Owners seek license for interactive pinball museum

Owners seek license for interactive pinball museum

An interior view of the Electromagnetic Pinball Museum and Restoration set to open July 1 at 881 Main St. in Pawtucket.

PAWTUCKET – A new attraction called the Electromagnetic Pinball Museum and Restoration is coming to the Creative Commerce Center at 881 Main St., the revitalized former Vitrus Building, where patrons will be able to pay one fee to play games all day.

Michael Pare, who runs the nonprofit with Emily Rose and David Paquin, said the three are very excited as they plan to open on July 1. Much of the collection here is his, he said, and the business is an extension on what he’s enjoyed for years.

The three will go before the City Council’s Board of License Commissioners tonight, June 9, to seek a secondhand shop license for selling miscellaneous merchandise. The idea here, said Pare, is to buy, sell and trade.

Pare, Rose and Paquin as curators had amassed 20 machines as of last March when they’d planned to open, and then COVID-19 hit, and there are now 40 pinball machines and another 30 machines with other games, including Skeeball, driving games, basketball, hit the hammer, Tempest, a Ferrari simulator (if you can drive this, you might just be able to drive a Ferrari), and even a signed 1979 Star Trek game.

“We’ve expanded despite COVID,” said Pare.

Paquin said there’s a lot of excitement in Pawtucket and across the state for this nonprofit museum as a destination that’s quite a bit more exciting than the average museum. Many other tenants in the building didn’t even know it was here, he said, and have been ecstatic to find out about it.

“There aren’t many of these open anymore,” he said.

Paquin said they tried to open originally at the “worst possible time,” but the extra year of preparation gave them the chance to buy a bunch more games from other arcades that have shut down, all at “basement prices.”

The cost to use the facility will be $10 for all day, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. most days, with no need for any quarters or to be a certain age. That low price is designed to help get people into the pinball hobby, said Pare, because “without new people entering the hobby, it’s going to die.”

Making money has never been the business here, said Paquin, but just to pay the rent.

“We’re really psyched,” he said.

In addition to the functional games and a handful of games that are being repaired in this interactive museum setting, some older pieces have been retired forever, he said.

There are a number of physically interactive games, said Paquin, a retired physics teacher, including standup soccer and skateboard games.

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Electromagnetic Pinball Museum and Restoration will offer a banquet table for birthday parties, anniversaries or other gatherings, he said, as well as components to teach the history, science and art of pinball.

The owners plan to run a summer camp if they get enough people.

Find Electromagnetic Pinball Museum and Restoration on Facebook, www.facebook.com/ElectroMagneticPinball. The page describes the company as an all-inclusive place to relax and share anything related to modern pinball, EM pinball, and arcade games: “A group of pinball and arcade fans with an addiction to gaming of all kinds and Lego too.”

Pare said many people are helping out the effort to open the pinball museum.

“It’s really blossomed into something,” he said.