Editor’s note: This is the first in a weekly series looking at fun things to do locally and around the state.
MERIDEN — Every Monday night is game night at The Sanctum, a pinball hall where dozens of people test their skills on over 40 different machines.
“It’s a social thing, you know. It’s the same group of people that all get together on Monday night and play these games and have fun,” said Jim Swain, co-founder of the pinball co-op club.
The club opened in 2014 on the third floor of 290 Pratt St. before expanding the year after to a bigger space on the second floor.
Over 40 machines are rotated in and out regularly with weekly leagues and tournaments.
The doors open on Mondays at 6:30 p.m., but players often line up earlier.
“I love Junk Yard. That’s definitely one of my favorites,” said Matt Elliott, a pinball player.
The East Hartford resident and his 22-year old son have been coming to The Sanctum every week for the last few months.
“I came from Colorado. There’s a lot more pinball joints out there. Just came back from school and was looking for pinball,” said Conner Elliott. “I found it here.”
His dad said the experience rejuvenated his love for pinball, which originated in his teens.
“A lot of the pinball machines they had back then, they have here now,” he said.
“It’s multi-generational,” his son added.
Some of the most played machines at The Sanctum are based off Black Jack, which the club started off with, and the Harlem Globetrotters.
“The most popular game is always the newest game, whatever new is coming in is what everyone wants to play,” Swain said.
Currently Iron Maiden is the newest addition to the collection, as well as Total Nuclear Annihilation.
“Those two are the very popular ones right now,” Swain said.
Though the Elliots prefer playing the games for fun, The Sanctum also has a competitive league that meets for eight weeks a season. Season two of the league started last month, along with another pinball club in Rhode Island, and currently has nearly 50 participants.
“We’re looking down the road, possibly doing that together,” Elliot said. “Father-son type deal, so that’s kind of cool.”
More information can be found at https://tothesanctum.org/