Eight pinball enthusiasts are poised to prove their prowess at the game with national finals this week.

The players got their spot by keeping a top score at one of the eight Mac's Brew Bars around the country. The championship is on February 8.

Pinball tournament player Lewis Tennant said he got into the game as a kid, then it died off globally for a while. But in his 30s he found a group of diehard enthusiasts who rekindled his love of the game.

Pinball enthusiast Lewis Tennant is one of the eight tournament players who will compete in the New Zealand Pinball Championships on Thursday. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Pinball enthusiast Lewis Tennant is one of the eight tournament players who will compete in the New Zealand Pinball Championships on Thursday. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Tennant calls the machines "time capsules of pop culture" and loves the design, along with the play and pure physics of the games.

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"There's so many levels to them. I think they are an often overlooked combination of humans being amazing and inventing and innovating. There's so many levels to what they are."

The age of the players, from Tennant's "unscientific observations", ranges from around 40 to 55. But some really good child and teen players are around as a result of their parents getting them into it.

The New Zealand champion will win a trip for two to Pittsburgh, to compete in the Pinburgh Pinball Match-Play Championship in July.

It is the biggest pinball competition in the world, with 800 attendees and a top prize of $15,000.

Pinball wizard Dave Peck owns around 95 pinball machines which are housed in his games room at his Pukekohe property. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Pinball wizard Dave Peck owns around 95 pinball machines which are housed in his games room at his Pukekohe property. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Tournament players had to top the leaderboard at a brew bar in Auckland, Mt Maunganui, Wellington, Nelson and Dunedin for the Mac's Interstate Pinball Competition. Whoever topped the eight scoreboards on December 3 got entry to the Auckland finals to be held in Grey Lynn.

Tennant waited until the very last day before driving out to the Mac's Brew Bar in Takapuna and "quietly" getting his high score out there. He said there is a small circle of pinball players from all around New Zealand who know each other.

Machines made from the late 80s onwards were Tennant's preferred type.

"It's the playability of them. A lot of people collect older machines from the 70s and 60s and earlier.

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"They are amazing but they don't have the same sort of gameplay as the ones from about the late 80s onwards. They have a real mix of computer programmed gaming, levels and things to do, which is the attraction to play them. Plus the amazing chance of pure physics.

"So a really great player can have a bad day based on where the balls goes."