We had 26 players in the main and over 70 entries in the side tournament. The response and the turn out was great! Isley were great hosts and the member of River City Flippers worked very hard and donated lots of time to make this happen.
More to come on a longer post, but for now, enjoy this video of the quarterfinals on Iron Man with Rod Cordoba against eventual Champion Bayless Rutherford.
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.
RVApinball.org and River City Flippers are working to prepare for our first tournament in a public location. This tournament is going to have privately owned machines moved into the Isley Brewing Company, a fantastic local brewery, that has generously agreed to host our tournament. The tournament format is three strike Swiss Brackelope. On the day of the tournament, you will be able to follow the tournament by going to live.brackelope.com and searching for Isley.
The tentative machine lineup is: No Fear, Pinbot, F-14, Indy 500, Whirlwind, World Cup Soccer, Flash Gordon and Iron Man.
Update: the main tournament is full – the side one machine high score tournament will be available to people who are not in the main tournament.
Trophies and prizes will be awarded for the top four finishers. Prizes will be announced as they are received. There will also be a $1 per entry high score tournament on a machine that will award a prize to the top finisher. Warm-ups on the main tournament bank will begin at noon. The main tournament will begin at 1:00 P.M. The main tournament and the side tournament will award IFPA WPPR points. The machines are being provided by members of the River City Flippers pinball league and rvapinball.org. As this location is not an arcade, we have been asked by our hosts to limit the number of participants to 36. Registrations will be accepted in order received.
On April 19, 2015, Dominion Pinball League held a tournament at the Main Street Arena on the downtown mall in Charlottesville. Dominion Pinball League holds their weekly Tuesday night league play at this location. Instead of having a couple of half-working pinball machines shoved in the corner next to the skate rental, the Arena has six machines that all play well in a location that is basically a sports bar with flat screen tvs, a craft beer selection and good food.
The Arena usually has Yunkyard, Big Buck Hunter, Lord of the Rings, Sopranos, Spiderman and No Fear machines. Just for the tournament, the operator of the machines brought in The Getaway, Addams Family and Pirates of the Caribbean machines. The host of the tournament also brought his Revenge From Mars.
The tournament had twelve entrants which was lower than expected, but which made for a good first time tournament. The tournament was a three strike tournament which was done using Brackelope. The results and the bracket can be found here on the Brackelope live site.
The tournament got started a little late as we waited for some folks who had said they would come late. The tournament was well run and orderly and went off without any big hitches. The machines are all well maintained and played well throughout the tournament.
The final three were Taylor Reese, Mike Ogilvie and Jeremy Hakes. Taylor ended up beating Mike on a game of Junkyard.
The hosts from Jugglenaut and Dominion Pinball League were welcoming, friendly and supportive. It was good to play some location pinball and meet some new friends who love pinball as much as we do. If you are looking to play in a location league and you are anywhere near Charlottesville, VA, the Dominion Pinball League is a great place to meet people who enjoy pinball and competition.
Thank you for putting together such a great tournament.
The March location challenge on Star Trek at Bailey’s Southside was won by Trey Peterson with a score that came close to doubling the next highest score.
For April, the location challenge with stay on Star Trek. During March, Star Trek was updated with new code and was having some scoring issues so we are going to stick with it for a month of play with medals to be won! The winner will receive a $25 Starbucks giftcard.
Spooky Pinball is an independent of boutique pinball manufacturer that was started by Charlie Emery and his family. Charlie is best known for his Spooky Pinball Podcast which covers pinball news and info and has interviews with people from the pinball industry.
Spooky is manufacturing and selling its first pinball machine – America’s Most Haunted. This pinball was designed and programmed by electronic wiz Ben Heck. The theme is a parody of ghost hunting tv shows. The game is filled with Ben and Charlie’s style of humor and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
When the art was released before production, there were complaints about the translite having a photo image and complaints about the side art. Charlie and Ben responded by changing the translite image and offering alternate art.
At the same time Ben Heck was working on America’s Most Haunted, Charlie was working on a game of his own called Pinball Zombies from Beyond the Grave. This game was shown in a very early form and received good reviews for a unique layout and gameplay and not so good reviews for the artwork.
Ben and Charlie have made it clear in online posts and podcasts that they believe the slow sales of America’s Most Haunted (100 of 150 sold so far) are due to the fact that it is an unlicensed theme. This is in spite of the fact that collectors at least say that they are clamoring for unlicensed themes and that they are tired of every Stern being a licensed theme. Charlie and Ben point out that the licensed theme brings a recognizable story and characters and a pre-existing fan base wanting to purchase and play the machines.
Over the past few weeks, Charlie and Ben have revealed that the second machine from Spooky Pinball will be a licensed theme on the platform that was intended to be Pinball Zombies from Beyond the Grave. Ben has also recently revealed that the artwork will be done by a well-known pinball artist who is highly regarded in the industry.
On one hand, it is exciting to see that Spooky is moving forward and confident about making sales of a second machine. At the same time, it feels like this result is a real blow to the idea that small pinball manufacturers can successfully make unlicensed machines.
There are five more unlicensed machines on the way – Full Throttle from Heighway pinball, the unlicensed Pat Lawlor game from Jersey Jack, Magic Girl and Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland from Zidware and Lexy Lightspeed from Multimorphic.
It will be interesting to see whether the sales of these machines prove Spooky’s belief that you need a license to move games or prove that an unlicensed machine can have strong sales.