PINBALL EXPO 2005
If you've been following our reports, you'll be ready for the report from the show floor.
There were two halls available for the games and vendors just like at the Ramada hotel (before it turned into a big pile of rubble). But unlike before, the second hall was just for games this year with no parts vendors.
At the entrance to the main hall are the ten Nascar games for the tournaments.
The main payment desk was right next to the Nascars so it was easy to buy more ticket for the tournament. Tickets cost $5 and gave you two games. The games were all set in standard tournament configuration with no extra balls and the outlane posts had been removed. Even so, there were some impressive scores of more than 200 million from the qualifying stage.
We'll have more on the tournament later when we have the results but let's move into the main hall.
A small crowd gathered at 6pm on Thursday for the opening of the hall but shortly afterwards the doors parted and we could enter.
Inside we found a large hall with a good number of games to play but a variety of vendors selling parts, games, memorabilia and services such as clearcoating and board repair.
There were plenty of parts sellers and numerous games set on end to be sold. Prices were about average with no shocks but the condition of the games couldn't be gauged without opening them up.
Games ranged across all era from pre-flippers to new Stern titles with plenty of EM titles and some rare models such as King Kong, Aaron Spelling and Pinball Circus.
Pinball Circus attracted much attention during the show. It is reputed to be one of only two in existence and was a video cabinet-sized concept game designed by Python Anghelo in 1994. It consists of a number of mini-playfields or rings staggered at different heights above the main playfield. A shot to the right of the elephant takes the ball up to ring 2 where a single flipper is used to shoot it up a ramp to the elephant's trunk. When the shot is made, the elephant's head tilts back to deposit the ball on another ramp leading to the right side of the game and ring 3. This has a single mini-flipper and a skillful shot is needed to shoot the ball to the giraffe ball lifter. This raises it up to the final and highest ring in front of the clown's face. There are two mini-flippers here and you need to knock down 3 drop targets in the clown's mouth and then shoot the ball through the mouth for the jackpot shot.
Scoring the jackpot or a failure to make any of the shots results in the ball traveling down an elaborate wireform to the main playfield where you have to try again.
It was a fun game, though perhaps without any long term appeal.
Also of interest were these two Mr Game Italian pinball machines - Motor Show and Dakar. The company only made four models and they were characterised by the inclusion of a video monitor in the backbox to show scores and play video modes. They also had an unusual cabinet design and ribbed flipper buttons.
Here's a list of all the games at the show on Saturday morning. Some games may have been sold or removed but by then all the games that were going to arrive had made it.
Evel Knievel, The Red Max, Round Up, Big Hit, Hearts and Spades, Quicksilver, Silverball, Daffie, Eight Ball, Stellar Wars, Haunted House, WhoDunnit, Judge Dredd, The Addams Family, Banzai Run, Demolition Man, Evel Knievel, Flight 2000, Frontier, Fish Tales, Big Game, Fathom, Seawitch, Medieval Madness, F14 Tomcat, Terminator 2, Moon Flite, No Good Gofers, Alien Poker, Black Knight, Spectrum, Godzilla, Starship Troopers, The Addams Family, Elvira & The Party Monsters, Checkpoint, Checkpoint, High Speed 2 - The Getaway, Pitch & Bat, Highboy, Fish Tales, Stargate, Harlem Globetrotters, Coney Island, Playboy (Stern), Playboy (Stern), Rollercoaster Tycoon, The Machine - Bride of Pinbot, Viper Night Drivin', Tales of the Arabian Nights, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Dr Who, Road Kings, Eldorado City of Gold, Millionaire, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, Seawitch, Phoenix, Space Invaders, Prospector, Paddock, Frankenstein, Twilight Zone, Mike Bossy, Dakar, Thunderball, Strange Science, Rescue 911, The Shadow, Monopoly, Star Trek - TNG, Pistol Poker, Creature From The Black Lagoon, Scared Stiff, Special Force, Dungeons & Dragons, World Cup, Pinball Circus, Devil Riders, The Machine - Bride of Pinbot, Harley Davidson (Stern 1st Edition), Terminator 2, Breakshot, Laser Ball, Congo, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Judge Dredd, Xenon, Motor Show, Count-Down, Fathom, Rollergames, Breakshot, Tommy, High Speed 2 - The Getaway, Whitewater, Fish Tales, The Champion Pub, War, The Flintstones, Black Knight 2000, Attack From Mars, Whitewater, Close Encounters, Theatre of Magic, Lord of the Rings, Tales of the Arabian Nights, Star Trek - TNG, Tales of the Arabian Nights, Twilight Zone, Breakshot, Air Aces, Hocus Pocus, Teed Off, Punchy The Clown, Casino, Lightning Ball, Pin Bowler, Tropic Isle, Olympics, Flipper Clown, Johnny Mnemonic, Monster Bash, High Speed 2 - The Getaway, Monster Bash, Twilight Zone, Elvira and the Party Monsters, No Good Gofers, Dr Dude, Genie, Star Trek - TNG, Triple Action, A-Go-Go, Soccer, Wing Ding, Trade Wind, Palooka, Dodge City, Bank Shot, Hurdy Gurdy, Gold Strike, Magic Town, Smarty, Paddock, Grand Prix, Earth Shaker, Harley Davidson (Bally), Space Jam, NBA Fastbreak, Cue Ball Wizard, 4 Square, Star Trek - TNG, The Addams Family, Indiana Jones, Wizard, High Speed 2 - The Getaway, High Speed 2 - The Getaway, Night Rider, Dracula, Gold Ball, Hot Doggin', Black Hole, Student Prince, Big Bang Bar, Corvette, Alvin G Football, Arizona, Virtual Pinball, Sexy Girl, Tommy, King Kong, Aaron Spelling, Home Run, Aloha, Oklahoma, Tales of the Arabian Nights, Theatre of Magic, Skill Pool, Skyline, Hercules. A total of 180 games.
The condition of the games varied enormously with some absolutely pristine restorations and others missing vital components or not working at all. But with 180 games, there was always something to play and thanks must go to all those who brought games to the show for sharing with us all.
There were also a large number of vendors: Kirk Weaver Enterprises, Mayfair Amusement, Mark Weyna, PinLED, Keller Pinball Restoration, Bay Area Amusements, Pinball Inc., Lenny's Pinball World, Flip 'n Out Pinball, Pingame Journal, Mike Pacak, Chicago Pinball, LM Amusements, Home Score Amusements, American Family Products, Donal Murphy, STR Industries and Pinball Exchange.
After last year's talk by Bill Davis, playfield restoration and protection is all the rage and there were many examples of beautifully repaired and clearcoated games around the halls along with companies offering the service and selling coated playfields.
Outside the halls, the tournaments' qualifying rounds began at 6pm on Thursday and continued until 5pm on Saturday. There were tournaments for seniors, tots, manufacturers, women, youths and a '60s era contest running alongside the main tournament.
Timothy Post won the Seniors' tournament, Andrew Rosa II won the tot's contest and Mike Keller secured the Youth title while Bob Schmidt won on the older game competition.
In the manufacturers category, Keith Johnson triumphed over Jim Shird in the final with Roger Sharpe in third and Lyman Sheats fourth.
In the women's tournament, Tina Curtis took the title over Jessie Carduner, Alysa Parks was third and Heidi Conlan fourth.
In the overall tournament, the top eight qualifiers went into the A division (called the World Cup division) and the next eight into the B division (Grand Prix).
In the B Division, Trent Augenstein beat Paul Madison in the final with Zach Sharpe and Donavan Stepp taking third and fourth places respectively.
The A division finalists were playing for a brand new Nascar game and the chance to play against the winner of the manufacturers division for the Grand Wizard title.
Derek, Josh, Jim and Bowen went out in the quarter-finals. Keith beat Andy and Neil beat John in the semi-finals pitting Keith Elwin against Neil Shatz in the best-of-three-games final.
Neil won the first game but Keith came back to win the second leaving a nail-biting final game.
At the end of ball one, Neil had a strong lead of 20,927,980 vs Keith's 2,466,770. Neither player had a good second ball adding a couple of million each to give Neil 22,162,410 against Keith's 4,507,280. But a weak third ball by Neil bumped his total up to 22,911,590 requiring an extra effort from Keith - one he pulled out of the bag to reach 24,654,560 before it became clear he had won and the game was conceded.
Finally, Keith Elwin played Keith Johnson in the Grand Wizard final. This was the winner of the A Division against the winner of the Manufacturers Division. Keith Elwin won the first game, surpassing Keith Johnson's 41,134,510 and abandoning his game when he reached 42,718,650.
In the second game, the scores at the end of the second ball were 5,456,520 for Johnson and 12,850,310 for Elwin. On his third ball, Keith Johnson only reached 8,161,230 meaning Keith Elwin didn't need to play his third ball and he had won the contest.
As a reward he won a trophy as tall as he was, and the obligatory silly hat.
In the final part of this Pinball Expo report we'll look at the two fireside chats and the banquet talk so see who did the talking and what they had to say for themselves.
© Pinball News 2005