You can now own a pinball machine inspired by your favourite band

a press shot of an Ac/dc pinball machine

Even in the age of sophisticated computer games, virtual reality and other ways to waste your time, there’s still something deeply satisfying about pinball machines. It’s all to do with the flashing lights, the clunks, clangs and bells, the clickety-click noise of the score barrels rapidly rotating in a blur of numerals and, ultimately, if you’ve nailed it, the ‘clunk’ that tells you you’ve racked up enough points to get a free game.

On the other hand, you’ll also experience the horror and helplessness of seeing that silver ball heading right between the flippers, so you give it a calculated nudge… and get the deflating sight of the word ‘TILT’ lit up to deliver the sickening news that it’s game over.

When pinball machines first began to appear in Britain in the 1950s, often in American-styled coffee bars, the thought of actually having one in your home was ridiculous. But today you can even have rock-related ones designed around the band of your choice, like this AC/DC machine (£5,500) from The Games Room Company (who also do jukeboxes and other retro/vintage entertainment goodies). Embellished with AC/DC cabinet artwork, two separate ramps, a lower play field, eight drop targets, a ball‑shooting cannon, a mechanised Hell’s Bell, a TNT detonator and the Devil’s Jukebox to play AC/DC music, it looks the business. Get one of these in your living room and your mates will be camping on your doorstep.

The Games Room Company regularly have AC/DC, Metallica, Kiss, Rolling Stones and other rock/band-themed tables for sale (check out their website), and they also do custom tables to order – give them a call and they’ll give you a price. Pinballs are wizard!

More information on 01932 282 123 or at

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Shop to the beat

Rock-branded anything is big business

It doesn’t seem too long ago that the only place you saw band names and logos was on their records and concert posters, and in magazines. The idea of proper ‘merchandising’ – slapping an artist’s image or album artwork on anything and everything – only really started to get into gear in the 70s. Nowadays, everybody’s cashing in with T-shirts, hats, scarves, jackets and just about every item of clothing – very often making more money from the merch than from record sales.

Major artists, with huge fan bases, have also branched out into branded beer, spirits, condoms and almost anything else that has space for a logo, a name or an image to be slapped on it. And unless you’ve spent most of your life under a stone or in a Kiss Kasket, you’ll be aware that Kiss – make that Gene Simmons (pictured) – have taken the big-bucks art of merchandising to a new high (or maybe a new low) with a mind-boggling array of branded products. A Kiss pinball machine? Obviously!

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Paul Henderson

Classic Rock’s production editor for the past 22 years, ‘resting’ bass player Paul has been writing for magazines and newspapers, mainly about music, since the mid-80s, contributing to titles including Q, The Times, Music Week, Prog, Billboard, Metal Hammer, Kerrang! and International Musician. He has also written questions for several BBC TV quiz shows. Of the many people he’s interviewed, his favourite interviewee is former Led Zep manager Peter Grant. If you ever want to talk the night away about Ginger Baker, in particular the sound of his drums (“That fourteen-inch Leedy snare, man!”, etc, etc), he’s your man.