Maplewood is already known as a place to go for a great meal. Now a new Sutton Boulevard business featuring pinball and skeeball as main attractions will be the place to go for a good time.
Michael Stivers is the owner of Orbit Pinball Lounge, which should open in about three weeks. He said the number of places people can go to do something is shrinking. The business meeting last May.
“The goal is to get people off their phones and actually talking to other people,” he said. “It’s 21 and over, so it’s more of an adult–orientated place.”
There is something about a pinball machine that can’t be replicated on a computer, he said.
“The machine is shaking, the ball is flying around, lights are flashing, hearing the sounds. There’s just something a lot different than what you get from a video game,” he said.
Stivers has 10 pinball machines and three skeeball lanes in Orbit. He hopes people who remember playing skeeball—in arcades, at the Lake of the Ozarks, in amusement parks—will be drawn in. He’s planning on weekly competitive skeeball leagues as well as casual gaming for people looking to do something fun and different.
Skeeball is easy to understand, he said.
“Pinball rules can be complicated,” he said, “but with skeeball, roll nine balls and get the highest score you can,” he said. “I can’t think of many games that are more simple.”
As for leagues: “They’ll see the same people, develop rivalries between teams,” he said. “It’s an icebreaker, a way for people to network and meet each other. We’re hoping it turns into more of a social thing.”
He found the skeeball lanes on eBay and hauled them to Maplewood in a trailer. They’re cleaned up and ready to go.
His pinball machines came from Kansas City; Chicago; Nashville; Arkansas; South Roxana, IL; and the St. Louis area. He said they have some battle scars. There’s a strong pinball community in St. Louis, Stivers said, so when one breaks, he can easily find help if he can’t fix it himself.
His first machine was “Jurassic Park,” and he is saving up for a “Hobbit” game set to be released soon. It will be the first new game he’s owned.
“We’re trying to use local small startup businesses,” he said of the food. “It fits in with our theme.”
Even though the game technology is not the newest, Stivers hopes it will be new to some.
“I think once people play, you get hooked on it,” he said.