The Machine Shop
Since 2016, The Machine Shop has slowly become one of the premier pinball arcades in the Pacific Northwest. Located about an hour north of Seattle on Whidbey Island, The Machine Shop is located in what was once the Langley Lumber Supply building, built in the 1940’s. Over the years, the building has contained a number of businesses, including an antique store, a health food store, a dance studio, and a bakery. It was the owner of the bakery who first invited Machine Shop proprietor Tim Leonard to use an underutilized space in the bakery to set up a few of his games, which eventually led to the arcade taking over the whole building!
Physically, the arcade reflects the varied past of the building with many distinct areas. When you first enter, there are two different directions to go: a café area with tables and a food counter, or a nicely lit pinball room with a variety of games mixing newish Sterns like Tron and Kiss with older games like Road Kings and The Addams Family. Heading towards the back from there is a large dark room packed full of arcade games of all sorts; from shooter games like House of the Dead to early classics like Missile Command and Burger Time.
In a long back room of The Machine Shop is the crown jewel of the arcade, with a great number of electro-mechanical pinball machines (and a few solid state ones) mostly from the 70’s. There are rarities such as Fire Queen, Big Ben, Target Alpha, and Skylab; most of which you won’t find anywhere else. The next area of the arcade is a large room with a mirrored wall (from the building’s dance studio days) that contains more games as well as space for occasional live music. Lastly, in the very back area, you’ll find a large virtual reality game room, usually only open on weekends. This room has lots of padding, and a warning sign to watch out for flailing limbs!
If some of these pins sound familiar, it is probably because a lot of them are brought to the NW Pinball and Arcade Show every year. Tim didn’t own any pins until after his first visit to the show in 2013, when he became interested in the older machines. Since Tim is a metal fabricator and artist by trade who also works with neon lighting, The Machine Shop contains many examples of his work, both as lighting for the arcade and as art on the walls – all of which are for sale or available by commission.