This past Friday, I made the trip to my second Allentown Pinfest. It was a fantastic and well run show.
The main reason that I went to the show was to pick up an Evel Knievel machine that I had bought on pinside with the agreement that I would pick it up at the show. The machine was as described. When I got it home, it fired right up and is working very well. I’ve been wanting one for a while and it was good to bring this one home.
There were hundreds of machines at the show and booths featuring various vendors. I was most excited about the chance to play new machines that I had read about, but not been able to play.
The Big Lebowski from Dutch Pinball was the first machine I saw when I entered the exhibit hall. The machine is running a very early version of the code and none of the modes could be activated. The lower bowling lane playfield and the flip out car on the upper playfield were both working. I was never able to get the ball into the lower playfield. This turned out to be a good thing because the ball repeatedly got stuck in the lower playfield mechanic requiring a re-start of the machine.
The machine looks and plays very well. The flippers are powerful and feel like later Bally/Williams flippers. The playfield and cabinet art looks great and looks like it is made of high quality materials. The sound system was very clear and loud with both music and call outs that sounded like they were clips from the movie. The machine is expensive and we have to wait to see how the code turns out, but it was impressive.
Just down from The Big Lebowski was the Marco booth which had two of Stern Pinball’s Whoa Nellie Big Juicy Melons. This machine was originally a kit that was used to convert an existing eletro-mechanical machine with new art. There were only four copies of the original machine produced and playfields and back glasses were sold to collectors. To the surprise of many, Stern Pinball decided to produce Whoa Nelly in volume.
The first thing that you notice is that it is propped up on a wooden crate instead of being supported on legs. The machines also ship with legs for those who prefer legs. The lockdown bar and side rails are also made of wood which gives it the machine a solid, smooth feeling as you play it. The game had lots of call outs and nice bright LEDs and is much more fun than I expected. The game has the 2″ inch flippers that were common on electro-mechanical machines and they increase the challenge of the game. I enjoy EMs and this was a nice modern update that is really fun to play. The price is way too high at this point, but it is fun.
More to come in the next post.