David Silverman loves pinball machines.
DAVID SILVERMAN: "I've been collecting pinball machines about 30 years. Most of my life, I've been involved somehow in pinball, whether it's thinking about buying a game or playing games in different places when I saw them."
People of all ages like pinball. The game awards points the longer the ball stays in play. But be careful! One wrong move and the ball drops, ending the game. Today, Silverman owns the National Pinball Museum in Washington. He says his interest started with a game he played in Spain 30 years ago.
DAVID SILVERMAN: "And that game, fortunately or unfortunately, started me on this collecting phase, which was not with the intention of doing anything but playing the game. I don't know what happened. I just kept buying games and buying games, and it really is a blur. It's like almost 30 years of a blur! But today the blur has ended at about 900 games."
Silverman says he got serious about pinball 15 years ago.
DAVID SILVERMAN: "I started seriously collecting for the purpose of building a museum. What pinball shows in the almost hundred years of its existence is the development of the United States. If you take any period of American history and, say okay the '60s, and you follow the games that were made, the pinball games that were made in the '60s, you would see exactly what took place during the '60s. Besides it being a historic timeline of events, it's an artistic timeline. It's a cultural timeline and, of course, it's still a game, so the game improved."
Yet pinball is more than just a look at history.
DAVID SILVERMAN: "I play pinball as an enjoyment, and I play it as a game to get better at. So I play it with seriousness and I play it with fun. To me, a good portion of the excitement of a pinball machine is what the sound is. The sound tells you what's going on with the story. If it's just a huge jumble of noise, then you have to be a helluva lot better pinball player than I am because I really want to hear what's going on. It tells me I have done something. It tells me you missed it."
But can pinball survive in the world of electronic games?
DAVID SILVERMAN: "The three dimensionality of pinball, I'm not talking pinball on the computer, I'm talking about the real pinball machine, to me that's the hope of pinball, to get these kids seeing what pinball is or was before so they can be interested in continuing playing it. One of the many points of this museum was to start a little fire under people in terms of, not just seeing pinball as a game to play, but as pinball -- a piece of historic art."
Silverman estimates he has spent almost two million dollars on pinball games over the past 30 years.
DAVID SILVERMAN: "It's obviously a passion. I'm hoping to make [it] a passion of a lot of other people."
David Silverman says his investment is in history and the love of the game. I'm Barbara Klein.