I promised last week that I'd talk about Fascination, and I don't want to disappoint.

Dating from some time in the 1920s, Fascination is a relatively simple game played by rolling a small rubber ball, like Skee-Ball, up into a 5x5 grid of holes with a "free" space in the center. A matching light-up board shows which holes the ball has fallen down that round. The goal, like Bingo, is to light up the grid in any number of familiar "Bingo" patterns. Vertical or horizontal lines, sometimes diagonal, sometimes an X. The specific patterns can vary from one Fascination parlor to the next.

A row of Fascination machines mid-game.

In Seaside, the Fascination parlor is attached to the Funland arcade downtown near the waterfront. In the Winter, it operates mostly on weekends. In the summer, it's every day. Each round costs a quarter, and the best way to play is to sit down, set a few dollar bills to the right side of the play area, and every round an assistant will come by and collect that round's quarter and make any necessary change.

More Fascination machines ready to begin play.

Winning a round of Fascination nets you a prize coupon. Those coupons are redeemed at the same prize counter as the rest of the arcade. If you're not in the mood to collect cheap Chinesium plastic toys, I recommend giving any prize tickets to a nearby kid. You'll make their day. Or ruin their parents' day. It's a win-win.

As far as I know there are only two Fascination parlors left on the West coast, and maybe ten-fifteen of them left in the country. They're built using old analog telephone switching equipment, and less popular parlors have been cannibalized to keep the more popular ones going.

If you happen to be in Seaside for a weekend, stop by and check it out. You won't regret it.

Fascination playboard showing historical ticket values for winning.