Pinball is dying; there’s a whole documentary about it. Or maybe it’s not. Either way, we’re feeling a little guilty about coveting these coffee tables made out of old machines from Budapest company Altar Furniture. Then again, Seattle’s pinball bar, Shorty’s, has done something similar with the tables in their booths, so it can’t be that bad, right?
Actually, the pinball machines are salvaged from closed bars and arcades and no longer functional. (“The company’s pinball lovers would never allow a working unit to be sacrificed,” owner András Lacfi tells How to Spend It.) Craftsman Ernő Balogh, who used to make church organs, takes them apart, converts the lights to LEDs, and makes touch-ups and repairs as necessary. To truly transform the tables, he builds upon the games’ themes and adds outer décor to match the style and materials of the original machine.
Starting with an Amazing Spider-Man game from Gottlieb, for example, Altar turned it into what it calls “Peter’s Apple.” Hand-carved buildings surround the body of the game, topped with a tiny Spider-Man, poised for action. Its creation took 250 hours. Not only that; it’s explosion-proof. OK, not really, but it did survive when the Belgrade arcade housing it was bombed.
There are all kinds of other tables, too. For “The Droid,” a Star Wars pinball machine was painted to look like R2-D2. The “Incredible Hulk” machine looks like a piece of lab equipment. In homage to Marge Simpson’s gambling problem (“And now, a special award for those students who obviously had no help at all from their parents …”), a Lucky Seven machine has yellow legs and is named “Mrs. Simpson.”
Naturally, these tables do not come cheap. They start at over $9,000, plus shipping. Hey, as long as you don’t need to actually pay for food to put on the table …