a little while ago, my first game in this house, with the guarantee to my wife that I'd put it in the attic. As soon as it was in the door, it was obvious I could never fit it up the attic stairs. Oops. It now sits in the dining room, which is fine with me, but not so fine with my wife. Then someone on Craigslist was selling a decrepit #star-explorer, so now there are 1.5 games in my dining room.
I have a basement, but the previous owners redid it as a separate suite, and now we use it as an Airbnb. The ceiling is too low for pins anyway.
So: The one place I could really, truly turn into an arcade is my garage. Is this madness?
First, a bit about the garage. It's detached from the house (on the other side of the small backyard, facing the alley). It's unfinished, no insulation or drywall or ceiling, and the floor is bare cement. It's a two-car garage with a decently new garage door, a decrepit and barely functional human door, and a single small window. It has no heat, A/C, or other climate control. It does have electricity, but it's not very robust. A friend recently plugged in his hybrid car to charge, and it tripped the circuit breaker.
1. Excluding the cost of the pins themselves, roughly how much would it cost to finish the garage and make it an arcade? Presumably I'd need to insulate and finish the walls, finish the ceiling, do something (what?) with the floor, paint, add a window A/C unit, ensure the electricity is sufficient, and do something (what?) about heating in the winter. And replace the door and window. Is this, like, a $5000 job, or a $50,000 job? Assume that I'm not overly handy and would need to hire professionals to do pretty much all of this.
2. Is it a mistake to put a pinball arcade in a garage regardless? Climate control is a must, I assume, but garage doors aren't very good at keeping climate controlled. I live in DC; it can get up to 100 sometimes in the summer, and in the teens in the winter.
3. Are there zoning laws that would preclude me from doing this with my own garage anyway?
4. Even if I can control the temperature and humidity, is this level of exposure so detrimental to pins that I'd be an idiot to put nice machines out there?
Thanks in advance for any advice. I keep thinking about this every time I see the garage, and I want to know whether to push it out of my head because it's too expensive or just a bad idea, or to keep hope alive.