29th October 2002
In the second part of our
review of Pinball Expo we look at the seminars on Thursday afternoon
and what happened when the show halls opened.
The seminars begin - for me one of the major reasons for going to Pinball Expo is to see and hear from the seminar speakers. They're not always amazingly entertaining but they do all have something to say and they're almost always worthwhile listening to.
He also spoke about the plans for the first pinball museum. He and Alan Tate now have around 800 games for the project and they hope to start building in Brisbane next year. Not content with that many games they are still on the look out for examples of classic or landmark machines to complete the collection.
Michael is the author of The Pinball Compendium and he talked about what inspired him to write the book, what it contains and how it compares with other author's volumes.
Finally, he distributed jars of Vegemite and key rings through a trivia quiz.
Don started off describing the steps required to take decent pictures using a film camera, including some examples of common mistakes people make when trying to photograph a pinball game.
The number one rule is to always remove the playfield glass and replace the lockdown bar. Other tips included the use of a tripod, lighting techniques, background choices, framing, the use of a polarizing filter and the depth of field effect and how to control it. After that he looked at how to build a simple photographic studio to give the maximum control over the final results.
He included the differences between SLR and point-and-shoot film cameras and how to get the best out of both types.
Mark then stepped up and talked about digital photography, its advantages over film if you observe the basic rules previously described.
He explored the resolution choices available and the extra uses to which you can put the resulting images, such as shot maps, business cards, brochures and greeting cards.
They concluded the talk by giving away a selection of goodies in another trivia quiz.
The designer of that game John Trudeau left the company to work for Innovative Concepts in Entertainment, in Iowa and Steve stepped into the breach to finish the design and develop a simpler ruleset for home use. The game is specifically designed not to be used on location and doesn't have any coin slots.
Vacation America, like Red & Ted's RoadShow is based on a trip across America, completing tasks at major cities along the way. It is a two flipper, two player game and uses large dedicated PCBs under the playfield as opposed to all the wiring we are accustomed to and uses dedicated lamp drivers instead of a matrix.
The game is expected to cost around half the price of a new Stern machine and is only the first of the games expected from Chicago Gaming with the second game out in about six months' time.
This is an annual institution - learn the basic ball control skills as described in the Pinball News Learn section, the drop catch, the flipper pass etc.
As I already know how to do these, I didn't attend the seminar so I can't report how it went. I can report how the Honker's Ale went though - very nicely.
The exhibition hall opened promptly for 6pm and finally we get the chance to take a look at the myriad of games and parts. The tournament game is - naturally enough - RollerCoaster Tycoon and there are eight of these set up in two banks of four. These games don't have the tournament system installed, but there is a Playboy game in the hall with it fitted. This is set on $1 a game play with the proceeds going to charity.
The halls game the impression of being pretty full both with games and parts vendors. The majority of the 114 games were working and set to free play (or an easy replay score if the game didn't have a free play setting). Inevitably there were a number of dead games (19) and one or two working machines not set on free play. There were also a couple of games on vendors' stands which were not for play but to demonstrate how their products looked in situ.
This is a list of all the
games in the halls on Friday (by which time most people who were going
to bring games would have arrived and set them up). Those marked * were
not working - i.e. not powered up - at the time the list was made. Not
all of those that were powered up necessarily worked fully.
Main Hall (51 games):
Side Hall (63 games):
Pinball Inc were also selling replacement metal ramps made in one piece rather than using a few spot welds which inevitably break with prolonged use.
Illinois Pinball were selling replacement cabinet artwork for The Addams Family as well as newly manufactured replacement Kiss playfields and various other plastic parts.
Game enhancements were in abundance with gold legs, bolts, height adjusters and balls, replacement subwoofers, DMD drivers, cabinet artwork and of course playfields. Show discounts were available on many of these items, so if you were thinking about buying any of them it made sense to see them here first and save some money too.
There was the usual good selection of backglasses and translates, flyers, rubbers and miscellaneous pinball parts. Prices on these varied hugely but were all on the high side of what I was prepared to pay. Pinball parts prices have risen over that past few years and that was definitely reflected here but there were some good deals to be found and it cannot be over-emphasised how important it is to see the goods first hand before buying, especially when it is a non-original replacement part. You need to see how good the match is.
Unusually for me I hardly bought anything, but that's mainly because I was waiting for the end of the show to see if there would be any clearance bargains. I was happy with the last minute deal of slingshot plastics for my Addams Family, RoadShow and Demolition Man for $10 a pair. The TAF has been waiting six years for new slingshot plastics and now I have them.
Those vendors with permanent stands at the show:
There were other vendors
but they either did not have a stand or did not have a permanent presence.
© Pinball News 2002