Brandon Coddington, owner of Perfect Tilt Pinball, a new arcade in Springfield at 521 S. Glenstone Ave. Photographed on Monday, May 20, 2024. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

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A quiet, tiny pinball arcade with four machines opened in February 2023 in the renovated waiting room of Perfect Tint, a Springfield window tinting service company.

The idea was to give customers a new, unique experience to kill the time while they waited for technicians to tint their car windows, said Brandon Coddington, owner of the tint shop as well as the recently-opened Perfect Tilt Pinball, located at 521 S. Glenstone Ave.

The small pinball arcade in the back of the tint business grew feet of its own and took off in ways Coddington said he didn't expect. People were coming to the tint business just to play pinball, so much so that Coddington and the staff of Perfect Tint started hosting monthly tournaments in the space.

The makeshift arcade grew to nine machines in no time at all, and Coddington said he realized it was time to give Perfect Tilt Pinball its own standalone location. The new store, located in the same central-Springfield shopping center as the Glenstone License Office and Kinney Amusement Company, had a soft opening May 17. It hosted a grand opening with a pinball tournament the following day.

Coddington owns all 15 of the pinball machines that sit in the arcade, and the expanded business venture is his way of letting the people of Springfield in on his love for the games.

“I am basically taking this passion and trying to share it with other people and give them a place to play that they really appreciate,” Coddington said.

Seven-day-a-week pinball operation with membership perks

A flipper sends the ball up the face of one of the pinball machines at Perfect Tilt Pinball. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

Perfect Tilt Pinball aims to open its doors for everyone, and offers different pricing models for different types of pinball players. Anyone can walk in off the street and have unlimited play for two hours for $10, with the option to add another hour for $5.

“You've got your casual players and you've got your diehard players,” Coddington said. “And you got people that want to experiment to see if they like it.”

The arcade is open seven days a week. Normal hours are from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

“All the machines are set on free play so (customers are) open to play any game they want as many times as they want,” Coddington said.

With less than a week since it opened, Perfect Tilt has already had a number of visitors stop in to check out the place and play for a few hours, Coddington said. During its soft opening, about 60 people came through, many of whom Coddington had never seen before.

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Craig Danczyk, a pinball aficionado from Vicksburg, Mississippi, was in Springfield for a family visit and spent a few hours playing at Perfect Tilt on Monday, May 20, 2024. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

Craig Danczyk was one of those who stumbled off the street and into the arcade in the days after Perfect Tilt Pinball opened. The 51-year-old retired fire chief who lives in Vicksburg, Mississippi, is a lifelong pinball enthusiast, he said. On May 20, while he was visiting family in Springfield, he discovered the arcade from a simple Google search.

“The selection in here is just so good and they're basically all new units,” Danczyk said, while he concentrated on the pinball whooshing around a Led Zeppelin machine. “This is just something that I stumbled upon and I'm so glad I came.”

The arcade offers memberships for those diehard pinballers or anyone who just wants to play regularly, Coddington said. Memberships cost $60 for a week, $180 for a month and $1,600 for a year, with the option to add a friend at 50% of the cost.

Members get a key fob so they can access the arcade during extended membership hours. Membership hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

“There's no place in Springfield where you can play pinball seven days a week,” Coddington said. “So this is available seven days a week, earlier and later than anybody else in town.”

Perfect Tilt is available to rent for private parties for $100 per hour, up to four hours, any day of the week. It's also available to rent for private tournaments or leagues.

Premium machines based on bands, movies and TV shows bring nostalgia

Lights from a pinball game are reflected in Craig Danczyk’s glasses while he plays at Perfect Tilt. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

Most pinball arcades use entry-level machines because it is more affordable, but Perfect Tilt's repertoire is all premium or limited-edition machines, Coddington said. Those cream-of-the-crop machines cost about $13,000 on average, with an entry level contrivance costing about $6,500. The extra cost comes with special features.

“Jaws, for example, has a shark that comes out of the play field whenever you hit the chum bucket,” Coddington said.

Danczyk said pinball machines used to be everywhere when he was a kid, and now, the machines are a rare sight. He has fond memories of playing the game in arcades growing up. The pinball aficionado even used to collect a few machines, but doesn't own any at the moment.

The selection at Perfect Tilt Pinball — 15 high-end, intricate machines based on classic bands like AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Elton John and Iron Maiden, as well as popular movies and TV shows like “Jaws,” “Batman,” “The Munsters” and “Stranger Things” — is plenty for Danczyk. The titles bring him a bit of nostalgia.

“The machines (at Perfect Tilt) are just incredible,” Danczyk said. “It's a great selection. For me it's plenty; you don't need a hundred.”

The pinball junkie from Mississippi said he visits Springfield regularly and will definitely be back to Perfect Tilt.

“It's absolutely made my day to come here.”

Pinball revived during the COVID-19 pandemic

Graphics from television shows from the 1960s and classic rock bands decorate the pinball machines at Perfect Tilt Pinball. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

The resurgence in pinball interest is attributed to the stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic that shuttered businesses across the country, Coddington said.

“Pinball was kind of a dying thing until COVID hit,” Coddington said. “People started buying them for their houses.”

“They were stuck at home and they were looking for something to do. It just took that hobby and brought it back to life.”

Coddington himself fell victim to reinvigorating his love of the game during the pandemic, but only because his family moved to a new, bigger home and he finally had room for a machine (or a few machines).

From his grandparents owning a pinball machine that he was never allowed to play because it messed with the television set, to spending countless hours on the game at one of his first high school jobs at Pizza Hut, Coddington has fond memories of pinball. A family vacation that included a machine in a clubhouse reinvigorated his love, and from that point on, he knew he wanted to own a machine (or a few) someday, he said.

Coddington finally made that dream a reality when he acquired his first pinball machine, an AC/DC model similar to the one he found in that vacation clubhouse, off of Facebook Marketplace in 2022, he said. After that, Coddington was hooked, and his collection started to grow. The art of acquiring machines took him cross country, to places like Omaha, Nebraska, and to a Texas pinball festival.

The machines, taking temporary home in his garage, eventually were placed into the re-worked waiting room of Perfect Tint, located at 511 S. Ingram Mill Ave. With more space for pinball machines, of course he bought more.

The machines are “all special to me in some sort of way,” Coddington said. “I like music pins myself. I love music, so that's what I'm drawn to.”

Quick remodel timeline included ‘blood, sweat and tears'

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Craig Danczyk, a pinball aficionado from Vicksburg, MS, was in town for a family visit and spent a few hours playing at Tilt on Monday, May 20, 2024. (Photo by Jym Wilson)

Just like the ball that whirls around under the glass of the machine, the pinball world moves fast. Coddington said only about a month passed from the time he decided the pinball business needed its own location to the time he was drawing up paperwork for the Perfect Tilt store. The owner signed the lease April 5 and started renovations almost immediately, with the goal to launch by the May 18 tournament.

There was a lot to do. The building previously housed a Goodcents Deli Fresh Subs (a.k.a. Mr. Goodcents) for about 20 years, Coddington said, and everything inside had to be torn down and updated.

Taking on the renovations with help from a friend, Coddington removed a wall for an exposed brick wall, replaced drywall, removed the old ceiling and updated it, and added a fresh coat of black paint. To properly and safely power all the pinball machines, the space had to be rewired to handle a larger-than-average demand for electricity.

All in all, Coddington says he put about $35,000 into the renovations. To cap it all off, the owner installed retro carpet in the arcade's entrance that highlights the midcentury modern furniture and light features in the space.

“I don’t think anyone wanting to start a business could have done this for $35,000,” Coddington said. “Luckily, I have good friends and myself that put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this. It would have cost way more.”

Phase two for business launching in coming months

The shopping center that houses the standalone arcade is owned by Cherry Stone, LLC, according to Greene County Assessor's Office records. Cherry Stone, LLC, is owned by Ron and Donna Kinney. The center has an approximate 29,222 square feet and had an appraised market value of $1.5 million.

The center owners also own and operate Kinney Amusement, which sells and maintains amusement devices like pinball machines, pool tables and arcade games, according to the company website. Kinney Amusement is located in the same Glenstone shopping center as the pinball arcade.

Coddington pays $2,400 per month to rent the space as part of his agreement with the Kinneys, he said. Coddington did not specify the duration of the lease he signed with the shopping center owners. Perfect Tilt Pinball, LLC, formed April 25, 2024, according to Missouri Secretary of State's Office records. Besides Coddington, Perfect Tilt has one other employee.

The renovations aren't done quite yet, Coddington said. Opening by May 18 was part of the first phase of his business plan. Phase two will be opening the kitchen to serve bar bites and finger-foods, like pizza by the slice, sandwiches, pretzels and nachos. Perfect Tilt has a vending machine with drinks and snacks.

“The complete package is to add food,” Coddington said, adding that it will be two months or more before the bar bites become available. “We're going to talk to the health department to see what requirements they need from us.”

Coddington is still building his personal collection of pinball machines, especially now that it's housed in its own standalone location. The new space has the capacity for 20 machines, and the owner is making sure the next few he adds are what customers want, he said.

“I'm trying to build a gap between new machines and old machines because, again, I want this experience to be for everybody,” Coddington said.

Ryan Collins

Ryan Collins is the business and economic development reporter for the Hauxeda. Collins graduated from Glendale High School in 2011 before studying journalism and economics at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He previously worked for Bloomberg News. Contact him at (417) 849-2570 or More by Ryan Collins