Aiken’s Radioactive Pinball Arcade hosts players from S.C. and beyond at first tournament

Jan. 8—Radioactive Pinball Arcade, Aiken’s most recent beacon of downtown entertainment, hosted competitive players from across the state and beyond for its inaugural pinball tournament on Sunday.

The arcade had its grand opening Aug. 26.

The establishment boasts 53 pieces of pinball equipment, making it the “largest selection of pinball machines publicly available in South Carolina,” according to co-owner Eric Edwards.

“I think probably the best part is when you … see your name up there, on the leaderboard, like oh, I’m actually doing pretty well,” said Justin Morgan, one of over 40 competitors at the event. “That’s what makes it exciting.”

Sarah Kelly, who has a history of playing in pinball tournaments, said she likes that players are nice to each other.

“Pinball is super-duper fun,” she said. “Adding a layer of friendly competition is less intimidating than playing with people who are jerks.”

Veronica Carbonell, another player, spoke about the pinball community.

“The people are wonderful,” she said. “… There’s so many different people from different walks of life. … It’s kind of like a little family.”

Edwards, who owns the arcade alongside his wife Erin, was thrilled to see people coming out to Aiken from different areas.

“There are people here from all over the place,” he said. “There are people in there from Raleigh, North Carolina, … from Tennessee, … they’re from all over the place,” Eric said. “It’s incredible to see so much support.”

For pinball enthusiasts and newcomers, the arcade has exciting news: Its location in the Shoppes at the Holley Building is planned to expand around February.

“We’ve just acquired the next space open and that will immediately become a workshop for games,” Eric said. “We expect to take half of it for a workshop and the other half for more games.”

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