news & gossip other

Seattle Pinball News and Gossip 31

DSCF0924Orignally published in Skill Shot 31, October 2013

The monthly First Sunday Pinball Tournament returned to Shorty’s on October 6th after almost a year’s absence and was hosted by Skill Shot. Paul, the last organizer of these monthly tournaments, understandably disappeared from the scene after havingP1030005 another baby last winter. After some coaxing from Shorty’s, we decided to help revive the tournaments. The format this time was double-elimination head-to-head, and the brackets were done without any computers and tracked on large pieces of paper as an homage to long time tournament MC Larry Reid. This is a lot harder than it looks and we are astonished that P1050263Larry was able to do this in the past with a large number of contestants. Our plan for future First Sunday Tournaments is to have a different host each month who will also be responsible for deciding on a tournament format and/or style. Pat Hand, Dyslexic,P1050357 Round Robin — anything goes. We hope to give people who would not normally host a tournament a chance to do so as a way to keep things unpredictable and interesting. Fascinating!

There are plenty of other tournaments happening around Seattle. A quick look at the Skill Shot Calendar on our website shows only 9 days without a tournament for the whole month of October! Full Tilt Ballard on Mondays, John John’s on Tuesdays,P1050110 and Add-a-Ball on Wednesdays have all been happening weekly for a while now. Replay Café in Everett has recently entered the fray with a weekly Sunday tournament, which will make it one of the few regular pinball events that doesn’t happen at a bar (Full Tilt is another one). John John’s had a slight blip in their schedule when Sergey Posrednikov (who had been hosting the tournaments both there and at Add-a-Ball) decided to bow out, but P1050158the tourneys quickly continued under the gentle guidance of Claire the bartender and Travis the owner. Other locations in town have also expressed interest in hosting tournaments, including the Narwhal, but we’re not sure where there’s an open spot for oneP1030725 there since they get so crowded on the weekends and all the other days already have tournaments. Who knows, perhaps with the rising popularity of pinball we will soon see multiple events on the same night? The Shadow knows!

Add-a-Ball Amusements in Fremont is at the tail end of renovating their new space, P1060187known as Point Break, which adds a lot more room for both a full bar and more pinball. Their new pin additions sound exciting and include many older wide-bodies such as Paragon, Embryon and Hotdoggin‘. In fact, the new additions remind us of Headley and Claire’s legendary game room at their condo, which isn’t surprising since they are operating some of P1060165the pins there. There are other exciting titles, such as the wacky Orbitor 1, and we have decided to add these new pins to the Seattle Pinball List in this issue before they are actually available to the public. The expanded Add-a-Ball is having their grand opening on October 25th and we expect it to be one of the highlights of the holiday season. Boo!

New locations in Seattle that have local operators busy include Pies and Pints in Ravenna with 3 pins (serviced by 20XX) and Olaf’s in Ballard with 4 pins (by pies-and-pintsPinheads). 8 Bit is a new location opening in Renton in the next month or so as well. 8 bit’s opening has been delayed by local laws concerning sprinklers and fire safety, but it seems they are in the process of working things out with the city. We’re not sure what the final pin count is going to Olafsbe at this space but we have heard that a lot of different people are involved with it, including Rod Olsen, James Edes, Marquee Amusements, and SilverAge SilverBall’s Dominique and JP. Daryl at Marquee has also8 Bit been acquiring new pins lately, such as Spiderman (currently at 9LB Hammer) and Guns ‘n’ Roses (at Full Tilt White Center). We are particularly happy about the GNR because we had the Gilby Rolls article ready for last issue but decided not to run it when the pin was removed from Add-a-Ball. Ouch!


A new trend around the Emerald City has been all of the Jersey Jack Wizard of Oz pins that are sprouting up. The Seattle Pinball Museum, Full Tilt Ballard, and P1030295Dorky’s in Tacoma have all had theirs for a while now. Shorty’s got theirs just as we were putting out our last issue and now two of the other Full Tilt Ice Cream locations (White Center and Columbia City)P1030473 have one as well. When you also consider all of the games that Jersey Jack has sold to private collectors in the area, it looks like Wizard of Oz has been a fantastic first release for the company. Certainly there have been some glitches, such as the LED/switch problem that knocks out the whole game when one of the lights goes bad. Then there’s the Hobbitincomplete software, but that is also a problem with most of the newer Stern pins. But unlike most new Stern releases, Oz is showing up everywhere, and it makes us wonder if they will have even a fraction of this success with their next release, The Hobbit. Jersey Jack claims that The Hobbit pin will be ready in a timeframe consistent with the release of the third Hobbit movie next year, but with movie-themed pinball machines we’re not really sure what that actually means. Consistent!

Another consistent pinball activity lately has been the drama. Who doesn’t like whom; P1030900who hurt someone’s feelings; who got that game first; whatever. When Raymond Davidson won the Fraser Valley Flipout in September, Facebook was once again the center of the action as RAY got a public dissing from someone who, as one player says, “needs to count to 100 before posting negative rants.” While deleting the post isn’t quite a public apology, the conversation didn’t erupt until someone questioned the validity of the “rape shot” in Pinballa comment on a follow-up post. Whether or not you think that trapping a ball or two during multi-ball and banging away at the high-scoring shot with another is a legitimate strategy during a tournament is irrelevant, but calling it a “rape shot” is bad form. That phrase isn’t very common, except perhaps with some of those good enough at pinball to actually do it, but it also harks back to the days when pinball was considered an all-male pursuit. Women are very much a part of the pinball community now, both leisurely and at tournaments, and using that phrase is inconsiderate and insulting. Certainly theymale yes are “just words” and “only have meaning if you let them”, but men (myself included) need to take into account that joking about a word such as rape can mean a lot more to a woman than it does to a man, and they shouldn’t have to explain to us why (or why not) it does. femaleSome women may act like they don’t care when they hear it, but we suspect that they really do. Besides, words holding meaning is how community and communication work. There are lots of other ugly terms that “rape shot” apologists would never consider saying. Having more women in the pinball community is a good thing, and no one except an asshole would want them to feel uncomfortable or disrespected, even if it’s unintentional. It doesn’t matter if it’s one woman or many, women are good for pinball. Respect!


In lighter news, the Seattle Pinball League has been steaming along with tournaments at The Cartoon’s house in August, Todd MacCulloch’s in September, and Chase Nunes‘ in October. Although the locations can range from spacious to crowded, theseP1030802 events are always fun because of the unique variety of people in the League, and we are disappointed whenever we miss one. This is all leading up to the SPL Finals that usually happen at the end of January, when the top 16 battle it out for the yearly championship. Some of the top players this year are no surprise, although the P1030108absence of both Maka and Robert Gagno, along with the spotty attendance of Cayle George, has opened up spots for wild cards such as Cathy Cartoon, Aaron McAbee, and Nicholas Polimenakos to slip in. We suspect that the November tournament is going to be an exciting one, as it will seal in the players who will compete in the finals. We certainly expect some more of the drama we mentioned earlier in this column. Excitement!

This year’s Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) at the Seattle Convention Center once again had a Classic Arcade room full of both video games and pinball machines all set on free P1030504play. Organized by Seattle Metro Arcade Collectors (SMAC) and Ground Kontrol from Portland, this arcade was in a room outside of P1030545the regular convention area and it was usually possible to check it out without a pass into PAX itself. Some of the pins they had this year were Fathom, Haunted House, and Twilight Zone, and while it was very crowded most of weekend, on the Sunday afternoon we went itP1030584 wasn’t too bad. Later that same day we attended the Heatherfest party in which The Cartoon’s welcomed their new housemate Heather! Skill Shot was asked to organize a tournament for the event and we came up with a Heathers Pinball P1030759Tournament where you had to hit a “croquet ball” through a “hoop” in order to choose either the game or playing order. It was harder than it sounds and a lot of fun, with the grand prize winner Claire getting a red scrunchie for her victory! Let’s motor!


In other Skill Shot News: Once again Skill Shot, with the help of Jeff Groper, is hosting the 16th Annual Tournament at Shorty’s on November 10th. Last year’sP1030908 event went very well, and this year we’re making a few more changes, such as starting the tournament an hour earlier and offering advance registration. Shorty’s will open at 11AM the day of the tournament. For a list of the rules P1030011and advance registrations, please check out our website or our Facebook page. The One To Beat has once again changed, not because someone beat Headley’s score on Metallica but because a software update reset the score. Oops! We didn’t think anyone was going to beat his score anyways. The new TOTB is now theshortys  Nov 2013003 F-14 at Add-a-Ball Amusement, so get over there and knock AJB off the top score (if you can). We still have a few of the new Skill Shot t-shirts available. Send us an email or check out our table at the Short Run Small Press Festival at Washington Hall on November 30th. Skill Shot!


Pinball Tidbits: The Comet Tavern, a Seattle institution for many years, recently closed, perhaps for good, due to “money problems.” While they hadn’t consistently hadDSCF3994 pinball there in some time this is still sad news. * The first Seattle Pinball Rally happened on October 19th and at press time was expected to have over a dozen pins. We’re not sure exactly what to expect at this event but you’ll see a full report in our next issue. * Halloween is always a DSCF0925popular holiday for tournaments. Seattle Pinball Museum, Replay Café, and Add-a-Ball all have events planned, so check out the calendar on our website for more details! * TheP1040763 Transformers at Shorty’s changed to a dollar per play recently when they did a software update and people were grumbling before anyone took the time to ask about it. It was changed back to 75 cents once it was brought to Avout’s attention. * John John’s has recently been having free-play Sundays. Not all of P1030075the games though, usually three. * The new Stern machine Star Trek is just being released as we write these words. The local Launch Party tournament happened at Dorky’s on October 18th and we hope you didn’t miss it. Madison Pub and Shorty’s should both have one soon as well. * Goodbye to ZEN, it was nice while it lasted. Support Local Pinball!

other tips & tricks

There’s No Place Like the Outlanes

There’s No Place Like the OutlanesP1050519
By Kevin Birrell

Wizard of Oz is the first game by Jersey Jack Pinball, and it is clear that the team behind the game has taken advantage of their new pinball platform to develop interesting features never before seen on games from any manufacturer. From making every insert in the game multi-colored to using an LCD to display stackable modes and features, there’s no doubt that Wizard of Oz is full of innovation. While the software isn’t even close to complete yet, there are already some very interesting features P1050694that don’t just feel like they were cut and pasted out of the code from another game. One of those features is a pair of modes that allow the player to save their ball by completing certain tasks once their ball has drained down the outlanes. Toto Escapes is startedP1050703 when the player drains down the right outlane and rolls over all four TOTO targets. The ball is then re-plunged and the player has about ten seconds to shoot the right ramp (or other shots depending on the settings) to return to regular play.P1050537

The second mode, “There’s No Place Like Home”, is the more involved of these modes and can be started when the ball drains down the left outlane. The ball will bounce between the State Fair Balloon bumper in the outlane and the five standup targets next to it, and if it hits all five targets the ball is re-plunged for “There’s No Place Like P1050705Home”. In this mode, the player attempts to save their ball and re-enter normal play by completing all four stages of the mode without draining. First, the player has to spell RAINBOW by hitting the seven targets in the upper right area of the playfield. Banking the ball off the witch and into the R and A targets is a good way to finish this off if P1050581you’re having trouble. Second, the player must shoot the Crystal Ball and the Throne Room saucer. Third, the player has to make the left and right loop shots. Finally, the player must shoot the ramp to finish the mode and continue normal play. The little “sepia to color” effect when you do this is pretty cool!

All normal scoring and other modes are disabled during TNPLH, so there’s not much to do except try and get your ball back. It’s pretty hard, but the reward of essentially an extra ball (even in tournament play where extra balls are disabled) is pretty sweet!P1050734

Originally Published in Skill Shot 31

tips & tricks

Gilby Rolls [like a vehicular manslaughterer]

Gilby Rolls [like a vehicular manslaughterer]
By 3rd Place Andyguns-n-roses

Data East’s 1994 widebody Guns N’ Roses is packed with features. There are five different multiball modes. There are two plungers. There are magnets. There’s even a giant snake pit! But this article is about the video mode, “Gilby Rolls,” a fast-paced motorcycle rideDSCF7899 that takes you down an obstacle-laden three-lane highway.

How to start “Gilby Rolls”: On the left side of the playfield is a guitar neck. The frets of the neck have different guitar features (modes) on them. Start a mode by shooting the saucer (located top of the guitar neck) when the mode light is blinking. The pop bumpers toggle which mode is lit. Hint: Pulling the trigger of the gun (ball launcher) freezes the lit mode until it is collected, preventing the pops from changing it to another mode. Alternatively, one of the skill shot options is “start guitar feature” which will instantly start whichever mode is lit.

How to play “Gilby Rolls”: Gilby automatically drives at a fixed speed. Hey, where are the logobrakes?! Use the flippers to steer Gilby. You have more time to dodge a car in the right (bottom) lane than one in the left (top) lane due to the slanted perspective of the track. The goal is to hit the pedestrians while avoiding the cars. I’ve included a road map (since the course is the same every time) to help steer you through. Hit the pedestrians and the avoid the cars. The numbers at the top represent approximately how many seconds into the mode you are. The mode ends when you either reach the end of the course or crash. Points are awarded both for distance traveled and pedestrians hit. Rock and roll!Skill-Shot-30-Gilby-Video-Mode-color-slantmotorcycle

Originally published in Skill Shot 31