news & gossip

Skill Shot #11 News & Gossip

Originally published in Skill Shot issue 11, October 2009

Marc O’Farrell of Space Age Amusements was recently observed at 9LB Hammer replacing the Monster Bash pin with a newly shopped Monopoly. Monopoly is becoming one of our favorite games to play mostly because of the sudden influx of them around town (for a long time there was only one). Of course free credits and an almost nonexistent tilt never hurts. Space Age has a reputation for not leaving pins on location for very long and Full Tilt Ice Cream is a perfect example, as they have had different games every time we publish a new Skill Shot.

Another place with new pins is Hooverville, which reopened last month after a fire devastated the bar earlier this year. Shorty’s supplies the games there so we are disappointed that Wheel of Fortune didn’t show up, but Red and Ted’s Road Show sort of makes up for it. 8 Ball Delux is the classic that replaces the beloved Centaur (whose fate is still unknown). Check out our Seattle Pinball List for a complete line-up.

The Shorty’s 12th Annual Pinball Tournament has expanded to two days this year (November 14th and 15th ) order to accommodate everyone who is interested in participating. Last year 116 people competed which made the tournament last until 2AM and forced the finals into single elimination matches, which didn’t sit well with almost everybody. Hopefully the two day format will solve this, although we wonder what effect having the tournament on two days will have on the number of people able to attend and compete. Regardless of what happens, we look forward to the event.

Chicken With Penis hosted a zine release and pinball tournament recently at Add-A-Ball Amusements that had all the contestants wearing diapers! While we won’t mention the theme of the tournament in a family publication, we will tell you that there was lots of fun and excitement at the event including a vicious girl fight, a gun, and the police in the parking lot next door. Late arrival Tim Smith added to the fun when he wrote a manifesto (and nailed it to the wall) deriding tournament official Jeff Groper and fellow contestant ELF. Many of the participants walked away with one of the new CWP t-shirts, fancy!

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, pinball enthusiasts are anticipating a new bar opening later this year called The Unicorn. Located in the space where the Satellite Lounge once was, The Unicorn will have a basement level (similar to The Cha Cha), a French circus theme and lotsa pinball machines (sound familiar?). Apparently the upper bar area will open first with the lower arcade soon to follow, and rumors are that there will be as many as 16 pins on location. At this writing we are unsure of who will be supplying the games, but we are hoping that they are better maintained than the machines at the Twilight Exit where one of The Unicorn’s owners currently works. Stay tuned…

Another exciting development is the new Seattle Pinball League, which had their first official meeting in October at Andrew Nunes’ house. With 20 members so far, the SPL hopes to attract pinball players of all skill levels and as part of the $25 annual membership fee you receive a t-shirt and a subscription to Skill Shot. Go to for more info!

If you’re looking for something a little less formal, don’t forget about the Sunday Pinball Tournament at Shorty’s. Although it’s a weekly tournament, the first Sunday of the month usually has a little something extra for the winners, so check it out! The entry fee is $5 and sign up begins at 6.

Tidbits: The next new Stern pin is going to be Big Buck Hunter but there is no word yet on a release date. We are still looking for a pinball machine for the Skill Shot office, if anyone has a tip on a cheap one or a loaner, keep us in mind. And thanks to Greg the Fireman for showing us his Amigo!

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A Rather Short Guide To Pinball At Shorty’s

Originally published in Skill Shot issue 11, October 2009

by Uglúk

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.

news & gossip

The Official Skill Shot Pinball Crawl!

Are the cloud-filled skies, leaf-laden sidewalks, and shortened days of autumn getting you down? Now that you’ve tossed your lawn darts and rollerblades back in the closet for the next few months, are you sitting on your sofa, twiddling your thumbs, wondering what to do with yourself? Well, worry not my frazzled, fall-fearing friend, for we now bring you…

The Official Skill Shot Pinball Crawl!

by Geoffro
Originally published in Skill Shot issue 11, October 2009

Installment 1: The University District

Although the U-District pinball crawl can be attempted on a Friday or Saturday evening, Skill Shot does not necessarily recommend doing so (you will have to deal with hordes of highly intoxicated college students everywhere you go). But don’t let those rabble-rousing youngsters deter you any other night of the week, there’s plenty of flipper-filled fun to be had here.

Start at the south end of the U-District and work your way north. This way you’ll save the better games for last, and you’ll get some exercise walking uphill! Woo hoo!


Descend a flight of stairs to enter this somewhat cave-like subterranean bar. You may have to shoo a group of graduate students off to another table to make room for yourself to play The Addams Family and World Cup Soccer. Neither game is very well lit, and although functional, The Addams Family machine has certainly seen better days. The dot-matrix display fizzles in and out and the ball tends to get stuck (temporarily) up near Thing. However, everything seems to be in more or less good-working condition on World Cup Soccer, including Magna-Save! You’ll likely find no reason to linger at the College Inn Pub, but it’s not a bad place to start out and shake the rust off your game. Mosey on up the Ave a few blocks and you’ll come to…


If you’re wondering what it’s like inside this incredibly classy joint, the chicken wire on the open-air windows facing the Ave tells you all you’ll need to know. Not sure how to fit in with the throng of 21-year-olds drinking way more than they should be out of plastic cups? No sweat, just shout out “Woo! College! Yeah!” when you walk in the door and you’ll be welcomed with open arms. Pull a pint, post-up in front of the fine Fish Tales machine, and give a pinball lesson to the strapping young lads and lasses attending Seattle’s finest institution of higher learning. Less than a block away from Earl’s, just off the opposite corner of 45th lies the 3rd stop on our pinball crawl, the pleasantly dingy tucked away nook of a game room at…


Crammed in with extra chairs and various other odds and ends are a couple of retro arcade games and 3 vintage pins: Space Mission, Wizard, and the coffee shop’s namesake game, Sureshot. All 3 games, although over 30 years old, are well-maintained by Dominique of Silver Age Silver Ball, and are a lot of fun to play. The older games and relatively peaceful coffeehouse atmosphere provide a nice change of pace along the midway point of your journey. After you’ve refueled with a shot of espresso and had your fill of the classic pins at Sureshot, strap your drinkin’ boots back on and walk about 8 blocks north on the Ave to get to our favorite pinball establishment in the U-District…


The Galway is a great little pub with a stripped down Irish punk aesthetic and friendly bearded bartenders. If there’s still a ray of sunlight in the sky by the time you arrive, be sure to try one the epic bloody marys (beef-jerky infused vodka, splash of Guinness, cocktail onions, olives, pepperoncinis, croutons). Yum! Normally we’d save the best stop for last, but in addition to the fantastic bloodies, the Galway Arms also regularly hosts punk and metal shows that could potentially interfere with your pinball plans. As for the pinball – you’ll find the machines here are the finest in the area, maintained monthly (or more if need be) by Classic Amusements. Currently they supply the bar with 3 games: Surf Champ, Monster Bash, and Twilight Zone. Report any ongoing issues to one of the pro-pinball gentlemen behind the bar and they’ll likely be remedied before long. Eventually you’ll have to leave the friendly folks and pristine pins at the Galway Arms behind and head over to the corner of 53rd and Roosevelt to complete your excursion. Here lie the 5th and 6th stopping points on our pinball tour, Dante’s and Piccolo’s Pizza.


Dante’s is a large bar with multiple levels and a dark, dungeon-like feel. You’ll find the pinball machines lurking in a corner downstairs behind the air-hockey table, cleverly shielded from the occasional mayhem that descends upon Dante’s. There are 2 games. One is a slightly shabby Bram Stoker’s Dracula that will at times seem to acquire a mind of its own. The other is one of the gems of the U-District, a well-worn but extremely playable Theatre of Magic, one of our favorite games. If you feel your tummy rumbling, and have not yet filled your belly at one of the area’s seemingly endless array of restaurants, feel free to do so here (standard greasy pub fare) or walk across the street for a tasty slice at…


Grab a slice or two and meander on past the classic wooden pizzeria-style booths to the game room, where you’ll find a couple of intriguing pins (alas, there used to be more) amidst a number of other arcade games. Piccolo’s is currently featuring 2 solid state games from the early 80’s: Ready…  Aim… Fire! and The Incredible Hulk. Last we checked, both machines were leaning heavily to the right.  If you’re out crawling with a mate, that shouldn’t be too hard to remedy, assuming they haven’t already been adjusted. Regardless, both games are enjoyable; note the Hulk’s amusing sound effects, which for some reason we find mysteriously pleasing.

It should be noted that the Knarr Shipwreck Lounge, on 55th and University (a couple of blocks north of the Galway Arms) does have one pinball machine, World Cup Soccer. Unfortunately, as the days go by it seems to fall into further and more advanced states of disrepair. Will this trend continue to the machine’s eventual demise? We hope not.

This brings our pinball tour of the U-District to a close. We hope you enjoy it! Stay tuned for the next installment of the Official Skill Shot Pinball Crawl!