Pin-a-Go-Go, the longest running Pinball Festival west of the Mississippi, hosted its 21st annual show this weekend in Dixon, Ca.
At the event, Pinball attendees honored System 80 pinball Guru and spirit pinball fanatic Steve Charland with a memorial in his name this weekend, decked out in his classic Indiana Jones-style hat and all his badges.
Steve Charland, a long-time member of the pinball community, passed away this March. Well known in the pinball community as a super knowledgeable fun guy, Steve collected for decades and always loved to spread the wisdom and the fun of the sport with others.
Steve, pictured above, was an unofficial ambassador for collectors of the game Spirit, a rare supernatural-themed game released in 1982.
The System 80 games included Black Hole, Haunted House and Spirit, which are all supernatural themed. Learn more about this game and its sisters at the International Pinball Machine Database.
In the game 'Spirit,' the objective is making contact with a Spirit.
While 'Spirit' is a rare game mostly found in Europe, the pinball field is well known for its host of supernatural themed games, artists, and art, as players enjoy games such as Ghostbusters, America's Most Haunted, Class of 1812, Haunted House, and Gypsy Queen.
With Spirit Pinball, the reason it's so rare is that only 1,230 units were made and most were shipped off to Europe after manufacture, making them fairly difficult, but not impossible to find in the United States. In contrast, another popular spiritual game, Addam's Family, manufactured in 1992, produced 20,270 units making these games fairly easy to come by.
Pinball Machines, a popular arcade game in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, are making a comeback in recent years, as the field undergoes a sort of a renaissance.
My favorite game, designed by Ben Heckendorn, released by Spooky Pinball in 2014, is America's Most Haunted. America's Most Haunted a ghost hunting themed game that asks you to call on your Spirit Guides for help while you play. For us mediums, it's a great way to blow off steam after a hard day's work!
Spirit, a much more subdued than that takes a special person to really get into and understand, as it's far more esoteric in nature. If you ever have a chance to play 'Spirit,' keep your eyes open - it's a fun game. A Spirit Pinball Machine was recently featured and available for open play earlier this month at Allentown's Pinfest, and then again this weekend at Dixon's Pin-a-Go-Go, where you'd also be able to see Steve's Memorial.
To donate to Steve's family, his wife Cathy and his two daughters, visit their GoFundMe page:
Losing an income earner is difficult, as is losing the love of your life, Steve left behind many friends, family members and grand-children, many of whom, continue to carry on his name to this day.
Steve's memory lives on as he continues to touch and impact those around him in Spirit.
From their Facebook Page:
Pin-a-Go-Go is the longest running pinball show west of the Mississippi. Three halls filled with pinball machines, vendors, pinball celebrities, raffles, a tournament, and other activities. This family-friendly event, sponsored by the Northern California Pinball Association raises funds for local youth charities. Please come and join us for this down-home show in the heart of farm country.
To visit the event, hours, pricing, and additional details are at www.pinagogo.org
Amanda Linette Meder
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