A retro pinball arcade is coming to downtown Patchogue.
Joshua Guskin, a pinball fanatic who has collected, restored and sold classic and modern pinball machines for nearly two decades, is opening Pinball Long Island at 44 W. Main Street.
Like vinyl records, Dunkaroos and Kate Bush, retro gaming is another hallmark of a bygone era that is now enjoying a resurgence.
Guskin will be one of the island’s latest ’80s and ’90s trend resetters with his pinball-centric arcade. He said he plans to house about 100 machines in his arcade, which he expects to open this fall.
While he is concealing the identity of the game machines to ensure guests are surprised, he teased that there will be rows of vintage, collectable and modern machines.
“We’re going to have a huge spread, as far as the games,” Guskin said. “A lot of the newer games, they’re heavily theme based, movies and music-based ones. These movies and bands that people love, I think they’re going to be a big draw because I believe people will recognize those franchises and maybe they might not be into pinball, but they want to experience they’re favorite genre on a game.”
While people may think they know pinball, Guskin can assure them there is much more to each game than meets the eye.
“A lot of these newer ones, they’re very intricate and involved, and the programing is absolutely bonkers on them,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff to do on them, it’s not just hitting the flippers and keeping the ball in play.
“Pinball is a physical game, and no two games are alike,” he continued “On one machine, you can be a ‘Pinball Wizard’ if you will, and then you can have another game where you play and it’s dreadful and you look like you’ve never tried it before.”
Guskin’s tenure as a gamer dates back to playing the NES system as a child. His ververent passion was then ignited when he played in mini-arcades on family trips upstate.
“When I was [younger] my parents would take me to those areas in Adirondacks and Lake George, which is forever ingrained in my brain as one of the best moments,” he said. “About 20 years ago, I rediscovered those classics again, and I basically started buying them, working on them… restoring them. I started selling them, and I essentially turned my hobby into a business.”
Now, his business will have a storefront along a popular and walkable downtown.
“Patchogue… it’s definitely the place to be,” Guskin said. “There’s a really good vibe in this area, as far as the crowds that are there and the age groups. It’s very active.”
Guskin said he hopes his business and the bars and restaurants that surround his arcade will benefit each another. He believes he will draw gamers to the area, who will then patronize an eatery for a bite and a drink, while those waiting for tables at Patchogue’s most popular joints will need to kill some time with a fun activity.
While details are still in the works, Guskin said Pinball Long Island will offer patrons options to pay for hourly play or half- or even full-day play.
After he settles into Patchogue, Guskin hopes to eventually host pinball leagues and tournaments open to the public. He’ll also look to sell some of the machines — many of them considered high-end collectables — that he restores. But for the time being, simply bringing his machines out of storage and into a storefront is excitement enough for the avid gamer.
“I’m itching and dying to get my games out of my warehouse and start setting them up and putting them in there,” he said. “A lot of them are collectables or high end, but I want them to be enjoyed by all age groups.”
“I hope they enjoy playing the games as much as I enjoy bringing them to market,” he continued. “That’s something that’ll bring a smile to my face.”