How a competitive pinball community popped up in Delaware

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Sunday, January 22, 2023
How a competitive pinball community popped up in Delaware
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Marianne and Chad fell in love with pinball (and each other). Now, they are growing a community of players in Delaware!

STANTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- Pinball has been a beloved and addictive game for decades.

"My mom used to run some arcades, and I grew up in the arcade when I was around 9, 10, 11 years old," said Chad Hastings of Magnolia, Delaware. "So, I played arcades all summer long and pinball machines."

Despite this, Hastings did not rediscover pinball until around 2015 when he and his fiancé, Marianne Pangia, decided to purchase a machine for themselves.

"We had reached out to see if anybody around in the area knew how to fix them," said Pangia. "We had no idea that this was actually a huge thing out there."

The couple encountered several individuals with extensive personal pinball machine collections who offered to host local tournaments. Then, they were able to register the state of Delaware with the International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA).

"We started running tournaments out of our basements and they grew so huge that we figured we needed a bigger facility to hold," said Pangia, who is now the state representative for women's pinball in Delaware.

That dream came to life in 2022 with the dawn of the Delaware Pinball Collective. The non-profit is housed just outside of Newport, Delaware, and is open for freeplay to members five days per week.

They also host weekly league nights and monthly tournaments. This weekend, the Collective played host to the inaugural IFPA Delaware Women's State Pinball Championship and the open-to-all Delaware State Pinball Championship.

Madelynne Pursglove (left) became the first Delaware Women's State Pinball champion following today's inaugural competition. Courtesy: Chad Hastings

For the power-pinball couple, this is just the beginning of an ever-expanding community of casual and competitive players alike.

"There's people that's been playing since the 90s, competitive pinball. So, they've seen a lot more growth than I have," said Chad Hastings. "But just in the past two or three years, the growth has exploded. And it's going to continue to go."

To learn more about the Delaware Pinball Collective, visit their website.

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