The history of arcade & pinball gaming in Indianapolis, IN

History is made every day, and even in my short time collecting since 2006 there have been some small changes even in the local landscape for pinball and arcade game collecting. Here is that information.

Note: I am adding this information as I learn or hear. Do not take anything here as 100% factual, just general information. If you would like to help me expand this history of arcade / pinball in Indianapolis, or want to correct something on this page please contact me.

J & J Distributors – The biggest coin operated outfit here in Indianapolis, J & J Distributors was around I believe until the late 90’s.

Shafer Distributing – Shafer Distributing is based out of Ohio I believe. They bought out J & J Distributors in the 90’s.

Bally / Midway Manufacturing – There was a Bally / Midway location in Indianapolis in the 80’s. I have found very limited information about their location, I only know that it was located right off 465 on the west side of Brookeville road. If you have any information, I would love to learn more, as this was the only major manufacturer that was ever here in Indianapolis.

1990 – Nov. 2008 Pinball Tek – Doug Clark has repaired coin operated games, focusing on pinball machines since the 90’s. Over the course of the last several years Doug has been his own entity, operating as Pinball Tek here in Indianapolis. Pinball Tek was located on the southside at West Stop 11 Road Indianapolis, IN.

In Nov. of 2008 Doug merged with the newly opened Ace Gameroom location up in Fishers to offer in home service. Pinball Tek ceased to operate with that merger, Ace Pinball absorbing that client list.

Mid 2009 – Happ Controls Office Shuts Down – Happ is one of the largest remaining distributor of coin operated parts and machinery. Looking to leverage the local brand recognition of Wolverine American, Happ opened an office right next door to the southside office on Elmwood. The rep that ran the office is now working out of their house out in Greenfield. Good service, I recommend her if you need to purchase arcade parts in the Indianapolis area.

Mid 2009 – Wolverine American Office Shuts Down – Back in the day the big amusement distributor was Atlas. Atlas became Wolverine American and operated out of their office on the southside of Indianapolis in the industrial segment off Elmwood avenue. I ‘believe’ Wolverine closed its offices in 2009 as well. I do need confirmation on this…

Nov. 2009 – No More USAmusements Auctions – In the face of a declining economy and fading collector market in Indianapolis, USAmusements will no longer have auctions at the Indianapolis fairgrounds. Read my post about the closing – RIP USAmusements Auctions.

USAmusements was like most arcade game auctions, lots of buybacks, smoking, salt of the earth type characters, and you have to know what you are buying. USAmusements could be a good place to get a deal, but you have to put up with the seedy behavior and the fact that this is a poorly advertised event.

Ace Gameroom: Nov. 2008 – June 2010 – Ace is a franchise that started in Fort Wayne, IN that opened a location in Fishers on the northside of Indianapolis. With a focus on service first, Ace Gameroom consisted of Trevor Eagleson and Doug Clark. Ace sold pinball machines and other gameroom accessories (pinball tables, lighting, fatheads) and services to repair that equipment.

Opened in the midst of an economic downtown, Ace Gameroom closed its Fishers location in mid 2010.

Jan. 1, 2011 – Pinball Tek Resurfaces – After Ace Gameroom closed its location in Fishers, Doug Clark struck back out on his own. Doug will now be back on the southside of Indianapolis, operating again under the name Pinball Tek at 1655 W. County Line Road. If you have questions or need a pinball repaired in the Indianapolis area you can contact me.