Game Face

At the Fun Expo, arcade oldies fight for attention in a video-game universe

Gary Stern talks like somebody stuck a quarter in him, which is appropriate since he's the last manufacturer of commercial pinball machines in the world. But don't make the mistake of calling him that. "We say only," he explains. "We don't like to say last because it sounds like maybe we're not gonna be around. We are. Pinball is an American icon. It has to survive. We need to continue to have pinball."

His monologue barely makes a splash in the sea of bells, buzzers and whistles at the annual trade show of the amusement-machine business, which covers everything from...

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