IFPA EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES FINAL 2016

The European Championship Series finals

Each year, a single tournament in each of fifteen different European countries is selected as that country’s qualifying tournament for the IFPA European Championship Series (ECS). The WPPR points earned by players from each tournament are totalled and a ranking table produced.

The IFPA ECS rankings for 2016
The IFPA ECS rankings for 2016

Once all the qualifying tournaments have been played, the top 32 players automatically qualify for the ECS finals which – wherever possible – are held in a different country each year. For the final of the 2016 season we were in Germany at Pinball Universe in the snowy town of Bünde, 90km west of Hanover.

The Pinball Universe building in Bünde
The Pinball Universe building in Bünde

Pinball Universe has several locations across Germany, but this custom-built building is their main base, and it’s an impressive operation. From the outset it is clear that brand recognition is an important part of the business.

One of many Pinball Universe branded vehicles
One of many Pinball Universe branded vehicles

Their main showroom is up a flight of stairs, and this was where the free play practice area was located.

Up to the showroom
Up to the showroom

Inside the showroom visitors get to see the latest Stern Pinball machines, which on this trip included Batman 66 Premium and Aerosmith Pro. Everything in the showroom is very clean, with a counter for drinks and a seating area.

Some of the Pinball Universe showroom games
Some of the Pinball Universe showroom games
More showroom games
More showroom games
More showroom games
More showroom games
Two Kiss games - a Pro and a Premium
Two Kiss games – a Pro and a Premium
Batman 66 Premium
Batman 66 Premium

The free play area extended into a side room where a selection of Pinball Universe’s restored games were set up along with a few more interesting new games such as Pabst Can Crusher, Spider-Man home edition, Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International and Scoregasm Master.

The second free play area
The second free play area
The left bank of machines
The left bank of machines
The right bank
The right bank
Pabst Can Crusher and Spider-Man Home Edition
Pabst Can Crusher and Spider-Man Home Edition
The Spider-Man playfield
The Spider-Man playfield
The opposite end of the room
The opposite end of the room

From the balcony overlooking the ground floor you get to see some of the boxes from the Stern games in the showroom.

Stern Pinball boxes
Stern Pinball boxes

But you need to head to the ground level for a much better idea of the sheer number of new games Pinball Universe must have in stock.

Stern pinball machine boxes
Stern pinball machine boxes – these rows are two boxes deep
...and more
…and more
Boxes on the ground floor too
Boxes on the ground floor too

Since we are now on the lower level, let’s take a look at some of the other rooms.

A dining area was set up which initially contained fruit, snacks and a stocked refrigerator with fruit juices, water, soft drinks and beer.

The dining area
The dining area

This room would be where the daily meal was served on both Saturday and Sunday.

Next door was the machine preparation area where Pinball Universe take new-in-box pinball machines and undertake their own pre-delivery checks, mods and protectors.

The machine preparation workshop
The machine preparation workshop

In the room was a Batman Limited Edition which needed some protectors added to stop the ball breaking some of them plastics.

A Batman 66 LE being prepared for delivery
A Batman 66 LE being prepared for delivery

Pinball Universe cut their own plastics in another part of the building, so it shouldn’t take long create a set of protectors for a new game.

Batman 66 LE
Batman 66 LE

Then we come to the two tournament areas.

The main ECS area contained 35 dot-matrix pinballs from 1991 to the present.

The main ECS tournament area
The main ECS tournament area
The left bank of machines
The left bank of machines
The right bank of machines
The right bank of machines

Out in the warehouse, another twelve recent Stern Pinball machines were set up. These would be used for the side tournament on Saturday and then for Sunday’s tournament.

The side tournament machines
The side tournament machines
The left bank of machines
The left bank of machines
The right bank of machines
The right bank of machines

The machines were:

Main ECS Tournament Area
Iron Man Vault Edition
X-Men Magneto LE
Metallica Premium
Indiana Jones (Stern)
CSI
Transformers Pro
Rollercoaster Tycoon
AC/DC Luci
Sporanos, The
Pirates of the Caribbean
Kiss Pro
Batman – The Dark Knight
Shrek
Spider-Man
WWE Wrestlemania LE
Tron
NBA
Terminator 3
Jackbot
World Cup Soccer
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Judge Dredd
Getaway, The – High Speed 2
Tommy
Fish Tales
Whitewater
Demolition Man
No Fear
NBA Fastbreak
Shadow, The
Terminator 2
Monster Bash
Attack from Mars
Indianapolis 500
Dirty Harry

 

Side Tournament Area
Iron Man Vault Edition
Kiss Pro
Metallica Premium
Walking Dead, The Pro
Star Trek Pro
Spider-Man Vault Edition
Game of Thrones Pro
Avatar LE
X-Men Premium
Ghostbusters Pro
AC/DE Premium
Mustang LE

 

And so to the tournaments themselves.

The main ECS took place on Saturday starting at 1pm. It was scheduled to finish between midnight and 1am, but everyone suspected it might take a few hours longer.

Entry to the whole weekend cost €120 ($128/£102) which included both main tournaments, the side-tournament (if available), access to the free play areas, unlimited drinks and a buffet meal each day. Everyone taking part had to register on the ground floor in order to get their player badge and to also receive a Pinball Universe goody bag.

This goodie bag included paper pads and a pen for running tournaments, packs of mints, hair tonic, a collapsible ruler, post cards, flyers, stickers and a Millennium Falcon model kit – all items made by firms local to Pinball Universe in Bünde.

The Pinball Universe goodie bag
The Pinball Universe goodie bag

IFPA Country Director for Germany, Tobias Wagemann explained the rules to players in the showroom before everyone trooped downstairs to begin.

ECS players assemble
ECS players assemble
Tobias explains how the ECS final works
Tobias explains how the ECS final works
Players learn the rules and the timings for the day's activities
Players learn the rules and the timings for the day’s activities

The format pitched pairs of players against each in a best-of-seven match. The highest-seeded player had choice of machine or position for the first game, with the loser having choice after that.

Match pairings were pre-selected and shown on a paper chart.

The main ECS winner's bracket
The main ECS winner’s bracket

Once a match had been decided, the winner continued to the next stage of the chart, while the loser entered the loser bracket for a second chance at making it to the final.

The loser bracket
The loser bracket
The ECS trophies
The ECS trophies
The first matches get underway
The first matches get underway
The first matches get underway
The first matches get underway

Once players were relegated to the loser bracket they played a best-of-five head-to-head match to continue. The loser from the pair was out of the ECS.

Players check their progress and next opponents
Players check their progress and next opponents

All was not over though, as there was a separate side tournament for those who were eliminated and for non-ECS players who wanted to take part.

This side tournament was held on the twelve machines on the warehouse floor.

Trophies for the side tournament
Trophies for the side tournament

The format for the side tournament gave each player sixteen entries which they could play over and of the twelve machines, although no single machine could be played more than twice.

Players in Saturday's side tournament
Players in Saturday’s side tournament

All the scores on each machine were ranked and ranking points awarded, with 100 for the top score, 99 for second and so on. The total points for a player’s sixteen entries gave them their overall points score, with the top eight players going into the semi-finals.

The latest scores were shown on a big monitor
The latest scores were shown on a big monitor

With the ECS finals also taking place at the same time, only ECS players who had been eliminated from the ECS were allowed to compete in the side tournament. Also, because of the time required to play sixteen games, only those eliminated early could hope to play all their games before the end of qualifying at 8pm.

Before that, around 5pm, food was served to all competitors. Because of the timing of our games, by the time we got to the dining area most of it had already ben consumed, but you get an idea of what was available in the pictures below.

Dinner time
Dinner time

This consisted of soups, salad, bread and a selection of cold meats. The previously seen fruit, chocolate bars and drinks were also available.

Salad and bread
Salad and bread
Two different soups were available - chicken goulash and leak & potato
Two different soups were available – chicken goulash and leak & potato

Play continued in both tournaments as soon as dinner was over, so now would be a good time to have a look around the amazing Pinball Universe facility in Bünde while Saturday’s ECS play-offs and the side tournament were under way.

Returning to the tournament areas, the main ECS tournament was gradually whittling down the number of players in the winner bracket, as more matches were completed.

Play in the main ECS finals
Play in the main ECS finals
Play in the main ECS finals
Play in the main ECS finals
The winner and loser brackets begin to fill up
The winner and loser brackets begin to fill up

Those out of the ECS or who never qualified were free to play in the side tournament.

Play in the side tournament
Play in the side tournament
Play in the side tournament
Play in the side tournament
The top eight would qualify for the play-offs
The top eight would progress to the semi-finals

The top eight were:

Saturday Side Tournament Qualifiers
Mario Kertels
Roland Schwarz
Dirk Elzholz
Marcin Kisiel
Gabriele Tedeschi
Didier Dujardin
Peter Blakemore
Ernö Rotter

The eight were split into two groups of four with each group playing a single game to decide which two would go through to the final.

One of the two semi-final matches
One of the two semi-final matches
Dirk plays on Mustang
Dirk plays on Mustang

The final four were:

Saturday Side Tournament Finalists
Dirk Elzholz
Gabriele Tedeschi
Peter Blakemore
Ernö Rotter
The final of Saturday's side tournament
The final of Saturday’s side tournament

The final was won by Ernö who finished ahead of Gabriele in second, with Peter third and Dirk fourth.

Winner of Saturday's side tournament, Ernö Rotter
Winner of Saturday’s side tournament, Ernö Rotter
Second place, Gabriele Tedeschi
Second place, Gabriele Tedeschi
Third place, Peter Blakemore
Third place, Peter Blakemore
Fourth place, Dirk Elzholz
Fourth place, Dirk Elzholz
The top four in Saturday's side tournament
The top four in Saturday’s side tournament

Meanwhile, the number of players left in the main ECS tournament began to dwindle as the night continued.

The main ECS tournament later on Saturday night
The main ECS tournament later on Saturday night

The main ECS tournament later on Saturday night

Franck and Daniele battle it out on Creature
Franck and Daniele battle it out on Creature

As we said earlier, the main ECS finals were unlikely to finish on time, and so it proved.

With a fresh tournament to play on Sunday, we stayed until around 1am at which point there was clearly still some way to go. As it turned out, the match above between Franck and Daniele was the semi-final in the winner bracket which Daniele won.

Franck then joined the loser bracket where he played Cayle George. Cayle had had a remarkable run having lost his first round match to Olivier Renders but continuing right through the loser bracket to the final match against Franck, which he also won. That made Franck third, and Taco Wouters – who he beat in the previous winner bracket round – was fourth.

So the final was between Daniele and Cayle. Cayle needed to beat Daniele in the best-of-seven match, and even if he did that, he then had to beat him again in the final best-of-five loser bracket match.

And that’s exactly what he did. A narrow 4-3 victory in the first match was followed by a 3-0 win in the second.

Both skill and stamina were needed, since the final didn’t actually end until 8am – the latest of any tournament Pinball News has ever reported from.

The final winner bracket
The final winner bracket

In order to allow some time to recover, the trophy presentation was deferred until 1pm on Sunday, but even then Daniele was sleeping and not able to attend. The trophies were presented by Tobias in the showroom upstairs.

Cayle receives his trophy
Cayle receives his trophy
IFPA ECS Winner, Cayle George
IFPA ECS Winner, Cayle George
Third place, Franck Bona
Third place, Franck Bona
Fourth place, Taco Wouters
Fourth place, Taco Wouters
Three of the top four, with Daniele's second place trophy
Three of the top four, with Daniele’s second place trophy

Sunday’s tournament was a ‘Swiss-style’ format of 16 rounds, where players are drawn against different opponents and play different machines in each round. When all rounds have been played, the eight players with the most wins went into the play-offs to decide the overall winner.

Trophies for the top eight in Sunday's tournament
Trophies for the top eight in Sunday’s tournament

The tournament began at 10am with the announcement of the first round draw.

Players discover their opponent and the machine they will be playing
Players discover their opponent and the machine they will be playing
The matches are under way
The matches are under way

When a match was over, the winner returned to the computer and selected the winner. Once all matches in a round were over, the next round was drawn.

The match pairings and standings were shown on a monitor
The match pairings and standings were shown on a monitor

At 1pm there was a break for lunch. Again, this was included in the cost of the event, but unlike yesterday most of the food was hot. It was generally agreed that players preferred Sunday’s hot food over Saturday’s cold buffet.

The queue for Sunday's lunch
The queue for Sunday’s lunch
The delicious hot food dishes
The delicious hot food dishes

With lunch over, play resumed in Sunday’s tournament’s qualifying round.

Waiting for the next round to begin
Waiting for the next round to begin

Unfortunately we had an 8pm flight to catch from Hanover which is an hour’s drive away from Bünde, so we had to leave at 5:30pm, just after round 14 of 16 had been completed.

By the end of qualifying, the standings looked like this:

Sunday Tournament Qualifying
1 Roland Schwarz
2= Robert Sutter
2= Cesare Datri
4 Paul Jongma
5= Levente Tregova
5= Ernö Rotter
7 Michael Trepp
8 Roberto Pedroni
9 Jim Lindsay
10 Albert Nomden
11= Taco Wouters
11= Reiner Pfeiffer
13 Kirsten Adam
14= Erwin Deutschländer
14= Peter Blakemore
16= Gabriele Tedeschi
16= Fabio Squadrani
16= Ivan Geentjens
19= Marc Steinmeier
19= Heinz Baumann
19= Marcin Kisiel
22= Ollivier Francq
22= Philipp Unger
24 Martin Ayub
25 David Mainwaring
26= Stefan Hänsch
26= Dirk Elzholz
26= Marco Suvanto
29= Jürg Berchtold
29= Didier Dujardin
31 Mathias Jäger
32= Sven Göttsche
32= Benjamin Gräbeldinger
34 Luhn Stephan
35 William Dutton
36 Andrej Demsar
37= David Dutton
37= Kim Danielmeier
39= Mario Kertels
39= Rich Mallett
41= Heinz Berges
41= Flavio Baddaria
41= Mirco de Marchi
41= Ergun Erdemir
45 Norman Heikamp
46= Lars Thiele
46= Carsten Menke
48= Karl Weber
48= Ari Sovijärvi
50 Dina Fukson
51= Louis Hänsch
51= Lutz Schroeder
51= Jendrik Thiele
54 Thomas Doepelheuer
55 Margit Danielmeier
56= Simon Niehausmeier
56= Tobias Wagemann
58 Archibald Lefevre
59 Jonathan Joosten
60 Olivier Renders
61 Franck Bona
62 Florian Thomas
63 Daniela Oymann

The final placings for both the ECS and Sunday’s tournament are still being drawn up, so we will update this report with those as soon as we get them..

Holding the ECS at Pinball Universe was undoubtedly a success. Their selection of new and expertly restored games has to be second to none, and they have the space to hold two tournaments simultaneously while still providing an extensive free play area. In fact, the whole facility is very impressive, with around as many new-in-box machines as you are likely to see at the Stern Pinball factory.

Talking to the company owners, they tell us these machines are selling because they are creating a new, untapped market for pinballs in Germany.

That’s hugely encouraging in itself, but they are also able to provide players with a world class tournament venue which will receive its next influx of guests at the forthcoming Pinball Universe Battle at the end of March.

PINBALL POPULARITY: CLASSIC vs. CURRENT POP CULTURE THEMES

Back in the early 1970s to the early 1990s, you could find pinball machines everywhere. You would see them in your local bars, arcade, restaurants, bowling alleys, and even your corner stores.

Pinball made game operators a lot of money but required a lot of maintenance. Pinball machines have several moving parts plus over a mile of wire in a single pinball. With more parts in a game, the higher the chance of something going wrong.

In the mid to late ’80s, arcade video games like Pong started taking over at these same commercial locations. They became the product to push since they required less maintenance and game play could be more easily controlled. Timed play made it easier for the venue to make more money.

Pinball machines were slowly phased out at this point and became harder to find for those folks that lived for the game.

The pinball market is having a huge resurgence largely because those who grew up playing it can now purchase machines for their homes. Rather than new games based on popular TVs and movies like Star Wars, it’s the classic, refurbished games that they are willing to pay for.

It is amazing to see so many new companies building great pinball machines again.

While new pinball machines look and play fantastic, there is even a larger demand for the classic games people remember playing when they grew up. They want to face that machine again that they almost mastered before.

Titles like The Addams Family, Attack From Mars, and Twilight Zone are bringing top dollar, with The Addams Family being the top-selling modern pinball machine to date.

The Addams Family
The Addams Family

Pinball collectors want these classic pinball machines refurbished; looking and playing like new games. The top 10 highest rated pinball machines are mostly pinball games from the 1990s.


New vs. Classic Pinball Machines

New pinball sales are also doing great. Most commercial locations buy new machines because of the reliability. Most new pinball machines are license-themed games with current movies, or bands. These new games come with great new features that can capture our attention immediately, whereas, the classic games bring back memories of youth and a desire to own the game they remember.

There are several companies stocking pinball parts and artwork for the classic pinball machines. You can find companies all over the country refurbishing and selling pinball games now. One company, Planetary Pinball, saw the demand for Williams pinball titles and remade one of the best pinball machines ever called Medieval Madness.

The Medieval Madness remake
The Medieval Madness remake

Even with a new version of this game available, folks are willing to pay more for an original Medieval Madness pinball. The new standard version of Medieval Madness retails for around $8,500, while the original retails for almost $10,000.

Medieval Madness
Medieval Madness

Pinball Collectors

The growing retro market has led to a large market for collectors as well. The current pinball manufacturers caught on to that and started offering premium and limited edition versions of their games. These limited games have features that you cannot get in the standard models. Collectors will snatch up a lot of these games, but their game room is also filled with the greatest titles of the past.

Our customers range from pinball collectors to folks just starting in the hobby. There is a sense of pride when showing off your pinball machine to friends and family. They found the game they have been on the hunt for. Folks love seeing older classic pinball machines that look and play like a brand new game. With the older games there is a bit of history that comes with it.

Back in 2003 a brand new, in the box, Stern The Simpsons Pinball Party retailed for $3,695.00. That same game, now, 14 years later is bringing close to $6,000.00 refurbished. The price of well-known and trusted titles keep going up. One of the last titles to come out from Bally/Williams was Cactus Canyon. Less than 1,000 of these games were made and they now can sell for $12,000-$15,000 for restored machines.

New pinball games are keeping pinball current again. That, in itself, is great news for pinball lovers. With the demand for both new and classic pinball machines, these games will become easier to find again.

It does not matter how many times you play the same pinball machine, you will never have the same game twice.

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.

NEW PINBALL-THEMED BEER

Two Brothers Pinball pale ale

Two Brothers Artisan Brewing in Warrenville, Illinois, just launched their new pinball-themed craft beer called Pinball Juicy Hop Pale Ale.

Of course, everyone knows drinking beer goes great with playing pinball, so I am reporting on what may be the first official pinball machine themed beer. The graphics on the can feature flippers, pop bumpers and pinballs.

Pinball machine graphics on the can
Pinball machine graphics on the can

The beer is light-bodied and highly-hopped. It has a tropical and citrus fruit flavor, hoppy and sweet. The alcohol content is 5.4% by volume.

The new Pinball Juicy Hop Pale Ale
The new Pinball Juicy Hop Pale Ale

The Pinball Pale Ale is available at the Two Brothers’ three locations in the Western suburbs of Chicago and at their location in Arizona. The beer is also sold in cans in stores in about a dozen states. Check their website at twobrothersbrewing.com to find out where it is available.

Time to get lit
Time to get lit

Fans of pinball machines and hoppy, sweet craft beers should give this new beer a taste.


UPDATE

Chris Giles wrote to tell us about another pinball beer. This is from Clifford Brewing in Hamilton, Ontario in Canada.

Pinball Wizard beer from Clifford Brewing
Pinball Wizard beer from Clifford Brewing

The 5.7% American Pale Ale is described by the brewers as having, “dominant aromas of citrus, pine, and tropical fruits, paired with a smooth bitterness, and balanced with a slightly bready malt body“.

Pinball Wizard doesn’t seem to be generally available outside Ontario, but if you find it in your local craft beer outlet please let us know.

THE JETSONS

The Jetsons pinball

The next game to be built by Spooky Pinball was announced today. However, The Jetsons is not Spooky Pinball’s own title.

The Jetsons backglass artwork
The Jetsons backglass artwork

The game is actually the product of Nic Park’s The Pinball Company which is based in Columbia, Missouri and which also produced the relaunched Gameroom Magazine. Nic is having the game built by Spooky Pinball in Benton, Wisconsin, for purchase through The Pinball Company’s website and showroom. Spooky Pinball will also be offering to sell the game.

So what of the game itself? Cabinet artwork looks very clean and bright, featuring characters and settings from the Hanna-Barbera animated TV series.

The cabinet and backbox side artwork
The cabinet and backbox side artwork
The cabinet side detail
The cabinet side detail
The cabinet front
The cabinet front
The cabinet front detail
The cabinet front detail

The Jetsons‘ playfield is said to be intentionally simple and easy-to-understand in order to appeal to families, and it is to this market that The Pinball Company is looking to market the game.

The playfield
The playfield

There is a single ramp on the left side which returns the ball into the right inlane, and six stand-up targets in two banks of three to spell out G-E-O and R-G-E. An addition standup on the lower left awards the extra ball when lit.

The central playfield area
The central playfield area

An orbit lane has right and left entrances, both graced with spinners, while an inner orbit is joined by a captive ball and a scoop on the lower left of the playfield.

The left orbit and ramp entrance
The left orbit and ramp entrance

Three rollover lanes feeding to the three pop bumpers compete the top of the playfield, while a single inlane and outlane on each side and the two flippers round off the feature set.

The flippers area
The flippers area

Collecting all the characters seems to be the key to starting Orbit City Multiball, while this and Spacely vs Cogswell Multiball are both needed to qualify the wizard mode.

The feature matrix
The feature matrix

The Jetsons was designed by Dan and Nathan Goett with art from Jon Chad, and is limited to a maximum of 300 machines, with shipping anticipated for late March.

The whole The Jetsons game
The whole The Jetsons game

You might expect the simplified playfield feature-set to equate to a low-end price tag, but The Jetsons is priced at $5,999.00 putting it above a Pro model from Stern. However, these pictures do not show a number of playfield toys which expected to be added but are still the subject of approval by the licensor.

The left slingshot
The left slingshot
The right slingshot
The right slingshot

The Jetsons is expected to debut at the Texas Pinball Festival in March and naturally Pinball News will be there to report on it and the rest of the show.

There has been no official press release about the game, but here’s the flyer instead. You can also find out more and order the game on The Pinball Company’s website.

The flyer for the game
The flyer for the game

KAUA’I ISLAND BREWERY & GRILL

Kauai Island Brewery & Grill

You could possibly be forgiven if you mistook the low-profile building in the off-harbor area of Port Allen for a warehouse of some sort, but at most times of the day, the number of autos parked along Waialo Rd. tell a different story.

The front view
The front view

Approaching a doorway near the nearly half-story high “Kaua’i Island Brewery & Grill” sign it is easy to see the neon sign in the window brightly proclaiming ‘Game Room’.

The sign at the front
The sign at the front
The 'game room' sign
The ‘game room’ sign

But wait- entering the bar/dining area, there is no sign of a ‘game room’ either visual or auditory, so we took the sensible route and asked for a menu and ordered a brew to better assess the situation. Choosing your drink might be the most difficult, but at the same time easiest, decision you make during your visit to Kauai Island Brewery and Grill.

The far wall above the grill shows the beverages of the day – selections the day we visited included Lilikoi Ale, Leiani Light, South Pacific Brown, Captain Cook’s IPA and Cane Fire Red, to name but a few.

Today's beers
Today’s beers

The printed beer menus on each table list their Kauai Island Brewery’s house made beers with a full description. Can’t decide? 5.5 Oz “sampler sizes” are available for any and all beers.

The beer menu
The beer menu

Kauai Island Brewing Company’s slogan is ‘Last Beer Before Tomorrow’ which is a reference to the Hawai’ian Islands proximity to the international date line.

Pair your beer with a whiskey and then get some swag
Pair your beer with a whiskey and then get some swag

The luncheon menu has a lot of great choices; Terri ordered the Kalua Pork sandwich topped with provolone cheese and BBQ sauce, while I had the house made veggie burger, which I must comment was unlike any that I have ever had anywhere.

Page one of the food menu
Page one of the food menu

Our sandwiches came with french fried potatoes which appeared to be ‘double fried’. Waffle fries are apparently available also but we did not see them on the menu. Sandwiches also come with ‘Java Slaw’ which had a unique flavor and texture.

Page two of the food menu
Page two of the food menu

After our lunch we asked the server “Where are the games?” to which he pointed up into a darkened loft area. Intrepid investigation found a change machine and the pinball tables – all turned off. We learned that they are normally ‘off’ and customers are asked to turn them on and off as needed. I wondered if the average person ‘off-the-street’ would know where the power switches was on a pinball?

The upstairs loft area overlooks Waialo Road and had a scenic view of the harbor if you were standing in just the right location. I could imagine the locals using this as their Saturday night command centre while enjoying a brew or five.

Now on to the games. There were six on site when we visited, one of which was being repaired, which left more pins available to play than any other site that we found during our Hawai’i travels.

Four of the pinballs
Four of the pinballs

The games at Kauai Island Brewery and Grill were:

  • Creature from the Black Lagoon (1992, Bally/Midway) which was designed by John Trudeau and has a 1950s drive-in movie theme. I have never seen this game before in-the-wild and it was a pleasure to be able to play it for 50 cents per game.
Only 50c a game for Creature
Only 50c a game for Creature
  • Monopoly (2001, Stern) which was designed by Pat Lawlor and as you might expect, is based on the board game of the same name. It was 50 cents per game also.
  • X-Men (2012, Stern) was designed by John Borg and has visual as well as play aspects from the Marvel comic books and the movies that were based on the comic characters. It is 75 cents per play or 3 games for $2.
75c for X-Men
75c for X-Men
  • Indiana Jones (1993, Williams) was a Mark Ritchie design with themes from the first three theatrical movies. This machine has an optional shaker. It is set at $1 per game.
Pricing for Indiana Jones
Pricing for Indiana Jones
  • The Wizard of Oz (2013, Jersey Jack) was being serviced so we were not able to play or examine it for condition. We were told it is the newest game in the house so I would expect it would play like a new game.
  • Star Trek (2013, Stern) was designed by Steve Ritchie and is based on characters and themes from the recent movie ‘reboot’ of the Star Trek television series franchise. It is set at $1 per game.
Star Trek
Star Trek

As briefly mentioned above, there is a dollar bill change machine near the games for those that only accept quarters.

There is little to say about these games other than they are in immaculate condition and play like brand new. It is obvious that they have been cared for very well and are maintained to be in tip-top shape.

Terri enjoying Creature
Terri enjoying Creature

Due to many factors – not the least of which is lack of trained pinball mechanics – the pinball machine is a rare sight indeed in the 50th of the United States. We were told that an arcade chain on O’ahu removed all of the pinball games that they had within the last year due to difficulty with service and obtaining parts. The high humidity and proximity to the ocean probably plays havoc with mechanical parts of games also.

The Wizard of Oz gets some TLC
The Wizard of Oz gets some TLC

Our visit to Kauai Island Brewery and Grill was a glimpse at one of the last of a handful of sites in the Hawai’ian islands still offering pinball.

Players enjoying the games
Players enjoying the games
Players enjoying the games
Players enjoying the games

If you are in the area I would encourage you to visit Kauai Island Brewery and Grill; if not for the games, then for the refreshments.