news & gossip reviews

Money Money Money

by Bernard Blvd.

It’s time for another great new way to play pinball with your friends:  Dollars!

Dollars is a multiple player game during which each player strategically puts one of their own dollars on the playfield of a chosen pinball machine in an attempt to sabotage the other player(s) game.  So say you’ve got four people on Indiana Jones (the newest one).  Your friends would probably put dollars in the most obvious spots like:  Over the two scoops (there are bumpers behind them and the Sankara Stone scoop isn’t always open), hiding the magnet in front of the arc (that’s a good way to distract other players from an easy target for multiball), or covering the flippers (duh).

Their choices leave you free to be more careful with your own dollar placement.  A good spot would be over the plunger lane because you can cover the five choices for the skill shot.  Another place that could handicap your opponents is over the pegs on top of the side drains.  That’s a spot where most champs can save their ball by nudging the machine, so placing a dollar there increases your chances of crippling the competition and winning FOUR BUCKS!

Of course, you can put more than one dollar down, and have each player put in a dollar at the start of every ball.  Although this option is more profitable for the winner, playing ball three with twelve dollars covering the playfield is hard.  And most people can’t afford to spend three dollars to play pinball in this economy.

But some people are still rich.  Why not play five dollars?  A hundred?  With the stakes a lot higher, players could get so into the game that they try to actually move the dollars by shaking the machine.  What about a million?  Maybe someday James Bond will bet one hundred million dollars on one ball in a big budget 007 movie.  My suggestion for the title:  Goldflipper.

So you put in a buck, pick a spot that you think would be hard for your competition to play without being able to see it, and lay your money down.  You could win a million dollars!  But remember, betting money on pinball is illegal and we only “play flipper skill games for fun and recreation”, so if the cops show up, grab that dough and run.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

news & gossip

Skill Shot #9 News & Gossip

Originally published in Skill Shot issue 9, June 2009

The 2009 Powder Puff Pinball Tournament happened May 17th at Shorty’s and it was so much fun! 28 ladies signed up in the double elimination head to head competition that was hosted by Larry Reid, who also hosts the Annual Shorty’s Tournament as well as the recent one in Georgetown. Many of the area’s top female players were there including Julie Gray (Powder Puff winner for 2007) and Nycole Hyatt, who was the top scoring female at the last two open tournaments. Skill Shot caused a bit of a stir by premiering our super-limited edition t-shirts, because we didn’t have any extras to sell. Elizabeth and Savannah were good sports and agreed to be our Powder Puff t-shirt models for the day- and Savannah actually did very well in the tournament, tying with Naomi for 6th place! The grand prize was a Night Rider pinball machine which was won by Bonnie Bedford of Vancouver BC, who narrowly beat Jamie Beth by just 160 points! Other prizes for the event included t-shirts, Jagermeister thongs, and a PBR tent! Check out for pictures of the tournament.

Speaking of PBR: Our last issue was rushed from the printers so that we could hand them out at PBR Customer Appreciation Night at Shorty’s on April 1st (which actually fooled some people). Shorty’s sells the most PBR in Seattle (#2 in the state) and besides having lots of the usual give-aways (t-shirts, stickers, etc), almost all of the pinball machines were set to free play for the night. The Shorty’s/PBR beer mugs were the most sought-after freebie and by the end of the night, if you weren’t holding on to yours tightly, you risked having it snatched from under your nose (right, Geoffro?).

Another tournament that happened recently was at Ground Kontrol in Portland Oregon on April 19th. They had 120 contestants for the event, which lasted a whopping 16 hours! Seattle didn’t have a lot of players there that weekend despite many of the plans we heard beforehand, but a few of those who did go represented Seattle well, with ELF and MAK tying for 9th place and Cayle George cementing his standing as one of the Pacific Northwest’s best players by winning the whole thing.

In other regional news, we recently took a trip to Tacoma to check out their pinball scene. Our first stop was Hell’s Kitchen, which has a nice pin area featuring a very nice The Shadow machine. We loved playing this game since there isn’t one available in Seattle, and the Doctor Who game was nice too. Over at Tower Lanes, the Super Mario Bros. pinball machine had the volume set at ear-piercing levels – which was quickly fixed when Stan the pinball repair dude showed up less than 20 minutes after being called! We were impressed. Although we only hit those two spots, the locals happily informed us of other good places to go, including a Whirl Wind game at a hotel (!). We’ll be back!

Meanwhile, back in Seattle: May 25th was the grand opening of Add-a-Ball Amusments in Fremont. Part scooter repair shop, part pinball hall, Add-a-Ball plans on having EM (electro-mechanical) pinball machines, including a few European ones that are rarely seen in the States. Dominique of Silver Age Silver Ball naturally has some of his games there since EM pins are what he distributes, and Add-a-Brad (Add-a-Ball’s owner) hopes to turn more people on to these classic games. Go there NOW!

Another new addition to the Seattle pinball community (besides Avout’s new baby) is Stern’s latest release, 24. We haven’t played enough to have a super confirmed opinion about it but the fact that there is not a skill shot doesn’t leave us feeling too positive for obvious reasons. Still there’s plenty of easy to get multi-balls so that’s cool. We were sad to see Wheel of Fortune removed to make room for it though since it was the only one around and it seemed as if people were finally warming up to the game (it was interesting to play, but suffered from a dorky theme). Bring Back WoF!!!

On June 12-14 the NW Pinball and Game Room Show returns to Seattle Center for what looks to be an exciting weekend! Over 200 different pinball and arcade games will be set at free play and we are hyped to play some of these rarely seen machines. A few of the pins we’re looking forward to include games that were featured on past covers of Skill Shot (Spectrum, Twin Win) and other machines that we haven’t seen since last year’s show (Banzai Run, Pharoah). There’s also tons of cool arcade games (Berzerk!), guest speakers, tournaments, and prizes, and it should be tons of fun. (For more details go to Look for us at the show and say “Hi!”. We’ll be handing out zines in our fancy Skill Shot t-shirts.

And if you act quickly, you too can get a fancy Skill Shot t-shirt! We’re printing up a limited edition shirt with the cover of issue #5 on the front, plus (while supplies last) you’ll get 3 iron-on letters so you can put your pinball initials on the back. Gnarly! Ask about them when you see us, or shoot us an email at

Another thing you’ll want to ask us about is the first ever Skill Shot Half and Half Tournament. Half and Half is a team game with one person on each flipper (introduced in Skill Shot #7), so pick your partner now and be ready to sign up for fun and fabulous prizes! Email us for more details.

tips & tricks

Cheat Codes and Secret Modes

via The Duchess of Bourbon

Up up down down left right – wait a minute, this isn’t Contra! We play pinball, but cheat codes and secret modes can still be a part of our life. Some of our most beloved pinball games have fun little secrets that can offer you multiballs, bonus scoring, alternate modes, or even a fresh audio track. All it takes is a few simple maneuvers or flicking the flippers in a particular pattern and such a prize can be yours.

Episode 1: Monster Bash
Ever get annoyed or just bored with the same old audio? Try this little trick to start the game in “Lyman’s Lament,” a mode where all shots get you a bit of wisdom from the game’s programmer, Lyman Sheats. It’s pretty funny, and fun to show off.

With two credits on the machine, begin a one player game.

Before launching the ball, hit both flippers, then the left flipper 11 times, then the right flipper once, left 5 times, right once, left 6 times, and the right once more and you should hear “Totally”. Plunge your ball and get it in the scoop, and cha ching! The music will change, “Lyman’s Lament” will appear on the screen and you’ll hear a distinctly different god-like voice coming from the machine in front of you, and it’s nothing short of magical:  It will blow your mind, change your life, make you a much better pinball player, and slightly more attractive, I promise…

They appear to have played around a bunch when programming this game. In addition to the Lyman’s Lament supertrick-cheat code awesomeness (which by the way, if you’ll notice, spells KEF, Mr. Sheats’s pinball initials perhaps?), there’s also a 50 million bonus when you get Monsters of Rock with at least 110 million points, if and only if Monster Bash mode has not been played. Good to know, huh?

So anyhoo, have fun playing, and stay tuned for more fun tricks and hidden modes on such classics as Addams Family, Attack From Mars, Junkyard and more…

Again that’s:

Put quarters in
Press Start
Both Flippers
Left x 11
Right x 1
Left x 5
Right x 1
Left x 6
Right x 1
Plunge and hit Scoop!

news & gossip tips & tricks

“Make It So”

by Geoffro

After eight (and a half) successful issues of  Skill Shot, we thought it was about time to print an article concerning our namesake. And since the cover of our latest issue features the lovely Lt. Worf from the backglass of Star Trek: The Next Generation, we figured, why not talk about the skill shot from this classic game? Most machines’ skill shots are fairly straightforward affairs, and often simply hitting a lit target will do the trick. Star Trek’s opening shot, however, is a bit more complex.

After you’ve popped in your quarters and have been welcomed aboard the Starship Enterprise by Captain Picard, you’re faced with five different skill shot options cycling across the display. Just pull the plunger (in this case the trigger) when the option you want is on the screen (pressing the flipper buttons will cycle through them faster). Make sure not to dawdle or they’ll flash by too quickly to make an accurate selection.

Start Mission immediately activates one the game’s seven modes:  Battle Simulation, Time Rift, Q’s Challenge, Worm Hole, Asteroid Threat, Rescue, or Search the Galaxy.  These are all fun to play and of course have the potential to yield a significant amount of points.

Flipper Skill Shot gives you a limited amount of time to shoot for the Beta Quadrant (the right ramp).  A successful shot will award a random bonus – sometimes even an extra ball or special!

Launch Probe allows you to immediately utilize Star Trek’s most intriguing feature, the two plastic guns sitting on top of the slingshots. Launch Probe lights a flashing shot and sends the ball to one of the guns, which will then begin to rotate back and forth allowing you to pull the trigger and shoot the ball out onto the playfield. Hit the lit shot in time and collect a random award!

Light Lock is as straightforward as it sounds – although Light Lock lights AND locks the ball, advancing you towards multiball. This option can only be selected twice per game – the third time around Light Holodeck will appear instead, which is by no means a bad thing. Shooting the Holodeck (the Right Orbit) will allow you to access the game’s video mode Shuttle Simulation.

Warp Factor 4:  This requires a brief explanation of Warp Factors. Warp Factors are increased by hitting the Spinner (the Left Orbit) and the Delta Quadrant (the Left Ramp). Each advance in Warp Factor (from 1 to 9) yields a unique bonus of some sort (WF 8 is an Extra Ball and WF 9 starts Factor 9 Mode). So… selecting Warp Factor 4 as your skill shot gets you almost halfway there! Not bad…

As you can see, Star Trek’s skill shot possibilities are nearly as endless as the universe itself! Choose your skill shot and “Make it So.”