STAR WARS SEMINAR

Steve Ritchie spoke recently at the Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show in Tacoma, Washington, where he gave more details about his upcoming Star Wars game.

You can read the full show report in our Shows section, but here’s the relevant part about Star wars.

Steve Ritchie
Steve Ritchie

Steve said he was recovering from some optical treatment and therefore had to avoid the kind of bright light shining through the multiple glass panels in the seminar area.

He then continued by thanking the many people at Stern Pinball who had contributed to his latest game Star Wars which is soon to be released. He said production of the Pro model would begin in about a week.

Although always diplomatic about the details, it was clear from Steve’s talk that his and Stern’s dealings with Lucasfilm on the Star Wars franchise had not been without some difficulties, especially in getting approval for their artwork ideas for the game.

Steve was then joined by Greg Freres who talked further about the artwork approval process.

Steve and Greg
Steve and Greg

Greg showed pictures of the team’s initial ideas, working through the first licensor submissions to the final approved product.

Initial cabinet art ideas
Initial cabinet art ideas Click to expand

Initial backglass art ideas
Initial backglass art ideas Click to expand

Initial playfield art ideas
Initial playfield art ideas Click to expand

After showing a promo video for Star Wars Steve described the gameplay, saying at the start of the game you can choose one of four characters – Luke, Leia, Han or R2-D2. He said they had a lot of fun despite all the grief from the licensor, although they didn’t interfere with the design of the playfield.

Steve said there are nine multiball modes in the game, and when asked how Stern Pinball were able to secure the Star Wars licence said it was simply that they offered more money than anyone else.

We’ll have much more about the new Star Wars Pinball game very soon here at Pinball News.

STERN APPOINTS NEW CONSUMER SALES POSITION

Stern Pinball

In recognition of the large and growing importance of sales of machines and merchandise to home buyers, Stern Pinball has made a new appointment to the post of Director of Consumer Sales.

Erik Gilly, the former US Sales Manager for Bandai-Namco with responsibility for contracts with Dave & Buster’s and Chuck-E-Cheese amongst others, takes up the role to promote sales of pinball machines, accessories and merchandise.

Erik Gilly
Erik Gilly

He will also be looking to grow the US network of Stern Pinball dealers, pushing the company’s products into new area.

Here’s how Stern Pinball made the announcement.

Stern Pinball Announces The Hiring of Erik Gilly New Director of Consumer Sales

Elk Grove Village, IL – May 22, 2017 – Stern Pinball, Inc., the world’s oldest and largest producer of arcade-quality pinball machines, announced today the hiring of Erik Gilly Director of Consumer Sales.

Erik most recently worked for Bandai Namco Entertainment where he served as U.S. Sales Manager since October 2012. Erik was accountable for managing a sales portfolio that included Dave and Buster’s, Chuck E Cheese, and other National Accounts.

Erik will lead SPI in expanding its rapidly growing U.S. dealer market while focusing on growing the Stern brand portfolio including pinball machines, merchandise, and accessories.

Erik is a great fit for Stern and has an industry background rooted in interactive gaming. Erik also shares our vision for Everything Pinball,” said John Buscaglia, Chief Revenue Officer of Stern Pinball.

About Stern Pinball, Inc.

Stern Pinball, Inc., headquartered just outside Chicago, Illinois, is the oldest and largest producer of arcade-quality pinball games in the world. Stern Pinball’s highly talented creative and technical teams design, engineer and manufacture a full line of popular pinball games, merchandise and accessories.

Recent Stern titles include Aerosmith, Batman ‘66, Ghostbusters, Game of Thrones, WWE WrestleMania, The Walking Dead, Mustang, Star Trek, Metallica, The Avengers, X-Men, Tron, Transformers, Avatar, Iron Man, Batman, Spider-Man and many more! All of Stern Pinball’s games are crafted by hand and assembled by Stern Pinball’s expert team. A broad range of players enjoy Stern’s games from professional pinball players that compete in high-stakes international competitions around the globe to novice players who are discovering the allure of the silver ball for the first time.

To join the fun and learn more, please visit www.sternpinball.com.

NORTHWEST PINBALL & ARCADE SHOW 2017

This year marks the tenth holding of the Northwest Pinball & Arcade Show. After starting in central Seattle, it is now held at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center in downtown Tacoma.

The show poster designed by John Youssi
The show poster designed by John Youssi

The Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center
The Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center

The building sits on a hill, meaning there is a ground floor entrance at the front and a third floor entrance at the side.

The side entrance
The side entrance

Thursday

The show is held on the fifth floor which, thanks to the terrain, has a ground-level loading bay at the rear, from which an army of volunteers unloaded trucks as soon as they arrived. Games were initially unloaded onto the dock and then wheeled into the hall.

Another truck is unloaded
Another truck is unloaded

The loading dock
The loading dock

Games are wheeled into the hall
Games are wheeled into the hall

Games in the hall
Games in the hall

Pinballs in the hall
Pinballs in the hall

Pinballs in the hall
Pinballs in the hall

Pinballs being set up
EM Pinballs being set up

Pinballs being set up
Pinballs being set up

Stern Pinball has an impressive line-up of current titles, including Ghostbusters, Batman 66, Game of Thrones, AC/DC Remake and Aerosmith.

A line-up of new Stern Pinball games
A line-up of new Stern Pinball games

Spider-Man VE and Batman Premium
Spider-Man VE and Batman Premium

There are two Dialed In! games set up in the centre of the hall.

Two Dialed In! games
Two Dialed In! games

Nitro Amusements had an Alien Pinball and a Medieval Madness Remake set up, with a Houdini also on its way.

Alien and Attack from Mars Remake
Alien and Attack from Mars Remake

Spooky Pinball is also represented
Spooky Pinball is also represented

As usual, the tournament area is found on the left side of the hall.

Setting up tournament machines
Setting up tournament machines

More tournament games
More tournament games

At the front of the hall, the prize desk was being constructed. This is where the regular hourly prize draws will be held, along with the daily grand prize draws.

Building the prize desk
Building the prize desk

The show is held in exhibition hall B, but registration takes place in the lobby along with the seminars and a kids play area.

The entrance door to the show hall
The entrance door to the show hall

Setting up the registration desk and kids play area
Setting up the registration desk and kids play area

Building the seminar technical area
Building the seminars technical area

The seminars area
The seminars area

In the lobby just outside the show hall entrance were a few stands selling artwork, T-shirts and promoting comic books for kids.

Stands in the lobby
Stands in the lobby

Artist Hilma Josal was exhibiting some of her artworks and there to talk about them and take private commissions.

Hilma Josal's stand
Hilma Josal’s stand Click to expand

Next door, T-shirts promoting assorted pinball and arcade themes and locations could be purchased.

Get your T-shirts here
Get your T-shirts here

Also in the lobby, Comics4Kids were giving away comic books as a part of their drive to improve literacy and foster imagination in kids.

Comics4Kids' stand
Comics4Kids’ stand

Friday

Before the opening, a large queue had built up to buy entry or to pick up pre-purchased tickets.

The queue for registration
The queue for registration

Collecting wristbands for show entry
Collecting wristbands for show entry

To keep the younger guests entertained while they waited for the start of the show, there was the kids area with games on free play.

The kids area
The kids area

The doors to the hall opened on schedule at midday.

The first guests through the doors
The first guests through the doors

Inside the hall there had been some changes since Thursday night.

The Houdini game had arrived, along with Jolly Backer and Joe Balcer from American Pinball.

Houdini from American Pinball
Houdini from American Pinball

Jolly and Joe
Jolly and Joe

Also on the same stand, Heighway Pinball’s Alien Pinball was being checked out by the game’s sound designer and composer, David Thiel.

David Thiel plays Alien Pinball
David Thiel plays Alien Pinball

Jersey Jack Pinball had their The Wizard of Oz and The Hobbit games, in addition to the two Dialed In! games in the centre of the room.

Jack with one of the two Dialed In! machines
Jack with one of the two Dialed In! machines

The number of Stern Pinball games brought by Marco Specialties had also increased, with the display expanding to two rows.

The many new Stern Pinball machines
The many new Stern Pinball machines

The prize desk at the front of the show was complete, exhibiting the many prizes on offer and the complete machines which would be given away to lucky ticket-holders.

The prize desk
The prize desk

The show's grand prize - a Batman 66 Premium
The show’s grand prize – a Batman 66 Premium

Friday's grand prize - a Nintendo Switch
Friday’s grand prize – a Nintendo Switch

Saturday's grand prize - a Stellar Wars
Saturday’s grand prize – a Stellar Wars

Sunday's grand prize - a Mario Bros video
Sunday’s grand prize – a Mario Bros video

If you didn’t think you were lucky enough to win, you could always make a silent bid on a new Ghostbusters playfield, or just buy some of the show merchandise.

The silent auction item
The silent auction item

Swag available from the prize desk
Swag available from the prize desk

The first seminars of the show also took place on Friday. All the seminars were intended to be streamed live and also made available on YouTube after the show, Due to technical difficulties, they weren’t all streamed, but should all be available on the Northwest Pinball & Arcade Show’s YouTube channel.

As is usual at the show, the seminars are kicked-off by Dave Okert and David Shoemaker who this time held three technical seminars – NVRAM For Pins & Vids, Scan Line Generator For LCDs and Wizard Of Oz Pinball Troubleshooting & Repairs.

Dave Okert and David Shoemaker's The Wizard of Oz seminar
Dave Okert and David Shoemaker’s The Wizard of Oz seminar

You can watch their three seminars here:

Then at 5pm Stern Pinball game designer John Trudeau held a seminar to talk about his Ghostbusters game. He was joined by Stern’s Art Director, Greg Freres who described how the game’s artist, Jeremy Packer a.k.a. ZombieYeti, created the cabinet, playfield and backglass art packages for the three models.

John Trudeau and Greg Freres
John Trudeau and Greg Freres

John began by talking about his design ideas, things he really wanted to get into the game, the things which were taken out, and the various elements from the first and second movie incorporated into the game.

Greg then showed some initial sketch ideas for the backglass, all of which features a montage of the four Ghostbusters, but arranged in different post ions and poses. He also said how Bill Murray was not happy with the idea of a hand-drawn depiction, but was eventually brought around to the idea and Jeremy’s stylised treatment.

Early concept art for Ghostbusters
Early concept art for Ghostbusters Click to expand
(Click to expand)

After John and Greg it was time for a seminar by Tim Kitzrow.

Tim is a voice artist who has provided the commentary track for many sporting event along with arcade and console games. His pinball credits include NBA Fastbreak, World Cup Soccer, Judge Dredd, Roadshow, Twilight Zone, Attack from Mars and The Shadow.

His catchphrase is “Boom Shaka-Laka”, which he was promoting with special T-shirts and on his MrBoomShakaLaka.com website.

Tim Kitzrow
Tim Kitzrow

Here’s Tim’s seminar split into two parts:

 

Saturday

As anticipated, Saturday is the busiest day at the show. That meant most of the 192 free play pinball machines along with many of the video games were in use for most of the day, while the team of medics were fully occupied making repairs and sorting out stuck balls.

Show visitors enjoying the games
Show visitors enjoying the games

Show visitors enjoying the games
Show visitors enjoying the games

Show visitors enjoying the games
Show visitors enjoying the games

Show visitors enjoying the games
Show visitors enjoying the games

Show visitors enjoying the games
Show visitors enjoying the games

Show visitors enjoying the games
Show visitors enjoying the games

Here’s a full list of the pinballs available to play at the show.

Free Play Pinballs (192)
2001
4 Square
AC/DC Lucie
AC/DC Vault Edition
AC/DC Vault Edition
AC/DC Vault Edition
Addams Family, The
Addams Family, The
Addams Family, The
Aerosmith Premium
Aerosmith Pro
Alien Pinball
Attack from Mars Remake Special Edition
Attack from Mars Remake Special Edition
Aztec
Batman 66 Premium
Batman 66 Premium
Batman 66 Premium
Batman 66 Premium
Batman Forever
Baywatch
Big Brave
Big Hurt, Frank Thomas’s
Black Hole
Black Knight
Black Knight 2000
Black Rose
Breakshot
Buccaneer
Buckaroo
Capersville
Capt. Card
Capt. Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy
Captain Hook
Caveman
Centaur II
Champion Pub, The
Checkpoint
Cleopatra
Congo
Cosmic Gunfight
Countdown
Crescendo
Cross Town
Demolition Man
Dialed In!
Dialed In!
Doctor Who
Doctor Who
Dogies
Dragon
Earthshaker*
Egg Head*
Eight Ball
Evel Knievel
F-14 Tomcat
Faces
Faces
Fire!
Firepower
Firepower 2
Fish Tales
Flip a Card
Flip Flop!
Flying Carpet
Freddy: A Nightmare on Elm Street
Funhouse
Galactic Girl
Galaxy
Game of Thrones Pro
Game of Thrones Pro
Game Show, The Bally
Ghostbusters Premium
Ghostbusters Premium
Ghostbusters Premium
Golden Arrow
Grand Slam
Grand Slam
Grand Slam*
Guns N’ Roses
Guys Dolls*
Harley Davidson (Bally)
High Speed
High Speed 2: The Getaway
High Speed 2: The Getaway*
Hobbit Smaug Edition, The
Hokus Pokus
Houdini
Humpty Dumpty
Independence Day
Jack in the Box
Jacks Open
Judge Dredd
King Kool
Kiss Pro
Lady Luck
Laser War
Lethal Weapon 3
Lord of the Rings, The
Lord of the Rings, The
Lucky Hand
Lucky Strike
Magic Castle
Metallica Premium
Metallica Pro
Meteor*
Miss-O
Monster Bash
Motordome*
Mousin’ Around
Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man
Mustang Premium
NASCAR
NBA Fastbreak
Night Rider
Nip-It
No Good Gofers
Old Chicago
Party Zone, The
Pinball Pool
Playboy (Bally)
Police Force
Police Force
Popeye Saves the Earth
Popeye Saves the Earth
Power Play, Bobby Orr
Punchy the Clown
Rescue 911
Ripley’s Believe it or Not!
Roller Disco
Rollergirlz
Safecracker
Safecracker
Scared Stiff
Seawitch
Shadow, The
Shrek
Simpsons Pinball Party, The
Sky Line
Skylab
Slick Chick
Solar Ride
Sopranos, The
Space Invaders
Space Odyssey
Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
Speakeasy
Speakeasy
Spider-Man Vault Edition
Spin-a-Card
Spot Pool
Spring Break
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Wars (Data East)
Steampunk Royale
Stellar Wars
Striker Xtreme
Strikes and Spares
Super Mario Bros.: Mushroom World
Super Mario Bros.: Mushroom World
Sure Shot
Swords of Fury
Swords of Fury
Tales from the Crypt
Tales from the Crypt
Tales of the Arabian Nights
Tattoo Mystique
Taxi
Teacher’s Pet
Team One
Terminator 2
Terminator 2
Theatre of Magic
Tommy, The Who’s
Top Card
Truck Stop
Twilight Zone
USA Football*
Viper Night Drivin’
Volley
Whirlwind
Whirlwind
Whitewater
Whitewater
Whitewater*
Wizard of Oz Emeral City Limited Edition, The
Wizard of Oz Standard, The
World Cup Soccer
World Cup Soccer
X-Men Magneto Limited Edition

 

Pingolf Tournament Pinballs (10)
Black Hole
Capt. Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy
Joker Poker
Mars Trek
Mata Hari
Nitro Groundshaker
Paragon
Trident
Volley
Vulcan

 

Match Play Tournament Pinballs (16)
Congo
Dracula, Bram Stoker’s
Fish Tales
Funhouse
Grand Prix
Hot Doggin’
Lord of the Rings, The
Medieval Madness
Monster Bash
NBA
Stargate
Tron
Walking Dead, The
World Cup Soccer
World Poker Tour
WWF Royal Rumble

Saturday’s seminars began at 11am with the team from American Pinball, led by Joe Balcer.

The American Pinball Team
The American Pinball Team:
Dhaval Vasani, Jolly Backer and Joe Balcer

The team was here to talk about their Houdini game which was on the show floor at the Nitro Amusements stand.

Joe did most of the talking, describing the history of the game, how it totally changed from the original concept, and how they rejected the pre-order sales model in favour of building the game first and then offering it for sale.

Joe Balcer
Joe Balcer

He said they will build the game at the American Pinball factory in Streamwood, Illinois, with playfields coming from an external company. There are, he continued, a number of options available for playfield suppliers both in the US and in Europe. Similarly, some of the game assemblies will be built and tested externally, although the two largest mechanisms will be built in-house.

Joe said they were planning for an initial production run of 1,000 machines, with the intention of ultimately getting production up to 100 machines a week.

Jolly then talked about setting up the distribution network, saying they had no intention of selling machines direct to customers, along with all the pre- and after-sales support that results.

The American Pinball Team
The American Pinball Team

Jolly also said that the 1,000 machine number quoted by Joe was only for North American sales. The company already had 12-15 distributors in the US and Canada but hadn’t yet appointed any European or Australasian distributors. However, Jolly expected an additional 1,000 machine sales from those areas.

Watch the American Pinball seminar here:

At 12:30, John Youssi took to the seminar stage.

John Youssi
John Youssi

John is a renowned artist with many pinball game credits. He is especially well-know for his many collaborations with game designer Pat Lawlor, having created the artwork for all Pat’s games since Whirlwind in 1990.

John talked specifically about their latest collaboration – the Jersey Jack Pinball game, Dialed In!. He explained how the final artwork evolved from a series of pencil sketches – many of which were not ultimately used in the game – through to black and white artwork and then to full colour, often changing along the way to better match the physical playfield toys.

John's concept drawings for 'Betty'
John’s inspirations and concept drawings for ‘Betty’ Click to expand

Concept drawings for the Q.E.D. electric guy
Concept drawings for the Q.E.D. electric guy Click to expand

He also showed the different versions of cabinet, backbox, bottom arch and backglass art used in the Collector, Limited Edition and Standard Edition of the game. John also revealed how he was responsible for the exclamation mark at the end of the Dialed In! title. He put it in and, he said, nobody asked him to remove it.

After his seminar John talked to guests and signed translites, flyers and other items he designed.

John talked to guests and signed their pinball items
John talked to guests and signed their pinball items

Here’s John’s seminar:

Then, continuing the theme of Dialed In!, Jack Guarnieri a.k.a. Jersey Jack was joined on stage by Butch Peel and David Thiel to talk about the conception and subsequent development of the game.

Jack Guarnieri
Jack Guarnieri

Jack talked about how he first got Pat Lawlor to design a game for his company, and how he was sold on the original concept of a disaster-themed game, following on from Pat’s earlier Whirlwind and Earthshaker! titles.

He showed pictures from the factory showing the first production Dialed In! games on the line.

Butch Peel and David Thiel
Butch Peel and David Thiel

Here’s the Jersey Jack Pinball seminar in full:

After a long day at the show, we took the opportunity to dive out for some lunch at a wonderful Japanese restaurant just up the street in Tacoma called The Koi.

Their happy hour began at 2pm when all shareable dishes are just $5, beers $2.50 and they have a couple of specials on sake. We especially recommend their Panko Oyster, Yummi Mini and Fancy Jalapeño. The 7 Seas Seven Ballz Deep IPA is also very tasty. They were so good this was our second consecutive lunchtime visit, having vowed to return after the first visit.

When we returned at 3.30pm, refreshed and relaxed, Mark Ritchie was just taking to the stage to talk about his life in pinball.

Mark Ritchie
Mark Ritchie

Mark described how he got into the pinball business, first at Atari and then at Williams, initially as a technician and then as a game designer starting with Thunderball which was never manufactured beyond the ten prototype games. After that, he did Firepower II – the sequel to his brother’s game – and Pennant Fever, a pitch-and-bat baseball game which was, he said, Williams’ first solid-state pitch-and-bat game.

Mark then talked through all his games in chronological order, including such classics as Big Guns – one of his collaborations with Python Anghelo – Taxi, Diner, Fish Tales and Indiana Jones.

Mark certainly didn’t rule out a return to pinball, but did confide to us that rumours of his involvement in a Pulp Fiction game being built by Stern were just that – rumours, with no truth behind them.

You can watch Mark’s seminar here:

Mark’s brother Steve Ritchie was next to take to the stage with his 5pm seminar.

Steve Ritchie
Steve Ritchie

Steve said he was recovering from some optical treatment and therefore had to avoid the kind of bright light shining through the multiple glass panels in the seminar area.

He then continued by thanking the many people at Stern Pinball who had contributed to his latest game Star Wars which is soon to be released. He said production of the Pro model would begin in about a week.

Although always diplomatic about the details, it was clear from Steve’s talk that his and Stern’s dealings with Lucasfilm on the Star Wars franchise had not been without some difficulties, especially in getting approval for their artwork ideas for the game.

Steve was then joined by Greg Freres who talked further about the artwork approval process.

Steve and Greg
Steve and Greg

Greg showed pictures of the team’s initial ideas, working through the first licensor submissions to the final approved product.

Initial cabinet art ideas
Initial cabinet art ideas Click to expand

Initial backglass art ideas
Initial backglass art ideas Click to expand

Initial playfield art ideas
Initial playfield art ideas Click to expand

After showing a promo video from Star Wars Steve described the gameplay, saying at the start of the game you can choose one of four characters – Luke, Leia, Han or R2-D2. He said they had a lot of fun despite all the grief from the licensor, although they didn’t interfere with the design of the playfield.

Steve said there are nine multiball modes in the game, and when asked how Stern Pinball were able to secure the Star Wars licence said it was simply that they offered more money than anyone else.

Steve and Greg’s talk can be seen in this video of the seminar:

Meanwhile back in the show hall, here’s a look around the show using our aerial camera.

The Stern Pinball corner
The Stern Pinball corner

The Stern Pinball corner
The Stern Pinball corner

The front of the show hall
The front of the show hall

The modern pinball area
The modern pinball area

The tournament area
The tournament area

Video games at the back of the hall
Video games at the back of the hall

The queue to play the World's Largest Space Invaders
The queue to play the World’s Largest Space Invaders

More video games
More video games and pinballs

Custom and EM pinballs
Custom and EM pinballs

More EM pinballs
More EM pinballs

Keeping the games up-and-running, the show medics' area
Keeping the games up-and-running, the show medics’ area

No show would be complete without its selection of vendors and the NWPAS didn’t disappoint here either.

Rich Bro's Pinball and Arcade
Rich Bro’s Pinball and Arcade

Rob Anthony's Pinball Classics
Rob Anthony’s Pinball Classics

Pogs, trading cards, patches, decals and more
Pogs, trading cards, patches, decals and more

Local arcade/bar Another Castle were promoting their two locations
Local arcade/bar Another Castle were promoting their two locations

Red Floor Arcade's multi-game cabinets
Red Floor Arcade’s multi-game cabinets

Starship Fantasy had their usual huge display of ramps, playfields and backglasses
Starship Fantasy had their usual huge display of ramps, playfields and backglasses

Fast Pinball were showing thei pinball controller boardsets
Fast Pinball were showing their pinball controller boardsets…

...plus a few project games
…plus a few project games

As seen earlier, Nitro Amusements had the latest games from three companies
Nitro Amusements had the latest games from three companies

Alien, Attack from Mars remake and Houdini
Alien, Attack from Mars remake and Houdini

In addition to Dialed In!, Jersey Jack Pinball had their first two titles to play
In addition to Dialed In!, Jersey Jack Pinball had their first two titles to play

Pinball Bulbs had a large stand filled with LED choices
Pinball Bulbs had a large stand filled with LED choices

There were three compact games from VPcabs
There were three compact games from VPcabs

Console game players were not forgotten either
Console game players were not forgotten either

While BuzzBuzz Games provided even more choice
While BuzzBuzz Games provided even more choice

Handheld gamers had something for them too
Handheld gamers had something for them too

Not forgetting to feed the body as well as the mind
Not forgetting to feed the body as well as the mind

Here’s our exclusive Twenty-Five Minute Tour video walk-around at the NWPAS 2017, showing you everything from the lobby, through the main hall and into the seminars.

As usual, several pinball tournaments were held at the Northwest Pinball & Arcade Show, with the largest being the Match Play tournament, entry to which cost $25. The tournaments were run by Dave Stewart and Germain Mariolle.

Trophies for the many tournaments
Trophies for the many tournaments

Amy from Congo awaits the winner of the Match Play Tournament
Amy from Congo awaits the winner of the Match Play Tournament

This had five three-hour qualifying sessions, starting at 1:30pm on Friday with the final session at 8pm on Saturday evening. Each session saw players put into 3- or 4-player groups to play a single game on a specified machine. Points were then awarded for positions, with bonus points awarded according to how large the gap was between players’ scores.

After the first game, new groups were made and a second machine played in the same way as the first. This continued until five machines had been played, when the seven players with the most points had qualified. The top qualifier received a bye through the next round, while the remaining six played in the first round of play-offs on Sunday morning. Those who didn’t qualify could try again in up to two more sessions.

Qualifying in the Match Play Tournament
Qualifying in the Match Play Tournament

Sixteen machines were used in the Match Play area. They were:

Congo
Dracula, Bram Stoker’s
Fish Tales
Funhouse
Grand Prix
Hot Doggin’
Lord of the Rings, The
Medieval Madness
Monster Bash
NBA
Stargate
Tron
Walking Dead, The
World Cup Soccer
World Poker Tour
WWF Royal Rumble

Meanwhile, the Pingolf Tournament was played on ten machines on the other side of the tournament area.

Play in the Pingolf Tournament
Play in the Pingolf Tournament

Entry to this was also $25, which got you one game on each of the ten machines. Each machine had a score target to achieve using the fewest balls possible. All the machines were set to five ball play, and the number of balls used to reach the target was your score for that machine. If the target wasn’t reached with the five balls, a sliding scale gave you a score from six to ten, depending on how close you got.

The ten machines used were:

Black Hole
Capt. Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy
Joker Poker
Mars Trek
Mata Hari
Nitro Groundshaker
Paragon
Trident
Volley
Vulcan

The 27 players with the lowest scores qualified for the play-off round which took place at 5pm on Saturday.

The Pingolf Tournament play-offs
The Pingolf Tournament play-offs

In addition to these two, there was also a Rookie Tournament for players with an IFPA ranking of 2,000th or lower, or if they are unranked, a Women’s Championship where the top prize was a restored Ali pinball supplied by sponsors Nitro Amusements, and a Kids Tournament held on Shrek out in the lobby.

The main Match Play Tournament was the last to finish and came down to a three-way final between Eden Stamm, Jesse Mullene and Jesse Labbe.

Time is always very tight for the tournaments at the NWPAS, with the show closing at 3pm and no tournaments allowed to continue past that time. As a consequence, the final of the Match Play Tournament is played as three concurrent three-player games with players moving from machine to machine as their turn comes up.

The three machines chosen were WWF Royal Rumble, World Cup Soccer and NBA.

Eden, Jesse and Jesse in the Match Play Tournament final
Eden, Jesse and Jesse in the Match Play Tournament final

After winning on World Cup Soccer by 728,720,800 to 674,773,190 and 350,062,980, and also on NBA by 14,485,210 to 5,456,350 and 1,219,210, Eden looked unassailable with only WWF Royal Rumble to complete.

Eden on WWF Royal Rumble
Eden on WWF Royal Rumble

The shot shown above gave him the win on WWF as well, with Jesse Mullene in second place and Jesse Labbe in third. Prizes and cash awards of $1,000 for first, $700 for second and $500 for third were presented by Tournament Director, Dave Stewart.

Tournament Director Dave Stewart announces the results
Tournament Director Dave Stewart announces the results

Winner of the Match Play Tournament, Eden Stamm
Winner of the Match Play Tournament, Eden Stamm

Second place, Jesse Mullene
Second place, Jesse Mullene

Third place, Jesse Labbe
Third place, Jesse Labbe

There was also a B Division in the Match Play Tournament for the quarter-finalists who finished in 8th-21st places.

These B Division players played alongside the A Division players shown above, with their final taking place on The Walking Dead, The Lord of the Rings and Congo.

Josh Bartlett won on the first two and came second on Congo to win the final.

Dwayne Smith was second on the first two and third on Congo to tie on points with Nic Crowson who was third on the first two but won on the third, but Nic won the play-off to take second.

Winner of the B Division in the Match Play Tournament, Josh Bartlett
Winner of the B Division in the Match Play Tournament, Josh Bartlett

Second place, Nic Crowson
Second place, Nic Crowson

Third place, Dwayne Smith
Third place, Dwayne Smith

Match Play Tournament
Pos Name
1 Eden Stamm
2 Jesse Mullene
3 Jesse Labbe
4 Jordan Semrow
4 Robert Gagno
6 Chad Bruhaug
6 Raymond Davidson
8 Joshua Bartlett
9 Mika Rollin
9 Todd Rafacz
11 Chris Perlot
12 Sergey Posrednikov
13 Craig R Jones
13 Dave Grant
13 Dwayne Smith
13 Nic Crowson
17 Robbie Finnigan
17 Todd Larsen
19 Dave Stewart
20 Colin Urban
20 Sean Lind
22 Daniel Rone
22 Mathew Peterson
24 Brooke Lukens
24 Germain Mariolle
26 Alex Tada
26 Jared Baldridge
26 Xavier Marin
29 Thomas Urban
30 John Cambareri
30 Simon Stocker
32 Alan Wiley
33 Jon Salzman
34 Trevor McDonald
35 Chris Chinn
36 Brandon Tibbetts
36 William Scott Jordan
36 Zach Amador
39 Andrew McCann
39 Flash Haze
39 Kevin Birrell
39 Maka Honig
39 Mike Pantoliano
44 Bre Lloyd
44 Brooke Borcherding
44 Bryan Eastman
44 Derek Price
44 Eric Wagensonner
44 Erin Harting
44 James Daniels
44 Julie Gray
44 Lonnie Langford
44 Louise Wagensonner
44 Mark Lindbergh
44 Michael Tibbetts
44 Patrick Carlson
44 Peter Schatzer
44 Sean Shypula
44 Tracy Lindbergh
44 Travis Maisch
61 Claire Burke
61 Dwayne Collins
61 Fabian Benabente
61 Josh Bellinghausen
61 Nick Cline
61 Sam Atlas
61 Sean Leary
61 Zoe Vrabel
69 Aaron Garberding
70 Allison McClure
70 Cameron Staley
70 John Robinson WA
70 Joseph Salender
70 Justin Hugeback
70 Katie Janis
70 Lou Nemphos
70 Mike Corbett WA
70 Miles Grant
70 Sean McDonald
70 Timm Shere
81 Anthony Welters
81 Blake Hurdle
81 Dan Griffin
81 Darin Lange
81 Eric Morales
81 Greg Poverelli
81 Heather Loudon
81 Jarrett Gaddy
81 Kay Kay
81 Matt Anderson
81 Nick Pernisco
81 Ramsey Sierra
81 Rob Moller
81 Thomas Stepp
81 Tim McCool
96 Anthony McCammant
96 Cody McPike
96 Jack Slovacek
96 Jeff Anderson WA
96 Kayla Greet
96 Luke Camarda
96 Matt Galbraith
96 Matt Slater
96 Ronnie Vanwormer
96 Ryan Newstrum
96 Stephen Rakonza
107 Brandon Bras
107 Collin Topolski
107 Corbin Sheffels
107 Heather Thompson
107 James Southern
107 James Stubbington
107 Jeff Gagnon
107 Jonathan Hawthorne
107 Mike Magruder
107 Neil Kubath
107 Ryan Hess
107 Todd MacCulloch
107 Zac Petersen
120 Aviana Smith
120 Bo Kellogg
120 Brett Wolfe
120 Chelsey Oedewaldt
120 Christel Macabeo
120 Corey Roberson
120 Emmalyn Smith
120 Gilbert Sandejas
120 Jason Dowell
120 Jessica DeNardo
120 Karri Kuoppamaki
120 Nigel Colbert
120 Nycole Hyatt
120 Philip Joupperi
120 Rob Dancu
120 Tressa Points
136 Alex Bowen
136 Jaakko Kuoppamaki
136 Kylie Waibel
136 Marcus Schmick
136 Neil Oney
141 Altwin Hawksford
141 Brian Chesbrough
141 Darren Hensley
141 David Rauschenberg
141 Jeff Sawyer
141 Mike Arena
141 Rachel Helm
141 Robin Moore
141 Sara Urban
150 Matt Wolfe
150 Theresa Martin
152 Bob Klossner
152 Matt Ewan
152 Matt Golden
152 Matt Sarnoff
152 Max Stewart
152 Simon Hearsey
152 Tyler Beard
159 Alex Skinner
159 Amber Marie Simon
159 Dan Danger
159 Kathy Gagno
163 Brock Herriges
163 Jackie O’Malley
163 Michael Warfield
163 Nickie Dowell
163 Sean Morrow
168 Joe Slovacek
169 James Beard

The Rookie Tournament was played in a three-strikes-and-you’re-out format, with head-to-head matches between the 97 players who entered. This meant players continued playing in rounds of single two-player games until they had lost three games at which point they were out of the tournament.

Time constraints meant the tournament had to be drawn to a close with a bunch of players still on two strikes, two on one strike and one player undefeated.

The twelve players on two strikes were all given $20 prizes for joint fourth place, while Thomas Stepp who had no strikes yet played in a three-man final with Vincent Sperrazza and Rob Files who both had one strike.

Germain explains the rules to finalists Rob, Thomas and Vincent
Germain explains the rules to finalists Rob, Thomas and Vincent

The format for the sudden-death final on Hot Doggin’ gave just one ball to Rob and Vincent, with Thomas having two balls to play due to him having one fewer strike against him.

Thomas in the final of the Rookie Tournament
Thomas in the final of the Rookie Tournament

As it transpired, after one ball each Thomas was already in the lead and so didn’t need to play his second ball. Rob was second and Vincent third.

Winner of the Rookie Tournament, Thomas Stepp
Winner of the Rookie Tournament, Thomas Stepp

Second place, Rob Files
Second place, Rob Files

Third place, Vincent Sperrazza
Third place, Vincent Sperrazza

Rookie Tournament
Pos Name
1 Thomas Stepp
2 Rob Files
2 Vincent Sperrazza
9 Chris Wolf
9 Matt Ewan
9 Andrew Dale
9 Umboon Moore
9 Jack Slovacek
9 Ramsey Sierra
9 Aviana Smith
9 Andrew McCann
9 Claire Burke
9 Nick Pernisco
9 Allison McClure
9 Tim McCool
19 Torrey Whiting
19 Max Stewart
19 Peter Schatzer
19 Fabian Benabente
19 Maureen Hendrix
19 Stephen Rakonza
19 Heather Thompson
19 Altwin Hawksford
29 Evan Adkins
29 Sandy Magallanes
29 Chelsea Rakonza
29 Eric Einke
29 Sarah Oberender
29 Dwayne Collins
29 Philip Joupperi
29 Keith Foster
29 Angie Mortimore
29 Cody McPike
29 Rita Perez
29 Sean McDonald
43 Luke Camarda
43 Kellan Kirkland
43 Debbie Smith
43 Jamey Harting
43 Stuart McPherran
43 Derek Price
43 Will Kirkland
43 Jason Dowell
43 Paul Borth
43 Mary Weeks
43 Gilbert Sandejas
43 Michael Williams
43 Michael Blue
43 Scott Mortimore
43 Tressa Points
59 Brett Pulliam
59 Nickie Dowell
59 Cameron Lessing
59 Casey Jones
59 Blaise Ritchie
59 Brandon Mortimore
59 Tyler Dellinger
59 Jon Whiting
59 Alex Skinner
59 Cameron Staley
59 Natay Hendershot
59 Meg Griffin
59 Jake Hei
59 Theresa Martin
59 Sean Shypula
59 Neil Oney
59 Adam Kurth
76 Jeannette Marin
76 John McConnell
76 Robin Moore
76 Mike Mortimore
76 James Stubbington
76 Josh Bellinghausen
76 Joe Slovacek
76 Scott Loveless
76 Sarra Jones
76 Neil Derksen
76 Mike Witschen
76 Todd Mulvahill
76 Mike Hendershot
76 Amber Marie Simon
76 Ken Sieker
76 Sara Urban
76 Brad Smelser
76 Kelsie Sherman Hall
91 Alex Bowen
91 James Poblete
91 Bryan Eastman
91 Sarah Ledray
91 Bryn Bomar
91 Timm Shere
91 Jessica Van Wagner
91 Kim Green
91 Cindy Pealstrom
91 Anthony McCammant
91 Chelsey Oedewaldt

The final rounds of both the Women’s Tournament and the Pingolf Tournament were held on Saturday night when a prior dinner engagement prevented us being in attendance.

However, the final of the Women’s Tournament was a series of four games played by the four finalists who were Julie Gray, Alexa Philbeck, Sara Urban and Maureen Hendrix. The machines chosen were the same as the A Division of the Match Play Tournament – WWF Royal Rumble, World Cup Soccer and NBA – with the addition of Stargate.

Alexa won the first game on WWF and continued her success on both World Cup Soccer and NBA to give her an unassailable lead. Maureen was third on the first three but won on Stargate to take second place. Sara and Julie both had two second places and two fourth places but it was Sara who took third place overall with Julie fourth.

Women’s Tournament
Pos Name
1 Alexa Philbeck
2 Maureen Hendrix
3 Sara Urban
4 Julie Gray
5 Tracy Lindbergh
6 Brooke Borcherding
7 Jessica DeNardo
8 Amber Marie Simon
9 Rachel Helm
9 Chelsea Rakonza
11 Meg Griffin
11 Mika Rollin
13 Heather Loudon
14 Lauren Aquino
15 Bre Lloyd
16 Chelsey Oedewaldt
16 Louise Wagensonner
20 Allison McClure
20 Heather Willott
20 Lainey Welters
20 Robin Brown
20 Sarra Jones
23 Courtney Klossner
27 Aviana Smith
27 Cameron Herpiges
27 Christel Macabeo
27 Emily Beirne
27 Jeanna Beard
27 Kelsie Sherman Hall
27 Sandy Magallanes
32 Brooke Lukens
32 Claire Burke
32 Erin Harting
32 Tressa Points
37 Kayla Greet
37 Nycole Hyatt
37 Sarah Ledray
37 Theresa Martin
37 Zoe Vrabel
41 Heather Thompson
41 Kim Green
41 Natay Hendershot
44 Cindy Pealstrom
44 Emmalyn Smith
44 Max Stewart
44 Umboon Moore
48 Ashley Weaver
48 Katie Janis
48 Mary Lopez
51 Julia McDonald
51 Kathy Gagno
51 Nickie Dowell
51 Sarah Hager
55 Kierra McDonald
55 Rita Perez
55 Tessa Hewlett
57 Alex Bowen
57 Angie McIntyre
59 Megan Beard
60 Karla Rivers
61 Sunshine Beard

The Pingolf Tournament play-offs were contested by the top 27 qualifiers who played in nine groups of three in a three-strikes format where the player or players reaching the target with the fewest balls win, and the other player(s) receive a strike.

It took eight rounds before the final two were revealed as Lou Nemphos and Robert Gagno.

Robert had two strikes from loses on Capt. Fantastic and Volley, while Lou had one from Joker Poker. However, in round nine Robert won on Mata Hari to level the number of strikes, and repeated the feat on Vulcan to win the Pingolf Tournament.

Zoe Vrabel was third, with Joshua Bartlett and Thomas Urban tied for fourth.

Pingolf Tournament
1 Robert Gagno
2 Lou Nemphos
3 Zoe Vrabel
4 Joshua Bartlett
4 Thomas Urban
6 Chris Chinn
6 Matt Sarnoff
6 Todd Rafacz
6 Jeffrey Neumann
10 Tracy Lindbergh
10 jesse labbe
10 Raymond Davidson
10 Dave Stewart
10 Colin Urban
15 Pat Patton
15 Sam Atlas
15 Peter Schatzer
15 Sergey Posrednikov
15 Kathy Gagno
20 Derek Price
20 Andrew Nunes
20 Zac Petersen
20 Eric Wagensonner
20 Maureen Hendrix
25 Jack Slovacek
25 Matt Anderson
25 Kevin Birrell
25 James Southern
29 Bryan Eastman
30 Casey Jones
31 Lonnie Langford
32 Erin Harting
33 Germain Mariolle
34 Matt Bollinger
35 Julie Gray
36 Joseph Salender
37 Mathew Peterson
38 Patrick Carlson
39 Todd Macculloch
40 Stephen Rakonza
41 Eden Stamm
42 Kayla Greet
43 Jarrett Gaddy
44 Chris Perlot
45 Blake Hurdle
46 Nigel Colbert
47 Kelsie Sherman Hall
48 Gilbert Sandejas
49 Mark Lindbergh
50 Maka Honig
51 Aaron Garberding
52 Todd Larsen
53 Dave Grant
54 Michael B Bailey
55 Jamey Harting
56 Jonathan Hawthorne
57 Anthony Welters
58 Miles Grant
59 Craig R Jones
60 Dwayne Smith
61 Sean Shypula
62 Alan Wiley
63 Rob Dancu
64 John McConnell
65 Altwin Hawksford
66 John Robinson
67 Jessica Denardo
68 James Daniels
69 Nina Ricciardi
70 Philip Joupperi
71 Daniel Rone
72 Sean Lind
73 Collin Topolski
74 Matt Ewan
75 Zach Amador
76 Heather Loudon
77 Amanda Kotchon
78 Darin Lange
79 James Stubbington
80 Theresa Martin
81 Katie Janis
82 Jordan Semrow
83 Karri Kuoppamaki
84 Jared Baldridge
85 Christel Macabeo
86 Ryan Hess
87 Greg Harting
88 Rob Moller
89 Simon Hearsey
90 Josh Bellinghausen
91 Geoff Simons
92 Aviana Smith
93 David Rauschenberg
94 Trevor McDonald
95 Darren Ensley
96 Matt Golden
97 Jeff Sawyer
98 Luke Camarda
99 Mike Pantoliano
100 Nick Cline
101 Alex Skinner
102 Chris Wolf
103 Brooke Borcherding
104 Greg Poverelli
105 Lainey Welters
106 Fabian Benabente
107 Neil Kubath
108 William Scott Jordan
109 Claire Burke
110 Meg Griffin
111 Eric Morales
112 Jacob Wallraff
113 Mike Corbett WA
114 Cameron Staley
115 Louise Wagensonner
116 Daniel Campbell
117 Matt Wolfe
118 Cody McPike
119 Lauren Aquino
120 Andrew Dale
121 Chad Bruhaug
122 Jim Gray
123 Timm Shere
124 Alex Tada
125 Sean Mcdonald
126 Mike Witschen
127 Jesse Mullene
128 Marcus Schmick
129 Nick Pernisco
130 Michael Warfield
131 Brooke Lukens
132 Ron Goltz
133 Robbie Finnigan
134 Emmalyn Smith
135 Rita Perez
136 Jason Dowell
137 Brian Chesbrough
138 Sara Urban
139 Alex Bowen
140 Brock Herriges
141 Dan Griffin
142 Bob Klossner
143 Bruce Reed
144 Morihiro Ryu
145 Jaakko Kuoppamaki
146 Chelsea Rakonza
147 Joe Slovacek
148 Neil Oney
149 Anthony Mccammant
150 Corbin Sheffels
151 Michael Tibbetts
152 Tressa Points
153 Stephen Battey
154 Jeff Anderson WA
155 Tyler Dellinger
156 Cameron Herriges
157 Jackie O’Malley
158 Karla Rivers
159 Umboon Moore

You can see all the results from the tournaments as well as a break-down of the individual rounds on the NWPAS tournaments website.

Although the show continues until 3pm on Sunday, around 1pm the official end-of-show ceremony is held in the seminars area out in the lobby. It is presented by President of the board of the Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show, Byron Raynes.

Byron Raynes hosts the end-of-show ceremony on Sunday afternoon
Byron Raynes hosts the end-of-show ceremony on Sunday afternoon

Events began with the presentation of prizes and the main trophy to the top players in the Kids Tournament which was held on the Shrek machine. In third place was JJ who was third in 2016 as well. Second place went to Katarina who wasn’t at the presentation, while the winner was Jack.

Winner of the Kids Tournament, Jack
Winner of the Kids Tournament, Jack

Third place, JJ
Third place, JJ

All three won some cool prizes including solar-powered robot kits.

Next came the announcements of monetary awards to good causes supported by the show. To help with this, Byron was joined by other members of the NWPAS board.

Members of the NWPAS board: Chris Walsh, Dave Okert, Toby Udman, Mike Lorrain & Lou Perazzoli
Members of the NWPAS board:
Chris Walsh, Dave Okert, Toby Udman, Mike Lorrain & Lou Perazzoli

The NWPAS is a nonprofit, so all proceeds go to good causes. The first of these is the Make-A-Wish Foundation, to which the money raised from the silent raffle of a Ghostbusters playfield and other merchandise sales was donated.

Then a cheque for $500 was presented to the Pinball Outreach Project to aid their work teaching children the history and excitement of pinball by bringing pinball machines to children’s hospitals as well as setting up summer camps and creating their own family-friendly arcade in Portland.

A $500 donation to the Pinball Outreach Project
A $500 donation to the Pinball Outreach Project

The next donation went to the Beads of Courage organisation. This is a programme where children with serious illnesses can mark milestones in their treatment and recovery through the collecting of special beads. There are numerous different types of beads and collecting them not only shows the many stages each child has undergone, but gives them goals and provides a way for others to give them support.

A $500 donation to Beads of Courage
A $500 donation to Beads of Courage

The final presentation was the NWPAS scholarship award which goes to support the further education of a selected individual in their pinball or gaming-related studies.

This year’s winner of the $5,000 scholarship was Rawuda Jemal.

NWPAS 2017 scholarship recipient, Rawuda Jemal
NWPAS 2017 scholarship recipient, Rawuda Jemal

Rawuda was joined by Michella who was an earlier recipient of the scholarship and who spoke about how the money was used to help in her studies through college.

Rawuda and Michella
Rawuda and Michella

Rawuda collects her $5,000 scholarship cheque
Rawuda collects her $5,000 scholarship cheque

Finally, the draws took place for the Sunday raffle prize of the Mario Bros. arcade cabinet, and the grand prize raffle for the Batman 66 pinball.

The Mario Bros. game was drawn first.

The winning ticket for the video game is drawn
The winning ticket for the video game is drawn

The lucky winner claims their prize
The lucky winner claims their prize

Then the draw for the Batman 66 Premium pinball was made. This raffle ran through the three days of the show with tickets costing $20 each.

The draw for the winner of the Batman 66 game
The draw for the winner of the Batman 66 game

The winner was show volunteer Richard Godwin who thanked the drawer of his ticket.

Winner of the Batman 66 prize draw, Richard Godwin
Winner of the Batman 66 prize draw, Richard Godwin

And with that we bring our coverage from the Northwest Pinball & Arcade Show 2017 to a close. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed being there and reporting on the events in Tacoma.

There’s a huge team of volunteers who make the show happen, from the early planning stages, through to the unloading crews, the medics, the registration, raffle and information desk staff, the seminar crew and the tournaments team. That’s before we get to the machine bringers, parts and machine vendors, the seminar speakers and the sponsors. The nonprofit nature of the show, and the fact it supports a number of worthy causes adds a extra feel-good factor to events.

The NWPAS is now firmly established as one of the big shows in the pinball calendar, with a great selection of machines and seminar speakers while winning and keeping the support of the many pinball businesses, collectors and fans in the Pacific northwest.

This was the tenth NWPAS. We’ll already making plans to be at number eleven.

SILVER BALL PLANET PINBALL ARCADE

Thinking of visiting the Silver Ball Planet pinball arcade in Osaka? It might not be as easy as you think, so Stefan Riedler – who has visited the location several times – has written this useful guide showing the best way to get there.

He also updates us on the most recent arrivals which he discovered at the arcade during his trip there in June 2017.


How to get to the Silver Ball Planet Arcade from Kansai International Airport

The Mario Bros. welcome you to Kansai International Airport
The Mario Bros. welcome you to Kansai International Airport

Step 1: Exit the airport on the 1ST FLOOR.

Step 2: Go to the BUS AREA.

Step 3: At BUS STATION C you can buy a bus ticket for Bus 7 which costs 1,550 Yen (around €13) and can be paid for by credit card. The timetable for Bus 7 can be found at kate.co.jp/en/timetable/detail/UH.

Buy a bus ticket at the arrowed point - bus station C
Buy a bus ticket at the arrowed point – Bus Station C

Step 4: When the bus arrives, enter and tell them you want to go to the SHINSAIBASHI area. The journey takes around one hour.

Step 5: Leave the bus at the second stop in Shinsaibashi, at the HOTEL NIKKO.

Hotel Nikko Osaka
Hotel Nikko Osaka

Step 6: Looking at the front of Hotel Nikko, turn LEFT.

Step 7: Walk two blocks to the APPLE STORE.

Step 8: Turn RIGHT following the front of the Apple Store.

Turn right at the Apple Store - there is a bank with an ATM here
Turn right at the Apple Store – there is a bank with an ATM here

Step 9: Walk around 250m and the BIG STEP shopping centre is on the right.

Step 10: Go right next to STARBUCK’S to the elevator.

The shopping centre floor listing
The shopping centre floor listing Click to expand

Step 11: Take the elevator to the THIRD FLOOR.

The elevator
The elevator

Go to the 3rd floor
Go to the 3rd floor

Step 12: Exit the elevator to the RIGHT.

Step 13: You have arrived at the SILVER BALL PLANET PINBALL ARCADE.

Stefan with the founder of the arcade, Yuske Namba
Stefan with the founder of the arcade, Yuske Namba

Inside the Arcade
Inside the Arcade

The favourite games of the founder of the Silver Ball Planet Pinball Arcade, Yuske Namba, are Capt. Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy and Rolling Stones – older games but with great original artwork.

The Capt. Fantastic game at the arcade
The Capt. Fantastic game at the arcade

Another of Yuske Namba's favourites
Another of Yuske Namba’s favourites

The seven machines marked as new arrivals at the Arcade are:

  • The Pabst Can Crusher (Stern)
  • Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International (Spooky)
  • Aerosmith Limited Edition (Stern)
  • The Hobbit Limited Edition (Jersey Jack)
  • Batman 66 Super Limited Edition (Stern)
  • Ghostbusters Limited Edition (Stern)
  • Transformers Limited Edition (Stern)

Batman 66 in the Batman collection
Batman 66 SLE in the Batman collection

Another new arrival - Ghostbusters LE
Another new arrival – Ghostbusters LE

Maybe another new arrival soon in the Star Wars collection?
Maybe another new arrival soon in the Star Wars collection?

Here’s a video showing all the games at the Silver Ball Planet Pinball Arcade.

 

 

STAR WARS ANNOUNCED

The Premium/Limited Edition playfield

Stern Pinball today released detailed pictures of their upcoming Star Wars pinball, together with a press release giving more details.

Let’s start with the art packages on the three different models.

The Pro features the most complete set of characters and ships from the three movies.

The Pro cabinet
The Pro cabinet
The Pro cabinet
The Pro cabinet

The Premium edition’s artwork is all about the Empire’s characters, space ships and attack craft.

The Premium cabinet
The Premium cabinet
The Premium cabinet
The Premium cabinet

The Limited Edition’s backglass shows the moment the Millennium Falcon jumps into hyperspace, while the rebels’ characters and ships make up the cabinet and backbox art.

The Limited Edition cabinet
The Limited Edition cabinet
The Limited Edition cabinet
The Limited Edition cabinet

On the playfield, the artwork is very similar on the Pro and Premium/LE variants.

The Pro playfield
The Pro playfield
The Premium/Limited Edition playfield
The Premium/Limited Edition playfield

Here’s a side-by-side comparison. As with all the pictures here, you can click for a much larger version.

The Pro on the left, the Premium & Limited Edition on the right
The Pro on the left, the Premium & Limited Edition on the right

Here’s what Stern Pinball had to say about their new title:

Stern Pinball Announces New Star Wars Pinball Machines

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, IL – June 6, 2017 – Stern Pinball, Inc., the world’s oldest and largest producer of arcade-quality pinball machines, proudly announced today the availability of a new line of pinball machines celebrating the Star Wars 40th Anniversary.

Star Wars Pinball machines will be available in Pro, Premium and Limited Edition models. The game will immerse players in the dynamic and challenging Star Wars pinball environment as they battle to restore justice to the Galaxy.
Stern’s Star Wars Pro, Premium and Limited Edition machines are packed with features that provide an irresistible game experience.

The game includes select speech and footage from the original Star Wars trilogy; color-changing LED-lighted inserts; a sculpted LED-lit Millennium Falcon; and a sculpted TIE Fighter.

The Limited Edition and Premium models also feature two LCD screens, an exploding Death Star interactive display, and a hyperspace ramp.

“We are excited to bring these pinball machines celebrating the Star Wars galaxy and adventures to our fans,” said Gary Stern, Chairman and CEO of Stern Pinball. “Our Star Wars Pinball machines give fans a fun, new way to enjoy the nonstop action and new game sounds, features and effects.”

In addition to the immersive theme and exciting game experience, Stern Pinball’s SPIKE-2 electronic platform enables high-definition graphics and innovative animations. The state-of-art electronic system also powers a high-fidelity 3-channel audio system that is three times more powerful than audio systems of previous generations.

Star Wars Pinball entertains with an amazing array of modern and classic features, making it suitable for all skill levels.


Pricing and Availability:

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: MSRP for sales to USA end-users, before any VAT, GST, Sales Tax, Duties, or other taxes

Pro Model: $US 6,199
Premium Model: $US 7,899
Limited Edition Model: $US 8,999

Star Wars Pinball is available through authorized Stern Pinball distributors and dealers around the world.


About Stern Pinball, Inc.

Stern Pinball, Inc., headquartered just outside Chicago, Illinois, is the oldest and largest producer of arcade-quality pinball games in the world. Stern Pinball’s highly talented creative and technical teams design, engineer and manufacture a full line of popular pinball games, merchandise and accessories. Recent Stern titles include Aerosmith, Batman, Ghostbusters, Game of Thrones, WWE WrestleMania, The Walking Dead, Mustang, Star Trek, Metallica, XMen,
AC/DC, Tron, Transformers, Avatar, and many more!

All of Stern Pinball’s games are crafted by hand and assembled by Stern Pinball’s expert team. A broad range of players enjoy Stern’s games from professional pinball players that compete in high-stakes international
competitions around the globe to novice players who are discovering the allure of the silver ball for the first time.

To join the fun and learn more, please visit: www.sternpinball.com or
www.facebook.com/sternpinball

STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

We’ll have much more about the new Star Wars Pinball game very soon here at Pinball News.

THE HIGHLANDER

The Highlander, Atlanta

I have a secret – I love dive bars. So when we are on a trip and I hear about a local dive bar that cranks out killer food, offers micro-brews, pours a stiff drink and has pinball, I have no choice but to check it out.

Here’s what Terri and I found.

The Highlander late night bar in midtown Atlanta has been filling bellies and slinging drinks since 1992. The crowd at The Highlander is mostly alternative lifestyle types and after all of the other bars have closed in ATL, this is where the bartenders, cooks and waitstaff apparently come to decompress.

The exterior seating area of The Highlander
The exterior seating area of The Highlander

On any given night you will likely find folks shooting pool, feeding quarters into the video games and yes, playing pinball on one of their two machines:

  • The Walking Dead LE (Stern, 2014)
  • Star Trek Pro (Stern, 2013)

These games are in the back room by the pool tables. Both games are quarters only; $1 per game or 3 games for $2. The games have been well maintained and are a great deal of fun. Star Trek seems to have been set particularly generously for free games and matches.

It may be of interest to you that AMC network’s popular TV series The Walking Dead was principally filmed in Atlanta and nearby Senoia, GA. We visited Senoia (a.k.a. ‘Woodbury’ in the TV series) on this trip.

A popular location for filming
A popular location for filming

Supposedly there is a TWD pinball for sale in The Woodbury Shoppe also known as The Official Walking Dead Store located on Main Street in Senoia. We couldn’t confirm this because the store was closed when we visited. It would have been nice if Nic and Norman’s restaurant in Senoia, where we went for dinner, had a TWD game in the bar area. No such luck.

The sign outside Nic & Norman's restaurant
The sign outside Nic & Norman’s restaurant

But I digress.

I am at a loss for words to describe The Highlander’s menu other than possibly say that it is ‘Gastro Punk’, if there is such a phrase. Take for example their Pasta-Rella which is a new twist on the bar favorite fried mozzarella sticks where the cheese is wrapped in pasta prior to deep- frying.

Pastarella at The Highlander
Pastarella at The Highlander

The Highlander’s Jamaican Jerk Chili put them on the culinary map and also was featured on an episode in season 4 of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives television show hosted by Guy Fieri. Since that show, The Highlander’s head chef ‘Ice’ Jahumpa has crafted a very sat isfying white vegetarian chili with many of the same complex flavors but without the meat.

Jamaican Jerk Chili
Jamaican Jerk Chili

Specials abound.

On Tuesday nights, The Highlander offers ‘All You Can Eat’ crab legs served from 11am to 9pm. Wednesday ‘The Devil’s In The Kitchen’ and all burgers are $6.66.

Crab Legs - it must be Tuesday
Crab Legs – it must be Tuesday

Thursdays feature $5 pitchers of PBR and three styles of tacos for $2.95 a piece.

Friday’s special is Nashville Hot fried chicken with home-style macaroni and cheese.

Weekends are the time for local metal and punk bands to take the stage at The Highlander (hearing protection suggested).

On any night you can order a pitcher of their award winning tater tots. The Highlander’s ‘Tots All The Way’ were recently voted best in ATL by the Atlanta Thrillist. They are smothered with so much goodness that it would make any plate of nachos jealous.

Tots all the Way
Tots all the Way

The Highlander proudly offers beer from local breweries such as Three Taverns, Eventide Brewing, 5 Seasons, and so on. Beer not your thing? Shots of Maker’s Mark or Jack Daniel’s are also available.

The Highlander supports local artists, proudly displaying and selling their work featured on the walls.

As you might expect from a hard rock bar, the so called decoration (read: graffiti) in the rest rooms is creative, but on top of that the main entrance is literally opaque with stickers from local bands and record companies. Because of this first timers who might be disoriented are advised to look for the stickers to find the entrance.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), The Highlander is one of the few bars in the Atlanta area that allow smoking inside. Be aware that the inside area of the bar is absolutely saturated with the smell of tobacco smoke. If you are at all sensitive to the smell of smoke, this is not a place for you.

I found The Highlander to be an engaging and fun dive bar with an over-achieving menu, a great selection of drinks and fun to play pinball games. The Highlander is located in an interesting neighborhood with quite a few small shops and places such as The Atlanta Cupcake Factory to explore when you visit.

I understand that dive bars may not be everyone’s ‘thing’ but a visit to The Highlander in mid-town Atlanta might just make this dive bar a favorite.

ANDREW HEIGHWAY STEPS DOWN FROM HEIGHWAY PINBALL

Andrew Heighway of Heighway Pinball

Almost five years since first announcing his plans to set up a pinball manufacturing business, Andrew Heighway is to stand down from leadership of the company he established.

The Heighway Pinball logo
The Heighway Pinball logo

Heighway Pinball was an established business operating and trading pinball machines before Andrew took the decision to tackle the lack of choice for operators looking for an attractive, affordable and full-featured game to place on location.

Andrew Heighway when he announced his plans
Andrew Heighway when he announced his plans

Pinball News broke the news in July 2012 of his plans to set up a pinball manufacturing business, but as with Magic Girl and Capt. Nemo, five years seems to be the make-or-break point for new pinball ventures. 2017 saw all the Capt. Nemo machines delivered and some semblance of a Magic Girl manufactured and made available to original buyers. Five years is also the point where Heighway Pinball sees a change of leadership.

In those five years, Andrew built up a manufacturing facility in Merthyr Tydfill in South Wales and built the 250 Bacardi Baffle Ball games to a very tight timescale.

The original Heighway Pinball factory in Merthyr Tydfill
The original Heighway Pinball factory in Merthyr Tydfill

The Bacardi Baffle Ball games
The Bacardi Baffle Ball games

He also announced the Circe’s Animal House game, re-themed it to Full Throttle after taking on board potential buyers’ feedback, and built the game – the first production pinball with both a playfield and backbox LCD.

Full Throttle
Full Throttle

From the start, the focus was on keeping manufacturing costs low. Development grants and other commercial assistance allowed Heighway Pinball to set up and kit out the factory using a mix of manufacturing kit bought at auctions and ex-demonstration devices.

The first Heighway Pinball factory
The first Heighway Pinball factory

Pretty soon the company outgrew its original premises and moved across the street to a pair of units which, while providing much more space, ultimately proved too large and costly.

In a quest for a manufacturing home which was large enough but not too large, had more modern facilities and provided an attractive relocation package, the company moved from Merthyr Tydfil to its current home on an industrial estate in Ebbw Vale.

The current Heighway Pinball factory
The current Heighway Pinball factory

While Full Throttle was highly-regarded by those who bought or played it, sales were modest. What really excited buyers was the company’s second full title and their first licensed theme, Alien Pinball.

However, pinball manufacturing – especially in the early years – need to be a lean business. With minimal income from sales of the initial title, much of the development and building – both of the company and the machines – for the second and future titles needs to be done on a shoestring, helped along by favours and promises.

But that goodwill and the assorted start-up discounts can only go so far, and so in order to keep the business running, paying wages and paying suppliers for parts, a number of investors were brought in. Five major investors and several smaller ones provided financing to Heighway Pinball, following Andrew to pinball shows in Europe and the US to see how the company and its products were received.

All the investors were owners of other companies with a love of pinball who saw, in Heighway Pinball, the opportunity to help the company and the market grow by producing high-quality full-featured games of a kind not currently available.

However, despite the number of investors with a stake in the business, the running of the company stayed with Andrew.

We’ve covered why ‘Making Pinball is Hard‘ before, but besides being hard it is also costly. Delays in receiving parts of an acceptable quality, asset clearance from licensors and training staff all lead to increased costs, and with minimal sales of existing products, manufacturers can be excused for relying on pre-order money to finance ongoing development.

When extended delays means all that pre-order money is used up, there nothing left in the bank to buy the parts needed to actually build the games. Without those up-front funds, parts have to be bought in small quantities, and buying parts by the dozen costs significantly more per unit than buying them by the thousand, pushing up costs further.

The frustration of being unable to produce the game wanted in the quantities needed also leads to increased stress taking its toll throughout the business, and especially on the guy in charge.

It’s a downward spiral which can only really be escaped with another large injection of capital to build the games on a grander scale at reduced cost, and bring in many more sales.

There’s no doubt Alien Pinball is an excellent game, with an appealing layout, art, sounds and display effects, with the potential to sell by the thousand, if only they could be built by the thousand.

Andrew Heighway with Full Throttle and Alien
Andrew Heighway with Full Throttle and Alien

The investors can see that potential and have agreed to make another sizeable injection of capital into the company. The big caveat, though, is that they want to use their combined business skills to run the company their way, not Andrew’s way.

Pinball News has spoken to some of the major investors in Heighway Pinball and it is clear they see a bright future for the company, but believe it needs a kick-start with new management at the helm to push production forward, resolve outstanding issues with the games, rebuild relationships with suppliers and distributors, and deliver games at a much-increased rate.

So, Andrew has agreed to stand down from running the business which bears his name and which he founded back in 2012. While exact terms are still being ironed-out and he may do some consultancy work for the firm, the major investors have been working together use their combined business experience and skills to push Heighway Pinball forward.

Looking ahead, the future of Alien Pinball and the next few titles in the Heighway Pinball pipeline look far more assured. In the short term one of the major investors is likely to spearhead the changes, but the search is on for a new leader to push ahead with product development, promote the company and its products, and be the public face of Heighway Pinball.

For pre-orderers of Alien Pinball and anyone looking to buy one the message is clear – expect some rapid movement over next few weeks to ramp up production and deliver fully-functioning games. Parts orders are going in now, existing bottlenecks are being overcome, and there is a concerted effort to not just throw more money into the company, but utilise all available skills to accelerate the company’s growth.

Meanwhile, the company continues without the man whose passion for pinball was the driving force behind the establishment of Heighway Pinball as a manufacturer and who put his heart and soul into creating hugely playable games which could bring operators back to a game they may have previously written-off.


UPDATE:

Just under two weeks after we published the report above, Andrew made this posting to Facebook.

Just over five years have passed since I started Heighway Pinball Limited in my home garage. Now, the company has grown to be a multinational business with customers spread throughout the globe.

The company has faced many challenges along the way, which has culminated in our first game, Full Throttle, and our current game, Alien Pinball. I always strived to create a modern and relevant quality pinball product, with many exciting new ideas. I believe that we have fulfilled many of the goals I set for this company.

I am extremely proud of the games that we have produced. In particular, Alien Pinball is the result of tireless work, over the last three years, from a team comprising of some of the most talented and passionate pinball people I could have ever have hoped to assemble. ‘Alien’ is personally my favourite movie of all time, closely followed by ‘Aliens’. I could not be happier with the finished product and how it represents both movies.

The time has come for a change at Heighway Pinball. Substantial monies are being pumped immediately into this company by our existing investors to drive this company forward to producing hundreds of games every month within the coming months. These investors have not been actively involved in the running of the business up to this point but they bring a huge amount of pinball experience to the operating of this company. They are also very successful businessmen in their own rights. Their passion for pinball, business acumen and love of the company’s products will drive this company forwards. There are a lot of expectant customers out there who want delivery of this epic game as quickly as possible – and this is a commitment this company will now strive to deliver as soon as is possible.

As of now, I have now left Heighway Pinball and am no longer involved in any way with the company. A new management structure is already in place at the company, that is committed to delivering games to all of its customers and building the company up into becoming an important market player within the coming years. The company is being left in good hands, with the investors bringing a wealth of pinball experience into this company and everyone is committed to delivering customer games as quickly as possible.

I have not left pinball permanently – but am taking a break away from it as fresh finances and ideas drive the company forwards. I will likely still be seen at pinball/trade shows and look forward to meeting many of you again in the future.

I will no longer be contactable at andrew@heighwaypinball.com and I will not be posting here, any other pinball forums, on Facebook or on Twitter as ‘Heighway Pinball’ from now onwards.

I have met some amazing people over the last five years and would like to thank all of my customers, staff, contractors, investors, distributers and suppliers – who have shared my dream and supported myself and this company over the years. I step away from Heighway Pinball at an exciting time for the company and wish all those associated with the company all of the best for the future.

Andrew Heighway
Former CEO/Managing Director – Heighway Pinball

DIRTY DONNY’S PINBALL PUNK

AMT scale model kit company will be releasing the all new Dirty Donny’s ‘Pinball Punk!’ unassembled and unpainted resin figure kit in June 2017.

The kit includes a stand-up pinball machine with multiple graphic option decals. The figure and pinball machine when assembled is approximately 1/8 actual size.

Dirty Donny's Pinball Punk! resin kit
Dirty Donny’s Pinball Punk! resin kit

As Pinball News readers may recall, Dirty Donny (Gillies) has done backglass and playfield art for several games including the recently released Pabst Blue Ribbon Can Crusher, Aerosmith and Metallica, all produced by Stern Pinball.

Dirty Donny has collaborated with AMT in the design of other model kits including the Vantasy and Dirty Donny’s Super Bee. Suggested Retail Price (USA) $34.99.

AMT is a registered trade mark of Round 2 LLC, 4073 Meghan Beeler Court, South Bend, Indiana 46628, USA.

WELCOME TO THE NEW LOOK PINBALL NEWS

Hello, and welcome to this new look Pinball News.

Since it was founded at the end of 1999, the design of the Pinball News site has been largely unchanged.  However, in the nearly eighteen years since, a lot has changed in web technology, browser performance, internet availability and reader expectations.

The old Pinball News website
The old Pinball News website

The website has remained largely static HTML pages all that time which has made it very fast to load and easy to add to – both new articles and new layouts – but with nearly 2,000 web pages and 30,000 images it has become rather unweildy to manage by hand.  In addition, with more readers using mobile devices to view the site, a more responsive layout which adapts to the display size, shape and resolution was needed.  It has also become difficult to add new features without going back and modifying all those old pages.

While there are several technologies available to help with these problems, we settled on the WordPress platform.  It’s a very common system so there are lots of nice themes and useful plug-ins available to add things like calendars, response forms, article comments, user ratings and content management.  It’s also free to use with our existing web host, so we could set everything up in parallel with the previous site and port things across.

That said, with so many articles which have to be remade in the new layout it’s not going to be a quick transition, so please bear with us as we move more and more over.  We’ll keep the old site live until every last article has been converted to make sure you don’t lose anything, although once this new site is fully functional we will only add new articles to this new site.  But those new articles will feature bigger, sharper pictures and videos with more little helpers to navigate the site.

The new Pinball News website
The new Pinball News website

We have listed some of the new features below in more detail if you’d like to find out more about them.

We hope you like the new look. 

We’ve tried to keep the key features which made Pinball News attractive – a clean and spacious look, no annoying adverts or pop-ups, and a focus on the content rather than the delivery method – while adding some nice new features such as the next Diary events right there on the front page along with a much improved search facility, a way to send us a message and the abilty to comment on every page.  We have a number of new tricks up our sleeves too, including high-resolution photo and video galleries to help us tell the stories in a better and more entertaining way.

We’re still Pinball News, we’re still First and Free, and now we can give you a bigger and better Pinball News experience.

 

NEW FEATURES IN MORE DETAILS

This section will look at some of the new ways to interact with the Pinball News site.  The examples are from the desktop version, but many also apply to the mobile version of the site.

Let’s start with the basics.


FRONT PAGE

To get back to the front page at any time, click the Pinball News logo at the top of each page.

Pinball News

If you have scrolled down a page so that the logo is no longer visible, a small blue arrow will appear in the bottom right corner to take you staight back to the top.

Back to the top arrow

Below the logo is the menu bar.

New website menu bar

This is your direct access to each category of article.  Some (such as NEWS, SHOWS and GAMES) have multiple articles – indicated by a small arrow to the right – while others (such as DIARY, DIRECTORY and LINKS)  just go to a single page of information.

The menu category names should be self-explanatory and follow those found on the old Pinball News site.

If you hover your pointer over one of the categories with an arrow, a preview of the five most recent reports in that category pops up, allowing you quick access to these.

New website menu previews

You can click on any of the five previews to go to that report, or if you then click on the category name you go to a full page of report previews.

Incidentally, all categories are colour-coded.  Shows are blue, News is red, Sites is green and so on.  Various elements on the page recolour depending on the current category.

Below the menu, the page splits in two.

The left two-thirds shows details of the ten newest articles on the site in all categories. To explore older articles, there are buttons at the bottom to go through further sets of ten articles.

Front page extra pages

The right third of the page contains the sidebar.  This appears on almost every page and contains a number of useful gadgets.

New website sidebar

At the top of the sidebar is a miniature version of the Diary, showing the next few upcoming pinball events.  You can hover over any for a pop-up preview of the event, click on any for more details, or there is a link to go directly to the Diary page where you can see all upcoming events.

Below the Diary preview is a list of the five most recent articles on the Pinball News site so you can catch up on them without having to go back to the front page each time.

Then comes a sign-up box for the Update newsletters, followed by a search box and a contact form where you can easily send us a quick message.

 

ARTICLE PAGES

Most pages feature a representative image at the top over which the title is printed.  Apart from the title, there are also some useful links, such as a so-called ‘Breadcrumb Trail’ which shows you where in the website this article lives and allows you to click on any level to go straight there, details about who wrote it and when it was published with links to the author’s biography, and an approximate guide to how long it will take to read.

Top image details

Next to those are buttons and counters for comments on this article, a button the like this article along with the current number of likes, and the number of times it has been viewed.

As you start reading an article and scroll down, the menu bar will ‘float’ up to the top of the page and remain there.  Incidentally, as you read through an article, a thin progress bar appears at the very bottom of the page so you can see how much more is left to read.

There are more interesting controls at the bottom of each article.

Clicking on any of the Tags shows articles sharing the same tags.

You can share the current article directly on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest with their dedicated buttons.

There are links to the previous and next articles, by publication date and time.

Articles with some related elements such as tags are shown next, along with a preview image.

Finally, you can comment on any article by clicking the button, typing your message and submitting it.

There are tons more new features – we could write pages about just the new Diary, for instance – but we’ve covered the basic ways to navigate the Pinball News site. 

Feel free to try it out, hover over or click things and see what happens.

After all, that’s what we do. 🙂