SILVERBALL MUSEUM – ASBURY PARK, NEW JERSEY
Our Location of the Month for November is the Silverball Museum at Asbury Park, New Jersey. Open since 2010, this original location boasts 135 machines & is looking at a 50% expansion in the near future. The Silverball Cafe (located within the arcade) offers classic boardwalk treats: Pizza, Jersey Shore Fries, Cluck U Chicken, Nathan’s Hot Dogs, Funnel Cakes, Salt Water Taffy, Ice Cream & more. This establishment is BYOB.
Silverball Museum also opened a second location at Delray Beach, Florida in 2016. This retro arcade houses 100 machines & is kitted out with a full bar & cafe.
Q: When did you get into the pinball business?
A: Owner Rob Ilvento started with just one game – a Gottlieb Melody – in his home in 2008. His autistic daughter fell in love with it and she played it constantly, so Rob bought more pinball machines for her to enjoy. Soon his house was filling up with games, and he decided to try to turn them into a business.
In 2009, the Silverball Museum was born in the basement of a retail store in downtown Asbury Park, NJ.
Q: When did you open this location?
A: In 2010 we moved to our current location on the boardwalk.
Q: Do you guys run any tournaments or leagues? Can you give us more details?
A: No. In NJ it is illegal to run tournaments unless there are no prizes, or if every participant gets a prize of exactly the same value.
We do however keep track of all time high scores on each machine in categories for kids, adults and seniors.
Q: Do you have a specific pinball night and what other events/specials do you run?
A: Every night is pinball night! Our VIP memberships are our best deal – unlimited play for just $60 per month for individuals, or $120 per month for a family of up to 5 people.
Q: Do you fix your own games or do you use a local operator/tech?
A: We do all our own repairs and maintenance. Our Senior Tech has 37 years of experience, and his assistant grew up helping in his father’s business servicing games in people’s homes. Our techs are on site seven days a week. We take great pride in keeping our machines in top condition.
Q: What’s the last game you brought in and how often do you rotate?
A: Our most recent additions are a beautiful Baby Pac-Man and a rare Joust pinball. We are always buying games, and people also frequently donate games to us – so new ones can appear at any time.
We have every game made by Jersey Jack Pinball, as well as games from as far back as 1950. It’s a wonderful assortment of EM and solid state pinball, plus classic ’80s video games, Skee Ball & more. We have quite a few rare games. Here is a list of what we’re showcasing right now.
Q: What would be your holy grail of a machine?
A: The owner’s favorite game by far is Evel Knievel EM, but we already have several of them so that probably doesn’t qualify as a “holy grail”. Almost anything very rare that was made by Bally, Williams or Gottlieb is of interest to us.
Q: Do you go to any shows? Which one is your favorite?
A: Rob usually attends Pinball Expo each year. Other than that we rarely go to shows – we’re too busy keeping our own “show” running!
Q: What do you feel you do for the pinball community or for your local community in general?
A: Our games bring people joy and relief from the pressures of life. Our younger guests often play pinball here for the first time, while older people relive their youth on the machines they remember playing when they were growing up. There is nothing better than the look on someone’s face when they see a game in our arcade that they haven’t played in decades!
Pinball fanatics love to come to Silverball and play rare games that are almost impossible to find anyplace else. We’re proud to help keep the rich history of pinball and arcade games alive and available for people of all generations to discover and enjoy.