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Seaside Stories

What is Fascination, Anyway?

February 23, 2018 | by Shellie Bailey-Shah

Talk to anyone who’s ever visited Seaside, and they’re bound to bring up Fascination with an enthusiastic “I love that game!” So what exactly is it? Think skee ball meets bingo.

How to Play the Game

Fascination at Funland Arcade on Broadway Street is set up like a parlor with about 40 long tables. You sit at one end of the table and roll a small ball toward a 5-by-5-holed matrix on the other end. When your ball falls into one of the holes, a light on the backboard indicates which one. The object of the game is to continue to roll your ball until you’ve gotten five holes in a row, similar to bingo. What makes this game more interactive than skee ball is that you’re playing against everyone in the room. The game only costs a quarter to play. Win and you receive one Fascination coupon that can redeemed for a prize. Four times during the day (2 p.m, 4 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.), the game is varied, and you try to light up all your ball holes. That game costs 75¢, and the winner walks away with 10 coupons.

Why It’s So Rare

So if Fascination is so fun to play, why are there fewer than a dozen parlors left in the entire country? The game dates back to the 1920s and was especially popular at early amusement parks and oceanside resort towns with boardwalks like Seaside. But modern theme parks and arcades have replaced classic games with those that are flashier and more high-tech. More problematic, many of the game’s manufacturers have gone out of business, making repairing tables difficult. Thankfully, Seaside keeps its running in tip-top shape.

So if you’re looking for vintage, good ole’ fashioned fun, grab a roll of quarters and enjoy one of Seaside’s family traditions.

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