About 280 pinball machines and arcade games will be on hand for this weekend's Northwest Pinball and Gameroom Show at Seattle Center.

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A British university researcher this week said professional computer gamers are shockingly unfit, with one man in his 20s having “the lung function and aerobic fitness of a 60-year-old chain smoker.”

However, physical fitness is not among the listed attractions of the Northwest Pinball and Gameroom Show held Friday through Sunday at Seattle Center.

It’s the only chance to see so many of the machines — about 280 — at one place in the Northwest, said organizer Bret Fritch.

Now in its sixth year, the event last time drew more than 4,000 people who could have been home on a couch playing an Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii or PS3. Fritch said he expects a bigger crowd this year because preregistrations are three times higher.

For the cost of admission — $20 Friday and Saturday, $15 Sunday, $50 for the whole thing — you get unlimited play on all the machines. Those pinball machines are all on loan from private collectors. (Etiquette: Don’t be rough on them, and don’t hog a machine if others are waiting to play.)

Other highlights of the weekend include Steve Wiebe, of Redmond, star of the 2007 “The King of Kong” documentary, who will hold a seminar, as well as play Donkey Kong with a camera over his shoulder to project his game-play onto a large screen. There’s a room with classic arcade games, as well.

For more competitive players, the event is hosting the Northwest Pinball Championship, which includes Open, Novice and Classic tournaments.

Fritch, 46, is an aviation-structural mechanic who met his wife while he was working at an arcade in Oak Harbor. He owns five pinball machines and said Seattle and Portland have become havens for collectors — “maybe because it’s rainy.” There are about 260 members of his group, Washington Pinball Crazies (WPC).

Although he admits that the demographic is largely middle-aged guys with fond memories of pinball at a bowling alley in their youth, lots of families turn up at the show — toting stools for younger kids to stand on and play the games. What’s the appeal of the low-tech, slow-moving games, which must generally be played standing up?

“Each game is different,” Fritch said. “You can’t figure out a pattern or enter a cheat code like you can with a PS3 or Xbox. You’re still physically not just hitting the buttons, you’re thinking about trajectories, you’re shaking the machine. And I like the aspect of tearing one apart and putting it back together.”

Another pro will be on hand to demonstrate that: Clay “Shaggy” Harrell of the restoration series “This Old Pinball” will show how to repair and restore games.

For more information, tournament rules and tickets, visit www.nwpinballshow.com.

Mark Rahner: 206-464-8259 or mrahner@seattletimes.com