Remember the pinball machine? The longtime mainstay of arcades and barrooms has never gone away. To the contrary, the machines are enjoying a modest comeback. This Saturday, a local women's league will be celebrating their cherished game - and hoping to attract more local women participants - with the Holiday Silverball Crawl.
The event begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, December 30 at Community Beer Works in Buffalo. Participants will begin with rounds of pinball there and then move to three other venues around town to continue with more games.
The Holiday Silverball Crawl is being led by Buffalo Women's Pinball, which was formed earlier this year to provide and encourage both competitive and recreational opportunities for women pinball enthusiasts.
"It's really like any other gathering. People are playing more kickball as a group or foosball tournaments," said Buffalo Women's Pinball co-founder Summer Galarneau. "We really see it as fun, social, but still with a little underlying competitive nature to it."
Buffalo Women's Pinball was formed with the encouragement of Buffalo Pinball, a group formed in 2013 to promote the pastime. Galarneau explained that when she attended her first event for Buffalo Pinball, she was just one of a handful of women among an overall group of about 70 participants.
Their male counterparts in Buffalo Pinball encouraged the formation of the women's group but with the goal of fostering a pinball community that ultimately is all-inclusive.
"You create the community you want. We want all-inclusive, where everybody is welcome," said Kevin Manne of Buffalo Pinball. "People of all ages, like my son, have played in tournaments. He was seven or eight at the time."
It's an environment different from which many women have faced in the online video gaming community. Numerous articles have been published on the issue of sexual harassment of women gamers. Galarneau suggested there have not been widespread problems in the local pinball community.
"I have seen nothing but great support by my male counterparts," she said. "We've been fortunate without having to deal with that too much."
Saturday's Holiday Silverball Crawl costs two dollars for admission. Players must then provide their own quarters to play.
A women's winter league is reportedly in development. Buffalo Women's Pinball provides information about the organization and upcoming events on its official Facebook site.