CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond Pinball Collective is a non-profit social club in Chesterfield. The collective operates several clubs, including a co-ed league and an all-women league — the Belles and Chimes. In addition, the club hosts small and large tournaments along with over 25 pinball machines free to play.
“We like to call it a club because it’s not all about the tournaments. It’s about the fellowship,” said the President of the Richmond Pinball Collective, Laura Fraley.
Fraley opened the club over six years ago. More recently, Fraley was crowned the Virginia Women’s State Pinball Champion in January.
“There is a women’s set of rankings, and there are co-ed rankings. To qualify in your state, I had to be in the top 16 of the women’s rankings to go to the women’s Virginia championship,” Fraley said.
In order to be a strong pinball player, Fraley says it’s essential to have flipper skills and ball control. Whoever scores the most points at the end of the game wins.
“You need to know the rules. All of these machines are completely different, so it’s not like a game of tennis where you would have the same rules every time,” Fraley explained.
While pinball is a typical arcade game, members of the club have grown a passion for the activity.
“Pinball gave me an outlet to get out of the house, and I got hooked. Pinball is important in my life, and I’ve gotten my husband involved, so it’s something we can do together,” said Katherine Dodge, a member of the club’s board of directors.
Dodge explained that volunteers run the entire club and welcome new pinball players.
“It’s very casual, and we’re going to welcome you and go over what we’ll be doing for the night. We have a very good camaraderie,” said Dodge.
The next Belles and Chimes club is on April 27 at 7 p.m. Anyone interested in learning more about the Richmond Pinball Collective can visit the website.