Originally published in Skill Shot 27, January 2013
On November 11th, 80 players from all over the Pacific Northwest attended Shorty’s 15th Annual Pinball Tournament, hosted this year by team Skill Shot! We were hesitant at first when asked to host until great guy Jeff Groper agreed to join us. Thanks to Groper, we had a beta version of the Brackelope iPad app to use, which made the whole tournament run very smoothly. Brackelope allowed contestants to follow the tournament on their smartphones and see when their next matchup was scheduled — much less hectic for everyone. Groper seemed to have fun as well despite being the main official on the floor, probably since we were given a bar tab for the event. Free Drinks!
The tournament had a bit of a shaky start because of a KOMO TV reporter and cameraman who tried filming right in Bobby’s face while he played his first match against Cayle. The KOMO crew came and went throughout the day as they waited to film the final match. As to be expected, top players from the region battled it out and then mostly got drunk when they were knocked out. Cheeseboat set her sights on the Most Enthusiastic Contestant prize and came up with the winning strategy of getting lots of guys to show their tits for our camera! (Sorry Timmy.) The whole shebang came to an exciting finale with a rematch between Sagel Frazier and Cayle George, the top two players from last year. Although Sagel is hardly an underdog (he won last year), he still seems to be since he rarely competes in the big local tournaments. Congratulations to Sagel for taking the win again this year! We had a great time running the tournament, and thanks to everyone who helped to make it a success. Skill Shot Rules!
Another big event since our last issue was the November 9th opening of John John’s Game Room on Capitol Hill — the new arcade and bar from the Add-a-Ball Amusements guys. It’s an attractive little space full of pins and vids much like Add-a-Ball, but more decorative and with an upper level. There are a number of uncommon games like Tales from the Crypt and Who Dunnit supplied in part by local pin godfather Rod Olsen. It’s a treat to get to play some of the games from Rod’s collection without having to wait until his next party or tournament. Add-a-Ball itself recently celebrated its one-year anniversary with a tournament that required contestants to compete on both pinball and arcade games! This was rather befuddling to many of the contestants who usually only play one or the other, us included. Ultimately a video-gamer won the whole thing which isn’t too surprising since figuring out pinball flippers is a lot easier than figuring out anything on a game like R-Type. Bah!
Speaking of Rod, his house was once again the site of the Seattle Pinball League Finals on December 8th. With wild card playoffs beginning at 9 AM, this was an all-day event in which winners of each 4-player match moved on to the next round, adding new players along the way according to their rankings. Sounds grueling, right? Bobby and Kayla again officiated the event and broadcast the game action from an overhead camera to a screen in the next room (very cool!). For those not in (or knocked out) of the main event, there was free pinball and side tournaments including our own new tournament style, Butt-to-Butt! As the night went on, many of the spectators became tipsy and some of the contestants became drowsy, especially Robert Gagno who began playing mid-afternoon and was still in it almost 12 hours later when he won the final round and became the 2012 SPL Champion! Besides being the first two-time SPL champ (he won in 2010), Robert also won the VRPA Championship the previous weekend and the Fraser Valley Flip Out the week before that. Way to go, eh?
The House with No Name (A.K.A. C3) has been the site of a few parties and tournaments lately, beginning with the Libra Party. We hosted a Zodiac Tournament in which players matched up according to their astrological signs. The winner received a Homer Simpson doll that vaguely resembled some of the contestants and/or winner. A few weeks later the C3 House hosted the November SPL Tournament and Fall Photo Shoot, which was quickly followed by a Thanksgiving dinner party, a Naughty and Nice Xmas Tournament and many pinball speakeasy nights. There’s probably more we’re forgetting and we don’t know where Cathy, Steve, and Bro-Bro (the 3 C’s) get all the energy for so much company, but we’re glad they do. A nicer group of people you will never meet. Thanks for the candy!
There have been many other tournaments we’ve missed in the past few months such as the 2nd Leftover TurNey (where Thanksgiving leftovers earned you a reduced entry fee) and the weekly tournaments at John John’s and Add-a-Ball (now worth IFPA points). The annual Cascadia Cup in Portland, OR drew many of Seattle’s top-ranked players to the south, and the first Fraser Valley Flipout in Canada also drew locals north to good reviews. The 2nd Annual *Winter Cup* at Full Tilt Ballard attracted a regional crowd not only for the prize money, but to also check out arguably one of Seattle’s finest pinball locations. Add-a-Ball hosted a tournament on Halloween with lots of cool costumes and the usual brown-nosers, and had an LSD Tournament on NYE with players wearing kaleidoscopic glasses during matches. Trippy!
In the year’s final few months, the Seattle Pinball Museum hosted a monthly tournament where the highest score on their Bally King Tut machine earned free passes to the Pacific Science Center’s King Tut exhibit. These were also the 1st place prize at the SPM Halloween Tournament, which brought Julie Gray dressed as a Data East Star Trek pop bumper and Aaron McAbee dressed up as Skill Shot’s own Bernard Blvd! The SPM has also resumed hosting pinball repair classes this winter. If you are thinking about purchasing a pin this is something you should consider, because those games don’t fix themselves. Owned!
On Halloween we attended a party at the Artful Dodger Tattoo parlor on Capitol Hill and had a chance to check out the vintage pins supplied by Dominique of silverAge silverBall. The Cap Hill pinball scene has exploded in the last year with many new locations opening up and others expanding their offerings! Narwhal opened beneath the Unicorn earlier this summer; The Cha Cha removed the foosball table and got pins; The Hillside opened with pins in the space The Elite once called home; John John’s as we mentioned above; the Comet Tavern got rid of their pool table and moved their pins down by the bar. The Comet is also looking to expand their pinball collection and plan to move the games to the upper balcony, where pinball machines once stood back in the 90’s. Old School!
If you’ve been following Skill Shot’s The One To Beat you’ll already know that Dave Stewart went to the Hurricane and beat ELF’s score on The Addams Family only a week after our last issue dropped. When his GC held for a few months we thought that was it, until Maka dove in and put up over a billion points just days before this issue came together. Wow! Our last folding party at The Lookout was a blast as usual. Nice bar, great staff! We love and thank everyone who helps fold and distribute every issue of Skill Shot. Your help is appreciated by not only us but also everyone who enjoys this zine. It literally wouldn’t happen without all the people who help out in so many ways. Now who wants to buy an ad?
Pinball Tidbits: The piece KOMO filmed at the Shorty’s tournament is on their website. Here’s the link. • You can find out the names of local tournament winners and more by going to our website www.skill-shot.com. • The new Stern Avengers has replaced Batman at Shorty’s. • Notable new locations outside of Seattle include Replay Cafe in Everett and Middletown Dreams in Port Townsend. Skill Shot will hopefully have field trips soon. • Dorky’s may open a second location in Olympia? That’s good news for Simon and Stephanie who recently moved there. • After the Shorty’s tournament 4th Place Andy is no more; long live 3rd Place Andy! Welcome back to Seattle Andrew Nunes and family. It’s nice to have you back! • Our Xmas was excellent thanks to Avout of Shorty’s, who invited us to the staff party! This occasion was made happier by Headley proposing to Claire in the alley. They were beaming and we were too! • I’m going to drop a card full of elbows into your mouth!
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