Next Level Pinball, Voted the Best Arcade In the World 3 Years in a Row, Expands with 7,000 Square Feet More Gaming

By Todd Russell Apr6,2024

In the current business climate it’s exciting to see businesses expanding, especially gaming-related ones.

Here at PGM, we’re fans of Next Level Pinball & Arcade (), and my family goes down there regularly. It’s a 2.5 hour drive south and we’ve written about this amazing gaming destination before: Next Level Pinball Museum Hillsboro, Oregon has all 22 Stern Insider Connected Machines as of 8/10/2023 (note: they now have Jaws, too, making it all 23 Spike 2 Stern Pinball machines).

On March 21, 2024, Next Level Pinball & Arcade expanded from 13,000 square feet of gaming to 20,000. We visited on Sunday 3/24 and checked out their new “Boss Level” section, with 150+ additional games added. A bunch of pictures of the area are included in this article along with more details of what’s behind those magical green doors.

Even the exterior of the restrooms entrance were Mario world inspired in the Nintendo-themed area of the Next Level new expansion area. Did not actually go inside the bathrooms, but at the front of Next Level the bathroom walls and even inside the toilet stalls have gaming/movies/books-related stuff on the walls. Some of it is even autographed.

If you haven’t been to this place and you’re a gamer, put this place in your future vacation plans. And you can’t play the hundreds of games in one day, this place requires multiple days to take in and fully experience.

There’s a good reason it’s won awards three year a row.

“We are incredibly honored to receive the ‘Favorite Pinball Location’ award for the third year in a row, Whitney Carlson, owner of Next Level Pinball Museum, said. “It really is a testament to the dedication of our team and the passion of our fans who continue to support us year after year. We’re so grateful for this award and it fuels us to get bigger and better every year for our visitors.”

Hillsboro’s Next Level Pinball Museum voted ‘World’s Favorite Pinball Location’ for third year running | Lifestyle | hillsboronewstimes.com

Nintendo fans definitely will dig the new area because Next Level went all in on the Mushroom Kingdom motif as well as put a bunch of Nintendo arcade games. They even have a console SNES demo unit setup playing Donkey Kong Country with an SNES controller. The walls in this area above the arcade machine are lined with Nintendo-related items. You see this immediately when you enter the Boss Level.

To the right and center it’s Nintendo, both classic arcade and modern, including this really fun modern Mario and Sonic At The Olympic games.

In this game you can run and jump — physically — as well as mash these giant buttons in a variety of Olympic games like long jump, discus and swimming.

Get a workout while you play a fun game.

Down the middle aisle directly from the doorways are a row of Donkey Kong machines (DK 1, 2 and 3), to the left are two additional rooms both with pinball machines on one side and arcade on the other. Two 5-player Killer Queen cabs and a Baby Pac-man (rare!) are also in the area.

They made a Spooky Pinball area in one of the additional rooms and had a number of Spooky pins lined beside each other. Not all 13, but includes: America’s Most Haunted, Jetsons, Dominos, Halloween, Ultraman, Scooby Doo, Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle, Total Nuclear Annihilation .. maybe one or two more, but at least those.

Being able to see and play Halloween and Ultraman side by side gives a good idea of how Spooky does this with the same layout, reskinning the artwork and assets and different play modes. Despite the similarity Halloween just plays a lot better than Ultraman. This should give an idea of how the new Looney Tunes and Texas Chainsaw Massacre are designed in tandem and hoping soon they will add both of these to the new Spooky pinball area.

In closing, this new set of rooms is a great addition to an already awesome place. We did see a sneak peek one one of the rolling doors was lifted up that there is yet another area, or at least part of one that is carpeted and has wall items. It isn’t open yet, but shows they must already be working on yet another expansion for some point in the future. A guess from the size of the remaining back portion of the building that maybe another 10-15,000 square feet are left, if/when they want to open that in the future.

Make vacation plans to check out Next Level. Would recommend having more than one day to check this out, because there’s just way too much to see and play in one day. Love this place!

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2 thoughts on “Next Level Pinball, Voted the Best Arcade In the World 3 Years in a Row, Expands with 7,000 Square Feet More Gaming”
  1. Hi Todd! Next Level really seems to be the top place in the U.S. for PInball week of fun. What were your favorite games on the “boss” levels> Are you confident they get all new versions of real pinball machines across the various Manufacturers this year?

    1. Next Level doesn’t have Pulp Fiction (but have played that already), Labryinth or either of the two new Spooky pins (Looney Tunes and Texas Chainsaw Massacre), as of this comment, anyway. They seem to get most new pinball in there, so hoping they will. Regardless, we should see all of them at the NW Pinball & Arcade show a couple months from now in June 2024.

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