How to Be a Pinball Wizard - Atlas Obscura

College Park, Maryland

How to Be a Pinball Wizard

Come learn the fraught history of a once illegal game, get tips from the pros, and time to play at MOM's Organic Market in College Park.

Join us for an afternoon of flipping out on pinball history, learning tips from a state champion, and becoming a pinhead yourself at MOM's Organic Market in College Park, Maryland, home to owner Scott Nash's sizable collection of pinball machines.

The game of pinball has a fascinating history—from its 18th-century origins to being outlawed for its connection to gambling to the "perfect shot" in a New York City courtroom that saved it from oblivion.

Our afternoon at MOM's Organic will start with Adam Ruben, author of the new book Pinball Wizards: Jackpots, Drains, and the Cult of the Silver Ball, giving us a crash course on pinball's fraught past. Next, two-time Virginia State pinballing champ Austin Mackert will provide us a few secrets on how to become a pinball wizard. It will end with time to play on the 25+ machines.

This event has two sessions, one that starts at 4:00 p.m. and the next at 6:00 p.m. Each session will last about two hours and include a historical crash course, pro tips, and time to play "some mean pinball."  

This event is graciously sponsored by MOM's Organic Market. 


  • This event is family-friendly!
  • Please bring quarters or cash so that you try your hand at becoming a pinball wizard! There's a quarter machine on-site. 
  • There's limited seating at the venue, so please arrive early or be prepared to stand. 
  • Please note that there are two sessions and confirm which session you purchased tickets for. 
  • MOM's Organic Market in College Park is accessible via Metro, about a 15 to 20-minute walk from the Greenbelt Station on the green line. 
  • If you decide to drive, parking is available in the store's parking lot. 
  • When purchasing tickets, please confirm which session you signed up for. 


Contact Matt Blitz at

Add wonder to your inbox! Sign up for Atlas Obscura newsletters and join our Atlas Obscura Society D.C. Facebook group to discover unexpected stories, amazing places, and remarkable events and trips around the world. 

Advance tickets only. All sales final. No refunds or exchanges.