Pinball champion Robert Gagno says having autism has made him a better player. But it’s also true that playing pinball has helped him live with autism.
When Robert Gagno plays pinball at his local arcade a crowd usually gathers to watch. The Canadian, who lives near Vancouver in British Columbia, has such control he can make each metal ball last up to an hour. He regularly smashes machine records, typing R E G – Robert Emilio Gagno – in the roll of honour.
“If I’m just playing for fun I can play safe shots over and over again. Along the way I figure out which shots score the most points,” the 27-year-old says.
He bends almost horizontally over the machine, bouncing the ball delicately between the flippers, before sending it high up the playfield.
Each hit generates a flurry of electronic noises and flashing lights that reflect off his glasses. Robert, who has autism, …
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