Originally published in Skill Shot issue 12, February 2010

Portland, Spokane, Vancouver BC – pinball players from all over the Pacific NW came to Seattle on November 14th and 15th for The 12th Annual Shorty’s Pinball Tournament. Portland’s CFF crew did well this year, especially Slam Tilt who went up against last year’s winner, Seattle’s Cayle George, in the final match up. But once again, Cayle couldn’t be beat and he drove away with the grand prize: a Barracora pinball machine! Sure, the tournament was a little disorganized at times, purses were stolen, bang backs employed, and fruits were fruity, but the event was fun and the extra day gave everyone more of a chance to get to know each other. Another thing that was different this year was that Shorty’s didn’t replace one of the pins at the last minute like they have done in the past, despite all the rumors indicating otherwise.

In other tournament news, the Seattle Pinball League is starting to pick up some steam, with over 70 players attending the tournament January 16th at Todd MacCulloch’s house. The SPL uses VRPA (Vancouver Regional Pinball Association) tournament rules which group players according to skill level during the qualifying rounds and is different from what most people are used to. Some member of the (somewhat secretive) Black Dragon Organization suffered crushing humiliation which has now led to a reevaluation of their approach to pinball (it had nothing to do with the really tilty machines). Ultimately, Vancouver’s Angelo Muro walked away with the win (go figure). It was a great time and the SPL has other tournaments planned for almost every month this year, so if you like to get up early on Saturdays, check out their website: http://seattlepinballleague.com/

Dominique of Silver Age Silver Ball will be debuting his handmade one-of-a-kind EM pin Galactic Girl at a tournament to be held at Tiger Lounge on February 28th. Dominique has been building this game for awhile now so we are excited to finally see the finished product, even if his flyer leaves us a little cold. The tourney will be played on all EM games and starts at 4 PM with a 15 player limit, so be sure to get there on time if you want to participate.

Another upcoming tournament will be the Tommy Pinball Tournament at Shorty’s on April 1st. Hosted by longtime tournament official Larry Reid, no one is quite sure what he means by Tommy pinball. Blind? Deaf? Most assuredly dumb. And you know that we will be there! Also, you may very well be reading these words at the 2nd Annual Georgetown Pinball Tournament (January 31st) which, like last year, will be held at Jules Maes, Calamity Jane’s, and 9LB Hammer. We wonder if Stellar Pizza realizes that it’s happening this year and will have working pins and quarters? Find out next issue!

Did you know that Wheel of Fortune finally resurfaced at Beth’s Café? Avout of Shorty’s has taken over that location (and Duck Island Ale next door) so the pins will be in better condition than the last time you were there. We wanted to go there on Christmas, but since no one answered the phone we decided that they were closed (despite a note on their door saying otherwise the day before). The Zoo Tavern was also on our list of potential X-mas fun, but an article in The Stranger led us to believe they would be open hours earlier than they actually were. Gameworks was open though, so we decided to give that place another chance and were pleasantly surprised by a working Sopranos and giant $4 beers (during happy hour). While the other 3 games there had some issues, it wasn’t as bad as we remember and 4 balls per game was an interesting touch.

Another interesting touch happened later that same night when we went to Madison Pub and discovered free pinball! Word of free games texted out and soon it was like a mini Shorty’s on Capitol Hill, which eventually took most of us to an all night pinball party at Headley’s apartment to play his Future Spa and other games. It was a pinball Christmas!

In other Capitol Hill news: We went to the soon-to-be-open Unicorn recently to chat up Adam the owner about his future plans concerning pinball there. While he wants a lot of pinball and has a large area in the basement for it, the sad news is that it may be 4 months to a year before this becomes a reality, due to construction costs and other factors. Be sure to go there once they open to help them raise some cash and be sure to mention pinball!

In other sad news: The Bit Saloon has closed its doors recently and, curiously, so has Add-a-Ball Amusements. Add-a-Ball’s departure is curious because Brad the owner abruptly began selling his pins on craigslist with the intention of starting a television studio in its place. We wonder what kind of programming he has in mind. Talking cats?? If you are wondering what happened to the Jumping Jack, it has resurfaced at the Josephine in Ballard. Luckily, that game was owned by Dominique and not sold or put into storage. See our Pinball List for more details.

Another classic machine that may soon be publicly available is a Banzai Run that Bobby Conover may add to his arcade game collection at Pink Gorilla in the U-district. That one’s not on our List yet, but if they add pinball, they will be. Another place that’s not on our List is the new Full Tilt Ice Cream that opened recently. Unlike the other Full Tilts, this one is apparently too small for a pinball machine, which makes us wonder: is anywhere too small for a Baby Pac-Man?

Big news is that Stern’s newest game Big Buck Hunter is soon to be released. There are photos of it online so it’s only a matter of time before one shows up somewhere. We’ve heard that the next pin after that will be Iron Man 2, which is slated for release when the movie comes out this summer. Will either of them have a skill shot this time?

And speaking of Skill Shot! Have you seen our new t-shirt yet? It features the cover of issue #11 (Frankenstein) and should be available for awhile, although some sizes are selling fast. Ask or email us for details. We are also working on a Skill Shot Pinball Party Bus tour for some time this spring. If we keep the number of riders to less than 20, it may cost close to $20 per person! So let us know what you think about that. Coming up next issue: Exciting news about our revised website (and Pinball List) and details on this year’s NW Pinball and Game Room Show.

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