Taylor and I can now say we have been to the PAPA facility and have played in Pinburgh. As you can see from the photos on the rivercityflippers instagram account, the facility is amazing. PAPA.org is located in what looks like an old warehouse in an industrial section outside of Pittsburgh. Inside a plain white looking building, is an incredible collection of pinball machines and an amazing tournament space.
The tournament was limited to 400 players with many people unable to get in and waiting on what sounded like a pretty lengthy waiting list. There were ten rounds of tournament play with each round played with a group of four people on a bank of four machines. After each round, the players were re-seeded so that you would play against people who were at your current level of play. Each four machine bank included an electro-mechanical game, a dot matrix game, a solid state game and a game that fell between early solid state and dmd which was usually a solid state game with an alpha-numeric display.
The games were all in great shape and played well. The tournament and a the banks of games that were outside the tournament and available for play was a great chance to play many games I had never played and some I had never heard of before playing them. Motodrome, Mars Trek, Frontier and Sharpshooter were among the games I had not played before that stand out as memorable. In the free play bank of games that were not in tournament banks, I had a chance to play Tales of the Arabian Nights and Circus Voltaire which I had played on my Ipad but had not played many times in person. They both looked incredible. The game played of Tales leaves a little to be desired because the rules need some tweaks. It was just announced this week that the designer of both games, John Popaduik, has entered into an agreement to work on an update for both games. I hope that will turn two of the most beautiful games into two of the most fun and challenging games.
The best thing about Pinburgh was the chance to hang out with lots of other people who really enjoy playing pinball. I learned lots from watching more skilled players. I also got to decrease my list of games I have never played.
I am looking forward to going to back next year and to some of this year’s upcoming tournaments.
Thank you very much to all of the people who worked very hard to make Pinburgh 2014 an amazing success.