Shorty’s 14th Annual Pinball Tournament. Two day event. Details TBA
The new Stern Transformers pinball machine comes to Shorty’s with a tournament on the new game!
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!
SUPPORT LOCAL PINBALL
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.
When/how did you first get into pinball?
While I remember some pinball machines from childhood (my first was a Big Chief at a convenience store, and I remember playing Royal Flush while on vacation at some point), I only really got into pinball after graduating high school. I remember an Earthshaker machine that was my first real experience with hitting “the zone”, and after that, I was hooked.
When/why did you start participating in tournaments?
I actually started playing in a league in college, at a bar called Doc’s Place, in Pittsburgh; it wasn’t very far from my school, and a fellow CMU student named Dave Stewart would come in and play the games a lot. We got to be friends, and when he started a pinball league, I was in! After graduating from college, I moved around a bit, and with work and whatnot, I didn’t have much time to play regularly, until I saw a flyer for a Sunday tournament at Shorty’s, then run by Kevin Lessig. I went, and won every single game (against some seriously good opponents, including Jason Hatch) to win the tournament, and ever since, I’ve been playing in tournaments in Seattle.
How would you explain your role at the Sunday Tournaments at Shorty’s?
I run the tournaments. Simple, eh? I gather entrants, gather entrance fees, take down names, create brackets, create matches, and (randomly) choose the initial machines to play on. The process is a little mechanical and a little annoying, as anyone who’s tried to set up a tournament can attest to.
How long have you been involved with the Sunday Tournament?
I’ve been involved with it for about 3 or 4 years now; initially as a participant, but when Kevin decided to bow out as tournament organizer, I decided to step up and take on the task myself. I’ve been running them myself now (with assistance at times from Jawn Wakefield and Jeff Gagnon) for about 3 years, I guess; it’s kind of surprising to realize it’s been that long!
What advice do you have for someone competing in the Sunday Tournament for the first time?
Have fun! The tournaments are all about having fun, and playing pinball with different people. Competitive play is very different from normal friendly play; you can expect to do worse than you normally do when playing someone else. Stick with it and enjoy playing with someone else; I’ve probably learned more about good pinball play from watching my competitors play than I have from tons and tons of solo practice.
We heard that you are working on a pinball related web project, can you give us any details?
There is definitely a web project in the works, but that’s under wraps right now. However, as a lead-in to the web project, I’ve been putting together an Android app that runs on phones that will help Tournament Organizers create and manage their tournaments; it lets you keep track of entrants and their registration status, track tournament results, etc. It’s going to be published on the Android Market soon, and will be free to download for anyone who wants a little bit of help running a tournament! In fact, it’s not pinball-specific, but can be used for all sorts of tournaments, from pinball to darts to billiards to board games! I’ll be using it to help me with the tournament this Sunday, and that will be a good debugging run, so if you want to see it in action, come on out to the tournament!
What is your favorite pinball machine?
Ooh, the trickiest question. While I’m fond of Tron recently, and I really have a soft spot for some of the older machines such as Surf Champ and other EMs, I’m just a total fan of Pat Lawlor machines. Earthshaker, Whirlwind, Addams Family, Road Trip… even Family Guy shows that brilliant Pat Lawlor design. But my favorite of all of his machines, and the one that I’d just love to have and play constantly, would be Twilight Zone. From the the excellent music (Golden Earring! Yeah!) to the fantastic theme (Rod Serling = the epitome of cool) to the fantastic toys / gimmicks (Powerball!) to the wizard mode (nothing like getting Lost in the Zone!), it’s just a constant joyous experience. So much about that machine just sticks with you… anyone who’s played it for any amount of time can recognize the sounds, from the rocket launch to the Hitchhiker chime to the excellent voice work (“Don’t touch the door!”). The playfield design is marvelous; it SHOULD feel cramped, from the looks of it, but it’s really very expansive, with tons of “hidden” shots that are a joy to discover (Town Square, or the left-flipper shot off the left side of the slot machine to a Camera shot, or any of the seemingly random but surprisingly repeatable ways to hit the piano from the right flipper).
The Sunday Tournament at Shorty’s is the first Sunday of every month. A potluck brunch begins at 1 and the tournament starts at 3. Shorty’s is at 2222 2nd Avenue.
Usually there is a potluck brunch at 1PM. Tournament begins around 3.
If there’s a Facebook events page we’ll add a link to it later.
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!
SUPPORT LOCAL PINBALL
Usually there is a potluck brunch at 1PM. Tournament begins around 3.
If there’s a Facebook events page we’ll add a link to it later.
Originally published in Skill Shot issue 11, October 2009
Note: This list of pinball machines will surely change. Hopefully extra balls will be turned off for the annual tournament but there’s no telling.
SPEAKEASY: Pinball gambling. Pay attention to the roulette wheel, especially after every ball, and avoid the dreaded Subtract-A-Ball “feature” at all costs. Leans to the left.
REVENGE FROM MARS: Advancing to (and doing well in) Bonus Wave Multiball is handy for a solid score. Beware, this RFM’s tilt is dangerous and likes to carry over to the next player’s ball; always wait a minute or two before launching, especially after your opponent tilts.
CHAMPION PUB: Everyone’s favorite bare-knuckle boxing pinball machine! Shoot stuff and jump rope then hit the dude in the middle a bunch. Spitting gallery is easy points… door prize skill shot.
INDIANA JONES: Temple of Doom Multiball is a quick way to start racking points, I guess. Raiders of The Lost Ark Multiball is fun. Don’t ignore the Crystal Skull ramp. Shoot the Map Room a lot for more fun with bonus. EB’s abound.
’24’: Uhhhh, shooting the easy center ramp while it’s lit seems to do something. Suitcase Multiball is fairly lucrative. Moving on…
FATHOM: Now here’s a great machine for head-to-head battles. Lock the ball(s), then knock down those drop targets to release the locked ball(s) for old school multiball! (with 2X or even 3X playfield scoring!) It’s all there on the Instructions Card, if I remember correctly. Lighting and collecting the timed extra ball is a real challenge. Bonus is vital here, so don’t tilt… tilt too hard and you run the risk of tilting your competition’s turn, so be gentle or suffer the consequences!
THE ADDAMS FAMILY: Another classic game you don’t want to tilt because of the potentially gamebreaking bonus involved. Shoot the chair, shoot the ramp. Kick ass at multiballs. Victoly!
FAMILY GUY: Shoot the right spinner repeatedly to light the valuable TV modes. Stewie Pinball is where it’s really at, complete those shots for Stewie Multiball! A good Stewie Multiball coupled with Sexy Party or Good ‘Ol Boys (and/or Crazy Chris) should be enough for a dominating score.
BATMAN: Placing beer coasters over the searingly bright flashers so you can, you know, *see* is a good idea. Yeah. Lots of nudging is useful here. Balls like to get stuck in places, have fun with that.
STAR TREK: The Next Generation: Those outlanes are ruthless, keep ball away from them, obviously. Try forward nudges. Get comfortable with the right lock shot because Borg Multiball is the fast path to mountainous pinball success. Holodeck is easy points. Start Mission shot ain’t all that easy, timing out missions to get to The Final Frontier…?
EVEL KNIEVEL: Knock down them drop targets on the left for double bonus, then do it again for a precious EB. Shoot the lit spinner for rad points and stuff. And, seriously, don’t tilt ‘cuz it’ll make you lose.
SURF CHAMP: Rollover those rollover stars. Don’t even think of muscling this sucker around. Tilt it too hard and forfeit your whole game, fool.
NBA: New kooky pinball features spinning disc of random fun. Super fast game. I like shooting the right ramp.
MONSTER BASH: All the shots are very makeable. Collect monsters and instruments. Stay alive during multiballs to win.
TALES OF THE ARABIAN NIGHTS: Spin the lamp to make it all lightningy. Next, shoot the make-a-wish scoop and choose 3X lightnings. Now wail on the lamp and make mega-lightnings for massive points!! If that doesn’t work, a more conservative approach is in order…but I can’t help you there because I’m gonna make more mega-lightnings! Tilty.
MEDIEVAL MADNESS: Crush the castles! Both ramps are easy enough, don’t miss. No rubber on right outlane post makes it extra drainy lately.