OPEN GAME ROOM WEEKEND 2009
Date: August 22nd & 23rd, 2009.
Report by Evert Brochez
The last three years my dad and I have always organised an event on the third weekend of August. It's what we like to call an Open Game Room Weekend.
Back then, we were thinking that it would be fun to organise our own such event in the future. As our collection started to expand and our game room was being built, the idea was still in our minds.
After some thinking we picked a date and that date really helped us to finish up the game room - it was good to have a deadline to make sure we got everything done in time!
We generally like bingos AND pinballs. I'm more a pinball man and my dad, the bingos.
So Saturday became Pinballday and Sunday, Bingoday. However, because there were bingo and pinball people on both days, we quickly decided to leave this format for the following year and just create an Open Game Room Weekend where everybody could enjoy a good helping of amusement games.
This year we had a large selection of 50 different Bally bingos which were all placed in a bingo corner, a few old skool arcade games like Galaxian and Donkey Kong, darts and of course lots of pinballs!
Because it's actually Sterns tenth anniversary this year, I wanted to make a difference and put them in the spotlight for home users AND, most importantly, for operators.
Most operators around here don't care much for Stern because when you mention that name they start thinking about games like Striker Xtreme. We all know what a world of difference there is between that game and the latest!
So I talked to our local distributor and my friend Luc Van Esch who's brewing his own delicious beer. They both agreed to come during the weekend.
The distributor, Carl Jacobs, came with a lot of parts like rubbers, bulbs, locks, plastic sets and decal sets throughout the whole weekend. He also brought some machines with him that were for sale.
We had all the Sterns in production and more! There also were quite a few machines for sale and we sold one new-in-box NBA game!
We were making everything bigger this year and that's why we decided to use more space from my dad's workplace. My dad is a carpenter, making windows and doors for a living. That means, of course, he has quite a lot of space which we needed to get this done.
The flyer was created by a friend of mine. We mailed this flyer to all the operators in Belgium and distributed it in other electronic ways to all the pinball fanatics.
We started in the morning by cleaning the workplace, game room and stuff like that.
Luckily I took a few pictures that I can share with you, most of the pictures you will see are made by André Huijts, a good friend of mine who fortunately did have the time to take pictures!
And because pictures say more than words, I'm going to let the pictures do most of the talking, accompanied by a few comments.
Here are some pictures taken before the public arrived.
Our own Game Room was transformed into the "Stern Showroom".
24 and NBA were brought by the distributor while a fellow operator loaned me his CSI. All the other Sterns displayed here are from my personal collection.
Apollo 13 was a machine that surprised a lot of people as to how much fun it actually was. This one had a modified ball through and had zero problems during the weekend!
The only strange thing was that one of the 13 balls was found in the bottom of the cabinet?! I have no clue how it got there!
And then of course the operators, pinball and bingo fanatics arrived.
We had people coming over from England and Holland just to play some bingo! It was fun to see how everyone had a good time, so here are some pictures from Saturday's action.
It was the Namco remake which included Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Junior and Super Mario Bros.
It shouldn't be hard to tell from this picture who I am, I guess.
We changed the look of the "showroom" a little on Sunday because we felt this was better.
I have no pictures from my own left and I've used a lot of André's pictures who only came on Saturday so what I'm going to do next is use some pictures from Stefan Verhoelst who came on Sunday and took some pictures of his own. I'm glad he mailed them to me so I can show some footage from Sunday's action!
The translite is signed by Robert Englund who was a really nice guy! He wrote on the hat: "Welcome to prime time, bitch!"
I think this gives quite a good impression about what this weekend was all about!
Once again we learned things we need to improve next year and things that need changing, but that's all part of the fun! I had a great time organising, getting everything together, set everything up, talking to all the people...
I hope everyone also had a great time and we're looking forward to welcoming everyone back next year along with some new faces.
I've heard rumours about a big English bingo bus which will visit us on the Sunday next year so I'll hope to also welcome pinheads from outside Belgium.
Maybe you could be one of them!
To conclude I have two videos that I want to share. The first is made by Andre Huijts while the second is my own video (I put it on Dailymotion cause my original soundtrack was rejected by YouTube).
André's video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjEWWnUEPYo
Evert's video: www.dailymotion.com/video/xajt06_bogrw2009agk
If you want to compare it with the past two years, or like to take a little dip into the past: