Originally published in Skill Shot 53 February 2019

As usual, the Seattle pinball scene continues to expand and grow; not only with the number of players joining in on the fun but also in pinball machines available to play. Perhaps the most exciting development for many is when a popular pre-existing location increases their number of games.  For example, The Kraken in the U-District recently added a game room and increased their pins from two to eight! Classic Amusements, who operates the games there, has put in a really stellar line-up which includes favorites such as Medieval Madness alongside rarities like Sea Witch! Further north, the A-1 Hop Shop 144th stealthily increased from one pin to six with an eclectic selection of pins such as Big Guns and Space Invaders, while the downtown waterfront’s Klondike Arcade has been slowly adding to their collection of new Sterns with Star Wars and The Beatles. More Pins!

The Beatles is a new pin by Stern and Ka-Pow Pinball, whose previous collaboration was Batman 66, and like that game, it is a re-theme of an earlier Stern pin (which coincidentally is) Sea Witch. Don’t expect to see too many of The Beatles though as it may very well be the most expensive new pinball machine of all time, assumedly because of the music rights. American Pinball revealed their newest game Oktoberfest at the Chicago Pinball Expo in October and encountered a wave of controversy when many objected to the art of the back glass. The company quickly apologized for the lapse in judgement, which was a nice change of pace, and created new art for the game. Stern’s The Munsters was officially announced in January so expect to see it in the area soon. Other rumored releases for this year include: Willy Wonka, Jurassic World, Black Knight 3, and a new game by Brian (Attack From Mars) Eddy. Rumors!

What isn’t a rumor is that Washington State will have the highest payouts of any state at the IFPA State Pinball Championship this year! Even with most of the weeklies in Seattle opting out of the IFPA’s new fees for World Pinball Player Ranking points, our state still managed to edge out all the others and this year’s prize for first place will be a nice chunk of change. Along with WA becoming a “super state”, the number of players competing in the State Championship this year will increase from 16 to 24, which will give more players the chance to move on to the IFPA North American Championship in Las Vegas in March. Congratulations to everyone who qualified this year. Salute!

This year’s State Championship was the finale of the first ever Washington Pinball Super Week held at the 8-Bit Arcade in Renton. As part of the week long festivities, they had all of their pinball machines set at 25 cents, as well as a bunch of tournaments including the Evergreen State Women’s Pinball Tournament. This may be the only one as the plan seems to be to morph this open tournament into a Women’s State Championship next year in which only the top 16 players of the year will be invited to compete, similar to the annual IFPA Women’s World Championship. Apparently they didn’t want to hold that sort of tournament without first announcing it in order to give players a chance to compete for women’s ranking points ahead of time. Points!N

The Add-a-Ball Babes Showdown in November is a new women’s annual tournament where ladies will be able to obtain more points this year as well. Despite a date change for the 2018 event, 39 women competed for glory and a Dolly Parton pinball machine. The 21st Annual Shorty’s Pinball Tournament was open to all and also had a Kings of Steel pin as part of the grand prize. This was the first annual hosted by Germain Mariolle and Dwayne Lamont Collins, and they did a fabulous job, although the match-play format in the crowded Pinball Cove was similar to playing Twister! The announcing (heckling) by special guests Todd Mac and Tim Kitzrow completed the scene. Cut!

Other events: The Ice Box has added a new (mostly) weekly women’s tournament that is free to enter, as well as a Friday night tourney and other seasonal events. Both Raygun Lounge and Another Castle Edmonds are currently running weekly progressive tournaments, where the winners are entered into the series finals. Another Castle Bremerton is hosting a gauntlet-style contest where a successful run through their games gains the player glory (and the entry fees). Vidiot had their first progressive (Deadpool) tournament which we guess means more tourneys in West Seattle in the future. The Seattle Pinball Museum hosted a meet and greet with some of the police officers that have the International District as part of their beat. Jupiter has hosted art shows with sales of the art helping to raise money for various causes. Consult the calendar on our website for future pinball related events (and let us know if you are planning one!). Events!

Monday Night Pinball ended the Fall 2018 Season with two undefeated teams: Division 1 Champions: Full Tilt Ballard’s The Soda Jerks who continue to dominate the league, and Division 2 Champions: Getaway Lounge’s 18-Ball Deluxe, a new team loaded with seasoned players even if their ranking points don’t reflect it. As Division 2 champions, 18-BD will now move into Division 1 next season to see if their winning streak can continue. The Spring season begins in February and contains two new teams: Tilt & Destroy based at Coindexter’s and Slap Kraken Pop from – well you can probably guess 🙂 Fun!

Pinball Tidbits: Flip Flip Ding Ding rang in 2019 with their annual New Year’s Day tournament. With 61 contestants, this has become one of the biggest local tournaments of the year! * Congrats to Raymond Davidson for ending 2018 as the world’s #1 ranked pinball player! Amongst his accomplishments last year was winning City Champs (SF), Vancouver Flip-Out, Portland Pinbrawl, the IFPA World Championship and more. Wow! * Raymond also won the Seattle Pinball League’s finals in December. The SPL had an almost record breaking year with 129 players in 2018. The new season begins in February; check out their website if you want to join them! * Much to everyone’s delight, Dragonfist has returned to Add-a-Ball! * Shorty’s move in 2019 is real as you can see their logo in the windows of their new space just one block north on 2nd Ave. *Ashley Weaver and Tim Collins are getting married this summer and want to have a pinball tournament as part of their festivities – stay tuned. * The new Narwhal is rumored to be opening this year in White Center with up to 30 pinball machines?!? * Watch for an announcement about Skill Shot hoodies on our website and Facebook page. These will be preordered only so we’ll need to know ahead of time if you want one. * The Skill Shot Pincast is currently on hiatus while Kayla and Graham adjust to their new living situations. Once their dust settles, expect them to continue where they left off – perhaps sometime this spring? * RIP to Kirsten Wohlrab who died in an accident on August 21st. Kirsten lived in Ballard and frequented Full Tilt, Shorty’s, and anywhere else that had pins to play. You are missed! * Support Local Pinball!