|PINBALL EXPO 2009|
Date: October 14th - 18th, 2009
After the Stern factory tour and the first round of seminars, the main show halls opened at 6pm on Thursday.
There is a main hall where most of the vendors resided and a number of free play machines were set up. A second hall at the rear of the first contained more free play machines which were also used for the Pinball Circus tournaments, while other rooms opposite the main hall's entrance housed tournament machines used for PinBrawl and vendor Rob Anthony's parts and machine sales.
Just inside the main hall's entrance, as usual, was show co-organiser Mike Pacak's stand which was selling an assortment of flyers, manuals, translites, backglasses, playfields and plastics.
Next to Mike's stand was a selection of machines from his collection. We showed you a few of them - such as Aaron Spelling, Q*bert's Quest and Jolly Park - in the first Expo report covering the set-up of the hall, but he also had these unusual pieces
Mike was just one of the many vendors set up in the main hall. Familiar parts suppliers such as Marco Specialties, Pinball Inc, Bay Area Amusements and Mantis Amusements were all represented.
The Klassic Arcade in Gobles, MI were well represented by K&K Amusements and Klassic Soda.
Specialist electronics vendors were also in attendance with Great Lakes Modular and Rottendog selling circuit boards while the LED sellers CoinTaker and BC's Pinball Amusements had traveled from the previous weekend's York show to be at Pinball Expo.
Big Guys Pinball were at the back of the hall, next to the Neon Warehouse display and the Z-Plating booth which looked impressive and contained their Lamborghini conversion of a Getaway and a blinged-up Star Trek - The Next Generation.
Steve Ritchie Productions had a stand selling unique signed collectibles while behind them were three ball bowlers from the St Louis Ball Bowler Company has brought 3 ball bowlers along which proved to be very popular throughout the show.
Nighthawk Games had their Pinball Lifter and a new stand to support machines while fitting or removing the legs. Opposite them, Pinball Pal had the Rocky machine fitted with the new sound board they had demonstrated in their seminar.
Alongside the various vendors, there were 84 pinball machines to play, plus a further 3 in the corridor outside the hall.
Machines were spread all across the hall but the main concentration was towards the back, near the entrance to the second games room.
We made our survey of machines at the hall's busiest time - Saturday morning. By then, several games had been sold and others had arrived to take their place, so this is what the majority of visitors got to play.
There were an additional three new Stern machines - two Indiana Jones games and one Wheel Of Fortune - which were used for one-ball high score tournaments and featured impressive illuminated toppers.
The second hall was mainly for free play machines - apart from during the Pinball Circus tournaments on Friday - and it contained 94 of them when we did our survey.
These five different Professional Pinball conversions retained the original playfields but had new cabinet art and mirrored backglasses so you could line up your reflection with the player's head.
The room was also home to Duncan Brown's home-built machine he spoke about in his seminar, called (in order to encompass all the most popular pinball themes) "Chief Bank-A-Flip Galactic Poker Dice". You will be able to find out all about that game in the seminars report.
Here are the 94 machines in the second room:
As we reported in our article about the show's set up, there was an additional room of games used for the PinBrawl tournaments. However, as that was only available to tournament players (except during the set-up time), we have not included it in the list of free play machines.
There were also four machines set up purely to display their LED lighting which were not available for general play. They were: The Addams Family, Space Invaders, Junk Yard and Spider-Man.
Non-pinball amusement machines in the two halls were: Goofy Hoops, Still Crazy, Hot Shot Basketball and Golden Tee Complete.
Now you can take a tour of the Pinball Expo main hall and second room for yourself. It's too long for our Two Minute Tour, so it's more like a Seven Minute Tour. Just click on the image below to begin.
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In addition to the three one-ball tournament machines in the main hall, there were 11 machines used in the qualifying and finals round for the Flip-Out tournament, held in the corridor next to the registration desk.
The eleven were:
The El Dorado, Super-Flite, Rock Star and Hot Tip were used in the Classic Tournament while the 24, Batman, World Poker Tour, Elvis, Dale Jr and Spider-Man were used for qualifying in the A Division, B Division, Women's Division and the Kids Tournament.
Qualifying for the tournaments was originally intended to to close at 5pm on Saturday evening - the same time the main hall closed in preparation for the banquet, but in fact it was extended until 2am Sunday morning in order to fit in all the entrants.
Each player played all six machines with the entry fee of $5 buying a play on two of them. Those who bought the full registration package received two plays but would still need to spend $10 more to buy plays on the remaining 4. Multiple entries were allowed and probably necessary to get into the running for one of the qualifying spots.
All scores on each machine were ranked with 100 points for the top spot, 90 for second, 85 for third and so on down the list of players. Each player's points on each machine were totaled and the sum formed the player's overall score. The current scores on each machine were shown on a computer monitor while two whiteboards showed the qualifiers in each division - one board was used for the Classic qualifiers while another showed all the other divisions.
There were different numbers of qualifiers in each division - 16 for A, 8 for B, 8 for Classics, 4 for Women's and 4 for Kids. In each division, a number of alternatives were on standby in case one of the qualifiers could not take part in the play-offs.
The qualifiers and alternatives were:
All qualifiers received pre-loaded game cards for Gameworks arcades.
The play-offs began on Sunday morning. The start times were staggered, so the larger A, B and Classic divisions began at 8am, and the smaller Women's and Kids divisions started at 9am and 10am respectively.
The Women's Division was the first to be completed. The semi-finals pitted Alysa against Karen and Carol against Tina and it was Alysa and Tina who won through to go into the final.
In that final, Alysa triumphed to take first place. Tina was second while Carol won the third/fourth play-off to take third, leaving Karen in fourth place.
As with the Women's, in the Kids Division it was the top two qualifiers who made it through to the final. Joshua Henderson beat Matt Rice in the first semi and Andrew Rosa II beat Nicholas Parmley in the second to set up the battle for the top spot.
The final brought a win for 12-year-old Joshua with Andrew in second place, Nicholas in third and Matt in fourth.
The winners got their choice from assorted translites and toys.
The B Division saw the initial eight reduced to four who contested the semi-finals. In the first match Luiz Taz played Ron Hallet while in the second, Alan Dunasky played David Ponce. Ron and Dave were triumphant and went into the final while Luiz beat Alan in the third/fourth place play-off.
In the final it was Dave who took the honours winning first place and $300, leaving Ron in second with $150, Luiz in third with $80 and Alan in fourth place with $60.
Next to finish was the Classic Division where Bob Matthews had an unbeaten run in the double-elimination winners bracket to make it into the final against the winner of the loser bracket. His opponent in the final was Derek Fugate who beat Joshua Henderson to secure his place in the top two.
Bob's winning streak continued as he beat Derek in the final to take first place and win $500. Derek was second winning $250, Joshua was third with $150 and Gregor Zimmerer fourth with $75.
The A Division had the most qualifiers and took the longest to complete, continuing until a little after 4pm.
That late finish proved a problem for Greg Davis who remained unbeaten in the winners bracket of the double-elimination playoffs to ensure he had a place in the final. The time of his flight home to Arizona meant he had to leave on the 2pm shuttle bus to O'Hare airport and so miss the final.
At that point there were three possible opponents left in the tournament - Andy Rosa, Jason Werdrick or Don Brownback - and Greg had played games against both Jason and Don, winning them both in "virtual finals". The only one of the three he hadn't beaten was Andy and so when Greg had to leave, only Andy Rosa making it into the final could rob him of first place.
As luck would have it, Andy beat Jason to face Don in the battle for that second final place.
In that match, Andy managed to defeat Don to make it into the final against the now absent Greg, and thus he won the A Division.
He took home $1000 plus a percentage of the money from the entries. Greg was second and won $500.
Both Andy and Greg won registrations for PAPA13 in 2010. Don was third and picked up $350 while Jason was fourth, winning $200. All other qualifiers won either $100 or $50 depending on their final position.
While the finals were taking place, vendors were packing up their stalls and machine owners were breaking down their games, ready for the journey home.
That concludes our look at the show halls and the Flip Out tournaments.
We will be back soon with all the seminars from all three days, plus the banquet speeches and awards.