(Topic ID: 101339)

A Visit to the Silverball Museum (Asbury Park, NJ)

By ForceFlow

7 years ago


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#1 7 years ago

Over the weekend, I visited the Silverball Museum in Asbury Park, NJ.

Todd recently posted a video of the museum. Actually having a better idea of what was there, it prompted me to actually made the trip out to the shore the next time that I was in the general vicinity.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/silverball-museum-tour-on-the-boardwalk-at-asbury-park-nj-tnt-amusements

For the most part, it is an EM museum, with a bank of DMD machines, two pin2000 machines, and a few early solid state machines. there are also a handful of other arcade game curiosities, which were also fun to try out.

In general, the EM machines played very well, and most were in good or very good condition. However, on the DMD machines, about half of them had weak flippers, which made them difficult to play. Additionally, many of the plungers were stiff and not springy enough to launch the ball too far. On these machines, they were set to 5-ball play (to compensate for the problem, maybe?). The ones that were working fairly well were set to 3-ball play.

If you end up going, parking is a bit of a nightmare--it's very difficult to find a spot. You will also either need a credit card or lots of change to load up the stand-alone parking machines. Of the 3 machines I tried, the bill readers were broken. On the other hand, if you hate parallel parking in cities as much as I do, it wasn't too bad here, since each spot was marked with a generous amount of space for each vehicle. Food was pricey on the boardwalk--$5 for 1 slice of pizza, or a small ice cream. I didn't bother with getting food there.

I spent about 4 hours in the museum, and it was a real treat to be able to see and play some of these machines that I had not seen in years or decades, and be able to play non-routed examples. I was there on a Sunday, so it wasn't too crowded. Although, the two-tone electronic door entrance/exit noise got annoying after a while, since I could be heard throughout the entire facility. Overall, I'd say it was a worthwhile experience.

Photos and comments to follow shortly...

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Post edited by ForceFlow: Fixed "ashbury" typo

#2 7 years ago

Some shots of the rooms--mainly near the DMD area.
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#3 7 years ago

I was probably the most excited about playing the IJ machine. I had not played one since it was new in 1993. It was set to 5-ball play, but played pretty well.

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#4 7 years ago

This MM was hidden away amongst some of the EM machines. It played *very* well.

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A Medusa and a Centaur. They seemed to play reasonably well, but were showing a little bit of age. The one thing about all the pins at the museum was that they were not in mint condition, so don't go there expecting to see them in that condition. Many of the machines have had quite a few plays on them, but are holding up fairly well overall.

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#5 7 years ago

Some EM machines.

A Close Encounters with electronic sounds (rather than chimes).
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Big Brave
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Eye of the Tiger. Since I'm restoring a Sinbad (the SS version of this EM), I took a number of additional reference photos.
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A few more EMs
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And an interesting woodrail
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#6 7 years ago

Flash and Gorgar. The Flash wasn't leveled, so all the balls would roll to one side of the playfield. But overall, a nice example.

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KISS
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Xenon
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Pinbot
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Eight Ball Deluxe. An unusual looking machine.
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#7 7 years ago

The DMD area. Like I mentioned earlier, many of these machines seemed to suffer from weak flippers. Additionally, many of the plungers were stiff and not springy enough, making it difficult to reach skill shots (or beyond skill shots, depending on the style of the pin).

Demolition Man. The flippers seemed to be a bit weak on this one.

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Funhouse. Sadly, Rudy's eyes were stuck staring off into space.
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Safecracker. I never played one before, so it was an interesting experience.

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Addams family, with basically no playfield wear. The main flippers were strong, but the upper flippers were a bit weak.

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#8 7 years ago

Attack From Mars. It had seen better days. Broken plastics, missing bumper cap, scotch tape on the playfield for a quick repair, mangled cliffy protector, and a mothership that didn't bounce when hit. However, this machine was still a good player machine despite its largely cosmetic-only flaws.

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Theatre of Magic. Again, some weak flippers and a stiff plunger.

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Scared Stiff. This machine played fairly well overall, though it had an overactive VUK that spit the ball all over the place. It had the boogie men mod on the slingshots, which was a nice touch. The LEDs were a bit bright, and overpowered everything a little.

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Cyclone, Sopranos, TSPP, Elvis. TSPP had an interesting note written on the apron.

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#9 7 years ago

Revenge from Mars. This machine played perfectly and looked nearly perfect. I thought I took a few more (and better) photos, but I guess not.
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CV. This machine played very well. It was a real treat to finally get a chance to play this one in person. The last two I saw elsewhere were basically "do not touch" display models.

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STTNG. Another machine that played well.
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The Shadow (and a Roadshow to the right). Sorry, the overall photo didn't turn out well on this one. Between the lighting and all the reflections on everything, and the highly reflective playfield glass, it turned out to be a little challenge to photograph machines. Also, the flippers were a bit weak on this one.

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WOZ. I was hoping to get some good, quality time on this machine since there wasn't a line a mile long like you would typically encounter at pinball shows. However, sadly, this machine has gotten quite a lot of use, and the flippers were weak and the plunger was a bit stiff. Quite a stark contrast between the brand new machines I played a few weekends ago, and the one found here. Additionally, there was a strange vertical line going through the LCD display.

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#10 7 years ago

That's about it for the pin-related stuff that I took photos of. Keep in mind, the photos I took and posted here only show about a quarter of what is actually available to play. There are a handful of additional DMD and early SS machines available, a boatload of EM machines, a bank of stand-up classic video arcade games (millipede, pac-man, etc), a couple pitch-and-bat games, air hockey, and a 4-player EM shuffle bowler.

Bonus round: some non-pin stuff and games.

The repair area.
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A bank of Skee-Ball machines. 230 was my best score (seen on the EM version).
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There were three shooting games available to play. Two didn't work too well. However, this one was great. The rifle sight was perfect and I was able to hit what I aimed at. The animals in the diorama popped up, and some were even moving targets. It was a rather fun game. My best score was 139.

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After exiting the museum onto the boardwalk, you are greeted by the ocean.

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Nearby, it looks like there was a casino that didn't make it. I'm sure it's frequented by urban explorers these days.

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#11 7 years ago

Overall, I had a good time, and would recommend this to anyone itching to play a few machines that they normally wouldn't have access to.

I hope you enjoy the photos.

#12 7 years ago

Personally,I have rated the S/M the BEST PLACE to play pinball in the USA
(that's open to the public daily)

My 2 cents

#13 7 years ago

Asbury Park...not Ashbury. Ever heard of Springsteen?? LOL If you go on weekdays during the Non-Summer months you wont have problems with parking or playing the machines of your choice with no waiting time.

The "Casino" was a Roller skating rink on the water side. The Right Side was were the amusements, slot machines and pinball machines were...next to the Carousel. It was open until the late 1980's. Across the street was THE PALACE with the TUNNEL OF LOVE ride..which is where the Springsteen MTV Video for "Tunnel of Love" was shot. It housed Dozens of Pinball machines as well and in the Mid to late 1980's the ASBURY PARK ROCK n ROLL Hall of fame was located there. It was a shrine for fans of Bruce/Southside Johnny/Bon Jovi etc Too bad some of you guys are just discovering this place now. Also had some of the best Rock Nightclubs in New Jersey all within 1/4 mile of each other.

#14 7 years ago

I love Silverball. We try to make it down there once a year and typically spend the better part of the day there playing. We visit in mid-May during the week - so parking is free and there are tons of spaces (although food options are extremely limited since most shops haven't opened yet for the season).

Have to admit that a few years ago I thought Silverball was only OK since I wasn't into EMs. But now that I've drunk the EM kool-aid, I think the place is fantastic. And going mid-week in low season (when there are very few other customers) means you really have your pick of pins to play and length of play time / number of games. I spent 2.5 hours straight on Joker Poker this year.

#15 7 years ago

Was there this past Friday for a visit. My kids and I had a great time and we plan on going back another time when we're able to stay longer.

Downside of free play is that there are a lot of games started and never finished.
For example, Scared Stiff had a 4 player, 5 ball game started and abandoned...took a bit to clear out all the balls for the players so I could start a fresh game. Probably not as big of a deal in the off-season though.

#16 7 years ago
Quoted from mbott1701:

Downside of free play is that there are a lot of games started and never finished.
For example, Scared Stiff had a 4 player, 5 ball game started and abandoned...took a bit to clear out all the balls for the players so I could start a fresh game. Probably not as big of a deal in the off-season though.

Yeah, I noticed this becoming a problem later in the day as more people started to filter into the museum. Kind of annoying, but oh well. Happens everywhere.

Quoted from CaptainFantastic:

The "Casino" was a Roller skating rink on the water side. The Right Side was were the amusements, slot machines and pinball machines were...next to the Carousel. It was open until the late 1980's. Across the street was THE PALACE with the TUNNEL OF LOVE ride..which is where the Springsteen MTV Video for "Tunnel of Love" was shot. It housed Dozens of Pinball machines as well and in the Mid to late 1980's the ASBURY PARK ROCK n ROLL Hall of fame was located there. It was a shrine for fans of Bruce/Southside Johnny/Bon Jovi etc Too bad some of you guys are just discovering this place now. Also had some of the best Rock Nightclubs in New Jersey all within 1/4 mile of each other.

Thanks for revealing what that place actually was. Sounds like it was a pretty interesting venue. A shame that it closed down.

#17 7 years ago

Dannunz and I made the trek over to the SBM after the weekend event at JJP's. It was AWESOME! I loved the selection of games they had and was STUNNED that they had a Safe Cracker. I have ALWAYS wanted to play that machine. Not only did I think it was awesome, but I think it would make an amazing full sized pinball machine. Needless to say, I'd love to have one in my collection.

I also enjoyed playing some of the very nice EM's they had. IT's always a treat to play those older machines and marvel in what they were able to do for their time. True American technological marvels!

It was also great to play the pitch and bat games they had their. Slugfest is such a great machine that you can play for hours.

Lastly, I'd have to say that the 2 sleepers of the museum were the 2 player basketball game and the mini bowling machine they had.

The BB game I remember as a kid and had TOTALLY forgotten about. It was great to play it again for sure and it brought back wonderful family growing up memories. (Miss & LOVE ya dad!)

Now the bowling machine with the little guy who catches the ball in his hand, that thing was AWESOME!!! I never even knew they had anything like that back then. Definitely a different, and amazingly designed machine. It was worth the price of admission alone.

All in all, if you are ANYWHERE in the area of the Silver Ball, you owe it to yourself to get down there. Right when they open is best. It really is a fun and nostalgic place to see and enjoy a wonderous time/era long since past.

#18 7 years ago
Quoted from mbott1701:

Was there this past Friday for a visit. My kids and I had a great time and we plan on going back another time when we're able to stay longer.
Downside of free play is that there are a lot of games started and never finished.
For example, Scared Stiff had a 4 player, 5 ball game started and abandoned...took a bit to clear out all the balls for the players so I could start a fresh game. Probably not as big of a deal in the off-season though.

FYI: For the DMD's they are set so that if you just hold down the start button it will reset the game.

#19 7 years ago

Nice pics. I'm going to make my way over there this fall or winter when the crowds aren't insane.

#20 7 years ago
Quoted from asay:

Nice pics. I'm going to make my way over there this fall or winter when the crowds aren't insane.

Thanks

I was there on a Sunday, and around noon, it was pretty empty. As it got later in the afternoon there wasn't more than a dozen people at a time in there, so there were plenty of free machines. I can't speak for what happens on a Saturday, though.

Quoted from ectobar:

FYI: For the DMD's they are set so that if you just hold down the start button it will reset the game.

Good tip--I'll have to try that next time.

#22 7 years ago

The owner bought my Gottlieb Soccer EM a couple of years ago. He offered me gas money and free lifetime membership if I would deliver it from MD. I took him up on it and although I haven't been back yet, I plan on making a trip soon. It is the best showcase of pinball history I've ever seen. It's amazing.

#23 7 years ago

Thanks for sharing your visit.

Awesome and nice pics !

---

Wanted : Dead or Alive - In any condition
Gottlieb CHARLIE'S ANGELS EM (not SS version or Fipermatic Brazil-Manaus) & Gottlieb SPACE WALK
You find, you win : REWARD USD 500 each !

#24 7 years ago

For me, visiting Silverball Museum was just amazing experience and I would recommend it to everyone. I got the opportunity to visit the place in 2013 on my way from New York to Pittsburgh to play in Pinburgh 2013. Me and 2 of my friends arrived to Asbury Park at lunch time and we easily spent all the day in the museum until closing time.

In my opinion (as a player who started the hobby being only interested in DMD machines) the place works best for any pinball maniac, who has already played enough of the usual DMD titles and is ready to dig further into history to see some of the real gems in the pinball history. The place has too many really rare games to spend almost any time playing the quite popular big production number DMD games. It's of course good that the usual DMD games are present there too, since the majority of players want to play these, but I understand well if getting these games to run 100% CQ shape isn't their first priority.

Having already had some playtime on some classic early SS machines, it was so awesome to try the EM counterparts of games like Joker Poker, Charlie's Angels, Close Encounters and Mata Hari. I also got to enjoy a row of 20 Gottlieb wedgeheads (ending to really rare TKO and containing many of the more rare add-a-ball versions of games), tried some machines with the same layout but more rare theme than the normal game (Eye of Tiger, Bristol Hills, Canada Dry) and also played many add-a-ball versions of some more popular replay games, Williams Spacelab coming to mind as the rarest example. I wouldn't even have realized that the game had only production run of 30 units without reading the information card on top of the game.

Considering the rarity of some of the games in the lineup, it's almost ridiculous that you can even play those games there. And at least in spring 2013 the condition of the classic games was really good, so they must have spent a lot of time to keep the games going like that. The General Manager guy Dan (seen also on TNT video tour) was really friendly and had time to talk with us and even showed some pictures of the place just after the hurricane Sandy had swept over the area. Luckily this place survided the hurricane! I gladly bought some t-shirts to support the place, I think the entrance fee should be way higher seeing what the place has to offer!

Hopefully I'll be able to visit the place again. I could easily spend another day or many there just reading trough the information cards and playing the rare classic games.

Post edited by marble: corrected some typos

#25 7 years ago
Quoted from CaptainFantastic:

Asbury Park...not Ashbury. Ever heard of Springsteen?? LOL If you go on weekdays during the Non-Summer months you wont have problems with parking or playing the machines of your choice with no waiting time.
The "Casino" was a Roller skating rink on the water side. The Right Side was were the amusements, slot machines and pinball machines were...next to the Carousel. It was open until the late 1980's. Across the street was THE PALACE with the TUNNEL OF LOVE ride..which is where the Springsteen MTV Video for "Tunnel of Love" was shot. It housed Dozens of Pinball machines as well and in the Mid to late 1980's the ASBURY PARK ROCK n ROLL Hall of fame was located there. It was a shrine for fans of Bruce/Southside Johnny/Bon Jovi etc Too bad some of you guys are just discovering this place now. Also had some of the best Rock Nightclubs in New Jersey all within 1/4 mile of each other.

I wrote a Huge article on both the Palace and Casino at: www.laffinthedark.com. palace seemed to have every classic Stern built. Such a shame what happened there. Long live "Tillie" ~SpOoKy

#26 7 years ago

Didnt know there was an EM Charlies Angels, the first electronic pin I ever bought and operated. Thanks for all the nice photos.

2 years later
#27 5 years ago

Just there on Saturday for my 50th birthday. I was surprised at how nice the overall condition of the machines were, especially the playfields. First chance I've had to play a number of games such as Medieval Madness and Theater of Magic; I may just have changed my mind about not having much use for the DMD-era games. Woefully weak flippers on many games in the early 80's Bally & Williams SS era like Black Knight though; the flipper power on BK was so bad that there was no way in hell the ball was going to make it up the left ramp at all, short of an earthquake. They also need to be more on top of changing blown bulbs, I had to work the Skateball lane change by figuring out which lanes were/weren't triggered from the lone bulb that stilled lit up there. All in all though, a great afternoon that passed too quickly, and I didn't get to see any else of Asbury Park so another trip is warranted.

1 year later
#28 4 years ago

Love, love, love the place and go there quite often with my family. I can't figure why though that they refuse to have even a single Stern game. I was told about cost and maintenance but surely this is true for all pinball machines. There are at least a half dozen Sterns that truly belong there. (LOTR; Metallica; AC/DC; Batman66; Aerosmith; Tron Legacy; Star Wars; Iron Maiden among them).

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