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Seattle Pinball News and Gossip 29

DSCF7766Orignally published in Skill Shot 29

tommy 2The 2nd Annual Tommy Tournament took place at Shorty’s on March 31st, and the word annual should be in quotation marks because the first one actually took place 3 years ago. A Tommy Tournament is one where two player teams compete with one of the team members controlling the flippers blindfolded! 19 teams, with colorful names such as Cum Gargling and Jackpot Jokers, competed in this completely free tournament courtesy of Shorty’s, PBR and Skill Shot (we hosted the event). Keeping with the theme of (almost) April Fool’s Day,tommy 3 instead of straight up winning prizes, the top four teams got a twist and became contestants in our version of Let’s Make A Deal! Winners chose between boxes and envelopes that held exciting prizes like skateboards, gift certificates, toy bunnies and even a Skill Shot Calendar… we mean Skill Shot Colander! The game show was a big success and everyone seemed to have as much fun during this part of the evening as they did during the tournament, so we were very happy. Happy!

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Another happy event was the 3rd Annual 420 Tournament at Add-a-Ball Amusements on April 20th (of course). The tournament began at 4:20PM with free joints handed out and the breaking of the glass ceremony in which a pinball playfieldDSCF8962 glass was smashed. As playfield glass has accidentally been shattered at the previous 420 tournaments, this was done as an offering to the pinball gods so that the glass on the actual machines would be spared this year. And it worked. Unfortunately, no one remembered to sacrifice anything to the rain gods. The steady drizzle would have caused more annoyance if it wasn’t for Mitch, who happened to have a large pole tent in his truck that day. Three Strikes and You’re Out was the format and DSCF9124Team Skill Shot had the good fortune of playing both Cayle and Maka in rapid succession, sometimes twice in a row (although Gordon did squeak in a victory against Cayle once, somehow). The final match of the evening happened outside on a Williams Stardust, which was also the grand prize. No one was electrocuted despite the rain, and Aaron DSCF9044Garberding won! The giant bong supplied by Peace of Mind was the coveted 2nd place prize, although Geoff (who won it) traded it for cash because he didn’t want his kids to see it. Bong!


The Seattle Pinball League (SPL) has been steadily moving along with monthly tournaments and met at Dave Stewart’s house in scenic Carnation WA on April 7th. The Round Robin format is a fun way to play, but it accidently stretched the event out a lotDSCF8195 later than usual due to epic matches among some and a lackadaisical attitude among others. Dave didn’t seem to mind, but Cheeseboat did. We on the other hand amused ourselves by hula hooping and organizing a Dyslexic Tournament, which is when you play with your arms crossed across the pin so that your right hand controls the left flipper and vice DSCF8412versa. It’s harder than you think! The May SPL tournament, held this year at the Bendicksons’ on May 4th, has become a new annual tradition that combines pinball and Cinco de Mayo with lots of Mexican food. We heard great things about last year’s event and experienced sadness when we couldn’t get the day off this year. No bueno!

There were lots of other tournaments recently, thanks to Sergey who runs the weekly Flip Offs at John John’s Game Room and Add-a-Ball. The Flip Offs have a prettyDSCF9413 steady turnout of 15 to 20 players each and because of the 8:30PM starting time they are usually single elimination so they won’t run too late. (Editor’s note: Sergey has told me that the tournament style is usually 3 Strikes and You’re Out instead). Shorty’s hosted the annual Beard and Stache Tournament on March 24th which was also part of a larger benefit event for the Tree House organization. Hosted by Deuce and Kevin, this single elimination tournament had a gift certificate from Deep Roots Tattoo as a 1st place DSCF7007prize! Paul recently contacted us to say that he is starting back up the Sunday Tournament @ Shorty’s once again since taking a break after the birth of his second child. These happen on the first Sunday of the month and start at 3PM. The biennial Powder Puff Tournament is also at Shorty’s on MayDSC_525526th and will be hosted by Skill Shot and tournament master extraordinaire Jeff Groper! This is a women-only tournament but men are encouraged to come and hang out also as we will have many fabulous prizes to give away — and they aren’t all for the ladies. As always, we encourage everyone to participate in local tournaments as a way to become better players and meet other folks who are also fans of the sport. Plus you may make new friends. Friends!


Something else new is High Score Burgers, a spin-off from Full Tilt Ice Cream that recently opened in Redmond, WA. Although High Score has ice cream and games, food seems to be a higher priority here as there are lots of tables and places to eat. The burgersDSCF7489 and fries were good enough but the main attraction for us was the Roller Coaster Tycoon pin, because there hasn’t been a good one on location in the area for some time. We were a little concerned that the dining tables and pinball machines are very DSCF7496close together and because this is an all-ages location there’s the danger of a little kid getting kicked in the head (especially when Bernard is playing). Marquee Amusements, which operates the games at High Score, has a good selection of pins there, and if you live on the East side or are under 21 you have probably already checked it out. Food!


We’ve left the city a few other times since last issue, including a trip to Middletown Dreams in Port Townsend, WA to take photos of their Genie machine (featured on this DSCF8739issue’s cover). Middletown has a neat selection of pins and if they were located in Seattle, we would want to go there all the time. Another recent trip took us to Dorky’s in Tacoma when we were researching the public transportation options there. Although we only planned to stay a couple ofDSCF7896 hours, that is never enough time at Dorky’s, and we probably spent that much time in their upper pinball area before even heading down to the main room. There’s a ton of great pins that include a bunch you don’t see on location very often such as Hook and Last Action Hero. The best thing though was the basket of grilled cheese (which we loved) and the saddest was hearing about how their Guns N Roses pin recently had the rose plunger pulled off and stolen. Thieves!


A recent Facebook posting alerted locals that Portland’s Crazy Flipper Fingers may be trying to expand their gang to Seattle. When Brandon Fruit posted an image of a DSCF8226CFF Seattle t-shirt design, it broke into a mini flame war about who is more tacky and once again prompted promises of starting up rival pinball gangs in Seattle to combat the intrusion. As Groper pointed out that CFF has been here for years as he has been a member the whole time, but we think it was the new t-shirt redesign that has caused all the anxiety and484574_10151534725536192_55271273_n excitement. Los Angeles and New Orleans were also mentioned in the post so we suspect that it is more a matter of including individual CFF members who don’t live in Oregon any more than it is an active recruitment campaign. To join the gang, players must relinquish their pinball initials. We personally don’t see very many people wanting to do that as Seattle is just not that exclusive and is more a collation of unique individuals who are welcoming to anyone who enjoys pinball. Time will tell, though. Tacky!


 One place we can all come together is the NW Pinball and Arcade Show (PAAS), happening June 7 – 9 at the Tacoma Convention Center. There is a direct bus route to the Convention Center (see sidebar) and Tacoma is less than an hour away for those with pin-botcars. A full lineup of speakers wasn’t ready at press time, but some of the guests this year include artist/designer Python Anghelo (Pin-bot, Taxi), artist Kevin O’Connor (Fathom, X-Men) as well as PAAS staples like Gary Stern, Jersey Jack Guarnieri and Steve Wiebe. New pins will excite most people and the new Metallica pin and the recently released Wizard of Oz will probably get the most attention. Personally we are most excited about thePredator attendance of a new pinball company called Skit-B Pinball Crew who are bringing their upcoming Predator! Raffles, repair seminars, and one of the largest pinball tournaments of the year are also features this year. For more up-to-the-minute info you should check out their website. Did we already mention that all of the games will be set on free play? Free Play!

Another large tournament happening this summer is the NW Pinball Championships in Marysville on the weekend of June 21- 23. Champion-level players from around the world are expected at this tournament which also has some of the biggest prizes and DSCF8989more World Pinball Ranking Points than any other local event due to the caliber of the players involved. Originally this event was part of the annual pinball show (PAAS) and this has caused a slight confusion for some as it is now a separate event. Organizers Cayle and Eden are currently looking for volunteers to help with the scorekeeping, and for every two-hour block, volunteers will receive an entry to the PAPA 16 tournament in Pittsburgh later this year. GeekGamer.TV did live broadcasting from theCapture 2 NW Championships last year and we certainly hope they do so again this year. GeekGamer recently broadcast from the Pinburgh tournament this spring, and it was a fun and interesting experience to watch pinball on the screen. PAPA itself is investing in broadcasting equipment partially as a result of the successful GeekGamer work and this all seems like just one more step in bringing pinball back into mainstream culture. Awesome!

Did you know that the new Jersey Jack Wizard Of Oz pinball machine recently made its Seattle debut on location at the Seattle Pinball Museum? The SPM got their hands wizard of Ozon one of these much-awaited pins before other local customers bySPM
accepting a beta version of the board which was apparently causing problems at the factory. We personally haven’t played the pin at SPM yet but we haven’t heard of any problems from those who have. Some people are annoyed that the SPM received their version of the pin before they did when the machines were supposedlyIMG_7304 being shipped in the same order in which they were paid for. As a result, Jersey Jack himself has said that when 20XX Amusements/Full Tilt Ballard get their Wizard of Oz, he would fly out to attend their launch party as a way of smoothing things out. Adding to the controversy is the fact that the museum is charging $1 per play on this new attraction on top of their regular cover charge. To us this isn’t such a big deal seeing how they have so many other cool games there. Cha-ching!

Skill Shot News: We will soon have a new Skill Shot t-shirt available for the summer SS_27featuring the cover of Skill Shot 27 (Banzai Run) and will be our first non-black shirt! All the standard sizes will be available including women’s sizes and a few for the kids. Supplies will be limited so if you want to get one in your favorite size it’s best to order soon either on our website or from Gordon in person. Skill Shot recently hosted a Text War pinball DSCF9545tournament at the Urban Rest Stop Benefit on May 4th that was a lot of fun but ultimately too confusing to both the players and the hosts. Ask Bernard to explain the rules to you sometime. Right after our last issue DSCF7570went to the printer, our main graphics computer died and we want to thank Michael for coming to our rescue once again. Thanks Mike! This zine would not exist if not for the help we receive from each and every contributor. You are all awesome!


 Pinball Tidbits: The newest Stern pin is Metallica and the next one will be either Evil Dead or Star Trek. * Did you see Add-a-Brad Johnson profiled in The Stranger on April 10th? It was in the Chow Bio. * Chase from GeekGamer.TV has suggested that they will soon be broadcasting a monthly local pinball show. Stay tuned. * Madison Pub is buying a new pin! Possibly an X-men. We hope they keep the Big Buck Hunter.  * This year’s annual Pinball Swap Meet is on Sunday July 21 at Mountain Coin. * Support Local Pinball!

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news & gossip other

Girls Just Want to Kick Ass


By Kayla Greet

Originally published in Skill Shot 29

The first time I played ranked competitive pinball was in 2009 at the biennial Shorty’sDSCF9465 Powder Puff tournament. Like Kristen Daniels, I got hooked into pinball from discovering the simulated Williams Collection for Wii and Playstation that my ex-boyfriend brought home and we sought out physical machines from there. Besides the few female friends I had who DSCF8121were also captivated, most of the people I was meeting in the pinball world were men who were all fiercely cut-throat. Powder Puff sounded like a place where I could enjoy some friendly sport and modesty instead of losing to the guys all the time.

912210_10151385772311837_1413341234_nThe competition at Powder Puff is certainly combative, though like the majority of events in this hobby/sport, there’s a gamut of seriousness in all players involved. Some are there to rub skill in the face of their opponents Heatherwhile others are interested purely in having fun. Women like Heather Willott, who is joining Powder Puff for the first time, says she’s really looking forward to hanging out with some of the coolest chicks she’s ever met.

Many of the women I’ve talked to have expressed a love of the social aspect of pinball. GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAPeople like Mary Pacha and Linda “Cheeseboat” Nasfell started playing through friends who were already involved, which led them to join the Seattle Pinball League shortly after. As Kristen puts it: “I’m stunned by how much pinball has broadened my social circle. I have met so many lovely fun Copy of IMG_5937people!” Similarly, Julie Gray got recruited to league play (the Vancouver Regional league or VRPA) after a Shorty’s tournament. “That is where I truly learned to enjoy and learn about competitive pinball,” Julie explains.

Though the community facet is strong in pinball, on the other side there are plenty ofCopy of IMG_5941 friendly rivalries. Cathy Cartoon says that while she plays her best no matter who she’s up against, Claire Sutcliffe has always been her favorite 912989_10151385772226837_2078566503_nto beat. The International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA) keeps rankings of over 18,000 players world wide, yet among the top players it isn’t until #90 that you find a female player. Helena Walter from Sweden is behind 89 male players although her top position was #22 in ’08. On the USA side of things, there’s not a female images (1)competitor until #174 with Seattle’s own Julie Gray.

Julie started meeting serious pinball players around ’05 and she remarked that there areDSCF9471 far more women players now then when she started. “I was like a goddess then because there really weren’t  many women at these tournaments. Now the guys all see me as one of them and I don’t even think they notice I’m a woman.”

Kayla Ellington thinks the gender division is instantly noticeable and states: “I don’t see it as inherently negative; just one part of many of the ways our society is structured, DSCF6510combined with natural inclinations.” She still has a hard time rationalizingDSCF9453 why something like pinball would be more populated by men however, she figures girls haven’t been exposed to the arcade world as much and are therefore not as encouraged in this setting.

IMG_6047Shorty’s biannual all-girls tournament is certainly the place to change all that. From the ladies I’ve talked to, many agree that Powder Puff is the best place for your first tournament. Cheeseboat says that sheIMG_6026 thinks girls are generally more respectful of fellow players, “but there is just as much competitiveness and aggression as there is in co-ed tournaments.”

Pinball certainly motivates people to do their best and frustrates them when it doesn’t work out. “Sometimes you want to punch a wall, or a game, or a person upon losingDSCF9269 images (2)because it’s really challenging!” Kayla explains. Kristen also has noticed top notch playing amongst the girls of pinball. “I don’t expect to have my ass kicked any less. Seattle women pinball players are just as hard to beat as the males,” she says.

Copy of IMG_5944For some, that drive to do your very best sometimes comes down to being the top female player in the co-ed, or league events. Women like Cheeseboat and Julie often do strive to be the top in their gender, though obviously would prefer to be at the top, period! “Hell, if there was at leastGEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA one or two females in the IFPA top 10 world rankings, I might feel differently. But with how the pinhead culture currently stands, being top female is something to be damned proud of,” says Cheeseboat.

While pinball is considered a sport, it’s not one that requires physical strength, so as Kayla puts it, “Why should a male play any better or worse than a GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAfemale? So why have a female-only tournament?” Though on the other hand this tournament draws girls from as far as Canada and Portland and mixes in the Shorty’s regulars who rarely play competitive pinball. “Ultimately,” Kayla says, “Powder Puff does more good than harmDSCF9093 and should be held up as a legit and awesome tournament.” Women like Heather focus on enjoying themselves above all else: “I like to have fun, sometimes I play well, but it has to be fun is the rule I have set.”

Cathy suggested we start a women’s only pinball league. Or a gang.

The 2013 Powder Puff Tournament takes place May 26 at Shorty’s. More info can be found here.

Skill Shot 29

Skill Shot 29The new issue is out and distribution has begun!