This Month’s “Location of the Month” is Fort Wayne Pinball Wizard’s World Arcade. They are located at 14613 Lima Rd, Fort Wayne IN 46818 where they currently have 136 Pinball machines. And, their team is presently working toward expanding the collection to well over 200 pinball machines before their big Wizard’s World War tournament in June. In 2021 Fort Wayne was excited to host 108 players, gave away a brand New Stern Pinball machine, along with loads of cash prizes. Mike is set out to build a World Class Championship Pinball Venue that host tournaments and also open to the public year round. Mike is back on track and certainly looking forward to another capstone tournament this summer.
Wizard’s World opens at noon 7 days a week with a very accommodating schedule. Monday they are open until 11pm (or whenever the weekly tourney is over), Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday they’re open until 9pm, Friday and Saturday open until 10pm and Sunday until 8pm.
Q: When did you get into the pinball business?
A: I’ve been playing pinball since the early 70’s when we only had EM (electromagnetic) machines to play. Being the only employee at the original Wizard’s World in 1980 from the day it opened until the day it closed has always been special to me and definitely established our vision for today. Thinking back, I recall purchasing my first machine in 1986 and the rest is history in the making.
Q: When did you open this location?
A: Fort Wayne Pinball Wizard’s World Arcade opened December 15, 2017. Since that time, we’ve grown through three renovations with room to expand even more.
Q: Do you guys run any tournaments or leagues? If so can you give us more details?
A: We run 4 major tournaments a year:
· $500 Silverball Spring Training in March;
· $12,000 in Cash and Prizes Wizard’s World War tournament in June
· WOW (Women of Wizard’s World) Tournament in August (this year our goal is to give away a brand new Stern Pinball machine);
· $500 Wizard’s World Silverball Saturday Shootout in November.
· Every Monday at 7pm is our weekly 4 strike tournament (52 times a year), the third Sunday every month we host the Stern Army Boot Camp and only modern Stern Pinball machines are used (12 times per year).
· The 2nd and 4th Friday’s are the Women’s 4 strike tournament (24 times per year).
· The 2nd and 4th Friday’s are the Wiz Kids 3 strike Youth tournament (24 times per year).
· Launch Party’s, Charity Events and special requests.
All the tournaments are registered on the IFPA website or you can check our event tab at www.facebook.com/fwapinball.
Q: Do you have a specific pinball night and what other events/specials do you run?
We host company parties, holiday gatherings, and birthday celebrations just to name a few special events throughout the year.
Q: Do you fix your own games or do you use a local operator/tech?
A: Matt Ogden of Ogdog’s Pinball Pleasures (OPP) and his staff maintain our games on the overnight shift. Matt is a great partner and teammate with total control of machine maintenance and performance.
Q: What’s the last game you brought in and how often do you rotate?
A: We try to stay out front when it comes to new offerings; for example, Ultraman arrived in early February and Rush Pro the week before that. Rotation is very important to enhancing the variety of play options and maintaining a fresh appearance to our players. Technically speaking, rotation is based on maintenance or refurbishment requirements and customer play count. For example, if play drops on a title we will reposition or rotate that machine out and replace it with a fresh one.
Q: What would be your holy grail of a machine?
A: This one may come back to haunt me but here goes – they’re like my children, I love them all the same.
Q: Do you partner with any other locations?
A: We look at partnering perhaps a little differently. It’s our culture to help out wherever we can to support the pinball industry and certainly promote the excitement of playing; however Wizard’s World is our only location for the time being. We do visit arcades when traveling. My wife and I visited Free Gold Watch in San Francisco last October and she visited The Electric Bat in Phoenix recently. It’s always fun to meet new friends and enjoy their hospitality.
Q: Do you go to any shows and IF SO which one is your favorite?
A: I’ve attended shows my entire career and appreciate the value of having vendors and customers all under one roof. Once again, the value of my upbringing in another industry has paved the way to attend as many conventions as possible. For the record, Expo is my favorite.
Q: And your closing thoughts and what you do for the pinball community or your local community?
A: We are honored to partner with our community and provide a great resource to help raise funds in a very unique way by orchestrating, running, and promoting charity pinball tournaments for various groups. One event we were particularly excited to help with last year was a local middle school’s science class built Pinball Machines as a project. To support the effort, we were able to provide technical guidance and prizes for the top vote getters plus a souvenir for each student. This innovative approach was reported to be a success and I understand they plan to make the contest an annual project.
Visit their website https://fortwaynepinball.com/ for more info!