Originally published in Skill Shot issue 14, June 2010

The 1st Annual Tommy Tournament happened at Shorty’s on April 1st and was a blast. Co-hosted by PBR, it was a blindfolded tournament where 2 player teams went head-to-head with the blindfolded player controlling the flippers and directed by their teammate on what to do (flip, nudge, etc). Team Skill Shot didn’t plan on making it past the first round, but our hands-on approach got us all the way to the final match-up against The Peeps (if you’re too scared to touch, you’re too scared to win!). And what do you know, we WON and are now Tommy Pinball CHAMPIONS!

The grand prize was one customized back glass that later created confusion and controversy, because there was only one awarded! We wonder what would have happened if it wasn’t Team Skill Shot that won the tournament and instead a team like Jeff Groper and Maka had won; how would they have shared that prize? If there’s going to be another Tommy Tournament next year, they may want to rethink what kind of prize it is going to be because something like this could possibly damage relationships. Still, we don’t want to sound like we’re complaining because the tournament was free and there was also free food, beer and fun! Did we already mention that we are now CHAMPIONS?

Winning this tournament wasn’t the only good thing that happened to Skill Shot since our last issue, we also got a pinball machine at the Skill Shot office! A 1980 Bally Xenon was loaned to us by Seattle Pinball League President Rod Olson and we love it! It’s a beautiful pin, fun to play and is teaching us quite a bit. A big shout-out goes to Headley, who’s showing us how to fix it too. Thanks guys!

Speaking of our last issue: we had our first folding party at The Lookout on Capitol Hill after #13 came out and it was a big success! A bunch of people came out to play Frankenstein, drink beer and fold zines. The Lookout always treats us right and they recently added another pin, a SEGA Harley-Davidson, which makes us feel even more appreciated there. Skill Shot folding parties are going to be regular events at the Lookout whenever we have a new issue, so watch our Facebook page for more details.

Another bar that has made us happy recently is Bandits on Denny, where the Cactus Canyon that used to be at Jules Maes now resides. We like that game so much that we decided to make it The One To Beat beginning this issue, since no one could top ELF’s high score on the Theatre of Magic at the Zoo Tavern. As mentioned previously, The One To Beat is the high score of a selected pin at a specific location and will be published in each issue of Skill Shot until no one is able to beat it. When that happens, we pick another pin to showcase.

We thought that since ELF was on tour with Black Breath it would give other people a chance, but instead we got a bunch of grumbling about LWL’s score being too high and that he probably got it at Jules Maes anyways. We’re betting that someone attending PAGS will take on this challenge and that we will have a new high score to publish in #15. (Bandits is a few blocks from The Seattle Center and on the way to Shorty’s if you’re walking.)

Speaking of PAGS (the NW Pinball and Gameroom Show, June 11 – 13), this year they’re going to have close to 300 pinball and arcade games, a bunch of special speakers and guests, the NW Pinball Championship and should be loads of fun, just like last year. You may be reading this issue there right now! Besides Bandits, another nearby bar is The Funhouse, which is having a drink special for those attending the event. Let’s hope they get that Medieval Madness in tip top shape! We’ll have more to say about PAGS next issue…

Stern’s new Iron Man pin made its Seattle debut at the Madison Pub weeks before any place else, and local pinball enthusiasts went there to check it out. Unfortunately the pin was suffering from various mechanical problems and people were disappointed, especially Pub employees who had to listen to our complaints. The Pub has been a great supporter of pinball and often has the latest Stern games, so we hope they have better luck with their next pin.

The Iron Man pin may be cursed, because one of the three pins that Gameworks was supposed to get for the release party/tournament on May 7th was damaged by a forklift! The event drew 39 contestants vying for a grand prize which was rumored to be an Iron Man pin itself. Well, it wasn’t (it was cash)and it was won by Nycole Hyatt, who is now a tournament CHAMPION after getting close many times before. People were surprised about a pinball tournament at Gameworks, because their pins are often in disappointing condition, but Pickles, their pinball repair gal, told us that she’s trying to get the pins in proper working condition and to that we say: you go girl!

On a related note, we also heard about someone who had her debit card info stolen and it may have possibly happened at the tournament. So if you had an open tab there you should keep an eye on your bill. Send us an email if you notice anything amiss and we will forward it. Claire swears it’s not in her purse!

As often happens, pinball locations come and go. Both Owl ‘N Thistle and Pink Gorilla have temporarily had their games removed, while the Roanoke Tavern sadly lost their lease. Luckily, recent additions are helping to fill the void: Highline (Cap Hill), Grizzled Wizard and Sock Monster (both in Wallingford) and 2 Bit Saloon (Ballard). Check out our Seattle Pinball List in this issue for more details!

Matthew almost had his leg cut off and he saw his own bone! Get well soon, young dragon…