KORONA WORLD

Korona World Komaki

After leaving the Iwakura shopping centre, we proceeded to our second pinball location – Korona World Komaki. It only took around 8 minutes by car.

Korona World
Korona World

Korona World is a big amusement centre in Komaki. Through a collaboration with the Japan Game Museum, the centre has set up a dedicated area for retro games since early this year.  It is a so-called “mini-JGM”.

There are six pinballs and some vintage video games

  • Gemini (1978Gottlieb)
  • Surfing (1972, Sega Japan)
  • Carnival (1971, Sega Japan)
  • Playboy (1978 ,Bally)
  • Rocky & Bullwinkle (1993, Data East)
  • The Addams Family (1992, Bally)
The six pinballs
The six pinballs
Cocktail video games
Cocktail video games

It was very exciting and amazing for me to see the Gemini game. According to the ipdb.org, only 300 units were produced in 1978.  I believe, it is one of the few still functional in the world.

Gottlieb's Gemini
Gottlieb’s Gemini

Again, I could get high score and 3 replay credits on my first play of this game.  (^o^)/

High score!
High score!

I believe the Rocky & Bullwinkle game might have been acquired from the Mono Mania Shopping Centre, so this is my second time seeing it within four years.

Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends
Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends

Another amazing game is the Sea Raider (1969).  As I understand it, the game was totally not functional when it was first delivered to the JGM.  It eventually became functional after JGM spent a lot of hard work and passion on it.

Sea Raider
Sea Raider

Here’s some additional information about Korona World Komaki:

  • Address:  〒446-0022 Katayama mom Komaki, Aichi Prefecture 181  (〒446-0022  愛知県小牧市間々片山181)
  • Transportation: 15 minutes by bus from Iwakura train station.
  • Business hours: 10am-midnight (weekdays) and 9am-midnight (Sat/Sun)
  • Comments: the condition of all the pinballs was excellent.

UUENNICHI AT APITA IWAKURA

Uuennichi at Apita Iwakura

After staying in the Osaka city for three days, I continued my trip to Nagoya city.

In the morning of my first day, my good friend Mr. Takeda drove me to my first pinball location in the city.

On the road towards Nagoya
On the road towards Nagoya

It took around half-an-hour to reach this pinball location – Uuennichi @ Apita Iwakura shop, which is one of the new pinball locations near Nagoya city this year.

Uuennichi @ Apita Iwakura
Uuennichi @ Apita Iwakura

Since the game centre is quite small, it is easy to spot the four pinball games.

  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Williams, 1991)
  • Hurricane (Williams, 1991)
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon (Bally, 1992)
  • World Cup Soccer (Bally, 1994)
The four pinballs
The four pinballs

It was amazing since this was my first time seeing the Hurricane game. Although I could not get the high score on it, I still felt it is a very fun game.

Hurricane
Hurricane

Other than the four pinballs, the Uuennichi game centre has also other video games for teenagers.

Other games at the Uuennichi game centre
Other games at the Uuennichi game centre

 

Here’s some additional information about Uuennichi game centre:

  • Transportation: a 5 minute walk from the Iwakura train station
  • Business hours: 9am – 9pm

SILVER BALL PLANET PINBALL ARCADE

Silver Ball Planet Arcade

In late September 2016, I paid another visit to Silver Ball Planet Arcade and stayed two-and-a-half days there.

Silver Ball Planet Pinball Arcade in the Big Step mall
Silver Ball Planet Pinball Arcade in the Big Step mall

The following are the highlights of SBP during this visit.

A new pinball, Gottlieb’s Big Hit, is available.

Big Hit
Big Hit

SBP has extended its closing time from 8pm until 11pm on both Friday and Saturday.  Also drinks are available at cost.

The new extended closing time
The new extended closing time

SBP is getting popular both locally and internationally.  From time to time I could see both local and international visitors of different ages.

Guests
Guests
Guests
Guests

I also joined the monthly pinball tournament for September. Unfortunately, I was out in the first round.

The tournament
The tournament

As usual, I could always enjoy good food around the Shinsaibashi area.   I have never been disappointed with it.

Good food
Good food

Although the total number of games is now over 100, some new ones are still coming.   As I understand it they include Ghostbusters, Transformers and The Big Lebowski.

PINBALL EXPO 2016

The banquet at Pinball Expo 2016

This year’s Pinball Expo is looking as though it will be one of the most interesting ever, with a number of new game announcements or reveals, a packed schedule of seminars, and several on- & off-site events to keep attendees busy across the five days of the show.

We arrived at the Westin Chicago North Shore at lunchtime on Wednesday. The Windy City was certainly living up to its name, as clouds and rain blew through the city of Wheeling.

The venue for Pinball Expo 2016, the Westin Chicago North Shore
The venue for Pinball Expo 2016, the Westin Chicago North Shore

Setting-up for the show had begun in the Vendor Hall, the Game Hall, and in the tournament area.

The vendor hall
The Vendor Hall

Show co-organiser Mike Pacak’s stand was the first to be populated, but other stands and boxes of products were arriving. There’s plenty of time yet though, as the 14,815.5 square feet hall doesn’t open to the public until 6pm on Thursday.

As usual, Mike Pacak's stand is located next to the vendor hall's entrance
As usual, Mike Pacak’s stand is located next to the Vendor Hall’s entrance
More vendors were starting to set-up too
More stands were starting to be set-up too

Each vendor’s area is marked out with tape, along with a name place for them to use.

Tape on the carpet defines each vendor's space
Tape on the carpet defines each vendor’s space
Some of the stands to arrive later
Some of the stands to arrive later

Outside the Vendor Hall, a familiar pair of oversized pinballs was being put together.

The Flintstones and Hercules
The Flintstones and Hercules

In the adjacent Game Hall, the free play pinballs were arriving and being assembled.

Inside the Game Hall
Inside the Game Hall
More machines in the Game Hall
More machines in the Game Hall
Amy loves ColorDMD
Amy loves ColorDMD
The scene in the Game Hall at 3pm on Wednesday
The scene in the Game Hall at 3pm on Wednesday

Just outside the Game Hall is an interesting exhibit which will form the subject of one of the seminars later this week.

A pinball built based on a lost Harry Williams design
A pinball based on a lost Harry Williams design
The schedule of events is posted next to the reception desk
The schedule of events is posted next to the reception desk

Rob Anthony had established his little part of Pinball Expo with his Pinball Classics side room.

The Pinball Classics room across from the Game Hall
The Pinball Classics room across from the Game Hall

In the tournament area at the front of the building, the machines for the tournaments run by Trent Augenstein were set up and being prepared for the long days of competitive play ahead of them.

Trent puts up the tournament bracket poster
Trent puts up the tournament bracket poster
The format is a repeat of last year's multi-bye system which was well-received
The format is a repeat of last year’s multi-bye system which was well-received
Some of the tournament machines
Some of the tournament machines

The Registration Desk for the show began at around 5pm on Wednesday, at which point guests who had pre-registered could collect their packs containing the show guide, tickets for the Stern Pinball factory tour, banquet tickets and their pre-printed name badges. Those who hadn’t pre-registered could sign up and pay for their show entry.

The line for the Registration Desk
The line for the Registration Desk

At 8pm on Wednesday the Bumper Blast party began in one of the many Westin halls. As co-organisers Rob Berk and Mike Pacak welcomed guests to Pinball Expo, a buffet meal was served

The Bumper Blast buffet meal
The Bumper Blast buffet meal
Rob Berk tries the pasta
Rob Berk tries the pasta

The meal was free for Expo attendees and consisted of salad, pasta with meatballs and sauce, roast chicken, roast potatoes, bread sticks and rolls, and apple cobbler to finish. Soft drinks were also provided.

The Bumper Blast dinner
The Bumper Blast dinner
Mike Pacak and Rob Berk
Mike Pacak and Rob Berk

Meanwhile, in a preparation room at the hotel, the Heighway Pinball team were setting up their Alien pinballs in preparation for the following day’s launch party at Twin Peaks.

Andrew and Stefan set up Alien pinball
Andrew and Stefan set up Alien pinball

Thursday morning’s events began at 9am when the yellow school buses arrived outside the Westin to transport guests to the Stern Pinball factory and the annual tour of the facility.

Expo guests board the first school bus
Expo guests board the first school bus
The line for the buses
The line for the buses

Unfortunately, because we had the temerity to question the $15,000 price tag for the new Batman 66 game, Pinball News was banned from the Stern factory. Since no photography or video recording is allowed at the factory any longer it is no real loss, but we decided not to try to sneak in after seeing what happened to another interloper.

No factory tour for you
No factory tour for you

Those who were allowed in got to see the new Batman 66 games.

The Batman 66 games
The Batman 66 games
The Batman 66 playfield
The Batman 66 playfield

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, we got on with setting up the seminars hall for the first seminar at 1pm. David Fix had produced a dozen large posters for the seminar hall and another six for the corridors outside.

Putting up David's game posters
Putting up David’s game posters

We also built up the audio/video system for the hall.

The first of a lot of AV kit
The first pieces of a lot of AV kit

We were not alone in setting things up, as the Jersey Jack Pinball crew arrived with seven machines for their seminar later today. We can’t show you anything more until their seminar begins at 8pm.

The Jersey Jack Pinball crew setting up machines
The Jersey Jack Pinball crew setting up machines

The seminars began at 1pm with Bruce Westfall and Scott Moehring.

1:00pm So… Can You Make Me a New Backglass? – Bruce Westfall & Scott Moehring

Bruce Westfall & Scott Moehring Bruce is a professional screen printer who was brought into pinball by Scott and investigated who was making reproduction backglasses and plastics, and whether it was something he could get into.

Now he has worked on more than a hundred artwork pieces through their company Outside Edge

The first questions they ask when asked to reproduce a backglass are “Do you have the rights?” and then “Is it worth what it will cost?”.

After that they need to assess the original art and then build the new art file. Bruce described how important it is for there to be a custodian of the artwork who ensures the quality and integrity of any reproductions.

 Bruce and Scott
Bruce and Scott

Scott then spoke about the problems they face trying to recreate something when you don’t have the original assets such as films or screens or the same type of ink or when the item they are trying to copy has shrunk over the years.

Finally, the type of printing process has to be decided. Sometimes spot colours are needed to faithfully recreate the hues and saturations of the original, while at other times CYMK is used to give the graduations and subtleties required.

Download the file here

 
2:00pm Pinball, Politics & Pornography – Jim Schelberg

Jim Schelberg Jim was back to show a series of pinball-related clips, starting with short sequence from the original Batman series where Batman talks about The Joker acquiring a pinball company.

After that, a Victoria’s Secret fashion show, a Playboy documentary and a Demolition Man promotional video followed.

Jim then handed out packs of Maoam Pinballs to everyone in the audience before continuing with more pinball clips which included the Drunk History episode about Roger Sharpe, who was in the audience.

Jim with the Maoam Pinballs
Jim with the Maoam Pinballs

Because Jim’s seminar is largely video-based, we only have audio from the introduction of his talk.

Download the file here

 
3:00pm Really Funny Pinball Stories – Martin Wiest

Martin Wiest Martin related how he has been a coin-op and pinball fan ever since he was a child. He formed the German Pinball Association and has been addicted to pinball ever since.

Martin has 70 games, but says he can only remember from where he got around 60 of them. He told the stories about how he came to buy several of them.

After that, Martin told the full story of the organisation of the 2006 European Pinball Championship in Munich, describing the problems they faced from construction in the area to emergency building work inside the facility to meet fire regulations.

Martin describing a trecherous trip into the mountains to buy a game
Martin describing a treacherous trip into the mountains to buy a game

He also spoke about the five Star Wars Episode 1 and four Revenge from Mars machines which were connected together with a modified version of the software Williams used for their Pinball 2000 tournament at Pinball Expo 1999.

Download the file here

 
5:00pm Up Close With Gary Stern – Gary Stern

Gary Stern & Joe Kaminkow Gary was joined on stage by Joe Kaminkow who spoke about how they set up the Batman 66 deal with Adam West and the promotional events they have set up to celebrate the launch.

Gary then described the VIP meet & greet they have lined up for Friday where guests will get to meet Adam West.

Gary then talked about the resurgence in pinball and the growth in barcades bringing pinball to a wider audience. He moved on to the move of Stern Pinball to their new Elk Grove Village facility and how that has helped their business.

Gary Stern
Gary Stern

Gary then introduced several of the staff the company has added in various roles over the past few years.

He continued by describing the different types of games the company makes – Cornerstone releases are the Ghostbusters and Game of Thrones types of games, Vault Editions are the Spider-Man and Iron Man types, while the Studio Editions are the Whoa Nellie and Batman 66 games. He also added the Consumer Level Spider-Man game, the Private Label Pabst Can Crusher, and the Contract Management game Medieval Madness remake.

Gary included the accessories the company sells to enhance their games – toppers, side rails, shooter rods, etc. – and the Stern-branded clothing, saying they try to cover everything pinball.

George Gomez then came up to talk about the development of the Batman 66 and the unique features included in the game.

George Gomez with Batman 66 Super LE
George Gomez with Batman 66 Super LE

Gary then addressed the problem of playfield insert ‘ghosting’ saying they would replace the playfields of the affected games.

Download the file here

 
6:00pm Who You Gonna Call? Ghostbusters – John Trudeau, Dwight Sullivan, Jerry Thompson & Zombie Yeti

The Ghostbusters team John spoke first, describing how he had wanted to do a Ghostbusters pinball for a long time. He spoke about some of the game features and why certain features work the way they do.

Dwight Sullivan then took over to tell the audience about his history in pinball and the number of assets included in this game.

Jerry then spoke about how Ghostbusters was his first full game sound project and how he had to convince George Gomez and John he was capable of handling the entire game.

Jerry Thompson
Jerry Thompson

Jeremy Packer (Zombie Yeti) then talked about how he started working with Dennis Nordman on another project. Dennis introduced him to Greg Freres at Stern who proposed Jeremy draw a picture of Bill Murray to see if he might be suitable for Ghostbusters. He then spoke about his approach to the art package and the choice of themes and colours, as well as his techniques for creating digital art.

Jeremy Packer a.k.a. Zombie Yeti
Jeremy Packer a.k.a. Zombie Yeti

Dwight then introduced a feature called Quid Pro Quo where audience members could ask questions of the team after which they would ask a prize question involving identifying a small portion of game artwork.

Dwight Sullivan
Dwight Sullivan

John explained how the team works together when they are often in physically different locations thousands of miles away. He also described how he creates the three different versions of the game, saying he starts with the Limited Edition version and cuts it down to produce the Premium and Pro models.

John Trudeau
John Trudeau
Download the file here

 
8:00pm Designing the Future of Pinball – Jersey Jack Pinball

Jack Guarnieri Jack began this big reveal of the company’s third game by thanking the many people who have worked hard to make the company what it is today.

Jack said they have gone from announcing a game and then customers having to wait two years to see it finished, to having one three feet away tonight.

The company is still making The Wizard of Oz and Jack said he doesn’t see that title ending any time soon.

He also said the final code for The Hobbit is going on the website tonight, and also announced a new Black Arrow Special Edition variant of The Hobbit with many custom details. The game will ship in November.

Jack then turned to Pat Lawlor, recounting how his games always made operators money and showing pictures of Pat through the ages. He said he never thought he would end up working with him.

He said last week he sold 500 units of a title nobody knew the name of or any of the other details, simply because it was designed by Pat and built with the team at JJP.

Pat then stepped onto the stage and thanked the approximately 25 people who had worked on his JJP game, before recounting a brief history of his time in the pinball industry. He told the packed audience how he got back into the business when Jack called him up and asked if he would design an unlicensed themed game.

Pat Lawlor
Pat Lawlor

He said designing an original theme is the most dangerous thing in the business as, if the player didn’t get what they were trying to convey, they had wasted several years of their lives.

But Jack was insistent that he wanted a fully-featured, packed game built without compromises.

He then introduced the new cabinet design for JJP game #3. The new cabinet has no boards in the base, it is automatically set to 6.5 degrees slope with the leg levellers all wound fully in. He has also moved the volume control down to the bottom left of the front which can be used as a master control or, for operators, only control the headphones level. The sound system has also been redesigned, retuned to make it more balanced.

Pat then unveiled his game – Dialed In!

Pat and Ted Estes with Dialed In
Pat and Ted Estes with Dialed In!
Dialed In!
Dialed In!

The game has a slew of unique features, key amongst them is the ability to place a phone on the game’s glass and when multiball starts you get a special mode which can be played by using the phone to flip. There is also a player camera built into the game as well as a playfield packed with hardware mechanisms.

Dialed In!
The Dialed In! playfield
Dialed In!
The Dialed In! playfield
Dialed In!
The Dialed In! playfield
Download the file here

 
Meanwhile, over the other side of the Westin’s parking lot, the Heighway Pinball team were revealing their Alien game in a special launch party at the Twin Peaks restaurant, complete with free food and drinks. Naturally, that combination drew a large crowd.

The Heighway Pinball Alien Pinball launch party
The Heighway Pinball Alien Pinball launch party
The Heighway Pinball Alien Pinball launch party
The Heighway Pinball Alien Pinball launch party
The Alien Pinball game was the star of the event
The Alien Pinball game was the star of the event
There were two Alien games and two Full Throttles
There were two Alien games and two Full Throttles
Alien Pinball
The Alien Pinball playfield
Alien Pinball
The Alien Pinball playfield
Alien Pinball
The Alien Pinball playfield

8:00am Pinball 101- David Fix

David Fix David took attendees through the basics of pinball repair, detailing the tools he includes in his toolkit and the products he recommends as well as those he tends to avoid.

David showed videos of the typical problems he finds on certain types of circuit boards when he makes service calls or does off-site repairs.

Sadly, due to a mix-up over seminar start times we only have a partial audio recording of David’s seminar.

Download the file here

 
8:30am A News Perspective on Mods – Dan Kuschill

Dan Kuschill Dan said he first got into pinball mods when he bought a Creature from the Black Lagoon and was looking for the lighted speaker panel mod but couldn’t find one anywhere.

He described how he created recent mods for Star Trek, Ghostbusters, Terminator 3, The Walking Dead and Indiana Jones as well as speaker panels for 29 different game titles..

Dan said they now have around a hundred different mods available including LED lighting kits and EL wire add-ons. He showed EL wire ramp kits he makes for The Addams Family and Terminator 2 as well as lighted instruction cards in eight different colours and plasma-effect pop bumper toppers.

Dan Kuschill
Dan Kuschill

Dan’s products will be available from lightedpinballspeakerpanels.com.

Download the file here

 
8:30am American Pinball – Scott Goldberg & Dhaval Vasani

Scott Goldberg Scott began by introducing the team of himself and Dhaval along with newly-joined team members Joe Balcer and Harry M.

He then stated that the company is not Zidware, but is building Magic Girl for Zidware. American Pinball intends to deliver them all to Zidware by the end of 2016, with Zidware then responsible for delivery to buyers and on-going support.

Scott said they are not ignoring the issues with Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland or Alice in Wonderland, but how buyers of those games will be fulfilled will be addressed soon.

Joe Balcer, Dhaval Vasani, Harrie Mangels & Scott Goldberg
Joe Balcer, Dhaval Vasani, Harry M & Scott Goldberg

Scott said right now wasn’t the time for John Popadiuk to be at Pinball Expo. John is a consultant, “nothing more, nothing less”, he said. Any issues relating to delivery of Magic Girl and other Zidware titles will be addressed by Zidware.

Turning to Houdini, Scott said the intention is to have the game ready to deliver by the end of Q2 2017. He said there’s no connection between Houdini and Magic Girl, and Houdini will have its own cabinet design, separate from the Zidware cabinet.

Joe then talked about the hardware American Pinball will be using, saying it’s a PC-based system using their own custom boards.

Scott said he got into pinball from working with John Popadiuk at a toy company. Dhaval talked about his history in gaming electronics and experience in international markets.

Joe said their strategy is definitely for their games to be operated, and that’s how they are designing it, although they are very conscious of the home collector market. There will only be one version of Houdini, although they might have a limited edition collector version of future titles.

Joe continued, saying he came to the company last week and took over a 75% complete playfield design for Houdini to which he needs to add more features and adjust some of the shots. His role is not currently as a designer but to use his experience in the industry bring the Houdini game to production. The next time we see the game he said it will be a finished product and show the direction the company is going in.

He said the game is likely to change from what they have shown so far as certain features are changed or added, and the game is modified to work in the American Pinball cabinet design.

Download the file here

10:20am Let’s Make A Pinball Deal – David Fix & Phoebe Smith

David Fix and Phoebe Smith In this seminar David and Phoebe played a live version of the quiz game Let’s Make A Deal where audience members have to guess the price of certain pinball products, with the closest to the actual price winning. The winner can then take the item or gamble on an additional mystery prize. The first item was a bottle of Novus which was upgraded to a signed Game of Thrones translite.

Subsequent items included a security Torx bit set which was changed for a bottle of used light bulbs and Krylon Triple Thick clear glaze which was swapped for a signed Rescue 911 translite.

Let's Make A Pinball Deal
Let’s Make A Pinball Deal

Further prizes included a speaker light kit, a zombie head shooter rod, a heavily-worn Xenon playfield, a bottle of Wildcat rubber cleaner and a large bottle on Novus #1 plastic cleaner.

The final round gave away valuable prizes including a ColorDMD LED display, a Stern shaker motor, a full registration for Pinball Expo 2017, new pinballs and various T-shirts.

Download the file here

 
11:10am Keeping 300 Games Running at the Ann Arbor Pinball Museum – Clay Harrell

Clay Harrell Clay owns and runs the Ann Arbor Pinball Museum where he had more than 300 machines set up and just added another wing to bring that total up to nearly 350.

He said the eternal problem with pinball collecting is lack of space and he never wanted to own games he couldn’t set up, but that brings its own problems and challenges.

Clay turned to the benefits and negatives of using LEDs in games, and especially their use in older titles. He said they never use LEDs in slingshots because of the strobing effect which can be noticed on some machines. He continued by talking about the types of rubber they use – white rubber rings and red flipper rubbers on 3-inch bats – because it plays better and gives a good indication of when the game needs cleaning.

He then looked at EM-specific issues, starting with the way playfield inserts shrink and then sink into the wood. He said they also add power switches to all their games which don’t have them so they can be turned off quickly in an emergency.

Clay describes the problems with sunken inserts
Clay describes the problems with sunken inserts

Moving on to solid state machines, Clay spoke about his likes and dislikes of each manufacturer’s hardware, how some are more liable to failure than others and where are the most likely points of failure.

Download the file here

 
1:00pm Pinball Magazine No. 4 and Upcoming Issues – Jonathan Joosten

Jonathan Joosten Jonathan is the editor and publisher of Pinball Magazine and in his seminar he showed the audience a preview of the upcoming fourth issue.

Issue four’s feature article is on Mark Ritchie’s career in pinball, covering the games he worked on and the people with who he worked and Williams and Capcom.

Jonathan said he delayed publication of the fourth issue so could cover the many announcements made at Pinball Expo. The size of the next issue is likely to be similar to the third one as would be the price, and it should be ready to ship at the end of November.

Jonathan also revealed that Wayne Neyens will be the main subject of the fifth issue which he hopes to publish in Spring 2017.

He also spoke about the issue he was doing about the late Python Anghelo. Jonathan showed the transcription of his multiple interviews with Python which is already around the size of a regular Pinball Magazine issue without any pictures. Jonathan said the second half of the interviews is incredibly negative and makes a difficult read. He said he will publish it in due course, but he’s in no rush.

Download the file here

 
1:30pm PinSound – Nicolas Manaud & Timothee Manaud

Timothy and Nicolas Timothee explained why he and Nicolas created the PinSound board which is a replacement sound system for Williams WPC 89/DCS/95 and system 11C as well as Data East, Sega and Stern Whitestar games.

It includes equalisation and amplification on the board and uses all the original game wiring.

Timothee showed how the sound creation and editing software for the PinSound system worked before covering the advances the brothers had made in 2016 which included Stern/Sega compatibility, the licensing of new sound packages for Bally/Williams games through Planetary Pinball, and a new set of drop-in high-quality replacement speakers to accompany the board.

Download the file here

 
2:00pm Underrated EM Machines Seen Through the Eye of a Classics Master – Derek Fugate

Derek Fugate Derek has been collecting games for many years but started with video games rather than pinballs. It took until 1988 before he got his first pinball and has been collecting ever since.

He recalled his visit to previous Pinball Expos where they used to have a machine auction. It was at one of these in 1994 that he brought two video games and three pinballs to sell.

Derek recalled the game prices and how cheap they seem compared to the prices games sell for these days.

But the main subject of his talk was about good games which remain under-appreciated. He named Baywatch and Goldeneye as two good examples, along with Gottlieb titles by Jon Norris such as Cue Ball Wizard and Surf ‘N Safari.

Derek then turned to the different ways he has acquired games, many of which he said had been by accident. He recounted how he was following up a Pyramid game for sale on Craig’s List and asked the seller if they have anything else for sale. That led to the purchase of the original Pyramid and another two games the seller had but hadn’t listed. Derek said this is a good way to find games, even if you don’t want the actual game advertised.

He said that despite the recent price increases there are still a lot of great deals out there if you dig a little deeper, along with some unusual or significant machines hidden away.

Download the file here

 
3:00pm From The Lost Playfield Drawings of Harry Williams: A Pinball Machine 40 Years in the Making – Duncan Brown

Duncan Brown Duncan recalled how he was called into John Popadiuk’s office to see some late designs by Harry Williams which John hoped would inspire the team at Williams.

The designs were forgotten for several years and we trapped in Steve Kordek’s possessions when Williams closed the doors on their pinball division and, when Steve died at the age of 100, it looked like they would be forever lost.

But Duncan was tasked with working through Steve’s pinball possessions and found a couple of blue prints amongst the paperwork, but nothing significant.

Tim Seckel was in charge of engineering at the company Williams had become and agreed to visit the deserted Waukegan facility to see if anything could be found. Some paperwork was found and an agreement was made for Duncan to scan it all. These documents contained Harry Williams’ lost playfield drawings.

Duncan described them as ‘genius’, and said he knew these games needed to be built. He then had to decide where to start. He ruled out the more mechanically challenging and those which didn’t look like they would be fun to play. He ended up with Typhoon, the game featured outside the Game Hall.

The Harry Williams design, Typhoon
The Harry Williams design, Typhoon
Download the file here

 
4:00pm Alien Pinball: The Official North American Launch – Heighway Pinball

Andrew Heighway Andrew Heighway from Heighway Pinball was hosting this seminar with five members of the Alien design team – David Thiel, Aurich Lawson, Kelly Mazurowski, Joe Schober & Brian Dominy.

Andrew began by showing a series of Alien-related images showing how the theme continues to be popular.

He then played the promotion video for the game and some additional videos showing outtakes and the clips they submitted to Fox in order to get the game approved.

The Heighway Pinball team
The Heighway Pinball team: David Thiel, Aurich Lawson, Kelly Mazurowski, Joe Schober & Brian Dominy

Andrew then answered questions from the audience relating to the cost of the game, the quotes used, the licensing process, the differences between the standard and LE models, the types of coin door used in Europe and the US, and the new cabinet design with recessed interior side art (illuminated on the LE).

Each member of the design team then introduced themselves and described how they came to be working on the Alien Pinball project.

The Heighway Pinball team
The Heighway Pinball team
Download the file here

 
5:15pm Making Pinball, Making Friends – Brian Madden, Aaron Davis, Dave Beecher, Jan Kantert, Quinn Capen, Mark Incitti & Gabe Knuth

Brian Madden Brian was the host for this series of three conversations about how making pinball games brings people together and makes new friends.

The first two guests were Aaron Davis and Dave Beecher from Fast Pinball who design and built their pinball control system which allows home or commercial pinball makes turn their game into reality.

Aaron and Dave spoke about how and why their company was created and how their board system is modular and makes the process of game creation much simpler.

Brian with Dave and Aaron
Brian with Dave and Aaron

Aaron said creating your own game is much easier if you start with an existing game and re-theme it, as all the geometry has been designed and tested for you, so you can concentrate on telling your game’s story through the artwork, rules, sounds and lighting.

Next onto the stage were Jan Kantert and Quinn Capen from Mission Pinball.

Brian with Jan and Quinn
Brian with Jan and Quinn

The Mission Pinball Framework is the software which works with a pinball hardware system such as Fast Pinball to allow rules to be written and lighting/sound/display effects to be created.

Quinn said the Mission system is very suited to programming beginners, providing a lot of tutorials to guide you through getting a game flipping. You can then modify the provided rules to customise it to your own design.

Mark Incitti was next on stage and he was talking about how he has created his own game based on the Tim Burton movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Brian with Mark
Brian with Mark

Mark told the audience how he was a big fan of the movie and found making a pinball version of the story to be a lot of fun. He said it’s quite easy to go through a number of different playfield iterations to try things out using paper and Duck Tape to make your own ramps and ball guides during the playfield design testing phase.

The final guest was Gabe Knuth who has created a Brooks & Dunn game.

Brian with Gabe
Brian with Gabe

Brooks & Dunn was the game being developed at Gottlieb when the company was closed in 1996. A playfield design exists but it was unpopulated and only had hand-written notes about the intended mechanisms.

Gabe has taken the playfield and, through a lot of trial and error over the course of four months, attempted to build up the playfield to create the Brooks & Dunn game.

Download the file here

 
6:10pm LTG 🙂 Show & Get-Together – Lloyd Olson

Lloyd Olson Lloyd not only owns and operates SS Billiards in Hopkins, Minnesota but also provides technical support for Jersey Jack Pinball, Planetary Pinball and Chicago Gaming.

Tonight, instead of offering online and telephone support, Lloyd answered questions from the audience about these products and the wider pinball world.

Those questions included finding out what the next changes will be at SS Billiards, what some of the funniest technical support calls have been, why Jersey Jack Pinball have moved their circuit boards to the backbox rather than in the base of the cabinet, and the craziest test games and craziest customers Lloyd has had at his location.

Download the file here

 
8:00pm Deep Dive into Dialed In! – Jersey Jack Pinball

Jack Guarnieri Tonight was the opportunity to really go in-depth with the Jersey Jack Pinball team and their new Dialed In! pinball.

But before that, Jack had ordered numerous boxes of Chicago-style deep pan pizza for guests so there was a break while everyone enjoyed a slice or two.

The JJP team
The JJP team
Pizza time
Pizza time

After pizza it was time for questions from the audience, starting with one about the female voice in the game which David Thiel revealed was actually his wife who also appeared in Tron.

When asked about the game reporting back its location so players will know where to find one, Ted Estes said they are taking baby steps with the game’s functionality but they have lots of ideas for new features to add.

When asked about the challenges of creating an unlicensed theme, Pat said with a licensed theme you start out with a $100M or $200M movie production with all the associated promotion.

Pat Lawlor
Pat Lawlor

With an unlicensed theme Pat said he needs to come up with an instantly understandable concept which people will latch onto. He said it is ten times harder to create an original theme without any assets, especially to create the city’s graphics. Pat said they are a pinball company but are having to become a part video game company too.

Ted said that the theme gives them the flexibility to put whatever they want into the game, and also don’t have to get approval from the licence holder. Jack said they wouldn’t have been allowed to make T-shirts with The Hobbit on, or even an image of their pinball machine on it, but can do whatever they want with Dialed In!.

J-P DeWin then spoke about the process of creating the graphics using a combination of Cinema 4D and After Effects. A modeller created the buildings and J-P made the textures mapped onto the buildings and then animated everything in Cinema 4D and After Effects.

Pat said he never considered making Dialed In! a widebody, calling the notion ‘heresy’.

In relation to the game’s built-in camera, Pat said there would be both software and hardware ways to block the camera, or it could always be unplugged if you had concerns.

Asked about the playfield artwork, John Youssi said this was the first time he had created a computer-generated 300dpi playfield, and he had to buy a new computer to cope with it.

The artwork on a signed playfield which was being auctioned-off
The artwork on a signed playfield which was being auctioned-off

Talking about the phone connection, Ted said the connection was currently through bluetooth and using a NFC sensor under the glass. You need to download an app to use it, but there will be a QR code to download the app. Ted said the app works fine on Android but there might be problems with iOS. The phone connection is purely optional and isn’t required to play the game.

Pat was asked if the phone is now the red button with is Pat’s ‘trademark’? He said, no, it’s not. There is a button in the game’s artwork and in the comic book which was handed out yesterday at the launch.

Here are some more pictures of the game.

Under the Dialed In! playfield
Under the Dialed In! playfield
Inside the Dialed In! cabinet
Inside the Dialed In! cabinet
Inside the Dialed In! cabinet
Inside the Dialed In! cabinet
Backbox artwork
Backbox artwork
The rear of the backbox
The rear of the backbox
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Drones
Drones
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Instruction card
Instruction card
Download the file here

 
While the JJP Deep Dive event was taking place, Stern Pinball were holding their 30th Anniversary Party at the Viper Alley concert venue in Lincolnshire. Sadly, despite purchasing a $30 ticket, Pinball News was banned from the party by Stern Pinball for suggesting their $15,000 Batman 66 Super Limited Edition machine might be a little overpriced.

However, thanks to Gary Flower we are able to bring you some pictures from the event.

The Batmobile outside Viper Alley
The Batmobile outside Viper Alley
The Ghostbusters car
The Ghostbusters car
Gary Stern with the event's magician
Gary Stern with the event’s magician
Gary Stern with the event's magician
Gary Stern with the event’s magician
Gary Stern was 'roasted' at the party
Gary Stern was ‘roasted’ at the party
Gary was joined by Joe Kaminkow and Eugene Jarvis
Gary was joined by Joe Kaminkow and Eugene Jarvis
Gary with his ex-wife and daughter
Gary with his ex-wife and daughter
Gary with Dave Peterson
Gary with Dave Peterson
Ed Robertson performed several songs
Ed Robertson performed several songs

The Pinball Expo seminars continued on Saturday morning.

9:00am Bringing Pinball to the People: Modern Marketing and Promotion Concepts by Pinball Universe – Daniel Schwarz

Daniel Schwarz Daniel began by showing a series of pictures illustrating how Pinball Universe promote the release of each new game with lavish launch parties.

He then talked about Pinball Universe and how they began in April 2015 as a division of J Schwarz, a company founded in 1978 which produces and distributes technical films, moulds and prints.

Daniel says the company began with a passion for pinball. Their collection began by buying games from private collections, game room sellers and online, but they found they didn’t have a good chance to try new games before they bought them. So they decided to set up a pinball showroom similar to a car showroom.

He said their main goal was to have satisfied customers through being experts on their products and to carry that passion for pinball throughout their team of fifteen.

Daniel then showed pictures of their large showrooms where customers can try and compare the different versions of all the latest machines. Their largest of their four showrooms has 120 machines which also includes many classic reconditioned titles in top condition.

He said they also have a large warehouse with around 150 new-in-box machines as part of their Pinball-To-Go sales operation. He said they check all new-in-box machines to make sure they are fully working and to add any additional mods the customers might have purchased such as shaker motors, anti-reflective glass or an upgraded sound system.

Pinball Universe bought a large branded truck and trailer which they use to take games to various events across Europe where they promote pinball at music festivals, trade fairs and concerts.

Download the file here

 
10:00am From the Archive Vaults of Williams: and Who Was GTH? – James Loflin & Duncan Brown

Duncan Brown and James Loflin James began by detailing the background to today’s talk and how he and Duncan share a love of pinball history and, in particular, the history of Williams.

Duncan then spoke about the history of Williams Pinball, from its foundation by Harry Williams through its first ten games, showing playfield drawings and pictures of each of them.

The initials GTH appeared on multiple game drawings and on notes about game designs. It turned out GTH was Gordon T Horlick who was a game designer brought in by Harry Williams from United in 1947.

James then showed paperwork from the start of the company, including wiring diagrams, work schedules, memos, production schedules and purchase orders. There were also play test reports showing the overall scores, how many of the lit features were collected, and how much the game would have earned.

James has a mass of documentation and it reveals fascinating details about how the games were designed, built and themed, along with the changes made before and during production.

Download the file here

 
11:20am KISS Artwork: Then and Now – Kevin O’Connor

Kevin O'Connor Kevin’s seminar looked at how he created the artwork for the Bally Kiss game and contrasted it with how he did the same for the recent Stern game.

Gary Flower interviewed Kevin, who said the artwork for the Bally game was based on the Kiss Alive album and was all drawn by hand.

Kevin said this was before style guides were created for licensed products, but the approval process for Kiss artwork was still down to getting the thumbs-up from Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons.

Sample cabinet artwork
Sample cabinet artwork

Asked if he still has the original artwork from the Bally game, Kevin replied that he did and that it has been the subject of several offers to buy it.

Kevin then showed a series of pictures from the development of both versions, saying Stern Pinball wanted him to recreate his original look for their version.

Gary and Kevin
Gary and Kevin

Kevin also contrasted the painting techniques he used for the Bally game with the digital drawing he made on his computer with a pen and tablet for the Stern title.

Download the file here

 
12:00pm Spooky Pinball Speaks About New Cool Stuff – Charlie Emery

Charlie Emery Charlie was joined on stage by KT, Bug and Ben Heck.

Charlie said they were not going to announce their next game at this show due to the number of other announcements, but he could say that Ben would be designing another game for Spooky Pinball and it would be the one after next.

Charlie then talked about how their future games will feature a taller LCD display than was possible in the past with their current hardware. They said it will be approximately twice the height of the display used on Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International.

The Spooky Pinball team
The Spooky Pinball team

The team then showed a walkthrough video from their new factory in Benton, Wisconsin. Charlie said they are now able to produce 3-4 complete machines a day and will begin production of the Domino’s Pizza game on Monday. They have made around half the total number of Rob Zombie games and are about to start building a new contract manufacturing game, meaning they will be making three titles simultaneously.

Charlie then talked about their choice of licenses and how they only pick themes about which they are passionate. He said they would like to have a standard hardware design they could retheme whenever a company approaches them for a custom game.

The team then recounted stories of how the licence fees sometimes have to be split multiple ways depending on who contributed which sometimes results in small payments being sent to individuals in recognition of their small role.

Download the file here

 
1:15pm Multimorphic Presents: The P3. The Future is Here Today – Gerry Stellenberg

Gerry Stellenberg Gerry began by asking which games people like and why the like them. The variety of game features and the different style of play show how different people like different things.

He said it would make no sense to spend a long time developing a single title which might only appeal to a small section of pinball buyers and players.

He said that range of likes and dislikes happens in the home too, with family members all liking different elements. It was something which contributed to the success of the P-ROC board where game owners could rewrite the rules or re-theme the game, or build a game to their own liking.

Gerry then turned to the P3 multi-game platform which he said had to be a very capable machine which can cater for all the features they will want to add in the future. So it doesn’t make sense to rush out a platform before it is fully-developed and future-proof.

In the room were two ‘Production Sample’ machines which Gerry said form the basis for their order of parts to build the final production models. One of the two had clear cabinet and backbox decal covers which prevent removal of the magnetic artwork.

Les from Multimorphic then showed the modular nature of the hardware by removing the flipper and slingshot assembly which slides in and out on rails, as do most of the playfield assemblies and the playfield surface.

The removable flipper and slingshot assembly
The removable flipper and slingshot assembly

The team then lifted up the playfield to show how the game is constructed.

The underside of the playfield
The underside of the playfield

Gerry said that although the game’s PC system is pretty powerful, if there was the need at some point in the future that more power was needed, the motherboard could be easily upgraded.

Inside the backbox
Inside the backbox

Gerry said the price for the P3 system is $9,875 which comes with the Lexy Lightspeed upper playfield and software. He said it is important to get a critical mass of machines out there to bring down per-unit prices for future games.

Download the file here

 
The Multimorphic presentation was the last seminar at Pinball Expo 2016, but there were more events in the hall later on Saturday when the autograph session and banquet were held.

The autograph session was the chance for Expo attendees to meet people from the pinball industry and get their signature on translites, backglasses, flyers, posters and just about anything else they could bring into the hall.

The autograph session
The autograph session
John Youssi, David Thiel, Fred Young, Gary Flower and Dave Christensen
John Youssi, David Thiel, Fred Young, Gary Flower and Dave Christensen
The Batman 66 crew from Kapow and Stern sign game flyers
The Batman 66 crew from Ka-Pow and Stern sign game flyers
Barry Oursler and John Trudeau sign translites
Barry Oursler and John Trudeau sign translites

After the autograph session was over, the hall was cleared and set up for the banquet. Meanwhile we headed over to a secret room to check out American Pinball’s display of their Houdini playfield.

The Houdini playfield
The Houdini playfield

This was a representation of how the final game will look rather than being the definitive production version. As Joe Balcer said in the American Pinball seminar, a number of changes are expected before the final version is complete, and this playfield also had a few unfinished elements which required some additional plastics to be added or cuts to be made in existing plastics before they would be functional.

However, the playfield looked very impressive, with good use of colour, attractive artwork and some interesting mechanisms. Incidentally, the title – Houdini: Master Mystery – references the 1919 movie The Master Mystery starring Harry Houdini.

Here are some more pictures of the playfield.

The Houdini playfield
The Houdini playfield
The Houdini playfield
The Houdini playfield
The Houdini playfield
The Houdini playfield
The Houdini playfield with an Addams Family reference
The Houdini playfield with an Addams Family reference
The Houdini playfield
The Houdini playfield
The Houdini playfield
The Houdini playfield
The Houdini playfield
The Houdini playfield
The Houdini playfield
The Houdini playfield
The Houdini playfield
The Houdini playfield
The Houdini playfield
The Houdini playfield
The Houdini translite
The Houdini translite

After visiting American Pinball’s display, we ventured into the Vendor Hall to see who else was at Pinball Expo and what they had to offer visitors to the show.

As usual, right next to the entrance was Mike Pacak’s stand, selling his wide range of books, manuals, schematics, translites and flyers.

Mike Pacak's stand
Mike Pacak’s stand
Playfield glass was available in two varieties
Playfield glass was available in two varieties

Mike also had three machines on his stand – two SpinBall games from Spain, Verne’s World and Jolly Park, along with a Gottlieb Flying Carpet.

Mike Pacak's games
Mike Pacak’s games
JJP's playfields come from Mirco Stefan whose High Class Pinballs was at Expo
JJP’s playfields come from Mirco Stefan whose High Class Pinballs was at Expo
Jersey Jack Pinball had their own large stand
Jersey Jack Pinball had their own large stand
The Wizard of Oz and The Hobbit were joined by the newest addition - Dialed In!
The Wizard of Oz and The Hobbit were joined by the newest addition – Dialed In!
There was one Dialed In on one side of the JJP stand and three more on the other side
There was one Dialed In! on one side of the JJP stand and three more on the other side
There were always queues to play them
There were always queues to play them
JJP distributor Pincades had a stand next to JJP's
JJP distributor Pincades had a stand next to JJP’s
Model maker for JJP and others, Back Alley Creations was in the same row
Model maker for JJP and others, Back Alley Creations, was in the same row
Some of Back Alley Creations' mods and Spooky Pinball clothing
Some of Back Alley Creations’ mods and Spooky Pinball clothing
On the other side of Back Alley's stand was a Domino's Pizza pinball
On the other side of Back Alley’s stand was a Domino’s Pizza pinball
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
On the side wall, there were plenty of parts and spares at Jim's Pinball Shop
On the side wall, there were plenty of parts and spares at Jim’s Pinball Shop
On the opposite side of the aisle Chicago Gaming had four Medieval Madness remakes
On the opposite side of the aisle Chicago Gaming had four Medieval Madness remakes
Two magazines were represented in the Vendor Hall - this is the PinGame Journal stand
Two magazines were represented in the Vendor Hall – this is the PinGame Journal stand
Gameroom Magazine was here too
Gameroom Magazine was here too
Over on the left side of the hall, Quill Forest were non-gaming vendor with their stand selling high-quality writing instruments
Over on the left side of the hall, Quill Forest were non-gaming vendor with their stand selling high-quality writing instruments
Arcade Adventures had a wide range of pinball parts for sale
Next door, Arcade Adventures had a wide range of pinball parts for sale
Bent Plastic were selling their DMD anti-reflective shields and T-shirts
Bent Plastic were selling their DMD anti-reflective shields and T-shirts
APB Enterprises has their wide range of coils and lots of other pinball spares
APB Enterprises had their wide selection of coils and lots of other pinball spares
Pinsound has an Indiana Jones demonstrating their replacement sound board
Back in the central block, PinSound had an Indiana Jones game demonstrating their replacement sound board
The board could also be bought at a show special price
The board could also be bought at a show special price
Double Danger were showing their range of pinball shirts and T-shirts
Double Danger were showing their range of pinball shirts and T-shirts
Outside Edge had their stylish lampshades and neon clocks
Outside Edge had their stylish lampshades and neon clocks
The Outside Edge stand featured giant Williams/Bally characters
The Outside Edge stand featured giant Williams/Bally characters
At the other end, Pinball Wizard Sales and Service had lots of pinball components and PCBs
On the right had wall, Pinball Wizard Sales and Service had lots of pinball components and PCBs
In the centre, CoinTaker had a large stand although LEDs are only a part of their product range now
In the centre, CoinTaker had a large stand showing how LEDs are only a part of their product range now
Custom shooter rods, flipper buttons and Stern merchandise on the CoinTaker stand
Custom shooter rods, flipper buttons and Stern merchandise on the CoinTaker stand
Pinball Refinery has this blinged-out Ghostbusters to demonstrate their many mods
Pinball Refinery has this blinged-out Ghostbusters to demonstrate their many mods
Dutch Pinball's Bride of Pinbot 2.0 and The Big Lebowski were also there and available to play in the central area
Dutch Pinball’s Bride of Pinbot 2.0 and The Big Lebowski were also there and available to play in the CoinTaker area
CoinTaker are also distributors for Heighway Pinball who were there with two new Alien prototypes and a Full Throttle
CoinTaker are also distributors for Heighway Pinball who were there with two new Alien prototypes and a Full Throttle
All three machines were kept busy throughout the show
All three machines were kept busy throughout the show
Opposite Dutch Pinball, Starship Fantasy had their impressive selection of playfield ramps and backglasses
Opposite Heighway Pinball, Starship Fantasy had their impressive selection of playfield ramps and backglasses
At the end of the left wall, Pinball Inc had a nice mix of pinball spares and replacement parts
At the end of the left wall, Pinball Inc. had a nice mix of pinball spares and replacement parts
No show would be complete without Animal
No show would be complete without Animal
Multimorphic took over the next block with their P3 and P-ROC custom games
Multimorphic took over the next block with their P3 and P-ROC custom games such as Total Annihilation, Dead Pin and Doom
This early beta version of a P-ROC Iron Man features a colour LCD display
This early beta version of a P-ROC Iron Man featured a colour LCD display
With the size of the display it could almost be mistaken for a Stern test game
With the size of the display it could almost be mistaken for a Stern test game
Multimorphic had two P3 pinball platforms to play
Multimorphic had two P3 pinball platforms to play – one running Lexy Lightspeed and the other Cannon Lagoon
The large display panel seen on Iron Man is proving a popular choice
The large display panel seen on Iron Man is proving a popular choice amongst P-ROC custom games like this Casino and the two Buffys
On the other side of the row, PinGraffix had some lovely pin blades to liven up the inside of the cabinet
On the other side of the row, PinGraffix had some lovely pin blades to liven up the inside of the cabinet
Back on the right wall, Comic Wreck had a large choice of books, artwork and other collectables
Back on the right wall, Comic Wreck had a large choice of books, artwork and other collectables
The next central block began with VP Cabs showing their many different models of virtual pinball games
The next central block began with VP Cabs showing their many different models of virtual pinball games
Tilt Graphics were showing the many pinball blades and artwork pieces they sell
Tilt Graphics were showing the many pinball blades and artwork pieces they sell
The row ended with ColorDMD's stand
The row ended with ColorDMD’s stand
ColorDMD are moving to LED displays rather than LCD panels, and they had a side-by-side comparison set up
ColorDMD are moving to LED displays from LCD panels, and they had a side-by-side comparison set up
Behind ColorDMD was the Flip N Out Pinball stand featuring the Escalera hand trucks and lifters
Behind ColorDMD was the Flip N Out Pinball stand featuring the Escalera hand trucks and lifters
If you wanted to add extra shine, colour and bling to your game, Pinball Plating had the solution
If you wanted to add extra shine, colour and bling to your game, Pinball Plating had the solution
But if your ears needed a treat rather than your eyes, Pinball Pro had numerous speaker upgrades available
But if your ears needed a treat rather than your eyes, Pinball Pro had numerous speaker upgrades available
The final central block belonged to Fast Pinball who had several more custom games and demonstrations of their hardware and the Mission Pinball Framework
The final central block belonged to Fast Pinball who had several more custom games and demonstrations of their hardware and the Mission Pinball Framework
The Fast Pinball boards, power supplies and colour LED display
The Fast Pinball boards, power supplies and colour LED display
Aaron discusses the Fast Pinball system
Aaron discusses the Fast Pinball system
Behind Fast Pinball and taking up almost the whole back wall was Stern Pinball's stand which featured an Oculus Rift headset to play 3D VR pinball
Behind Fast Pinball and taking up almost the whole back wall was Stern Pinball’s stand which featured an Oculus Rift headset to play 3D VR pinball
The Stern Arcade in 3D with an Oculus Rift 3D headset
The Stern Arcade in 3D with an Oculus Rift 3D headset
Four machines were set up to play to the left of the back doors - Ghostbusters Pro, Spider-Man VE, Metallica Pro and Laser War
Four machines were set up to play to the left of the back doors – Ghostbusters Pro, Spider-Man VE, Metallica Pro and Laser War
On the right of the back doors were two more production machines - Star Trek Pro and Ghostbusters Premium
On the right of the back doors were two more production machines – Star Trek Pro and Ghostbusters Premium

The stars of the Stern display were to be found at the right-hand end where three Batman 55 games were set up.

The Batman 66 Premium, Limited Edition and Super Limited Edition models
The Batman 66 Premium, Limited Edition and Super Limited Edition models
The special decals and trim on the Super Limited Edition
The special decals and trim on the Super Limited Edition
The Batman 66 games were kept behind a barrier, but that didn't deter some people from getting their hands on them
The Batman 66 games were kept behind a barrier, but that didn’t deter some people from getting their hands on them
Jason spots a credit on the Super Limited Edition and starts a game
Jason spots a credit on the Super Limited Edition and starts a game
Bat Foiled by some Joker
Bat-Foiled by some Joker
In the far back right corner was the Marco Specialties stand
In the far back right corner was the Marco Specialties stand
They were selling all their regular pinball parts, plus Dirty Donny artwork as well
They were selling all their regular pinball parts, plus Dirty Donny artwork as well
The Pabst Can Crusher game
They were also showing the Pabst Can Crusher game
The Pabst Can Crusher backglass
The Pabst Can Crusher backglass
Cabinet side art
Cabinet side art
Vendor Hall Exhibitors
APB Enterprises
Arcade Adventures
Back Alley Creations
Bent Plastics
Chicago Gaming
Chicago Pinball
Coin Taker
ColorDMD
Comic Wreck
Fast Pinball
Flipin’ Out Pinball
Gameroom Magazine
High Class Pinball
Jersey Jack Pinball
Jim’s Pinball Shop
Marco Specialties
Mike Pacak
Multimorphic
Outside Edge
Pinball Exchange
Pinball Inc.
Pinball Plating
Pinball Pro
Pinball Wizards Sales & Service
Pincades
PinGame Journal
PinGraffix
PinSound
Quill Forest
Starship Fantasy
Stern Pinball
Tilt Graphics
VP Cabs

That concludes our pictorial look around the Vendor Hall, but you can see just what it was like for yourself with our exclusive Twenty-Three Minute Tour video, taking a leisurely walk around all the exhibits.

Next door to the Vendor Hall was the Games Hall, and we took our video camera in there too to bring you all the 120 machines set up for guests to enjoy.

Here’s a full list of the machines in the Games Hall:

Games Hall
A.G. Football
AC/DC Pro
Airport
Attack from Mars
Bad Cats
Bad Girls
Bank Shot
Batter Up
Big Hit
Big House
Black Jack
Black Jack
Black Sheep Squadron
Bow and Arrow*
Bow and Arrow*
Champion Pub, The
Checkpoint
Congo
Creature from the Black Lagoon*
Cue Ball Wizard
Demolition Man
Demolition Man
Demolition Man
Doctor Who
Dracula, Bram Stoker’s
Dracula, Bram Stoker’s
Dracula, Bram Stoker’s
Dragon
Evel Knievel
F-14 Tomcat
Fathom
Fireball Classic
Firepower*
Flash*
Flip Out ’91
Funhouse
Gilligan’s Island
Grand Prix
Haunted House*
Hearts and Spades
High Roller Casino
High Speed*
Hokus Pokus
Joust
Jungle King
Klondike
Last Action Hero
Lectronamo
Lethal Weapon 3
Lightning
Little Chief
Lost in Space
Medieval Madness
Metallica Premium
Metallica Pro
Mini Cycle
NBA Fastbreak
NBA Fastbreak
New World
Nitro Groundshaker
No Fear
No Fear
No Fear
No Fear*
No Good Gofers
Old Chicago
Olympic Games*
Operation Thunder
Paragon*
Pat Hand
Pharaoh
Pirates of the Caribbean
Playboy (DE)
Polar Explorer
Poseidon
Rack ‘Em Up
Raven
Raven
Ready Aim Fire
Rollergames
Royal Guard
Safecracker
Satin Doll
Sharkey’s Shootout
Ship Ahoy
Silverball Mania
Simpsons Pinball Party, The
Sinbad
Sinbad
Sinbad
Sinbad*
Six Million Dollar Man
Six Million Dollar Man
Sorcerer
Space Jam
Spanish Eyes
Spider-Man
Spider-Man
Spirit
Star Light
Star Trek Pro
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Stargate*
Stars*
Tag Team Pinball
Team One
Teed Off
Terminator 3
Ticket-Tac-Toe
Time Fantasy
Typhoon
USA Football
Varkon
Vortex
Warlock
Whirlwind
World Poker Tour
World Poker Tour
X-Men Pro
Zig Zag

 

The final event on Saturday’s schedule was the banquet which began at 7pm with cocktail hour which included the Make-A-Wish charity auction. As banquet guests entered the hall they were invited to take and don a Batman 66 T-shirt. Ka-Pow Pinball had also put branded drinks jackets and selections of sweet items on each table and, as we shall see, dominated the evening’s entertainment.

KaPow Pinball Batman drinks jackets were on every table
Ka-Pow Pinball Batman drinks jackets were on every table
Rob Berk auctions off many donated items for charity
Rob Berk auctions off many donated items for charity

As usual, donors had been very generous in giving prizes for the auction while the audience played their part in bidding them up to raise a good total for the charity.

Another item is auctioned
Another item is auctioned

Each seat at the banquet was allocated a ticket, and as the main events began, twenty numbers were drawn and the ticket holders invited to the front of the hall.

Ka-Pow Pinball's Joe Kaminkow reads out another ticket number
Ka-Pow Pinball’s Joe Kaminkow reads out another ticket number
Winning ticket holders were called to the front of the hall
Winning ticket holders were called to the front of the hall

Each of the tickets holders was allocated a number from one to twenty, and numbers were drawn again to win prizes of increasing value.

The twenty winners wait to receive their prizes
The twenty winners wait to receive their prizes
Koi wins a batman toy signed by Adam West
Koi wins a batman toy signed by Adam West
The top prize was a signed BatCycle
The top prize was a signed BatCycle

The main speakers at the banquet were Gary Stern, Joe Kaminkow and Orin Day who each talked about the early days of the company when they were Data East Pinball, through the change to Sega Pinball and the change to Stern Pinball.

Gary Stern with Joe Kaminkow
Gary Stern with Joe Kaminkow
Joe talks about the early days of the company
Joe talks about the early days of the company
Banquet guests enjoying the speeches
Banquet guests enjoying the speeches
Orin Day then spoke about his time working on games at Data East and Sega Pinball
Orin Day then spoke about his time working on games at Data East and Sega Pinball
Joe then returned to talk about the Batman 66 game
Joe then returned to talk about the Batman 66 game
There was plenty of Batman-branded clothing on display
There was plenty of Batman-branded clothing on display

You can hear Gary’s, Joe’s and Orin’s talks at the banquet below.

Download the file here

 
Then the fist of the evening’s two new inductions into the Pinball Expo Hall of Fame were announced. To introduce the first new inductee, Eugene Jarvis took the the stage.

Eugene Jarvis introduces the first new member of the Pinball Expo Hall of Fame
Eugene Jarvis introduces the first new member of the Pinball Expo Hall of Fame

Renowned for his great artwork on pinball and other arcade games, the first new inductee was Constantine (Connie) Mitchell.

Connie Mitchell listens as Eugene reads his induction speech
Connie Mitchell listens as Eugene reads his induction speech

Connie had a pinball career lasting eighteen year, ranging from his early games such as Pokerino, Flash and Time Warp through to his work for Premier on titles including Cue Ball Wizard, Stargate and Barb Wire.

Connie Mitchell is inducted into the Pinball Expo Hall of Fame
Connie Mitchell is inducted into the Pinball Expo Hall of Fame

The second inductee was another Premier artist who created the photographic translites used on the games Genesis, Gold Wings, Hollywood Heat, Monte Carlo, Raven, Rock Encore and Spring Break. He is Don Marshall.

Joe inducts Don Marshall into the Pinball Expo Hall of Fame
Joe inducts Don Marshall into the Pinball Expo Hall of Fame

Don then gave an acceptance speech in which he recalled stories from the creation of these translites and the incidents which occurred while they were setting up the shoots.

Don Marshall recalls how they did the shoot for Hollywood Heat
Don Marshall recalls how they did the shoot for Hollywood Heat

Awards were then given in the Support and Service category. The first of these went to Jay Stafford of the Internet Pinball Database.

Winner of the Pinball Expo Support and Service award, Jay Stafford
Winner of the Pinball Expo Support and Service award, Jay Stafford

The second was presented to former operator, now pinball author and event organiser, Dave Marston.

David Marston accepts the Support and Service award
Dave Marston accepts the Support and Service award
Jay and Dave with their awards
Jay and Dave with their awards

Rob then presented Gary Stern with an award for his help with Pinball Expo 2016.

Gary receives another award from Rob
Gary receives another award from Rob

After a series of thanks to various people who helped with the show, Rob drew proceedings to a close.

Rob Berk ends the banquet for 2016
Rob Berk ends the banquet for 2016

As usual, Pinball Expo had a range of pinball tournaments for competitive players to enjoy.

The one we always miss is the ExpoBrawl pairs tournament which takes place in the Game Hall on Friday morning. We are always in the seminar room early Friday and so cannot join in the fun.

However thirty-seven teams did pay the $30 registration fee and braved the 7:30am start time and play in the PinGolf event. Details of the teams and the format can be found on the OPL League website.

The main tournaments were held next to the registration desk in the corridor between the Vendor Hall and the Seminars Hall, and consisted on the main A Division, the B Division, A Classics Tournament and a Kids Tournament.

Tournaments were held next to the Registration Desk
Tournaments were held next to the Registration Desk

Qualifying for the A and B Divisions took place on Thursday and entry cost $60.

In qualifying, everyone could play each machine twice and the scores are ranked. The top 40% of players went into the A Division along with any players ranked higher than 250th or above by WPPR points. The remaining players went into the B Division.

Competitors’ names were then put into a ladder starting at the far left.

The main tournament ladder
The main tournament ladder

The higher their qualifying position, the more byes they earned through the early play-off rounds. Up to fourteen byes were possible for the top qualifiers.

Play-off matches were best-of-three on machines chosen by the players. The winner continued, while the loser dropped into the loser bracket at the bottom of the ladder.

Play-offs in the A Division
Play-offs in the A Division
The trophies in the A Division
The trophies in the A Division

To the left of the main tournament, the Classics Division was taking place.

The Classics Division
The Classics Division
The trophies for the Classics Division
The trophies for the Classics Division

The top sixteen players qualified for the Classics Division play-offs which followed a conventional double-elimination format.

The Classics Division play-offs ladder
The Classics Division play-offs ladder
Not every game can be a great one
Not every game can be a great one

The Kids (or Junior) Division was played on a Ghostbusters positioned at the end of the main tournament machines.

The Kids Tournament
The Kids Tournament

The B Division concluded on Saturday while our attention was drawn to some of the many other Pinball Expo events. However, the winner was Mike Wiley who beat Tom Knorst in the final.

Flip Out B Division
1
2
3
4
5th=
5th=
7th=
7th=
10th=
10th=
10th=
10th=
14th=
14th=
14th=
14th=
Mike Wiley
Tom Knorst
Isaac Csandl
Roger Sharpe
Jerry Weber
Al Neumann
Sunshine Bon
Julie Dorssers
Bob Skinner
Rachel Karlic
Alysa Parks
Robert Hocton
Koi Morris
Bob Twichell
Eric Bonjour
Fabian Slavore

Meanwhile, the A Division was heading towards an early finish. Some previous years had run much longer with games continuing into the late evening, but this year things were flowing nicely.

The A Division ladder
The end section of the A Division ladder
Play-offs in the A Division
Play-offs in the A Division

The Kids/Youth Division also wrapped up fairly quickly with a win for Zachary Parks. John Palzer was second, with Henry third and Eric O. fourth.

Kids/Youth Tournament, Zach Parks
Kids/Youth Division, Zach Parks

The A Division eventually came down to a battle between Zach Sharpe who remained undefeated to enter the final from the Winners’ Bracket, and Keith Elwin who had won the previous five rounds in the Loser Bracket to reach the final.

Zach had to win the best-of-three match to keep his flawless record and win the tournament. Keith, by contrast, has to win the first best-of-three match to even things up and then win a second best-of-three to become the overall winner.

Keith began well with a 4 billion score on his second ball on Game of Thrones. Zach fought back well but could only manage 2 billion in total.

The second game was Star Trek.

The A Division final on Star Trek
The A Division final on Star Trek

After ball one, Keith had a good lead on 101M to 14M. Neither player added much more on their second ball, but Zach hit the mark on ball three and racked up 572M to Keith’s ball two score of 117M.

Keith plays his first ball
Keith plays his first ball

Despite getting a ball stuck, Zach put up a big 572M third ball total.

Tournament organiser Trent sorts out a stuck ball
Tournament organiser Trent sorts out a stuck ball

With ‘only’ 117M to build from, Keith decided to save his energy for the third game and walked away from Star Trek on his third ball, evening the score at one game each.

It proved to be a winning formula as Keith took charge of game three back on Game of Thrones with a 7.1bn total. Zach gave up this one after a 1.47B score from his first two balls.

Keith wins on Game of Thrones
Keith wins on Game of Thrones

The final would then be decided by the next best-of-three match.

It was back to Star Trek for Zach choice, but it didn’t work so well for him this time. His 111M third ball total was behind Keith’s 202M second ball score, putting Keith one game up.

Metallica came next but Zach’s 3M ball one score wasn’t a great start. Keith did only slightly better with his 14M score from his first ball.

Ball two wasn’t much better for Zach with a 12M total going into the third ball.

Zach on ball two of Metallica
Zach on ball two of Metallica

After Keith had a good second ball to record a score of just under 120M, Zach needed a good final ball to take the match to a third game.

It wasn’t to be however as the third ball tricked away with 21M on the board.

Zach congratulates Keith on his win in the A Division final
Zach congratulates Keith on his win in the A Division final

So Keith Elwin was the winner of the main A Division. Zach Sharpe took second place, Escher Lefkoff was third and John Jundt was in fourth place.

A Division winner, Keith Elwin
A Division winner, Keith Elwin
Second place, Zach Sharpe
Second place, Zach Sharpe
Third place, Escher Lefkoff
Third place, Escher Lefkoff
Fourth place, John Jundt
Fourth place, John Jundt
The top four in the A Division
The top four in the A Division: Keith Elwin (1st), Zach Sharpe (2nd), John Jundt (4th) & Escher Lefkoff (3rd)
Flip Out A Division
1
2
3
4
5th=
5th=
7th=
7th=
10th=
10th=
10th=
10th=
14th=
14th=
14th=
14th=
Keith Elwin
Zach Sharpe
Escher Lefkoff
John Jundt
Joe Katz
Bob Matthews
Andrew Rosa
Steve Bowden
Trent Augenstein
John Gimera
Josh Henderson
Josh Sharpe
Brian Shepherd
Chris Basler
Ben Granger
Andy Rosa

Meanwhile, in the Classics Division it was a contest between Chris Frame and Fred Richardson.

Fred led as the pair played Bobby Orr Power Play.

Fred playing Bobby Orr Power Play in the Classics Division final
Fred playing Bobby Orr Power Play in the Classics Division final

Chris needed to win this game to keep his hopes alive, but Fred’s second ball score of 170K proved too much. Chris’s third ball only got him up to 50K, making Fred the Classics Division winner.

Chris's third ball escapes with only 50K scored
Chris’s third ball escapes with only 50K scored

So Fred Richardson was the Classics Division winner, with Chris Frame in second. Third was Fred Cochran and fourth was Todd Seaver.

Winner of the Classics Division, Fred Richardson
Winner of the Classics Division, Fred Richardson
The top four in the Classics Division
The top four in the Classics Division: Todd Seaver (4th), Fred Cochran (3rd), Chris Frame (2nd) & Fred Richardson (1st)
Flip Out Classics Division
1
2
3
4
5th=
5th=
7th=
7th=
10th=
10th=
10th=
10th=
14th=
14th=
14th=
14th=
Fred Richardson
Chris Frame
Fred Cochran
Todd Seaver
Ben Granger
Alberto Santana
Josh Sharpe
Andy Rosa
Josh Henderson
Andrew Rosa
Derek Fugate
Mark Pearson
Trent Augenstein
Zach Parks
Bob Matthews
Zach Sharpe

 

While the tournaments were being decided, tear down was under way in the Vendor and Game Halls. Although the show is advertised as running on Sunday, in truth it is the time for most vendors to pack up their displays and head home.

Tear down on Sunday lunchtime in the Vendor Hall
Tear down on Sunday lunchtime in the Vendor Hall
By mid-afternoon the hall was all but empty
By mid-afternoon the hall was all but empty
Game owners were packing their machines away too
Game owners were packing their machines away too
One of the four Sinbads was the last machine standing
One of the four Sinbads was the last machine standing

It wasn’t long before the only reminder there had been a pinball event here at all was the pile of flyers, cards and notices on a table close to the main hotel lobby.

The last reminders of Pinball Expo 2016
The last reminders of Pinball Expo 2016

As the show ends, so does our report for another year. We hope you have enjoyed the 300+ pictures, 27 audio recordings, 35 minutes of video and all the excitement of the big announcements from Pinball Expo 2016.

The dates for next year’s show have already been announced. We’ll be there, and we look forward to seeing you there too.

The dates for the 33rd Pinball Expo
The dates for the 33rd Pinball Expo

CHICAGO PINBALL SITES 2016

Chicago pinball sites

The once dismal pinball on location scene in the Chicago area is a distant memory. There is now an immense variety of quality pins available to play in Chicagoland.

Chicago Street Pinball Arcade in Joilet, IL
Chicago Street Pinball Arcade in Joilet, IL

Visiting some of the sites I was able to enjoy playing old favorites, such as Taxi, Big Guns and Banzai Run, and the latest pins Game of Thrones and Ghostbusters. The Pinball Rebel website and PinballMap.com both have additional locations with pins in the Chicago area.

1. Logan Arcade – Chicago
See report
Update: Ghostbusters Premium, Metallica Premium and the incredible Hercules pin have been rotated in. The Batman 66 is going to be added soon.

Logan Arcade
Logan Arcade

 

2. Headquarters Beercade (Lakeview) – Chicago
See previous report

Headquarters Beercade (Lakeview)
Headquarters Beercade (Lakeview)

 

3. Emporium Arcade Bar (Wicker Park) – Chicago
See previous report
Update: Williams’ Big Guns and Diner were rotated into their line-up this year.

Emporium Arcade Bar (Wicker Park)
Emporium Arcade Bar (Wicker Park)

 

4. Lemming’s Tavern – Chicago
See previous report
Update: Game of Thrones Premium on tournament and Attack From Mars are now featured here.

Lemming's Tavern
Lemming’s Tavern

 

5. Brixie’s – Brookfield
See previous report
Update: The always well-kept pin count has increased to five. Ghostbusters Pro, Metallica LE, Medieval Madness, Game of Thrones Premium and Batman, The Dark Knight are the current pins. The Big Lebowski is going to be rotated in soon.

Brixie's
Brixie’s

 

6. Galloping Ghost Arcade – Brookfield
See previous report

Galloping Ghost Arcade
Galloping Ghost Arcade

 

7. Game Works – Schaumburg
See previous report
Update: They now have a five pins with Mustang the redemption machine, alongside Iron Man, The Sopranos, 24 and Family Guy.

Game Works
Game Works

 

8. Level 257 – Schaumburg
See previous report

Level 257
Level 257

 

9. Chicago Street Pinball Arcade – Joliet
See previous report

Chicago Street Pinball Arcade
Chicago Street Pinball Arcade

 

Here is the list of pin locations that I have not yet reported on. I have listed their websites and some additional information about them.

10. Bottom Lounge – Chicago
Website: bottomlounge.com
Pinball list courtesy of Gavin Miller: Bobby Orr Power Play x 2, Seawitch, The Addams Family, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Funhouse, Gilligan’s Island, The Champion Pub, Metallica and Bugs Bunny’s Birthday Ball.

 

11. Blind Robin – Chicago
Website: theblindrobin.com
Ghostbusters Pro on tournament, Metallica Pro and Scared Stiff are the current pins.

Blind Robin's pinballs
Blind Robin’s pinballs

 

12. Headquarters Beercade (River North) – Chicago
Website: hqbeercade.com/rivernorth
Headquarters’ second location features over twenty top pins which are listed on their website. Ghostbusters Pro and Game of Thrones Premium have been into their collection.

Headquarters Beercade (River North)
Headquarters Beercade (River North)

 

13. Emporium Arcade Bar (Logan Square) – Chicago
Website: emporiumchicago.com/logan-square
Second Emporium location with a few pins.

Emporium Logan Square
Emporium Logan Square

 

14. Brauer House – Lombard
Website: www.brauerhouse.com
Pin collector, Gavin Miller, loaded up the Brauer House with six of his pins: Bally Kiss, Metallica, The Walking Dead, Monster Bash (with a ColorDMD), Stern Rolling Stones and Dracula.

Brauer House games
Brauer House games

 

15. Five & Dime – Evanston
See previous report.

Five & Dime
Five & Dime

 

16. Uptown Arcade – Chicago
Website: facebook.com/The-Uptown-Arcade-Bar-698291033601954/
A few classic pins.

 

17. FTW – Chicago
Website: ftwchicago.com
Medieval Madness and The Walking Dead Pro.

 

18. Replay – Lakeview
Website: replaylakeview.com
Junkyard, Kiss (Stern) and The Sopranos.

 

19. Replay – Andersonville
Website: http://www.replayandersonville.com
Metallica Pro, Tales from the Crypt and The Wizard of Oz.

BELGIAN OPEN PINBALL 2016

Trophies at the BoP 2016

This year the Belgian Open Pinball tournament moved out of its former home at the JC Den Eglantier nightclub near the central square in Sint-Niklaas to a airier, more spacious and better air-conditioned hall close to the train station in the same city.

Outside the station, the signs were good for a weekend of pinball
Outside the station, the signs were good for a weekend of pinball

Walking under a bridge behind the silver ball above brought us to the ‘t Bau-huis – a glass and metal structure containing two large halls.

't Bau-huis
‘t Bau-huis

There was plenty of free parking for vehicles both directly outside the building and on the surrounding streets. The Belgian Open Pinball event was in the second, right-hand hall, although the organisers had also booked the left-hand hall for storage and as a quiet area, so they really had the run of the place.

We've come to the right place
We’ve come to the right place

In the glass-sided foyer were multiple tables and chairs for relaxing, eating or drinking. The bar on the left side provided coffee, soft drinks and several different beers ranging from the draft Jupiler to bottles of Westmalle Dubble or Tripel trappist beers. They also sold some pastries and potato crisps.

The bar
The bar

Payment for the bar’s offerings had to be made in tokens which could be purchased from the registration desk, located on the right side of the hall.

The registration desk
The registration desk

Entry to the Belgian Open Pinball tournament cost €45 ($50.44 / £39.56) which needed to be submitted in advance along with a chosen qualifying time slot. Five two-and-a-half-hour qualifying sessions were available spread throughout Saturday, with the first starting at 9:30am.

On arrival, players collected their entry pack which included their player badge, three €1.50 green tokens for use at the bar, and a red token for one entry in the Classics Tournament.

Show staff at the registration desk
Show staff at the registration desk

Event T-shirts like the ones above could also be pre-ordered at a cost of €25, and there was the €13 option of joining an all-you-can-eat pizza dinner on Saturday evening. More on that later but let’s head into the hall.

Inside the Belgian Open Tournament hall
Inside the Belgian Open Tournament hall

The left and central areas contained the twenty-six free-play machines, at the back of the hall were the Classics Tournament games, while the main Belgian Open Pinball machines were on the right wall. The area on the bottom right of the picture above was where the side tournaments for teams and junior players were held.

Some of the free-play machines
Some of the free-play machines
More free play games
More free play games

Here is the list of the free-play machines. As usual, asterisked titles in the list were not working or switched off when we compiled it on Sunday.

Free-Play Machines
Airborne
Alien Star
Cirqus Voltaire
Firepower
Funhouse*
Hobbit, The
Hook
Indianapolis 500
Jack in the Box
Judge Dredd
Millionaire*
Monopoly
NBA Fastbreak
Ripley’s Believe it or Not!
Rocky & Bullwinkle
Rollergames
Shadow, The
Simpsons Pinball Party, The
Sopranos, The
Spiderman Vault Edition
Star Trek Pro
Teed Off
Terminator 3*
Tommy
Tron*
Wizard of Oz, The

 

There were twenty-four main Belgian Open Pinball (BOP) tournament machines arranged along the right wall. The exact mix of machines in each area changed from Saturday to Sunday, but these were the titles used for Saturday’s BOP qualifying.

The qualifying line-up
The qualifying line-up
The main BoP area
The main BOP area
BoP qualifying on Saturday
BOP qualifying on Saturday

During the qualifying round players could choose any eight of the twenty-four BOP machines on which to try to get their highest scores. All scores on each machine were ranked with the highest score earning that player 125 points. The total points across all eight machines made their overall total.

Individual and overall scores were projected on the wall above the machines
Individual and overall scores were projected on the wall above the machines
Belgian Open Pinball Qualifying Machines
Tales from the Crypt
X-Men Pro
Roadshow, Red & Ted’s
Whitewater
Hook
Doctor Who
Waterworld
Funhouse
Lost in Space
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Jack in the Box
Tommy, The Who’s
Freddy: A Nightmare on Elm Street
Game of Thrones LE
Medieval Madness Remake
Simpsons Pinball Party, The
Tron LE
Avatar LE
Star Trek LE
Addams Family Gold, The
AC/DC Premium
Dirty Harry
Skateball
Star Wars (DE)

 

The machines were behind barriers with two manned entrances each of which had a peg board with small plaques for each of the twelve machines covered by that board. Players had to choose a machine and then give their player badge to an official who put it on the peg board against the machine number.

The peg board for the BoP machines 13 to 24
The peg board for the BOP machines 13 to 24

When a machine was free its plaque was also on the peg board and the next player to choose it could enter the area and start their game. If the plaque was not on the board, someone was playing the game, and the badges of subsequent players were stacked on the board.

To combat any attempt to restart a game, credits could only be added and the game started by officials using a fob similar to the ones employed by bar staff to identify themselves to the electronic till.

Each game had a fob reader on the coin door to add credits and start the game
Each machine had a fob reader on the coin door to add credits and start a game

In addition to their original eight scores, each player had a ‘joker’ they could play to either replay one of the eight machines or to play a ninth machine which would replace their lowest points-scoring machine from the original eight. In both cases the joker score would replace the previous score, even if it was lower.

Players in the BoP qualifying session on Saturday
Players in the BOP qualifying session on Saturday

The joker could either be played as part of the player’s qualifying period, or used in a special joker session from 10pm until 11pm on Saturday evening.

Scores were recorded on tablets by one of the team of stewards
Scores were recorded on tablets by one of the team of stewards
Everyone seemed to have a tablet
Everyone in the crew seemed to have a tablet

Besides the projector display on the wall, several upright terminals were available where players could check their performance and see the overall rankings in all the available tournaments.

One of the tournament score terminals
One of the tournament score terminals

If that wasn’t enough, a second projector was set up in the lobby, and players could log-on to a closed wireless network and use their phones, tablets or laptops to further interrogate the scoring system.

The score projector in the lobby
The score projector in the lobby

The only thing seemingly missing was an internet version so players could keep up-to-date with their standing when they had left the building.

Trophies for all the tournaments
Trophies for all the tournaments

In the centre at the back of the hall were the sixteen machines used in the Classics Tournament.

The Classics Tournament area
The Classics Tournament area
Classics machines
Classics machines

The same peg board system was used for the Classics Tournament, although with fewer machines than the BOP it only required two entry points.

One of the two peg boards for the Classics Tournament
One of the two peg boards for the Classics Tournament
Classics Tournament qualifying
Classics Tournament qualifying

The machines used were:

Classics Tournament Machines
Barracora
Centaur
Cheetah
Cosmic Gunfight
Dolly Parton
Eight Ball Deluxe
Elektra
Evel Knievel
Firepower
Flash Gordon
Grand Prix
Rocky
Super Soccer
Viking
Wizard!
Xenon

 

The same type of scoring system was used for the Classics Tournament, although an entry only consisted of three games rather than eight. However, unlike the BOP, players could buy as many entries for the Classic Tournament as they wanted during the qualifying session which lasted all day Saturday and from 10am until 2pm on Sunday.

Everyone received one entry with their BOP registration, while extra entries cost €3 from the registration desk.

Scores and standings were projected on the back wall of the hall.

The BoP and Classics projectors
The BOP and Classics projectors
Modern technology being used to fix older technology
Modern technology being used to fix older technology

The projected standings appeared to lag the on-line versions by several minutes, but the scoring system generally worked very smoothly and was diligently run by a team in a darkened corner at the back of the hall.

Working out the play-offs in the scoring system area
Working out the play-offs in the scoring system area

On Saturday there was a team tournament which was open to twelve groups of four.

The Team Tournament area
The Team Tournament area

The teams were split into two groups of six and played a single match against each of the other five teams in the group. A match consisted of two 4-player 4-ball games where in each game two players from one team played two from the opposition. The games were played so that the first three balls were played normally but the fourth was played split-flipper by both members of the team.

Playing split-flippered in the Team Tournament
Playing split-flippered in the Team Tournament

Points were awarded for the finishing position in each game using a 5-3-1-0 system.

The PinballLadies playing split-flippered in the Team Tournament
The PinballLadies playing split-flippered in the Team Tournament

The machines used for the Team Tournament were:

Team Tournament Machines
Batman Dark Knight
Johnny Mnemonic
Kiss LE
Metallica Pro
Pinball Magic
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Taxi
Walking Dead LE, The

 

The top two teams from each group then went through to the final which was held on Saturday night.

The final competitive event on Saturday took place in a small room between the lobby and the main hall, and that was the Winner Takes It All (WTIA) tournament.

The Winner Takes It All tournament
The Winner Takes It All tournament

Four Stern machines were set on €1 per game coin play and the simple task was to try to get the high score on any one of them. Whoever managed it would get themselves a place in the final on Sunday afternoon.

The machines were: Transformers LE, Metallica LE, Mustang LE and Ghostbusters Pro.

Also in that room was another scoring terminal and a rather lonely upright video game.

The Arcade Classics video game and scoring terminal
The Arcade Classics video game and scoring terminal

For most of the weekend, hot food was provided by two catering trucks parked outside the entrance to the venue. We didn’t try any of the food there ourselves, but did see plenty of people thoroughly enjoying the appetising burgers they sold.

Catering trucks outside the building's entrance
Catering trucks outside the building’s entrance
No, we think it says 'Spit Burgers'
No, we think it says ‘Spit Burgers’
Reports suggested the quality of the food was very good
Reports suggested the quality of the food was very good

On Saturday evening another company turned up and set up their wood-burning pizza ovens in preparation for the all-you-can-eat pizza buffet which was available for €15 per person.

Two wood-fired pizza ovens
Two wood-fired pizza ovens

Those who partook had to sit in a special segregated area so they didn’t share their food, and only seemed to get one or maybe two slices per visit. Again we passed on the pizza and headed into town for a nice meal at a Danish restaurant before returning for the joker session at 10pm.

After the hour-long session the final qualifying results in the BOP were announced:

Belgian Open Pinball Qualifying
Pos Name # Games Points
1 Julio Vicario Soriano 8 929
2 Jean-Philippe Congnard 8 845
3 Daniele Acciari 8 819
4 Peter Andersen 8 791
5 Paul Jongma 8 782
6 Bo Mertins 8 760
7 Van Der Gugten Mark 8 752
8 Anthony Rorive 8 750
9 Albert Nomden 8 746
10 Lieven Engelbeen 8 718
11 Mads Kristensen 8 706
12 Colin Macalpine 8 696
13 Franck Bona 8 693
14 Cayle George 8 677
15 Armin Kress 8 672
16 Martijn Van Aken 8 672
17 Didier Dujardin 8 668
18 Henning Lescher 8 664
19 Joeri Stroobants 8 662
20 Ivan Geentjes 8 659
21 Olivier Renders 8 655
22 Franck Baudon 8 647
23 Carlos Javier Parra Moracho 8 638
24 Stan Simpson 8 637
25 Ergun Erdemir 8 635
26 Norbert Broman 8 635
27 Peter Blakemore 8 625
28 Frank Goeltl 8 618
29 Giuseppe Violante 8 615
30 Andrew Foster 8 604
31 Olivier Leurs 8 604
32 Axel Bouet 8 599
33 Stanislas Chabior 8 595
34 Michel Rorive 8 592
35 Kim G. Hansen 8 591
36 Alain Boulieu 8 586
37 Erwin Deutschländer 8 585
38 Martijn Van Amsterdam 8 585
39 Tom Geneyn 8 582
40 Kirsten Adam 8 578
41 Glenn Verhoosele 8 577
42 Christophe Leroy 8 573
43 Lars Ørskov Jensen 8 564
44 Mathias Leurs 8 562
45 Wozniak Christophe 8 562
46 Sébastien Muller 8 557
47 David Deturck 8 552
48 Mario Kertels 8 551
49 Ollivier Francq 8 551
50 Jasmijn De Jong 8 549
51 Tobias Wagemann 8 549
52 Philipp Unger 8 547
53 Andrés Elices Cereceda 8 543
54 Nick Marshal 8 540
55 Pablo Crespo García 8 540
56 Maurice Ney 8 539
57 Gert Houthaeve 8 538
58 Taco Wouters 8 531
59 Michael Trepp 8 530
60 Evert Brochez 8 529
61 Martin Ayub 8 529
62 Francis Pott 8 527
63 Kevin Claeys 8 521
64 Victor Stulemeijer 8 521
65 José Gabriel Ortiz Llonis 8 518
66 Greg Mott 8 516
67 Helen De Haan-Verbeek 8 514
68 Patrice Luwel 8 508
69 Kris Van Clapdorp 8 507
70 Benjamin Gräbeldinger 8 506
71 Sylvain Carre 8 496
72 Dimitri Van Hove 8 495
73 Bjorn Brand 8 494
74 Anthony Streulens 8 492
75 David Van Balen 8 487
76 Wayne Johns 8 479
77 Jochen Krieger 8 477
78 Rich Mallett 8 473
79 Robert Lau 8 471
80 Heinz Berges 8 466
81 Tim Brouns 8 463
82 Kevin Roelants 8 462
83 Rob Breyne 8 461
84 Raphaël Duez 8 458
85 Joska Keunekamp 8 457
86 Rob Overdijk 8 457
87 Maarten Lemey 8 453
88 Mario Vercauteren 8 450
89 Mike Kindler 8 448
90 Marc Steinmeier 8 437
91 Pascal Van Wonterghem 8 436
92 Tim Kreukels 7 429
93 Tommy Machado 8 422
94 Hans Skov 8 421
95 Roald Nielsen 8 421
96 Jos Deboosere 8 416
97 Mathias Jäger 8 416
98 Damien Dumont 8 411
99 Michael Idemo 8 410
100 Koen Simoens 8 407
101 Jens Vercruyssen 8 406
102 Joachim Reniers 8 406
103 Lene Andersen 8 405
104 Dennis Verleyen 8 403
105 Fred Van Den Bosch 8 403
106 John Van Der Wulp 8 403
107 Kate Rothwell Jackson 8 403
108 Jakob Bonne Weisbjerg 8 401
109 Bart Vyvey 8 400
110 Giancarlo Rossetti 8 400
111 Archibald Lefevre 8 399
112 Ramon Richard 8 399
113 Daniela Oymann 8 397
114 Jochen Jaspers 8 397
115 Tim Thornton 8 397
116 Florian Thomas 8 394
117 Mik Dahl-Nielsen 8 393
118 Peter Van Den Bergh 8 393
119 Oscar Evrenos 8 384
120 Nick Hamill 8 383
121 Jean-Marc Paul 8 380
122 Ralph Beckers 8 378
123 Vincent Chardome 8 376
124 Joel Wozniak 8 372
125 Heiler Michael 8 364
126 Thomas Doepelheuer 8 364
127 Tom Van Den Panhuyzen 8 362
128 Luc Goovaerts 8 359
129 Steven Smith 8 358
130 Geert Versieck 8 355
131 Laurence Boulieu 8 354
132 Wilbert Der Kinderen 8 352
133 Dirk Elzholz 8 351
134 Torben Jacobsen 8 350
135 Gert Hammel 8 349
136 Kevin Van Rossem 8 349
137 Michael Nielsen 8 345
138 Jim Lindsay 8 343
139 Theo De Reuver 8 342
140 Kirk Sadler 8 341
141 Vin Jauhal 8 340
142 Jonas Heide 8 336
143 Richard Rothwell Jackson 8 336
144 Dieter Bouckaert 8 333
145 Dina Fukson 8 331
146 Romain Wilem 8 330
147 Nina Vestmark Christiansen 8 328
148 Tim Peeters 8 327
149 David Mainwaring 8 325
150 Magnus Lindström 8 325
151 Thomas Reichenstein 8 325
152 Cinthya Messiaen 8 318
153 David Carlier 8 315
154 Jorge Villoria Aparicio 8 314
155 Arjan Neet 8 313
156 Martin Christiansen 8 312
157 Mike Parkins 8 312
158 Roy Smith 8 305
159 Herve Grenier 8 302
160 Nico Rosvelds 7 300
161 John O’Sullivan 8 297
162 Nick Van Vossel 8 297
163 Rapael Gangi 8 296
164 Christian Skov 8 293
165 Sven Elskens 8 291
166 Tim Slow 8 290
167 Ben Zaad 8 288
168 Richard Garbutt 8 283
169 Dumont Bernard 8 278
170 Pascal Leroy 8 274
171 Andreas Salathe 8 271
172 Tom Loomans 8 268
173 Kevin Van Weyenberg 8 266
174 Thomas Evrenos 8 261
175 Gunther Bussche 8 260
176 Gilberte Bollaert 8 259
177 Philippe Bocquet 8 257
178 Clara Boulieu 8 255
179 Laurent Mahé 8 254
180 Fabrice Spronck 8 252
181 Alain Müller 8 250
182 Geert Vanderpijpen 8 241
183 Kelly Lembrechts 8 237
184 Geert Raes 8 234
185 Sverker Nordqvist 8 233
186 Benny De Clercq 8 232
187 Kyoo Barbaix 8 231
188 Dirk De Groote 8 221
189 Adam Bona 8 220
190 Victor Machart 8 220
191 Agatho Schrans 8 219
192 Kevin Sultana 8 219
193 Manuela Krieger 8 214
194 Kristof Hanssens 8 211
195 Sharis Dewulf 8 206
196 Denis Cuypers 8 197
197 Helsen Yuri 8 197
198 D’Hanens Christoph 8 192
199 Evelyne Desot 8 187
200 Guy Wilem 8 187
201 David Vanhoutteghem 8 184
202 Luc Castiglione 8 184
203 Sander Debaere 8 183
204 Peter Verlinden 8 172
205 Pieter Bouckaert 8 170
206 Ralf Wittwer 8 164
207 Nils De Kleine 8 158
208 Anthony Croes-Lacroix 8 155
209 Timmy De Meeter 8 154
210 Alberto Pedone 8 146
211 Mario Schröder 8 143
212 Mieke De Smet 8 133
213 Koen Willocx 8 131
214 Dubelloy Ruben 8 121
215 Steven Demets 8 120
216 Ann Verberckt 8 119
217 Machteld Decloedt 8 107
218 Lieven Meys 8 100
219 Pascal Janssens 8 95
220 Hans Rappé 8 94
221 Bart Vanderpijpen 8 62
222 Evelien Crevits 8 50
223 Wim Immesoete 2 35
224 Mary Van Der Putten 8 25
225 Steven Quintijn 5 15

 

Sunday morning began at 9am as the 56 qualifiers from Saturday’s BOP qualifying session turned up to register and start the first rounds of play-offs.

Players register for the BoP play-offs
Players register for the BOP play-offs

Several qualifiers didn’t turn up for the play-off rounds, so they were replaced by players in positions 57+ who were present at the time.

The top eight qualifiers skipped the first two rounds of the play-offs, and the remaining players in the top twenty-four got a bye through the first round. That left thirty-two to play in round one.

The play-offs were head-to-head best-of-three three-ball games played on randomly selected machines. Several machines from the previous day’s qualifying had been replaced with machines from the Team Tournament or elsewhere in the hall. Pinball Magic, Kiss and The Walking Dead replaced Funhouse, Jack in the Box and Skateball.

The play-offs for the BoP begin
The play-offs for the BOP begin
More play-off matches
More play-off matches

The winner of each best-of-three match moved on to the next winner’s bracket round, while the loser bracket awaited the loser of the match. Results and matches were shown with a spreadsheet on the projector screen.

The first rounds
The first rounds

Those who lost a match played their loser bracket match as a four-ball single game. The winner continued, while the loser was out of the tournament.

Meanwhile, down at the area used for the Team Tournament on Saturday there was a Youth Tournament on Sunday.

The Youth Tournament
The Youth Tournament

Six machines were used for the Youth Tournament and entry was free:

Youth Tournament Machines
Hook
Metallica Pro
Revenge from Mars
Star Wars
Walking Dead LE, The
World Cup Soccer

 

Youngsters aged 15 and under could take part, with a high score qualifying round played on all six machines from midday until 3:45pm. They also had a joker they could use to replay one of the six.

Score taking in the Youth Tournament
Score taking in the Youth Tournament

Here are the qualifying results:

Youth Tournament Qualifying
Pos Name Played Points
1 Thomas Van Clapdorp 6 460
2 Korben Van Wonterghem 6 421
3 Arnaud Van Balen 6 420
4 Emile Quintijn 6 420
5 Sander Van Wonterghem 6 399
6 Timber Engelbeen 6 389
7 Jorn Dujardin 6 383
8 Joren Engelbeen 6 355
9 Mathis Deturck 6 284
10 Daan Rosvelds 6 279
11 Milan Verhoosele 6 259
12 Lotte Van Wonterghem 6 241
13 Louis Deturck 6 216
14 Lotte Dujardin 6 209
15 Louis Quintijn 6 208
16 Siebe Dubelloy 6 196
17 Indy Vanhoutteghem 6 179
18 Robbe Goeminne 6 161
19 Sisto Meulewaeter 6 154
20 Cinta Vanhoutteghem 6 150
21 Renzo Meulewaeter 6 119
22 Peeke Van Den Bergh 6 76
23 Bram Van Den Bergh 6 64
24 Loeke Dubelloy 6 18

 

Once qualification was over, the top eight played off using BOP machines to decide the final places.

The Youth Tournament play-offs
The Youth Tournament play-offs

At 2pm the qualification for the Classic Tournament ended. The top 32 scorers made it into the play-offs, although there were no byes for the top qualifiers.

Here are the qualifying results:

Classics Tournament Qualifying
Pos Name Entry# Points
1 Julio Vicario Soriano 75 284
2 Colin Macalpine 180 250
3 Rich Mallett 189 248
4 Van Der Gugten Mark 652 240
5 Albert Nomden 42 239
6 Dirk Elzholz 588 236
7 Cayle George 135 233
8 Mads Kristensen 473 233
9 Archibald Lefevre 815 230
10 Franck Bona 7 228
11 Paul Jongma 823 228
12 Carlos Javier Parra Moracho 618 226
13 Daniele Acciari 192 226
14 Michael Trepp 416 226
15 Erwin Deutschländer 12 220
16 Andrew Foster 347 218
17 David Mainwaring 760 213
18 John Van Der Wulp 584 212
19 Michel Rorive 678 211
20 Peter Andersen 629 204
21 Giuseppe Violante 43 202
22 Bo Mertins 437 200
23 Andrés Elices Cereceda 22 199
24 Philippe Bocquet 317 199
25 Maarten Lemey 846 195
26 Vin Jauhal 351 195
27 Kim G. Hansen 862 190
28 Ollivier Francq 919 188
29 José Gabriel Ortiz Llonis 56 182
30 Jasmijn De Jong 261 180
31 Pablo Crespo García 687 179
32 Tim Thornton 292 178
33 Jonas Heide 274 174
34 Martin Ayub 278 174
35 Tobias Wagemann 339 173
36 Kirsten Adam 87 171
37 Jorge Villoria Aparicio 505 169
38 Christian Skov 534 162
39 Robert Lau 228 162
40 Olivier Leurs 1006 161
41 Oscar Evrenos 178 161
42 Frank Goeltl 530 160
43 Henning Lescher 354 159
44 Joska Keunekamp 859 155
45 Kevin Roelants 920 155
46 Pieter Bouckaert 696 155
47 Alain Boulieu 211 152
48 Ramon Richard 125 148
49 Rob Breyne 955 148
50 Mathias Jäger 478 146
51 Kate Rothwell Jackson 95 145
52 Jakob Bonne Weisbjerg 701 143
53 Nina Vestmark Christiansen 570 143
54 D’Hanens Christoph 645 142
55 Kristof Hanssens 716 141
56 Thomas Evrenos 758 141
57 Greg Mott 328 140
58 Jim Lindsay 719 140
59 Sverker Nordqvist 435 139
60 Laurence Boulieu 770 138
61 Alain Müller 676 137
62 Joel Wozniak 603 137
63 Vincent Chardome 462 136
64 Kevin Van Rossem 653 134
65 Mario Kertels 759 133
66 Nils De Kleine 460 129
67 Norbert Broman 954 129
68 Romain Wilem 998 128
69 Thomas Reichenstein 796 127
70 Bjorn Brand 96 126
71 Andreas Salathe 715 124
72 Mik Dahl-Nielsen 142 124
73 Axel Bouet 474 123
74 Didier Dujardin 1020 122
75 Dubelloy Ruben 654 122
76 Taco Wouters 714 122
77 Peter Blakemore 120 121
78 Denis Cuypers 574 119
79 Jochen Jaspers 174 119
80 Christophe Leroy 300 118
81 Olivier Renders 374 118
82 Ralph Beckers 683 118
83 Armin Kress 160 117
84 Bart Vyvey 957 117
85 Mario Schröder 941 116
86 Stan Simpson 320 115
87 Magnus Lindström 154 114
88 Thomas Van Clapdorp 816 113
89 Tim Kreukels 681 113
90 Fred Van Den Bosch 942 112
91 Marc Steinmeier 617 112
92 Mike Kindler 269 111
93 Philipp Unger 601 111
94 Roald Nielsen 362 110
95 Theo De Reuver 309 108
96 Arjan Neet 108 107
97 Clara Boulieu 767 106
98 Rob Overdijk 731 106
99 Helen De Haan-Verbeek 272 105
100 Lieven Engelbeen 138 105
101 Pascal Leroy 299 100
102 Martijn Van Amsterdam 259 99
103 Ralf Wittwer 191 99
104 Mieke De Smet 392 98
105 Lars Ørskov Jensen 396 97
106 Sylvain Carre 445 97
107 Dirk De Groote 297 94
108 Kevin Sultana 595 94
109 Mathias Leurs 325 94
110 Nick Marshal 688 94
111 Heinz Berges 252 91
112 Mike Parkins 424 90
113 Gert Houthaeve 386 89
114 Benjamin Gräbeldinger 349 88
115 Francis Pott 720 88
116 Hans Skov 486 87
117 Geert Versieck 53 86
118 Adam Bona 453 85
119 Martijn Van Aken 268 85
120 Patrice Luwel 930 84
121 Herve Grenier 481 83
122 Jean-Philippe Congnard 713 82
123 Thomas Doepelheuer 468 82
124 Martin Christiansen 230 81
125 Heiler Michael 76 80
126 Nick Hamill 890 80
127 Peter Van Den Bergh 561 80
128 Roy Smith 583 80
129 Wayne Johns 666 80
130 Jochen Krieger 206 76
131 Pascal Janssens 114 76
132 Evert Brochez 888 73
133 Pascal Van Wonterghem 706 73
134 David Deturck 763 72
135 Fabrice Spronck 423 72
136 Geert Vanderpijpen 281 72
137 Steven Smith 916 71
138 Nico Rosvelds 65 70
139 Tim Peeters 532 70
140 Evelien Crevits 959 68
141 Jens Vercruyssen 704 67
142 Dina Fukson 367 66
143 Mario Vercauteren 9 66
144 Richard Rothwell Jackson 97 65
145 Guy Wilem 550 62
146 Wozniak Christophe 540 61
147 Kirk Sadler 397 60
148 Richard Garbutt 571 60
149 Dimitri Van Hove 516 59
150 Ann Verberckt 84 58
151 Kyoo Barbaix 774 54
152 Dieter Bouckaert 693 51
153 Sander Debaere 177 51
154 Alberto Pedone 427 49
155 Tom Loomans 980 49
156 Joachim Reniers 458 48
157 Jean-Marc Paul 729 45
158 Mary Van Der Putten 308 45
159 Sharis Dewulf 870 45
160 Tim Slow 101 45
161 John O’Sullivan 111 44
162 Luc Castiglione 477 44
163 Steven Quintijn 510 44
164 Florian Thomas 613 42
165 Rapael Gangi 575 42
166 Daniela Oymann 647 41
167 Glenn Verhoosele 263 38
168 Hans Rappé 393 38
169 Geert Raes 341 37
170 Damien Dumont 757 36
171 Jonas Nib Groes 289 35
172 Luc Goovaerts 992 35
173 Joeri Stroobants 560 34
174 Tom Geneyn 217 34
175 Tommy Machado 987 34
176 Benny De Clercq 266 32
177 David Carlier 450 30
178 Bart Vanderpijpen 355 29
179 David Van Balen 295 29
180 David Vanhoutteghem 756 28
181 Gilberte Bollaert 573 26
182 Jos Deboosere 197 24
183 Kevin Van Weyenberg 497 24
184 Sébastien Muller 718 23
185 Steven Demets 912 23
186 Victor Machart 459 21
187 Giancarlo Rossetti 412 19
188 Manuela Krieger 188 19
189 Tim Brouns 169 19
190 Maarten Tavernier 1019 17
191 Victor Stulemeijer 271 16
192 Arnaud Van Balen 790 11
193 Ergun Erdemir 18 11
194 Ivan Geentjes 944 11
195 Machteld Decloedt 635 9
196 Laurent Mahé 590 2
197 Maurice Ney 103 1
198 Andreas Tilt Borella 287 0
199 Anthony Streulens 634 0
200 Ben Zaad 237 0
201 Cinthya Messiaen 775 0
202 Daan Rosvelds 819 0
203 Kelly Lembrechts 563 0
204 Kevin Claeys 210 0
205 Koen Simoens 526 0
206 Koen Willocx 431 0
207 Lieven Meys 340 0
208 Nick Van Vossel 572 0
209 Raphaël Duez 449 0
210 Stanislas Chabior 593 0
211 Timmy De Meeter 128 0
212 Tom Van Den Panhuyzen 527 0

 

Instead, eight groups of four were formed with each group playing a single game on one machine. The top two scorers continued to the last sixteen while the bottom two dropped out.

The Classics Tournament play-offs order
The Classics Tournament play-offs order
The thirty-two qualifiers were put in groups of four
The thirty-two qualifiers were put in groups of four
The Classics Tournament play-offs begin
The Classics Tournament play-offs begin

There was a little overlap between players in the Classic Tournament and the BOP play-offs, but it didn’t cause too much delay as the BOP headed towards deciding the four finalists.

Cayle George plays for a place in the final of the BoP
Cayle George plays for a place in the final of the BOP
The competitors in the final are decided
The competitors in the BOP final are decided

Outside the main hall, the finals of the Winner Takes It All tournament was also about to begin, with the top scorers on each machine playing them again to decide the overall Winner who would indeed Take It All.

Players in the WTIA tournament final are briefed
Players in the WTIA tournament final are briefed
The final is under way
The final is under way

The Classics Tournament has also reached its final stage back in the main hall.

Players and spectators for the Classics Tournament final
Players and spectators gather for the Classics Tournament final
The four finalists in the Classic Tournament:
The four finalists in the Classic Tournament: Cayle George, David Mainwaring, Julio Vicario Soriano & John van der Wulp

As in the play-offs, this was a one game final, although the number of balls was increased from three to five on the selected machine, Evel Knievel.

Julio playing in the final
Julio playing in the final

It was a very tight final, with no player having a breakaway ball. Julio was in the lead going into the fifth and final ball with his 125,450 score. David was second on 70,910, with John close behind on 66,780 and Cayle just 10K further back on 56,640.

Once again none of the four had a great ball, which meant Julio retained the top score with 132,010 to take first place. John had the best ball to boost his score up to 96,310 which gave him second place ahead of David on 76,390, with Calye close in fourth on 70,560.

Julio with his winning score
Julio with his winning score

All eyes then turned to the final of the Belgian Open Pinball tournament. The three winner bracket finalists were Franck Bona, Daniele Acciari and Erwin Deutschländer. They were joined by the winner of the loser bracket, Cayle George.

The four BOP finalists: Franck Bona, Cayle George, Daniele Acciari and Erwin Deutschländer
The four BOP finalists: Franck Bona, Cayle George, Daniele Acciari and Erwin Deutschländer
Organiser Lieven Engelbeen explains the format of the final
Organiser Lieven Engelbeen explains the format of the final

Each of the winner bracket finalists got to choose a machine to be played in the final. Cayle then got to choose play order for the first game which was Roadshow.

Erwin begins on Roadshow
Erwin begins the final on Roadshow
Franck plays second
Franck plays second
Cayle is player three
Cayle is player three
Daniele is last to play
Daniele is last to play

Going into the third ball, Erwin was in fourth on 21M, Daniele was in third with 48M, Cayle was second on 103M, but Franck was leading with 198M.

Franck extended that lead on his last ball with another multiball to give him a game total of 303M. Cayle added another 100M to his score, but his 200M total fell short and looked good for second place after Erwin only boosted his score to 83M. But never discount Daniele’s comeback skills, as he started multiball on his last ball and took his 51M starting score up to 316M to take the win.

Points were awarded for position on each of the three games, with four points for a win, two for second, one for third and none for fourth.

BOP Final – After 1 Game
Daniele Acciari 4
Franck Bona 2
Cayle George 1
Erwin Deutschländer 0

 

The second game was Tales from the Crypt and this time Daniele started well with 63M, double his nearest rival which was Franck on 32M. Erwin was narrowly ahead of Cayle in third by 10M to 8M.

Erwin was in third place after the first ball
Erwin was in third place after the first ball

Both Franck and then Cayle then scored big on their second balls. Franck managed a total of 244M, but Cayle went further and ended his second ball on 289M. These followed a poor second ball from Daniele which only gave him 75M, and was followed by Erwin’s equally lacklustre ball which gave him a total of 22M.

Although Daniele did better on his last ball, it still only gave him a game total of 145M. Franck needed to set Cayle a challenge but his ball drained quickly with 265M on the board. Cayle then just had to make sure his score was out of reach of Erwin which it seemed he had, ending on 298M, a lead of almost 270M.

However, Erwin had a great final ball and only very narrowly failed to overtake Cayle, finally draining with a score of 286M, just 12M points away from victory.

Final scores on Tales from the Crypt
Final scores on Tales from the Crypt

So Cayle took the four points, Erwin two points and Franck the one point.

BOP Final – After 2 Games
Cayle George 5
Daniele Acciari 4
Franck Bona 3
Erwin Deutschländer 2

 

The last game of the final was Game of Thrones and Franck led off this time.

The third and last game of the BoP final
The third and last game of the BOP final

It was a short ball, only scoring 9M before Cayle took over.

Cayle was player two
Cayle was player two

He racked up an impressive 2.051B on ball one, staking and early claim to the Iron Throne.

Erwin was player three
Erwin was player three

Erwin didn’t shed much blood with his first ball and only managed 2.6M, while Daniele in the player four spot did the best of the following pack with a 62M opener.

Daniele has the player four position
Daniele has the player four position

Franck had another disappointing ball as his grip on the crown started to slip with just 11.9M after two balls.

Despite starting Hand of the King, Cayle didn’t add much to his score and walked away with 2.7B racked up. Erwin started to ramp-up his game and managed 398M, but it was Daniele who looked as though he could be a genuine challenger, ending his second ball with just over 1B points.

Franck’s game finally found some traction as he ended his final ball on 494M.

Cayle was already looking pretty comfortable with his huge score, so he wasn’t too worried when his last ball did the same as his second ball, adding 100M to end on 2.836M.

Erwin’s promise with his second ball wasn’t fulfilled as he only added 15M on his final ball for a total of 413M and fourth place.

Daniele needed a ball as good as Cayle’s first if he was to win this game, and although he got Hand of the King as well, it wasn’t enough and he finished on 1.7B for second place.

The four points guaranteed Cayle’s win, while second place in the last game gave Daniele second overall as well. Franck’s close third place ensured he remained third, while Erwin scored no points in this game and stayed fourth.

BOP Final – After All Games
Cayle George 9
Daniele Acciari 6
Franck Bona 4
Erwin Deutschländer 2

 

Then it was out into the lobby for the awards presentations from Lieven.

Lieven makes the announcements as the trophies are presented
Lieven makes the announcements as the trophies are presented

First of all, the Youth Tournament was an all-Belgian top four, and was won by Thomas van Clapdorp. Second was Timber Engelbeen, while third and fourth went to siblings Korben Van Wonterghem and Sander Van Wonterghem.

Top four in the Youth Tournament (L-R): Korben Van Wonterghem (3rd), Thomas van Clapdorp (1st), Timber Engelbeen (2nd) and Sander Van Wonterghem (4th)
Top four in the Youth Tournament (L-R): Korben Van Wonterghem (3rd), Thomas van Clapdorp (1st), Timber Engelbeen (2nd) and Sander Van Wonterghem (4th)

Each of the top three got to choose a prize to go with their trophies, with the remaining prize going to Sander.

The prizes
The prizes
Everyone seemed happy with their spoils
Everyone seemed happy with their spoils

Then came the awards to the top three in the Team Tournament. The winners were KDIT from Belgium.

First place, KDIT
First place, KDIT

Second were De Boertjes, also from Belgium.

Second place, De Boertjes
Second place, De Boertjes

And in third place was the French team of The Insiders.

Third place, The Insiders
Third place, The Insiders

After the final play-off, the winner of the Winner Takes It All tournament was Mads Kristensen from Denmark.

The Winner Who Took It All, Mads Kristensen
The Winner Who Took It All, Mads Kristensen

In fact Mads didn’t quite Take It All, as there were runner-up prizes for the other finalists.

The top four in the Winner Takes It All tournament
The top four in the Winner Takes It All tournament

Sadly the winner of the Classic Tournament, Julio, had to leave before the trophy presentation but the other three were there to collect their awards.

Cayle George (4th), David Mainwaring (3rd) & John van der Wulp (2nd)
Cayle George (4th), David Mainwaring (3rd) & John van der Wulp (2nd)

Then, finally, the main Belgian Open Tournament awards were given out.

In fourth place, as we just saw, was Erwin Deutschländer from Germany.

Fourth place, Erwin Deutschländer
Fourth place, Erwin Deutschländer

In third was Franck Bona from France.

Third place, Franck Bona
Third place, Franck Bona

The runner-up was Daniele Acciari from Italy.

Second place, Daniele Acciari
Second place, Daniele Acciari

And the winner was Cayle George from the USA.

First place, Cayle George
First place, Cayle George
The top four in the Belgian Open Pinball tournament 2016:
The top four in the Belgian Open Pinball tournament 2016: Erwin Deutschländer, Franck Bona, Cayle George and Daniele Acciari

Finally, Lieven told the audience about Wayne John’s upcoming charity attempt to beat the current Guinness World Record for the longest continuous pinball playing. Everyone wished him well in his attempt which will take place on 22nd/23rd October 2016.

Wayne Johns gets a round of applause from the audience
Wayne Johns gets a round of applause from the audience

And with that the Belgian Open Pinball weekend drew to a close. The players were invited to leave as the breakdown of the machines, desks and systems began.

Show's over folks!
Show’s over folks!
The Funhouse is closed.
The Funhouse is closed

Everyone agreed that the facilities at the new venue for the BOP were a great improvement over those at the previous location. The air conditioning in particular was very welcome, and there was a much more spacious feel. It may have lacked some of the intimacy and charm of the multi-room nightclub, but the multiple entrances and numerous ways to check scores and standings without blocking the aisles more than made up for it.

It’s also amazing how many people work on the tournament weekend. We reckoned there must have been around twenty helpers at the tournament entry points, registration desk, doing the scoring, running the bar, looking after the computer systems and fixing games.

A big “thanks” to them and to all the competitors. No doubt we shall be back in ‘St. Nick’s’ again next October.

VANCOUVER FLIPOUT PINBALL EXPO 2016

Vancouver FlipOut Pinball Expo 2016
The Vancouver Flipout 2016 logo
The Vancouver Flipout 2016 logo

America has had a very mature show schedule for some time, with successful new shows being added every year. So when the Vancouver FlipOut Pinball Expo was announced, modeling itself after the large US shows, it was too good to pass up and I booked a trip immediately to attend.

Putting on a large-scale pinball show in Canada would have many of the same challenges as doing them overseas, or anywhere else out of the US: access to machines for free play, vendors, speakers, and even attendees. The numbers available for all of these would be smaller, so the challenges of putting on a show that aimed to model an American show can’t be understated.

The show promised to have a large free play area, a large tournament with modern and classic divisions, as well as an afternoon of guest speakers.

My own home city of Toronto has not had a large pinball show in many years, so I was very envious of Vancouver having this show. There really was only one option – book my ticket!

Vancouver is the third largest city in Canada, on the west coast of Canada in the province of British Columbia. It hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics (along with the Whistler/Blackcomb mountain), and is regularly ranked as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Finally the day arrived and I began my adventure with a 5-hour flight from Toronto to Vancouver. Packing light, I took their public transit, a Sky Train link from the airport that left me a 5-minute walk to the hotel.

The Sky Train
The Sky Train

Ocean – check.
Mountains – check.
Tall modern buildings – check.
Cloudy sky – check.

You know you’re in Vancouver.

Vancouver
Vancouver

The show was being held in a Holiday Inn right smack in the middle of downtown Vancouver. You can’t do much better for a central location, with amenities available by foot in every direction.

The location of the show hotel
The location of the show hotel

Being a downtown hotel meant the room rates were going to be higher, but the location was tops and the rooms were modern and updated.

Let’s get to the actual show.

As you approached the hotel, it had clear signage outside so you knew you had the right place, and hopefully it would attract some walk-in traffic as well.

Outside the Holiday Inn
Outside the Holiday Inn

Inside, there was a lot more signage, which gave the entire operation a professional and well-polished feel.

The whole hotel was taken over
The whole hotel was taken over
Our roving reporter Chris Frolic knew he was in the right place
Our roving reporter Chris Frolic knew he was in the right place

Show organizers Suzanne and Tommy Floyd were ready to greet the public at the front desk.

Suzanne and Tommy
Suzanne and Tommy

The show was comprised of a dedicated tournament area, two free play areas, and a seminar room. There were also some pinballs in the common area, a The Wizard of Oz and The Hobbit, as well as a Hercules which was located in the main lobby as an eye catcher. The Hercules was brought up from the Seattle Pinball Museum by Cindy and Charlie Martin.

Hercules - the world's largest pinball game
Hercules – the World’s largest pinball game

Ticket Prices in Canadian dollars were

  • Adults:
    Weekend Pass: $50
    Friday: $20, Saturday $25, Sunday $20
  • Youth Passes (ages 13-18):
    Weekend: $35
    Friday: $15, Saturday: $20, Sunday: $15
  • Children under 12 with paying adult: Free

There was an early bird discount if you bought 30 days in advance, which also included a free ticket to the Friday night VIP party (normally $25).

The Canadian dollar trades below most major currencies. As an example, the $50 weekend pass would translate to approximately $36 US / 32 EUR / 28 UKP. Combined with the discount on the hotel, food, shopping, etc, Canada becomes a real bargain.

Show T-shirts were also available at the front desk for $20.

Hot and cold food was available all day at the hotel. In the morning there was a breakfast buffet available and throughout the day you could order things like hamburgers.

The show food menu
The show special show food menu
Hot and cold food was available all day
Hot and cold food was available all day

There were also countless restaurants and takeout places a few minutes away outside the hotel.

On the second floor were most of the games for free play. The two Jersey Jack Pinball titles were placed prominently in the hall.

The Wizard of Oz and The Hobbit
The Wizard of Oz and The Hobbit

Through the doors of the main banquet room was the largest of the free play rooms.

The main free play room
The main free play room
Free play games
Free play games

Many technicians were on site keeping the games going. Very few games were down for long. Overall the show had next to no dark games at all the entire weekend.

Fixing a Buckaroo
Fixing a Buckaroo
There were multiple rows of EMs, in addition to all the more modern games
There were multiple rows of EMs, in addition to all the more modern games

All the latest titles were available to play including Ghostbusters, Medieval Madness Remake, The Big Lebowski and Full Throttle.

Full Throttle and Ghostbusters
Full Throttle and Ghostbusters
Medieval Madness Remake and The Big Lebowski
Medieval Madness Remake and The Big Lebowski

In the centre of the room was the main vending stall. This was where Dirty Donny, a well-known pinball artist, would later be available for merchandise and signings. In front of his booth was a Metallica LE.

Metallica Master of Puppets LE in front of the vendor stall
Metallica Master of Puppets LE in front of the vendor stall
Dirty Donny (in the white T-shirt) with merchandise and artwork for sale
Dirty Donny (in the white T-shirt) with merchandise and artwork for sale
The free play games were varied and plentiful
The free play games were varied and plentiful

Tommy explained to me that almost all the games came from a small number of collectors. This meant all the games stayed and weren’t for sale or taken away before the show ended.

More of the free play games
More of the free play games

Down the hall was an entrance to a second free play area.

This way to more games
This way to more games
The main free play room
The second free play room
South Park, Black Knight, Black Knight 2000 and many more
South Park, Black Knight, Black Knight 2000, T3 and many more
Safecracker alongside World Cup Soccer
Safecracker alongside World Cup Soccer

The second free play room also got quite busy over the weekend. There were many games here I had never seen before, including a restored Q-Bert’s Quest.

In total there were over 130 machines available for free play in the building. (A complete list of games is available at the end of this article.) That’s small perhaps when held against the largest American shows, but it’s a huge accomplishment for a Canadian show. It definitely had something for everyone.

At 9pm a Party Bus arrived to take guests to the VIP Party. I just got on, not knowing where the Hell I was going, but hey, it’s a pinball adventure!

The bus to the VIP party
The bus to the VIP party

The bus dropped us off outside a warehouse building. For a second this was very reminiscent of 1990s raves; having a bus drop you off in the middle of an industrial area for a party.

It turned out the venue was LandYachtz, a skateboard factory and retailer that operates an arcade inside their building.

The LandYachtz factory
The LandYachtz factory
Inside it was packed with people and a DJ, with beer and snacks available
Inside it was packed with people and a DJ, with beer and snacks available
The arcade had many pinballs and vids, all set to free play for the VIP Party
The arcade had many pinballs and vids, all set to free play for the VIP Party
VIP Party guests enjoying the free play pinballs
VIP Party guests enjoying the free play pinballs

The VIP Party ran till 2am. The shuttle bus operated continuously all night, so visitors came and went as they wanted.


Seminars

On Saturday a series of seminars were held with guest speakers both local and international.

Robert Gagno, the current PAPA World Champion and home town hero, gave a talk about what it’s like to be a pinball champion.

Robert Gagno
Robert Gagno

Within his talk, Robert gave an impressive demonstration of his photographic memory.

He asked an attendee to bring a photo of a roulette wheel up on their phone, and without showing it to Robert, he had that attendee pick a number on the wheel. Robert then recounted the order of all the numbers going clockwise around the roulette wheel starting from that number.

He applies that same photographic memory to every pinball playfield, memorizing every shot and rule for each game. I found this a highly creative way to demonstrate his ability.

I had noticed while he was at show, he was constantly asked to pose for pictures, so I asked him what it’s like to be a celebrity within the pinball world. “I think it’s awesome”, he answered without missing a beat.

Adam Kiesler and Charlotte Fillmore-Nandlon, the proprietors of a retro barcade in Montreal, gave a presentation of the history of pinball laws in Quebec and the challenges they faced trying to get a license to open their North Star location.

Charlotte and Adam from North Star
Charlotte and Adam from North Star

It was a fascinating lesser-told story about how pinball was outlawed in Quebec for many years, with many parallels to the well-known American pinball story. Their presentation was well-researched and presented, with many historical newspaper clippings dating back to the 1950s, as well as TV news reports shown.

In the end, they succeeded in having the laws updated, allowing them to open their North Star barcade. The North Star name is a tribute to a Montreal pinball manufacturer that closed in 1951. A surviving brother of the original company founders gave his blessing for the new bar.

They have also made many retro choices with the theming of their bar, from the selection of pinballs (nothing newer than early 1980s), to having a jukebox that only plays 45s, to having one of the few remaining chemical photo booths operating at their bar.

In addition, they have opted for a copper token instead of the usual brass; it gets worn and weathered with use, and also makes for great keepsakes that patrons bring home with them.

Jaap Nupta from Dutch Pinball had originally planned to attend the show in person, but could not make it at the last minute and opted to do a Q&A via Skype from Holland, where it was 1am local time. Tommy moderated the questions from the room.

Jaap in the Dutch Pinball seminar
Jaap in the Dutch Pinball seminar

Most of the questions had to do with production of The Big Lebowski, how they were doing and how many were left to go. Jaap wished they had more out the door than they do, but he play-tests every machine himself to make sure they are shipping out a quality product without issues. They are opting for quality over quantity. He apologized to those waiting, but hoped it would be worth the wait.

Jaap finished the call with some heart-felt words about how pinball brings us all together and is a force for good.

Jack Guarnieri flew in specially for the show and spoke to a standing-room-only audience. With the unveiling of his third title only a few weeks away at Chicago Pinball Expo there was no new news to be shared about it, but he was very optimistic.

Jersey Jack Guarnieri
Jersey Jack Guarnieri

Jack spoke about the challenges he’s had and conquered with his business, and with the new investors the company is stronger than ever and poised for great things going forward.

When asked about his current ownership situation, Jack responded “What would Jersey Jack Pinball be without Jersey Jack?” and said he isn’t going anywhere, but some very good and capable people are handling a lot of the tough work now.

Jack also ended his talk with a discussion about how pinball unites us, which is a common feeling amongst most pinheads. Overall Jack brought his passion and got to share that with the Canadian audience.


FlipOut Tournament

Starting on the Thursday evening before the show, the Vancouver FlipOut tournament ran throughout the weekend. It was operated by tournament director Dave Stewart.

The tournament was in its own room on the main floor of the hotel, which housed a bank of ‘Jurassic’ classic machines as well as a bank of modern machines.

Enter through this door for the tournament
Enter through this door for the tournament
The “Jurassic” classic bank of games, with score boards
The ‘Jurassic’ classic bank of games, with score boards

The Classic bank of games consisted of:

Countdown
Drop-a-card
Magic City
Mata Hari
Quick Draw
Space Invaders
Whoa Nellie

 

The projection screen scoreboard for the modern bank
The projection screen scoreboard for the modern bank
Modern games lined two of the walls of the tournament room
Modern games lined two of the walls of the tournament room

The modern bank of games consisted of:

Bounty Hunter
Cactus Canyon
Corvette
F-14 Tomcat
Medieval Madness
Metallica Pro
Mustang Pro
NASCAR
Roadshow
Rocky & Bullwinkle
Street Fighter 2
Tron
Whirlwind

 

It was a PAPA-style tournament with scorekeepers on tablets recording scores. There were unlimited entries allowed for the Jurassic Tournament, but the modern tournament was limited to a maximum of 3 entries.

A separate novice division was offered for those below a 4000 WPPR rank.

Tournament results were:

VFO Classics Novice
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
Dave Pidwerbeski
Erin Pampu
Chris Bevilacqua
Ken Fytent

 

VFO Classics Open
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
Adam Kiesler
Shawn Haley
Robin Lassonde
Dave Mercier

 

VFO Modern Novice
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
Clay Alexson
Joseph Santbergen
Adam Goodwin
Darren Krywolt

 

VFO Modern Open
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
Raymond Davidson
Adam Kiesler
Dave Stewart
Louise Wagensonner

 

The tournament was professionally run and well-staffed with volunteers. It also opened early on the Thursday night before the show to let early birds beat the crowds expected over the weekend.


Conclusion

As a hardcore pinhead who hasn’t had the opportunity yet to travel to the large American shows, it was a real treat to get to participate in this one. The show seemed well-attended and the atmosphere was great, super-friendly and positive. Many Americans had travelled up from the US and all I spoke with had positive comments about the show and everything Tommy had put together. It was even more impressive with it being a first year show.

Having event promotion experience myself, I admired the delegation of duties on display. It was no question Tommy’s show, but there were very qualified teams operating the various parts of the show completely independently and professionally. I really have no quibbles about how anything was run.

Tommy has told me he has an even bigger space booked for next year, so the plans are to take things up from here. This will be a great annual show and I hope its success will continue to broaden and expand pinball in Canada and beyond.

Congratulations to everyone involved in putting it in on and attending.

A 5-minute walk through of the entire show can be seen here:

The complete list of games at the show (list from Vancouver FlipOut):

AC/DC (Pro)
Addams Family, The
Alien Star
Baseball
Big Game
Big Lebowski, The
Black Hole
Black Knight
Black Knight 2000
Blackout
Bone Busters
Bounty Hunter
Bride of Pinbot
Buccaneer
Buckaroo
Bugs Bunny’s Birthday Ball
Cactus Canyon
Capt. Fantastic
Centaur
Champion Pub
Checkpoint
Cheetah
Cherry Bell
Counterforce
Corvette
Count Down
Creature From the Black Lagoon
Crosstown
Cyclone
Demolition Man
Diner
Domino
Dracula, Bram Stokers
Drop A Card
Eight Ball
El Dorado
Elvira and the Party Monsters
Embryon
Evel Knievel
F-14 Tomcat
Family Guy
Fire!
Fireball
Fire Power
Fish Tales
Flash
Flight 2000
Flintstones
Four Million BC
Full Throttle (SE)
Game Of Thrones (Pro)
Game Show, The Bally
Gigi
Ghostbusters (Pro)
Gladiators
Gorgar
Grand Lizard
Grand Prix
Hercules
High Speed
High Speed II: The Getaway
Hobbit, The (Smaug Gold SE)
Hook
Iron Maiden
Iron Man (VE)
Jack n’ Jill
Jacks Open
Joker Poker
Judge Dredd
Kings & Queens
King Of Diamonds
Lady Luck
Lady Luck (Recel)
Little Chief
Lethal Weapon 3
Magic City
Magic Castle
Majorettes
Mario Andretti
Mars Trek
Mata Hari
Medieval Madness
Medusa
Melody
Metallica Pro
Meteor
Mustang (Pro)
Nags
NASCAR
Nitro Ground Shaker
No Good Gofers
Old Chicago
Orbitor 1
Panthera
Paragon
Pink Panther
Playboy
Police Force
Popeye
Power Play
Q*Bert’s Quest
Quick Draw
Road Show, Red & Ted’s
Rollergames
Royal Flush
Safe Cracker
Scared Stiff
Scorpion
Seawitch
Shadow
Silverball Mania
Sinbad
Sing Along
Slick Chick
South Park
Space Invaders
Space Shuttle
Space Station
Spin A Card
Square Head
Star Gazer
Star Trek (Starfleet Pro)
Star Trek Next Generation
Star Wars Trilogy
Street Fighter II
Strikes & Spare
Supersonic
Terminator 2
Theatre of Magic
Time Warp
Tommy
Top Card
Torch
Tron Legacy
Twilight Zone
Viking
Viper
Volley
Whirlwind
Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons
Who dunnit?
Wizard of Oz, The (Emerald City LE)
World Cup Soccer

 

RETRO GAMING: A GROWING TREND

Retro gaming is now very popular

Arcades are going retro. Thanks to at-home game consoles, arcade owners are scrambling for ways to draw gamers out of their parents’ basements. They are taking a new approach, aiming to attract gamers of all ages with the flashing lights and pixelated screens of the past.

For a while, the biggest controversy in the arcade game industry was whether or not arcade games were dead. As any pinball expert knows, there is in fact a passion to master the game despite the popularity of at-home game consoles and Internet games. Families are creating spaces in their homes just to add pinball machines and other games. In addition, hobbyists are taking pride in repairing old machines to work like new.

Arcade games definitely aren’t dead. Technology has made it possible for gamers to enjoy gaming experiences that didn’t exist before, and while the latest and greatest arcade games are still sought after, there’s a shift within the industry that pinball manufacturers and retailers are noticing: consumers want the classics.

From Pac-Man to Medieval Madness to Mortal Kombat, these quarter guzzlers are once again taking control of arcade-goers and hobbyists. Hiding in the corners of many of today’s retro arcades and home game rooms are the under-appreciated, 1980s and 1990s pinball machines blinking anxiously to grab the attention of anyone who passes by.

The unique clink of the tiny metal ball against the plastic flippers, the tinkering of bells as the ball bounces around the board, the sparks in everyone’s eyes when they conquer the game. This is what collectors and gamers want to experience, and what game distributors and retailers are looking to recreate.

But many consumers do not want to settle for newer models of this beloved arcade classic. It’s clear they want old school, but the question is, why do they prefer retro games?


Nostalgia Responsible for Retro Revival

People simply like the pinball games they played as a child. While manufacturers look to add the latest, flashiest technology to machines, consumers’ prefer the less lavish, but equally entertaining games of their childhoods; the machines of the ’80s and ’90s.

There is something real about having a game from one’s youth, but it’s also about the context in which these classic games were played. Adults want to experience again the feeling they had when they first played them; a feeling that can’t be captured in other forms of entertainment. An article from The Atlantic discussed nostalgia and video games, “Players aren’t remembering the time they watched a hero defeat a bad guy (as in a movie) – they’re remembering the time they beat the bad guy.” The same sentiment holds true with pinball machines and other games. They bring back a familiar experience that gamers want to relive.

Retro games are also associated with a sense of community and social aspect. Adults think back to playing pinball at the arcade after school or on the weekends. The community feeling is partially attributable to the popularity of retro gaming. Modern online gaming attempts to recreate the social aspect, but it doesn’t have the same feeling of physically being together with friends and family playing. Part of the appeal of retro gaming was that it was truly a hobby that people shared with others.

Nostalgia, community and fun all contribute to gamers’ desires to relive the past. From reminiscing baby boomers to classic gaming millennials, the pinball industry is driven mostly by collectors purchasing machines to liven up their homes.

Pinball machines are not meant to sit quietly in bedrooms, garages, or family rooms. The passion for retro gaming is so strong that avid collectors have specific areas of their homes dedicated to arcade games, where they and their family members can enjoy the classics with fewer interruptions. Whether it is a spare room or a refurbished basement, pinball lovers know how to create the ultimate gaming atmosphere, the true gamer’s home away from home.

What this Means for the Pinball Industry

The growing trend of retro over modern has impacted the pinball industry positively. While modern games with all the bells and whistles will still be sought after, manufacturers, distributors and others in the industry are keeping retro in mind. Restoration and repair account for a large portion of businesses, with many businesses selling parts of machines to collectors as well.

And those who attempt to create modern games that replicate the look and feel of retro games will likely not have success, as these games can’t conjure up the same feelings associated with classic arcade games.

The popularity of retro games isn’t just affecting residential customers either. Many bars, restaurants, and other businesses are purchasing retro games. Some restaurants have themes entirely devoted to retro arcade gaming.

The shift to retro arcade games is all about basic human psychology. People like the enjoyment they had as kids in the ’80s and ’90s playing the games they love. Because of this, the arcade industry is trying to recapture those feelings gamers had while playing.

It’s really more than selling a game; it’s about the feelings and memories associated with these beloved games.

About the Author

Gene Goodman is vice president of M&P Amusement, a distributor of new and quality refurbished used arcade games and pinball machines since 1932, with headquarters in York, Pennsylvania.