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The final months of 2014 is a time of many holidays, and many big pinball tournaments in Seattle. The grand-daddy of them all, the 17th Annual Shorty’s Pinball Tournament held on November 9th, is the longest running annual event in the Pacific Northwest. 78 players came from all over the region to participate in this double-elimination tournament hosted by Skill Shot and officiated by the always charming Jeff Groper. Due to grumbling last year, Groper made it very clear at the beginning that during the last match the player from the losers bracket had to beat the player of the winners bracket twice, while the winners bracket player only had to beat the loser once. Hence, double elimination. As this has been the way the tournament has been run since time immemorial, or at least 17 years, it confused us that this would cause controversy, but apparently these kinds of tournaments are done differently in Portland. It didn’t matter in the long run because once Spokanthony was eliminated, the final matches evolved to Canada vs USA, ultimately ending with a Dave Stewart (Seattle) victory over Jordan Hudson (Vancouver). America!
As usual with events hosted by Skill Shot, we held a raffle at the end of the tournament. Excitement ran high this year due to the grand prize of a cooler-scooter donated by PBR. Many raffle tickets were sold and a big crowd stayed until the end to see who would win this coveted prize – someone who bought a lot of raffle tickets, or someone who got a free ticket for entering the tourney? Ultimately the combo of Jeff Rogers and Carlos Schroeder, who bought tickets together, won the cooler-scooter! There were other fun prizes won at the event, including a PBR onesie, a PBR tent, Shorty’s hoodies, Skill Shot t-shirts, zine collections and poster-packs (all still available on our website). These raffles are a great way to get people to stay until the end of tournaments, and are a lot of fun for us too. Great!
The next big tournament was Flip Off Hunger Seattle @ Add-a-Ball Amusements the next weekend (11/16), organized by Cathy Cartoon. The event raised a bunch of money (and donated food) and was part of a national food drive coordinated by the International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA). Cathy even donated the money from the sale of the legendary “Beast”, and Kevin Birrell won the tournament. Good job! The 4th Annual Leftover TurNey was held the weekend after Thanksgiving (11/29) at Another Castle in Edmonds, and not at tournament organizer Mitch Anderson’s Bally Cavern. Because of the venue change, this was the first TurNey not to offer the option of bringing leftover Thanksgiving food to the event for an entry fee discount. Seattle had an early burst of winter this year and Another Castle lost electricity hours before the event, almost causing it to be cancelled, but power was restored and Cayle George got the win. Power!
The Seattle Pinball League held their annual Finals Tournament at Rod Olsen’s house (12/6), and was webcast courtesy of Beneficial Malfunction with some lively commentary by Nicholas Polimenakos (among others). Tim Tournay won the previous day’s wild card playoff and #1 seed Raymond Davidson eventually won the tournament. The Emerald City Cup was Beneficial Malfunction’s inaugural tournament and was held at John John’s Game Room (12/14). Due to the venue’s size and number of games, this tournament only had 32 spots available, although there was one no-show (probably Maka). John John’s opened early for the tournament and it lasted almost until closing time, with a Cayle vs Raymond duel from which Raymond emerged victorious. This was fitting as Cayle was moving away a few days later and it was sort of a passing of the torch to Raymond, now the top-ranked player in Seattle. The Chilly Willy Pinball Open (12/20) was another first both for the tournament and for Let’s Play Café in Monroe WA, which had only been open since October. Jeremy Edwards hosted and had special icicle trophies made for the winners, which looked cool as ice. Raymond took the win for this one also – the man’s on a roll! Rolls!
Along with the annuals, Seattle also had its regular slew of weekly and monthly pinball tournaments, with Add-a-Ball’s weekly Wednesday Flip-Off having the best attendance, averaging 30 players. This is most likely due to its longevity, as well as Add-a-Ball’s great game selection, a central location with good parking, and tournament organizer Sergey Posrednikov’s consistent job of submitting results to the IFPA and getting everyone their World Pinball Player Ranking (WPPR) points. The other regular weeklies at John John’s (Tuesdays), Flip Flip Ding Ding (Thursdays) and Another Castle (Saturdays) are all a little less consistent in this regard, while monthlies at Olaf’s and 8-Bit Arcade are less consistent with their schedule. The monthlies at Shorty’s (first Sundays) and Babes in Pinland (first Thursdays) are no-points by nature as they either have an experimental format (Shorty’s) or a women-only format (Babes). Despite this crowded field of regular tournaments, more are scheduled for 2015. Check out the Skill Shot Events Calendar on our website (https://www.skill-shot.com) for a complete listing of all the tournaments and other pinball-related happenings in the area. Happenings!
The new surge in local tournaments is in part a result of the restructuring of how WPPR points are determined by the IFPA. Where beforehand points were awarded by the number of events held at a specific location and the number of players in attendance (and their ranking points), they’ll now be determined by how many games each player plays at an event as well as the format. Essentially this means that some weeklies and monthlies have the ability to award more points than they had in the past. The new system is just getting started, and it’s difficult to determine exactly how it will pan out, but the result so far is a lot of excitement among players and assumedly a desire to attend more events (as long as they register with the IFPA properly beforehand). Points!
One event generating a lot of attention this year is the NW Pinball and Arcade Show (June 5 – 7) and the tournaments held during it. Dave Stewart took over the tournament organization last year with good results, and this year he’s planned an even bigger event. This includes a 10 [/one_half] [one_half last=”yes” class=”” id=””] pre-NWPAS Satellite Tournament Series at all locations mentioned above with regular tournaments, with prizes such as free entrees into the NWPAS tournaments, and free entry into the show itself. Besides its many different locations, this tournament series also features the four different formats to be used at the NWPAS tournaments this summer. We have a complete rundown of the tournament formats elsewhere in this issue, and you can find out more details about the tournaments themselves on either the NWPAS website (http://www.nwpinballshow.com) or the Skill Shot Calendar. Formats!
Local bar league Pinball Seattle is gearing up for its third season, beginning in February. The league uses team-based tournaments not unlike a bowling or softball league and is spread throughout the city at various locations with teams of 10 comprised of both seasoned and unseasoned players. Season 2 had a few run-away teams, such as Full Tilt Ballard’s Cone Heads and Shorty’s Silverball Slayers, both with only a few losses during the season. As the playoffs began, it looked as if the Finals would end in a matchup between these two teams, who never played against each other because they were in different conferences. And then the Cone Heads were unexpectedly knocked out by 8-Bit’s Specials When Lit! The Finals became a grudge match held at Add-a-Ball (12/15) between the Slayers and their co-conference rivals, Full Tilt’s Soda Jerks. After a hard fought battle, the Slayers were able to once again get the win and become Pinball Seattle’s first repeat champions, regaining their position as the league’s “most hated team”. Find out more about Pinball Seattle, including how to join the league, by going to their website: http://www.pinball-seattle.com. Slayers!
One Pinball Seattle team going through changes this next season is John John’s Middle Flippers. This is because John John’s has been sold to local pinball enthusiast Jeff Rogers! John John’s, which was owned by Add-a-Ball’s Travis Echert and Brad Johnson, had become a pinball hot spot on Capitol Hill during its short history. According to Brad, Jeff was the only person to whom they ever considered selling the business. Jeff says once the handoff happens and the liquor license is approved, probably at the end of January, he plans to close the space for a few weeks for remodeling. Accordingly, the Middle Flippers will play away games during those construction weeks. Along with the new ownership, expect a total switch in the pin selection, which will definitely include a number of newer Stern titles that we saw at a party Jeff held in November. A name change is also due to happen, and while we are not at liberty to publish any potential choices, we do know what it will not be. Jeff Jeff’s!
Speaking of new Stern titles, the new The Walking Dead is making a big splash so far. Pinheads Pinball scooped everyone by getting the first one in Seattle at Olaf’s and hosting a Day of The Walking Dead Stern Launch Party (11/1). It seems that almost everyone made the trek out to Olaf’s to check it out. It’s a fun game with a neat skill shot, and we assume that it will only become more popular once the software is updated, similar to how Mustang’s popularity increased with its updates. A less popular move by Stern happened when they announced their contract to manufacture the upcoming pin Whoa Nelly! Big Juicy Melons for Whizbang Pinball. If you’ve been following the controversy about The Girls of Pinball calendar, it’s not a surprise that many women (and some men) have become more outspoken about how women are represented in current pinball culture. Stern’s response to comments criticizing the game on their Facebook page was to delete them, while at the same time leaving the pro-Whoa Nelly! comments up — some of which were sexist and demeaning to women. This doesn’t seem like a smart move by Stern if they are truly trying to foster a community that expands the fanbase beyond stereotypical middle-age white men stuck in the past. The Pinside Pinball Forum has also come under scrutiny recently for permitting an online community that allows open trolling towards anyone who questions this way of thinking. Some may be tempted to argue that the next Stern, WWE, with a bunch of scantily dressed male wrestlers, will be a way to balance the criticism of people who object to how women are viewed in the community, but that would be missing the point. Object!
In more pleasant pinball culture news: Skill Shot recently tabled at the annual Short Run Festival (11/15) and had a great time. The festival has expanded into a mostly small-press comic show, so we’re happy they still welcome local zinesters like us. Alec Longstreth from the pinball zine Drop Target was also there, so it was cool that pinball had a few representatives in attendance. It was also cool to meet a lot of Skill Shot readers from outside the regular pinball and tournament social circle. While most pinball events focus on tournaments, one that doesn’t is the Skill Shot Folding Party, held for every new issue of Skill Shot. They’re always at The Lookout on Capitol Hill, and it’s a fun way to meet new pinball people. You help us fold and distribute Skill Shots – we supply the beer! Another regular Skill Shot event is our First Sunday Tournaments @ Shorty’s, organized monthly with a series of guest hosts. The host chooses the format, which can be rather wacky or experimental but always fun. Keep an eye on our website for more details on upcoming Skill Shot events. Skill Shot!
Pinball Tidbits: Did you see Kevin Birrell grand master Tetris at Awesome Games Done Quick last month? Watching him do the invisible mode was incredible! Here’s a link. * All ages pinball location The Hurricane closed on January 1st. The historic building will be torn down for the new Amazon Campus, which is sad. * All of the Full Tilt Ice Cream locations had to close down for a week in December due to a processing plant bacteria scare. Ouch. * Travis from Add-a-Ball wanted us to note that he had a moped crash, and that he doesn’t ride scooters. * Flip Flip Ding Ding has recently doubled their floor space and number of pins — 28 games on two floors. Sweet! * Silverball Saloon’s opening has been delayed due to bureaucratic red tape. Hopefully that will be resolved soon. * Cayle moved to Amsterdam and Maka is back! * Support Local Pinball![/one_half]
One reply on “Seattle Pinball News and Gossip 37”
Love these photos! Seems like a really great event, judging from the faces of these people. Pinball glory days should really be relived more often because almost everyone can enjoy them!