NW PINBALL & ARCADE
Date: June 6th - 8th, 2014
The show opened to the public at midday on Friday.
Show entry cost $25 ($15 for kids) on Friday, $30 ($15) on Saturday and $20 ($10) for the shorter Sunday session. A three-day pass was also available for $65 ($30).
One of the first destinations for many was the raffle ticket stand. Two types of tickets were available. One day raffle tickets cost $1 each and were included in all subsequent hourly draws throughout the day including the daily grand prize. Tickets for the major prize of a new Star Trek machine cost $20. The draw for this would take place on Sunday afternoon just before the show closed.
The tournament area was on the right-hand side of the hall. Play didn't begin until later in the day on Friday, so final preparations were underway when the show opened at midday.
The main organisers' desk was located in the centre of the hall. This is where keys for the machines were kept and any faults could be reported.
The rest of the hall was all devoted to games and vendor stands.
Next door, the Star Wars collection was actively-played all weekend.
Here's our list of pinballs set up and playable at the show:
That makes a total of 124 games on free play for everyone inside the hall or in the lobby.
Seven more were used for the classics PinGolf tournament, twelve were in use for the main tournament, an Escape from the Lost World was used for a high score competition, and there were five more in the lobby for exclusive use by kids visiting the show. Those bring the overall total of pinballs up to 149.
Assorted vendors' stands were positioned around the outside of the hall. On the left as you entered, the first of these belonged to Starship Fantasy.
Next to Digital Soap was a stand by artist Wifom, selling artwork and looking for commissions.
The first stand on the show hall's left wall belonged to Rob Anthony.
Two Back to the Future pinballs flanked a De Lorean car from the LeMay car museum which is located just down the street in Tacoma.
The vendor stands continued on the right-hand side of the hall where the Pacific Pinball Museum were promoting their plans to move into a new home.
In the corner was the PinballBulbs.com stand we saw earlier, while along the front wall of the hall was the Tacoma Games stand.
There were further stands out in the lobby.
Two floors below the show, the seminars were being held in one of the building's many conference rooms.
The seminars were all streamed live on the internet, thanks to the team headed up by Mike Lorrain.
The first seminar was at 2pm on Friday and featured the pairing of David Shoemaker and Dave Okert.
They began by recommending a number of websites where manuals and schematics can be found for videos and pinballs, before turning to the two pinballs they had brought along - an unrestored Flash Gordon, and a fully-restored Xenon. They then examined the items which would typically be found in their toolkits.
At 2:30pm their second seminar talked about and demonstrated how to identify and test various components in a game. This included the different types of connectors used, how to use a multimeter to check devices, and whether you can test certain components in-circuit.
At 3:30pm the subject was playfield restoration and clearcoating, as Bill Witzel took a playfield to illustrate how sunken or raised playfield inserts can be removed and reseated.
Bill then moved on to clearcoating, how it protects and seals the wood and paint, and described how he applies a layer of clear before making any touch ups to the paint to create a more receptive surface.
The 4pm seminar was by Ray Acevedo on the subject of pinball and video game cabinet restoration.
Ray advised first considering what level of restoration you want to achieve. He said preparation of the surface is about 90% of the overall job, as any defects will create problems later on in the process. He then moved on to clearcoating techniques and materials, saying the price of clearcoat is proportional to the level of protection against ultra-violet light.
Game restoration and repair would be returned to a little later, but the 5pm seminar was from Aaron Davis and Dave Beecher from Fast Pinball, who were joined by Matt Christiano from Planetary Pinball Supply.
Aaron and Dave showed their new CPU board design and described how it gives third party developers the opportunity to add new features and mechanisms to existing games.
Turning to the software, Aaron said they went to Pinball Expo and saw all the custom games there, but also saw there was no way to legitimately utilise the copyrighted assets as a way to develop an existing game further.
This is where Planetary Pinball comes in. Their WPC2.0 system will use the Fast Pinball controller to allow the driving of new displays and devices while building on the original sound and graphical assets in the code. Matt said WPC2.0 made it practical to create a short run of around 50 machines. This is in addition to the current re-run plans which has begun with Medieval Madness.
The seminar concluded with a short video from Skit-B's Kevin Kulek which gave a glimpse of a dot matrix display in a Funhouse game.
Dave Okert, David Shoemaker, Bill Witzel and Ray Acevedo returned between 8pm and 9pm for two further seminars covering playfield electrics, including how to swap playfields and how the lighting circuits work on a playfield.
Saturday's seminars kicked off at 12:30pm with Jack Guarnieri and Butch Peel from Jersey Jack Pinball.
Jack began by showing assorted pictures from the factory, from celebreties who have bought The Wizard of Oz, from players at shows, and the game which is set up in the Simthsonian's gift shop.
Jack spoke about how a new version of the software for The Wizard of Oz would be available shortly with some bug fixes, feature changes, and the full manual accessible through the game's LCD monitor. It will also be possible to upload your own attract mode images.
Jack also talked about the company's next game, The Hobbit. He showed a couple of small sections from the playfield which has been approved by Warner Bros., and said he expected to have games on test during September. Jack revealed that Jean-Paul de Win is creating the playfield art, and that the upper left flipper has now been replaced by a kicker.
Their third game is designed by Pat Lawlor. It will be an original (non-licensed) theme, and will have artwork from John Youssi and sounds from David Thiel.
Butch then showed selected pages from the new, expanded, revision 3.0 electronic manual for The Wizard of Oz, which has doubled in size from the previous version and contains around 1,200 hyperlinks to relevant sections, along with details of the game's rules.
Mark Ritchie was the next speaker with his 2pm seminar on pinball design, hosted by Gary Flower.
Mark spoke about how he first got into pinball at Atari in California working alongside his brother, and it was Steve who brought him to Chicago to work at Williams in 1979. He showed pictures of his early designs Thunderball and Firepower 2, before moving on to titles such as Pennant Fever and Sorcerer.
Mark then continued to talk about all his game designs at Williams, ending with Indiana Jones. He said the Doug Watson's backglass image is not officially Harrison Ford, since he wanted a large payment, but it does bear a remarkable similarity.
After Williams, Mark moved to the newly formed Capcom Pinball as Director of Engineering, because he wasn't allowed by Williams to design games for a competitor for twelve months.
With the sale of Illinois Pinball's assets to Planetary Pinball Supply, and their plans to remake popular titles in mind, Mark said he has a number of improvements he would make if he were in a position to help put Kingpin into production.
At 3:30pm it was artist Pat McMahon who took to the stage. Once again, Gary Flower asked the questions.
Pat began by recounting how he joined Bally, the first games he worked which included numerous Pac-Man variants, and the pranks he played on his colleagues in the art department at Bally and then at Williams.
He then spoke about all the games for which he either created the artwork or helped with the design during his 30+ years in the coin-op business, including Fish Tales, Dirty Harry, Tales of the Arabian Nights and Pinball Circus.
Then at 5pm it was the turn of Steve Ritchie and David Thiel to talk about the creation of the Star Trek game.
Stave started by showing a large number of pictures taken at the Stern factory showing the people involved in the making of the game. He revealed a number of prototype backglass designs which never made it into production, and talked through the game design process from concept to production.
David then explained the time line of his involvement, saying Steve first spoke to him about creating the music and sounds for the game in June 2012, but he didn't hear any more about it until June 2013.
Having work on the notoriously difficult licence for Pirates of the Caribbean, David said the team at Paramount were very helpful, providing him with masses of assets form the 2009 and 2013 movies he could use for voice calls and effects.
After a brief Klingon sing-along, David showed how Steve's original idea for the main theme turned into the final track which is played in the game today.
Following a two hour break, there was an evening screening of a new documentary called Gameplay: The Story of the Videogame Revolution.
The final seminar took place on Sunday at 11am, as Michael Schiess from the Pacific Pinball Museum updated the audience on the Museum's plans to move to a new home.
Michael began by explaining how the Museum began, some of their highlights and achievements, and the community projects they have initiated.
He then turned to their plans to move in the the former Carnegie library building in downtown Alameda which would give them 15,000 sq. ft. of floorspace and allow them to set up a cafe/bar in the basement.
The Museum hopes to pay a $750,000 deposit to the City in the next few days, and then has two years to raise the $3.5m needed to pay for all the refurbishment and installation costs. If they achieve that, they will then get a 30-year lease from the city with an annual rent of just $1.
That concludes the seminars at the NW Pinball and Arcade Show. We'll be back with the results of the tournaments and the winners of the best machine awards and prize draws shortly.
© Pinball News 2014