Come and play the new Stern pinball machine and enter a tournament on the new game! They also will have over 40 other pinball machines available. More details TBA.
The Monday Night Football Pinball Showdown at Rod Olsen’s happened on the same night as the first Monday Night Football game on TV on September 12th. It was originally going to be two player match-ups, double elimination head-to-head on two Monday Night Football pins that were next to each other. Just like in a real football game, the winner was determined by the number of touchdowns, and points only mattered if there was a tie. This was a cool idea except that over 40 contestants turned out for the event and (then) one of the pins broke down. It was a work night and players were dropping like flies as the night wore on. Eventually sometime after 2AM Cayle George became the winner of what will hopefully become an annual event. Night Owls!
Another fun tournament was the September 17th Seattle Pinball League (SPL) Tournament. This was an all Bally tournament hosted by Mitch Anderson and the format was PinGolf! As we have never played golf before, it was a bit confusing when people talked about pars, strokes, tops and bottoms, but once we started playing, it made more sense. Martin Ayub from pinballnews.com was visiting for the event and showed why he is the #1 player in the UK. His final match on Paragon against Raymond Davidson was one of the most exciting we had seen in a while. With a par of 90,000, Martin was quite a ways behind when he totally choked on the final ball but then received a rare “ball saved” that he didn’t even notice until the crowd gasped aloud in unison. Martin went on to score 91,800, making the par and winning the tournament! 2nd Place Raymond was second place again!
Other tournaments since our last issue: The First Sunday Tournament at Shorty’s (8/7) which was won by Paul Sonier; The SPL Tournament at Randy Pouley’s (8/20) won by Robert Gagno (with great Thai food!); The First Sunday Tournament at Shorty’s (9/4) won by Jeff Groper; The quarterly Seattle Pinball Museum (SPM) Tournament (9/19) won by Maka Honig; and The Ballard Pinball Tournament (9/19) won by Bobby Conover. It’s more fun to compete!
National tournaments also drew local players, including PAPA in Pennsylvania and The Pacific Pinball Expo in California. There is a lot of determination among some local players because the 2012 IFPA World Pinball Championship is happening in Seattle next year. The players with the highest IFPA Rankings are invited first for the limited 64 spots in the tournament, and people in Seattle have a good chance to attend, as some higher ranking players will choose to opt out. Cayle George won last year’s Championship, which was held in Sweden and almost cancelled when a controversy developed after government officials discovered that the tournament had a cash prize. The Seattle tournament is reportedly being held at Todd MacCulloch’s and we will have more details later. Stay Tuned…
Stern Pinball’s Transformers is set for release later in October and will be a very public affair with four different release parties planned in the area. Events are planned for the Seattle Waterfront Arcade (10/21), Seattle Pinball Museum (10/22), Dorky’s in Tacoma (10/28), and the soon to be open Full Tilt in Ballard (10/28). The new Full Tilt has been anxiously anticipated since it was first announced at the beginning of the summer. Conveniently located in the heart of Ballard, their new location will have 15 pinball machines! Look for our report on their grand opening next issue. Sweet!
The Seattle area is experiencing a pinball renaissance with a multitude of new venues and machines. Both Dorky’s (22 pins) and the Seattle Pinball Museum (40+ pins) have opened in the last year, along with the new Full Tilt (15). The Unicorn on Capitol Hill is in the midst of constructing their long awaited pinball room with space for 19 pinball machines. Meanwhile, Shorty’s has been expanding locations by picking up The Iron Bull and the Comet Tavern, as well as adding popular pins to places like the Fun House (Funhouse) and Jabu’s (The Shadow). Even Space Age Amusements has serviced their games more often lately and moved things around, so we’re definitely expecting to see a Wheel of Fortune at a downtown location any day now. Right!??
Don’t forget: The 14th Annual Shorty’s Pinball Tournament on November 5th and 6th!
The Lookout has been expecting a Fish Tales for a while now and chances are it will arrive right around the same time our new Seattle Pinball List is printed. The Lookout is the location of our Skill Shot Folding Parties, and last issue we had a great turn out. We want to give a BIG shout out to everyone who helped us fold every single copy in just 3 hours! Speaking of the Pinball List, this issue premieres our new color coded all-ages system to help people under 21 find pinball machines. Check it out!
Another change in this issue is The One To Beat, which has now moved to The Rolling Stones pin at the SPM. Since no one could beat MAK’s Grand Champ score on either of the last two games, we’ve decided to pick one that he hasn’t dominated (yet). Have you been to www.skill-shot.com lately? Along with an archive of past articles, we have a calendar of Seattle pinball events, including a bunch of Halloween-themed pinball tournaments! You don’t have to go to Facebook to find out what’s happening. Wow!
A link to our Calendar is located at the top of this web page!
Pinball Tidbits: If you noticed that The Addams Family at Shorty’s looks and plays differently that’s because it is a new machine; the old one went to the Comet • By the time you read this the SPM’s Upper Playfield should be open with even more pins and a view of the main room • We had an awesome time at the Summer Tilt Birthday Bash in Redmond this summer. Thanks to Birthday Boys Byron, Dave and Keith • Gunfire and a SWAT team heralded the closing of the Tiger Lounge for good. Rumor has it certain employees plan to relocate a similar business downtown • We lost the Skill Shot camera at the last Ballard Tournament • With Xenon still broken, the Redwood has now become Skill Shot Office East. Gofer Trouble!
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Special thanks to Cathy Cartoon for providing many of the above photos!
For photos of the pins currently at the Seattle Pinball Museum at press time please check out this gallery.
Halloween party at the Seattle Pinball Museum! Wear a costume for free admission in the tournament. $50 cash prize! Other prizes TBA.
You can do the tournament if you don’t wear a costume but it’s going to cost you. Hey, it’s Halloween weekend!
Regular museum admission cost will apply.
The Ballard Pinball Tournament had the unusual starting time of 3 in the afternoon on Monday May 30th, because it was Memorial Day. As always the Ballard Tournament is a roving event that moves to different establishments in the neighborhood, but because of the holiday many of the planned venues were either closed or had inconvenient hours. Claire and Headley’s Pinball Room was also out of the running because of a new floor being installed, so all the matches were held at Snoose Junction and Liberty House. Julie Gray took first place and Graham Klym took second. Liberty House was a great place to go because they had hosted the Sam Theoharis Memorial Croquet Tournament the day before and were still stocked with grills, beer and pinball machines. Pinball Summer!
Another reason Headley’s pins were not available was because they were being packed up for the Pacific Northwest Pinball and Gameroom Show (PAGS) later in the week. This annual event is something we look forward to each summer and Skill Shot was graciously allowed to take pictures of the games while they were being set up on Thursday evening. A lot of love and work goes into this show and we were impressed with how it was set up this year. Look for our full report on PAGS elsewhere in this issue!
As usual, there have been a lot of local tournaments happening, and on June 9th the Seattle Pinball Museum held the first in their new quarterly format. Hosted by Jeff Groper, the tournament had 40 contestants as well as many observers, including British pinball author Gary Flowers and Canadian Bally repair expert Lindsey Rupertus. Steve Ackley took the top prize and Brian Headley took second. Later that evening we had a 5 game tournament of our own at Shorty’s against Sergey and Heather. Using our 100 Pinball Game Equation (from issue 16) we luckily didn’t bet any money because Heather won. It’s more fun to compete!
As if that wasn’t enough pinball tournament action for a week, the next night (6/10) was the first of three official TRON Pinball Release Parties! The TRON events also featured a tournament and the first one at the Seattle Waterfront Arcade was won by Maka. The next day (6/11) had a TRON party at Flynn’s Arcade in Tacoma (a.k.a. Dorky’s), and the pinball machine was hooked up to the sound system for the final match, which ELF won. Four days later (6/14) at the Seattle Pinball Museum, TRON had another release party that was won by Seattle Pinball League treasurer Hannah Olson. And we missed them all!
Other pinball events we missed include the annual Summer Solstice Soiree at Andrew Nunes’ house that happened on the same day as the Fremont Solstice Day Parade; the July Seattle Pinball League Tournament that was held at Mike Lorrain’s home, won by Randy Pouley; the first tournament at Bridle Trails New York Pizza in Kirkland, won by Beth Johns; and the Super Multi-Brawl tournament in Vancouver BC, won by Cayle. A Vancouver tournament is apparently a rare event because most pins are in private homes rather than on location. They haven’t had a public tournament in years. Sorry, Maka.
Rod Olson’s annual 4th of July Party was a great time as always. The festivities included tasty food, fireworks, tank battles and of course, lots of pinball. Rod has a great collection of pins and this year he also had a nice set up in his garage. Some of the games included Fish Tales, two NBA Fastbreak that were connected to each other and 300, which became the center of attention when we held a Biggest Loser Tournament, won by Rod’s stepmother. Those Olsons have pinball in their blood!
Birthdays seem to be popular times to have pinball tournaments at Shorty’s. 4th Place Andy hosted The Trick Pinball Olympics on June 21st. Four different pins had different games: Biggest Loser on Speakeasy; Pat Hand on The Addams Family; Blind Folded (Tommy) on Family Guy; and Half and Half on Champion Pub. The highest scores were awarded points with the four highest scorers moving on to the final match on TRON, which Pancakes easily won. Jawn Wakefield had a Batman-themed birthday on July 21st, with a Bat-Hand tournament on Batman, naturally. In this tournament, players had to use the opposite hand for each flipper and you could do either forwards (like most people did) or backwards, which seemed to help some folks. This style of playing is fun and challenging and we would like to see it played again sometime on an easier game. Bat Fun!
We made it to Dorky’s recently and were impressed with their large game selection. It’s like a mini PAGS with a ton of arcade games and over 20 pinball machines, many of which you don’t often see available to the public. Dirty Harry, Data East’s Star Trek and Indianapolis 500 are just a few of the older games there, as well as newer pins like Big Buck Hunter and TRON. There were a few bands playing in the big room the night we visited and we watched Les the owner moving games around so a stage could be built. Later he even had a working arcade game out on the sidewalk for people to play. Dorky’s is in a nice part of Tacoma and there’s a lot of different neat bars and other businesses within walking distance. You don’t have to go anywhere else to get a drink though, because beginning August 1st Dorky’s started selling beer. Beer!
Another business that recently got a license to sell beer and wine is the Seattle Pinball Museum! With their ever-changing collection of games and plans to open The Upper Playfield soon, the SPM just keeps getting better and better. Owner Charlie Martin wanted us to mention that if you need a pinball machine fixed in your home, the SPM might be able to help and Cindy Martin reminded us that they are now selling Full Tilt Ice Cream. Speaking of Full Tilt, we heard that the building permits for their future Ballard business have finally arrived. The new location will have more pinball than either of their other two arcades and will most likely be open in 6 to 8 weeks. Sweet.
The Pinball and Arcade Swap Meet happened in the parking lot of Specialty Coin in Kent and despite the rain there was a good turnout. There was lots of different stuff for sale or trade, including a No Good Gofers pinball machine and various ramps, switches and instruction manuals for many different games. Specialty Coin was also open and had Rolling Stones and NASCAR pins to play. Chris Walsh and Butch Clifford brought a generator along with Radical and Strike and Spares in the back of their truck, so those pins were also available to play. There’s talk of starting another swap meet on the north-end, but organizer Keith Nelson would rather have someone else coordinate that one. Thrifty!
Last issue’s Skill Shot Folding Party at The Lookout was our most successful one yet; over 1600 issues of the zine were folded in record time and we would like to thank everyone who stopped by to help out. Also, thanks again to The Lookout who provided us with tasty sliders and hummus (and beer). Have you been to our website? www.skill-shot.com is the place to go for all past Skill Shot articles and covers. There’s also current news and gossip tidbits, updated calendar listings and more, so check it out. You can also see what the current The One To Beat score is. We had to change the pin because no one could beat MAK’s 1,136,165,620 on Batman at Shorty’s. We’re sure everyone wants another chance to beat Maka so the new TOTB is the Jack-Bot at the Rabbit Hole in Belltown. Go Team Skill Shot!
Pinball Tidbits: The WWF Royal Rumble at the 9LB Hammer has a DMD that randomly goes out multiple times during a game. The Randy Savage sound bites made this a fitting place to have a drink when remembering The Macho Man • The Lookout has finally replaced the no tilt Frankenstein with Pirates of the Caribbean, and it plays pretty well if you’re not Jeff Groper • Pinball champ Nycole Hyatt is now bartending at the Tiger Lounge and plans are forming for a tournament there • The Fun House finally has a Fun House • The current season of Hell’s Kitchen has a pinball-themed intro that you should check out (on FOX) • The Highline took out part of the bar and built a pinball cove • The next new Stern will be Transformers • The Annual Shorty’s Pinball Tournament has changed dates to November 5 &6 • We want to go Pinball Camping!
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Starts early. 6PM-??
Quarterly Tournament. Practice begins at 6:30, tournament begins at 7PM SHARP!
Registration at 6 and the tournament starts at 7PM sharp.
Don’t be late because these 9 to 5-ers aren’t joking around.
Originally published in Skill Shot 16, October 2010
The Pacific Northwest has always been a great place for pinball and now it’s even better with the recent opening of the Seattle Pinball Museum.
The Seattle Pinball Museum (SPM) is the creation of Charlie and Cindy Martin of Federal Way WA, who first began forming their plan for the museum back in February. By mid-summer, Charlie had created a Facebook page announcing the museum and soon after, the Martins hosted a BBQ/meeting to gauge community interest. Needless to say, the pinball community responded positively and the Martins began searching for a space to rent.
While investigating spaces in Pioneer Square they became aware of Storefronts Seattle, an organization involved in revitalizing the Pioneer Square and International District neighborhoods. Storefronts Seattle matches artists/art with unused retail space and gets them free rent for a limited time, with the hope that the increased foot traffic the art brings in will improve the neighborhood as a whole. Realizing the potential of the Seattle Pinball Museum, Storefronts Seattle made them one of the first ten art projects accepted into the program.
The space was finalized at the end of August, and the Seattle Pinball Museum had one week to move in and open up for the First Thursday Art Walk, which happens each month in the neighborhood. Many people volunteered to make this happen by donating and delivering pinball machines, cleaning, advertising and other thankless tasks the museum needed done. On September 2nd the SPM had 10 pinball machines (and a few pachinkos) up and running for the Art Walk. Two days later they had an official grand opening with 13 working pins.
The SPM is located in a retail space on the bottom floor of a hotel in the International District/China Town of Seattle. It’s a large space that has big windows and a long wall of pinball machines. Above each of the games is a placard giving some facts about the pin, including the date it was manufactured. Almost all of the pinball machines are in working condition and available for the public to play. The machines are also lined up in chronological order with a flipper-less 1936 Bally Bumper being the closest to the front door, and Galactic Girl (2010), built by Seattle’s own Dominique Nick, holding up the rear.
The museum is an active space and while people playing pinball, often pins are being worked on. Go there during the day and you’re likely to see someone trying to coax a machine back to life, or giving one of the games a tune-up. There have been some interesting donations to the SPM recently, including a Tropics bingo-machine (1953) and a KISS (1978), neither of which were in working condition when dropped off. There’s also a lot of comings and goings, as pinball machines are added to the museum roster on a weekly basis. Charlie says that they have the space for 28 games.
The Seattle Pinball Museum is currently open Thursday – Sunday. Admission includes unlimited free-play. They also plan on opening for special events and tournaments. Check out their Facebook page for further details.
Seattle Pinball Museum, 508 Maynard Ave S, Seattle WA