Williams Electronics is credited with creating the first mass-market pinball machine with solid-state technology. The microprocessors introduced more complicated play including lighting effects, sound, and speech. A new pinball arcade bar dedicated to honoring those silicon roots is being readied to flip flip, ding ding in the heart of Pike/Pine by this summer.
“It was the first time that things became software computerized,” Joe Ricci tells CHS. He and a group of fellow first time bar owners are hard at work shaping Solid State, a new arcade, drinking, and Cup Noodles venue being planned for 10th Ave in the Jack building between Pike and Union.
The pinball wiz… no, we won’t do it… expert Ricci already supplies some of your favorite games on the Hill at the Raygun Lounge. He hopes for Solidstate to add to the arcade community already on Capitol Hill with a connoisseur-level collection of games and by taking a craftsman’s approach to the machines with the highest level of fine tuning, maintenance, and repair.
“If a button doesn’t work on a video game, it makes it hard to do the stuff you usually do. But, in pinball, if you hit that shot and the switch doesn’t work… those things go wrong all the time,” Ricci said.
The Solid State crew also hope they can create a home in the middle of Pike/Pine for arcade players who want to concentrate on their quarters.
“On a Saturday night, I wouldn’t go into some of these places,” Ricci says of some of Pike/Pine’s weekend nightlife crowds. “Wednesday night? Sure.”
The new bar is shaping up for a possible June opening but a lot will depend on permits and the city’s onerous process around a change of use. The bar is taking over the space left empty last year by the financial failure of street fashion boutique Estate. Estate can now make way for Solid State.
The new arcade bar might be the most exciting news for players since John John’s Gameroom (RIP). Meanwhile, the Unicorn, another PIke/Pine fun center, is marking a decade of business in the neighborhood.
Solidstate’s quest for “Wednesday night”-level legitimacy will also include a simple and fun approach to booze and chow. You’ll find a full bar and a wide selection of the best, most exotic ramen and noodle cups from around the world. The team is still sourcing their menu so speak up if you have a favorite they should track down and look forward to what Ricci hopes will be a menu of noodles long enough to rival the wine list at the fancy place around the corner.
Other elements of Solid State including its plans for design and art remain a secret, for now.
However it looks, even with the dedication to the best, most finely tuned machines, don’t expect Solidstate to be fussy. The games were meant to be played — sometimes hard.
“It’s totally OK to shake them,” Ricci says.
Solid State is planned to open by summer at 1420 10th Ave.
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