news & gossip

Seattle Pinball News and Gossip 28

DSCF5037Originally published in Skill Shot 28

In case you haven’t already heard, the 2013 Northwest Pinball and Arcade Show (PAAS) has moved to the Tacoma Convention Center this year! A number of factors CropperCapture[27]facilitated the move such as the eventual relocation of radio station KEXP into the event rooms PAAS has previously occupied and the newly constructed building across the street which narrowed an already restrictive load-in area. Although PAAS actively looked for another affordable site in Seattle, the Tacoma Convention Center won them over with their spacious load-in zones, free parking and large exhibition rooms. While the convcentermove is controversial to many Seattle pinball fans (including us) we want to keep an open mind about this and prefer to have a wait-and-see attitude about the new location. Open minds!

PAAS 2013 takes place June 7 – 9 and is expected to have over 350 pinball and arcade machines on free play.  Other activities include pinball tournaments, arcade world record DSCF1062attempts, raffles and guest speakers. Only a few of the speakers have been announced and so far the one we are most excited about is Python Anghelo, who was featured in Skill Shot 21. Python is one of the most outspoken and controversial pinball creators who DSCF1069have worked in the industry and we are sure his appearance will be great! Our next issue will be out in May and will have more details about PAAS 2013 including public transportation options from Seattle. Planes, Trains and Automobiles? Metro!

Another annual pinball event that has apparently left Seattle is the Northwest Pinball Championships (NWPC). Due to a scheduling conflict last year the NWPC moved from their previous location at PAAS to the Holiday Inn in Marysville and this year WELCM_EXTR_1_Ethey will hold the event there again. At first we assumed that organizers Cayle and Eden just liked having their own space away from the pinball show, but the fact that the IFPA10 CropperCapture[28]World Championship is in Germany the last weekend of May probably has more to do with it. They will mostly likely be jet-lagged along with many of the other local champions, so the change makes sense. Time will tell if this will be a permanent separation. Champions!

In other news outside of Seattle proper, we recently had the pleasure of visiting Middletown Dreams, a new pin-bar in Port Townsend. With a whopping 13 pins,DSCF4182 Middletown reminded us of one of the older Full Tilts with a counter/bar area in the front and a large open game space in the back. It definitely had a local tavern feel to it, with many regulars hanging out around the bar and lots of funky art throughout the establishment. They have a great selection of pins that you don’t find on route very often, such as Black DSCF4186Hole, Genie and X-Files. It was interesting to learn that some of the games came from the notorious B&I Amusements in Tacoma, which they repaired to working condition. Proprietors Miranda and Paul were great hosts (pizza!) and their games are in pretty good shape, so we were glad we made the two hour drive to get there. RIP Ivan.

Replay Café recently opened in Everett with an impressive number of pins (22) and an DSCF5030equal number of arcade games. Many of the pins, like Judge Dredd and Earthshaker, are not available in Seattle, plus some uncommon favorites, like Taxi, are only 3 games for a quarter! There are popular pins here too like T2 and Star Trek TNG, but our absolute favorite part of Replay was the lineup of Fire Power, Gorgar and BarracoraDSCF5156 sitting side-by-side in their own little area. Replay seems to be fine-tuning the lineup and when we were there we watched one of the owners moving a pin with the help of a little old lady, which was pretty rad. It only took us a little over half an hour to drive there from downtown Seattle, and we look forward to our next visit. Rad!

DSCF6306When you go to our website, you may notice we have more than just the Seattle Pinball List that you can find in this zine. There’s also an extensive King County List with all the pins on location outside of Seattle. Some of you have wondered why the 262343_10150208361061582_3262446_nSeattle Pinball Museum’s Upper Playfield hasn’t been on our List. That’s because that space isn’t always open to the public, although they hope to change that. The Upper Playfield has been added to the online version of the List, so you will know what can be found there when it is open. We are now adding a Road Trip List for places that are DSCF4147within driving distance of Seattle with a good number of pins. Naturally, Dorky’s in Tacoma is on the Road Trip List as they are the largest bar/arcade in the region, as well as Middletown Dreams and Replay Café. Road Trip isn’t meant to be as extensive as our other two Lists but if you want to know what pins are at these places, you can find the info there. Check it out!

Yet another new location opening near Seattle is High Score Burgers in Redmond, a spinoff of Full Tilt Ice Cream. Located a few blocks from the Microsoft Campus, DSCF5110High Score is opening sometime in mid-March and along with food, beer and (of course) ice cream, they plan to have 6 pins supplied by Space Age/Marquee Amusements. Another future Full Tilt IceDSCF4782 Cream is slated to open sometime in late spring in Lower Queen Anne. We’re not sure how many pins they will have at this new shop, but they will be supplied by 20XX Amusements who also operates the machines at Full Tilt Ballard, arguably the best maintained location in the city. More pins please!


Speaking of Space Age, we spoke with Daryl recently about how the business is doing after the untimely death last year of co-owner Marc O’Farrel. Space Age and Daryl are doing fine, and he is in the process of changing the name to Marquee Amusements,DSCF4515 which we think is a fitting tribute to the man so many have known over the years. New locations supplied by Marquee include The Hummingbird Saloon next door to Full Tilt Columbia City, and Belltown Pizza. Like most of the other operators in town, Marquee has experienced an increase of establishments looking for pins as Seattle pinball continues a resurgence in popularity. Boom!

The increasing interest in pinball by local businesses has opened the door for new operators around the city as well. Rod Olsen has been rotating a selection of cool pins DSCF4972at Add-a-ball and John John’s for a while now, and Pinheads Pinball recently began operating at Teddy’s Tavern with a Doctor Who and more on the way. Rumor has it that The Headleys are planning on placing some pins out on route too! As the price of bothDSCF4619 new and used pinball machines rise we won’t be surprised to see more operators increase the price to 75¢ as Shorty’s and 20XX have done. At the same time no one wants to pay more, especially for a pin that’s broken. So if you notice that a pin isn’t working right call or text the operator yourself and don’t rely on the bartender to give a rat’s ass, because they often don’t. Rats!

Add-a-Ball Amusements in Fremont is also expanding and they recently took control of the rest of the basement of the building they are located in. Plans are to knock out a DSCF6229few walls and increase the size of the location by 2/3’s. Food and liquor will be added to their offerings, and of course a lot more pinball. Add-a-Ball (and John John’s Game Room) have been hosting weekly tournaments for a few months now. Flip Offs happen every Tuesday and Wednesday, and are organized by Sergey Posrednikov. They average around 14 players each and use a variety of DSCF5300tournament styles. The players receive IFPA ranking points and attract both seasoned players and newbies alike. If you are new to pinball and want to learn how to improve your game, joining tourneys like these can help, as it gives you a chance to watch some of the local masters up close without feeling like you are intruding in their space. Tips!


There are plenty of other local tournaments happening in Seattle as well. The Seattle Pinball League (SPL) began the 2013 season with a tournament at C3 in February and another one in March at Rod’s House. Pinheads had a Doctor Who Launch Party DSCF6559tournament at Teddy’s, the SPM hosted a Chinese New Year Tournament, Dorky’s had their Annual Valentine’s Couples Tournament, and an official Avengers Launch Party tourneyDSCF5201 was held at the Seattle Waterfront Arcade (and an unofficial one at John John’s). Two upcoming tournaments include the annual Beard and Stache Tournament and the “annual” Tommy Tournament (hosted by Skill Shot!) both of Tommy13Printwhich will be at Shorty’s. You can find all of the upcoming local tournaments and events by going to the Skill Shot Calendar on our website (including past results). Click!


The tournament we hosted at Shorty’s with Jeff Groper last year was a lot of fun so we have agreed to host few more. The Tommy Tournament (Mar 31), the biannual Powder Puff Tournament (May 26), and the 16th Annual Shorty’s Tournament (Nov 10) will all be hosted by Skill Shot and Groper (who is actually a part of Team Skill DSCF4997Shot at this point). Does this mean we are working for Avout now? Nope, we just love Shorty’s! Another tournament we are doing with Andrew Nunes will be a benefit for The Urban Rest Stop on May 4th. This benefit will also have a bunch of bands and should be really fun. Fun!

Our last Skill Shot Zine Release and Folding Party at The Lookout was super fun and the best one so far! The Skill Shot folding crew totally filled the bar and there were DSCF4401people folding zines at every table. The folding finished in record time and the rest of the night was spent drinking beer, playing pinball and making new friends. Needless to say that Skill Shot DSCF4378wouldn’t be possible without all the help we receive from everyone who helps with the folding and distribution. A huge and humble “thank you” from us to everyone who helps us with this zine. You are all Skill Shot!


Pinball Tidbits: A new Skill Shot t-shirt is being planned for later this spring. This time it won’t be black and will feature the cover from our last issue. * Did you see The Layover with Anthony Bourdain in Seattle? Shorty’s was featured and Timmytimmy Smith stole the show! * Have you seen John John’s Beat This t-shirt yet? They’re pretty funny and definitely not safe for work. We love them! * We recently went to Golden City in Ballard and the T2 there had the dirtiest playfield we have ever seen. The worst part was that it DSCF5804smelled like someone had puked under the machine! * The next new Stern is going to be Metallica followed by another Star Trek pin. * Jersey Jack’s Wizard of Oz pin has reportedly begun shipping. We look forward to playing it. * The One To Beat is now at Orange Dracula at the Pike Place Market. It’s a retail store so it’s all-ages, but they also close at 6PM btw. * RIP the Mars Bar and Alki Tavern. * Support Local Pinball

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news & gossip

Minor? Major Pin Problems

 (originally publsihed in Skill Shot 28)

by Kayla GreetCropperCapture[23]

Have you noticed how pinball has totally exploded in Seattle and the Northwest? The question quickly shifted from “I wonder if there’s any pinball near me” to “I wonder if I have enough time to play all LYNR16_bbbthe tables near me.” Unfortunately, there is one group of pin enthusiasts for whom little has changed: the under-21 crowd.

Sure, there are awesome places to play in Seattle that are all-ages venues (AAVs) –— Full Tilt Ballard is home to some of the best maintained games in all of Seattle, ar1256082519903460000downtown is 100% all-ages for pinball (the only neighborhood in Seattle that Bar Code No Minorscan make that claim), and the Seattle Pinball Museum (SPM) holds a fantastic collection of games. Just 45 minutes south is Dorky’s, which has the largest selection of pins in Washington open to all ages. However, the city of Seattle has only 27 out of 91 locations (by Skill Shot’s last count) that are open to minors.

From talking to some of the underage players in the area, I’ve learned that the issues go further than solely being denied entry to bars; it also prevents them from entering DSCF6548xxxtournaments where alcohol is served. Raymond Davidson (age 20) is a 6a01156e84bf45970c0120a610c35b970b-320wimajor player in the Northwest and the world, but he has experienced his fair share of frustration being under 21.

“The most obvious example of the 21 rule screwing me over was the Rose City Showdown,” says Raymond. “It was one of the final stops on the PAPA [Pro-Am Pinball Association] Circuit, and if I had been able to go to it and place decently, I’d be able to participate in the PAPA Circuit Finals.” The cut-off for the Circuit Finals is position 20. Ironically, Ray is currently ranked #21 in the PAPA standings.

Other players like Kevin Birrell (age 20) and Bri Stewart (age 13) speculate that DSCF6570xxxthere must be a way to participate in all tournaments, regardless of their age. “I can’t see DSCF6629xxxxwhy they don’t allow children in, so long as they’re not ordering alcohol,” says Bri. Recently relocated from the East Coast, Bri points out that in Maryland kids can go to bars and everything is easier. There are places that mix pins, alcohol, and are all-ages, so there must be a certain permit that businesses can get.

Kevin points out that “SPM’s tournaments are open to all ages, but they also serve beer. Same deal applies to Full Tilt.” Charlie and Cindy at the SPM said they have the same Snackbar License from the Liquor Control Board (LCB) that Full Tilt has, allowing them to stay all-ages. The Seattle Pinball League is dedicated to inclusiveness as well and addaballcccproved it at their tournament in March of this year. Originally scheduled at Add-a-Ball, the monthly match was moved at the last minute to Rod’s house because the LCB denied their private party permit application. In fact, these examples are the only local tournament hosts to allow minors to participate.

Personally I got into pinball after I was 21 and had not considered these issues. There are some seriously good players out there who are under age and dedicated to mastering No-kids-Allowed-from-Picnik1-620x620their game, though most pinheads are not exposed to them. Raymond says, “If we had more all-ages places, it could start roping in younger kids. As it is now, mostly we just have bars, so kids never get exposed to pinball.”

Another factor is how people perform while drinking. Some won’t touch alcohol if they’re CropperCapture[21]competing, while others swear they’re much better when imbibing. Kevin, for one, is not interested in drinking at tournaments when he comes of age. He explains that some people have conditioned their muscle memory and response time under the influence, but his skills have been developed sober, so that’s the way they’ll stay.

For now, these minors are tearing it up at the AAVs. I’ve seen their names on machines at Beth’s, the Hurricane, Full Tilt and more. While I sympathize with their dilemma, I 3181647-sad-smileys-with-downturned-mouthsbbbbam not looking forward to getting my high scores bumped off of all the machines they don’t have access to yet! Once the time comes, a few places they’re really looking forward to visiting are Shorty’s, Add-a-Ball, John CropperCapture[25]John’s, Narwhal, and, of course, all the tournaments — top of the list being the annual Shorty’s open, followed by the weeklies at Add-a-Ball and John John’s. Kevin is enthusiastic about all the places in Portland to visit since nearly all their machines are in bars.

SuperStock_4029R-315780We here at Skill Shot support our younger players by making it easy to find all-ages pinball machines, as well as encouraging challenges like “The One to Beat”, which is KerinsBowenoften at an AAV location. When you’re checking Skill Shot’s List in the print edition, all-ages venues are highlighted in a contrasting color from the 21+ venues. All-ages venues are also marked at


So You Want To Be a Ninja?


 (originally publsihed in Skill Shot 28)

by 3rd Place Andy

Tired of Sensei making you do push-ups all day? Want to brush up on your ninja skills? Here are some tips to get you through Dragonfist, Stern’s 1982 solid state pinball machine.image-300000

Your primary objective should be to maximize your bonus multiplier (or X). Your X is indicated on the center of the playfield by the lights “2X” thru “7X“. No lights indicates 1X. Depending on the operator settings, the X may be held throughout the entire game, so the earlier you advance it, the better. The playfield features three banks of three drop targets each. Dropping all three targets on the lit bank advances your bonus X. The banks light in the following order from the start of game: right, center, left, right, center, left. The X multiplies your bonus score at the end of each ball. Additionally, the X increases the spinner score, up to a maximum of 1400 points (7 X 200) per spin!

Your secondary objective is to strike all nine stand-up targets to light extra ballDSCF6245wwwDSCF6245bbbbThe nine white targets are scattered about the playfield and each have a yellow indicator light. Once all nine have been struck, a random drop target bank will light “extra ball.” Drop the center target in the lit bank to collect! The nine stand-ups stay lit from ball to ball, so you can take your time accomplishing this objective. Of course, the more extra balls, the better!

These two objectives are independent, so feel free to switch between them as you see fit. After you have accomplished both goals, all that remains to do is aim for the spinner (for 1400 per spin), and strike stand-up and drop targets (to advance your bonus to 100,000). Keep that extra ball lit for a lengthy game. Soon you will have a “Black Belt in Pins!”DSCF6239www