About Atomic Pinball Arcade

The vision that became CP Pinball and eventually, the Atomic Pinball Arcade, began to take shape at a time when Chuck Sanderson owned and operated a large retail tool and equipment store in Wood River, Illinois, about 20 minutes outside of St. Louis. His wife worked nights as a nurse, and so, he had a lot of free time alone. In those days, Sanderson spent quite a few nights at local bowling alleys and bars playing pinball. As you know, most games at public arcades are either broken or close to it, so Sanderson decided it was time to buy one of his own. From there he attended his first Super Auction!

Luckily for Sanderson, he met Dave Reynolds, who told him about Super Auction’s games, and that he would most likely have to do quite a bit of work to any pinball he bought there. Dave was nice enough to sell Sanderson his first game, a Hurricane, in fair shape for 800 bucks. Well, just like most pinball fanatics, Sanderson was hooked and began to look for more games, and with a bit of luck he then met Chad Keller. Chad is an ambassador of pinball for most in St. Louis. Chad, at the time, was re-importing games from Italy, 25-30 games at a time and rebuilding and selling them to the public.

Sanderson’s second game was Fish Tales and the third was No Good Gophers. Both games are re-imports and are still a part of the Atomic Pinball Arcade collection.

Chad had a friend by the name of Larry Lassen, a real wiz of board repair and pinball restoration. Sanderson began shopping games for Chad and Larry and gained a ton of expertise from the two. Expertise for which he is still thankful today!

Sanderson continued to build his collection and even built a game room in his home to house pinballs, video games, and coin operated collectables.

Sometime in 2005, Larry and Sanderson teamed up to buy, fix, and sell pins. That’s when Sanderson really began to improve his collection’s quality and quantity. The great pinball depression of 2007 left both Larry and Sanderson with very few pins to buy or sell, and with a market that had become oversaturated and weak, so they split.

In June 2007, Sanderson was fortunate enough to find some commercial property for sale, and with a growing need for room, he decided to start CP Pinball. The CP Pinball building would house over 80 pinballs, video games, and other rarities. Since arcades are scarce, and there’s rarely a good spot to play quality pins, Sanderson thought this would be a great opportunity to bring his collection, expertise and love for the silver ball to a new level. CP Pinball was a success, hosting quarterly tournaments, open play nights, and other special events.

Overtime, Sanderson’s collection grew and the CP Pinball could no longer contain it! The popular arcade had outgrown its building. It got to a point where every time Sanderson got something new in, he was forced to sell another game in order to make room. So in August 2023, Sanderson made the decision to move to a bigger facility and rebrand the business as Atomic Pinball Arcade. With over 125 pinball machines, Atomic Pinball Arcade is now located at 102 N Whitelaw Ave in Wood River, llinois.

Chuck Sanderson thanks all the friends whom helped to make his pinball venture possible. Thanks to Mike Swenny and Dan Goett for the development of the first website and for their passion for pinball. Thanks to Chris Bassler, who kept the website going for years. Thanks to Mike Miller, Earl Lankau, and Rick Hipes whom help with day to day operations. Thanks to Chris Hibler, for without his help fixing games and boards, the arcade would be out of business. Thanks to Tim Zollner who runs all of the tournaments. Most of all, Sanderson thanks his wife Joyce, who puts up with him and his collection!