Pinball players at the 2012 NW Pinball and Arcade Show

I grew up with an old pinball machine in the basement, spending countless hours knocking the silver ball against the bumpers (to the annoyance of my parents). Given that early introduction to the sport, I had to make a special trek to the Northwest Pinball & Arcade Show, which is being held this weekend at the Seattle Center.

Young and old alike love pinball

Hundreds of pinball machines filled two rooms, creating an almost overwhelming display of lights and sounds. Some classic games from the 1930s, including those from the Seattle Pinball Museum, as well as new entrants such as Jersey Jack’s The Wizard of Oz Emerald City limited edition, were on display.

And here’s the great thing: Nearly all of the machines are free to play. (The show also features dozens of classic arcade games, from Joust to Warlords to Ms. Pac-Man).

So, what were some of my favorites? I played a little bit of everything. There were the 1970s era machines — like KISSHarlem Globetrotters and Wild Life (complete with banana-shaped flippers). And then there were some more modern fare.

I didn’t get a chance to jump on my all-time favorite pinball machine: Whitewater. However, we did spend a bit of time on another game I love: World Cup Soccer. And I discovered a new game too that was quite good, Tales of the Arabian Nights.

For more on the show, we featured Dan Halligan, a pinball machine collector; and Linda Nasfell, a competitive pinball player, on the GeekWire podcast last month.