news & gossip

Skill Shot #16 News & Gossip

Originally published in Skill Shot 16, October 2010

The Folding Party we had for Skill Shot 15 was a big success and we would like to take the opportunity right now to thank everyone who came out to The Lookout and helped fold zines. It was awesome that a bunch of people that we’d never met came by to help out and the owner of the bar even stopped by and folded a few. Naturally, PBR was drank, pinball was played and new friends were made. Sweet! And speaking of The Lookout, their Harley Davidson keeps malfunctioning (as if it ever worked right to begin with) and Kiki the manager is promising to replace it with something more reliable. Go! Kiki! Go!

Not all Seattle Pinball events actually happen in the Seattle city limits. August 14th took us to Keith and Dave’s annual Summer Tilt BBQ-Pinball Birthday Party out in the wilds of Redmond. It was a neat party with around 20 pins available to play, and some of them outside on the deck. Our favorite was the Data East Star Trek that was a tough game, but since we had never seen one before, we loved it. We also love Hasbro for driving us to the party.

Birthday boy Keith was one of the organizers of the First Annual Pinball Swap Meet that happened on August 22 in the parking lot of Specialty Coin in Kent. The swap meet was created to give people a chance to trade or sell any extra pinball machine parts and accessories they might have. There were around 40 people selling stuff out of their cars and vans, with a couple of whole pinball machines available also. Specialty Coin even opened up their showroom so that people could come in and play the games in there. Everyone seemed to go away happy so look for it to happen again next year.

Other happenings that you needed a car for were the last two Seattle Pinball League tournaments. The one in August was in Renton at Byron’s house and the September tournament was at Todd Mac’s out on Bainbridge Island. So many people attended the meeting at Todd’s last January that he requested the number of people be limited to around 40 this time. This caused a bit of a scandal with some of the members of the SPL because not everyone got invited to the tournament. We think that it’s interesting that pinball is so popular in Seattle that people are being turned away from “sold out” events. Nice!

Another nice thing that has happened recently is the opening of Dorky’s Bar Arcade in Tacoma. We haven’t made it down there yet, but we keep hearing good things about it. They currently have 8 pins (including Bride of Pinbot and Dirty Harry!) and a bunch of arcade games. Food and beer is coming soon, so until that happens, Dorky’s is all-ages. Les the owner keeps telling us that the bus ride there from Seattle isn’t so bad. Dorky’s is located at 9th and Pacific.

We did make it down for the grand opening of the Seattle Pinball Museum on Saturday Sept 4th. They had a nice turnout with many folks we don’t see together often like Mark O’Farrell, Dominique and Destiny, James and Janice Eades, Nycole Hyatt, Julie Gray, Mitch, Les from Dorky’s, Headley and Claire. Headley recently moved to Ballard, so his Capitol Hill after-hours pinball party apartment is sadly no more. His new space isn’t as spacious and his pins are loaned out, with two of them (Future Spa and Laser War) currently at the SPM.

Speaking of Ballard, The Ballard Pinball Tournament (BPT) on Sept 5th was success of sorts. The way the tournament was set up, the maximum number of players was 16, but since 17 people showed up it made for an awkward moment and maybe some hurt feelings. Then even more people showed up! We are not sure if this has been a problem in the past, but host/organizer/Shorty’s bartender Jawn Wakefield has promised to have a different format that will accommodate more players if it happens again. The next Ballard Tournament begins on Monday Oct 25, 7PM at Snoose Junction.

The big news at Shorty’s is the departure of Matt, who along with Avout and Josh, did most of the repairs on the pins. Stepping up to the plate will be bartenders Dino and Deuce who are now learning the trade. Deuce’s pinball repair career was almost nipped in the bud when his motorcycle bit off his finger. Apparently the bone was sticking out of his hand and blood was squirting out like a Japanese horror movie. Gross!

In more cheerful Shorty’s news: It’s almost time for the Annual Shorty’s Pinball Tournament, and like last year it will be two days. Avout says there’s an Avatar on order, so maybe it will be there by then. There’s no word on what game will be leaving when the new pin arrives but most likely it will be one of the recent Stern machines. (Bye-bye NBA?) There’s also no word yet on whether or not there will be a Powder Puff Tournament next spring. We think all you ladies should start practicing, just in case.

The weekly Sunday Pinball Tournament at Shorty’s is still going strong. Despite what you might have heard, the tournament isn’t really starting any earlier than it usually does. Even when organizer Paul says 5:30, everyone still shows up at 6:30. We wonder what will happen when daylight savings time begins? The first Sunday of the month has a little extra cash as part of the prize bank, but you’ve got to play to win it. We did!

Have you been following our The One To Beat challenge? Last issue the game had changed to the Terminator 2 at Al’s Tavern, where Geoffro had the high score. Since then, it’s been a three way battle with DOC, MAK and ELF each topping the other only to be beat later. Ultimately DOC came out on top, but that’s because the pin is now broke. So for next issue TOTB is going to be the Attack From Mars at the Highline. We’ve asked Mark from Space Age Amusement not to reset the high scores.

That Space Age frequently resets the high scores on their machines is something that perplexed us and others. Apparently he didn’t realize that people care about them and he actually reset ELF’s high score right before his eyes at the Highline. We don’t see Elijah mad very often, but that will do it. In other Space Age news, the Doctor Who at the Redwood, which was causing so much trouble and discussion on our Facebook page, was ultimately fixed by getting replaced it with an almost equally broken Monster Bash!?? Gnarly!

Pinball Tidbits: Add Motor Works in Fremont is once again open for pinball, but only during normal business hours (so far); Gameworks moved their pins to the bottom floor, which is cool because you can see the table action from the balcony; Jamie Beth had a birthday and changed her name to OJ; the next Stern will most likely be TRON; the creators of now have Apps available for both iPhone and Android that include the Seattle area; and Shorty’s now accepts credit cards!

Don’t forget to let us know if you see a new location or game change! We’re still slowly working on a website that will have past articles and covers. If anyone knows Word Press and wants to help us, please get in touch.

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news & gossip

A Pinball Museum Comes to Seattle

Originally published in Skill Shot 16, October 2010

by Gordon2

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

news & gossip reviews

100 Pinball Game Equation

An Interview with Math Professor Luke

BB:   X = a player. Z = the number of games played. Y = the number of games needed to win. Can you write this out in math? Basically, for the best two out of three, three out of five, etc.  This is for a two player pinball tournament article in Skill Shot.

Luke:   Hey skipper! I can do my best. Let’s see here. You want to play an odd number of games, so things can’t end in a tie, so for some number nZ = 2n+1. (That is, we can let n be any whole number we want, and then Z will be the n-th odd number; if n=1 we get Z=3games, if n=2 we get Z=5 games, and so on.) So then it’ll takeY=n+1 games to win. I introduced n as a convenience, but we can easily remove it now. As we see, Z = 2Y-1, or equivalently, Y = (Z+1)/2.  Does that help?


Luke:  I’m glad all those years I spent in grad school weren’t wasted after all! How’s it all going, mister?

BB:   It’s going great. Working on Skill Shot 16.  So Gordon and I played a 2-player 100 game pinball tournament. It took about a week, and he won 71, I won 29.  Afterwards, we played a 10 game tournament, and I won 6, he won 4. So 100 games or 10, we’re still close in skill. How’s your life?

G2:  Hi Luke. We need another pinball equation for determining a fraction or percentage of a pinball tournament where it is possible to have a tie score.  For example: If player X and player Y played 100games of pinball, the equation would express the results as percentages. The equation could also be used in a tournament of 8games or 7 or whatever. We’re thinking about calling the article “Percentages”. It would help people rank themselves.

Luke:  Hey Gord! Let’s see here. Suppose you play a total of T games (100, or 8, or 7, or whatever) and win X of them. Then you’ve won100*X/T percent of your games. We can turn any fraction into a percentage this way, just by multiplying by 100: 0.6 or 6/10 is the same as 60%, etc. Just type 100*X/T into Google and press enter (replacing X and T with the actual numbers, of course) and it’ll even do the computation for you. I freaking love Google.

BB:   Hey Luke, one more question. Do these equations apply to tournaments with more than 2 players?

Luke:   Oh! Good question! The percentage one, definitely. In a tournament, if there are T games played in all, and a certain player wins X of them, he’s won 100X/T percent of all games in the tournament. If a certain player wins X games and that same player plays a total of say D games (maybe he doesn’t play every single game in the tournament; if there are a total of say 30 games in the tournament but this player only plays in 10 of them, then T=30 butD=10) then he’s won 100X/D percent of the games he’s (or she’s) personally played.

The formula for the number of games required to win will still work in a multi-player tournament, *if* a single player has to win more than half of all games to win the tournament. If you just have to win more games than any other player it’d become a lot more complicated! I’ll have to think about that one.

BB:  Anyway, this type of tournament isn’t really all about winning, it’s more of a way to rate your skill against other players. I mean, winning is great, but every game has to be played, even after one player has won the number of games required to beat the other(s). In the 100game tournament, Gordon and I played all 100 games, long after he had already won the tournament by winning 51.