Date: October 2nd - 4th, 2009
This is the third annual Pacific Pinball Expo show and like the previous two, it is being held at the Marin Center in San Rafael, California.
The advance promotion suggested there would be 400 pinball machines at the event and an initial survey suggested the final total would certainly be close to that, if not exceeding it.
Set up began on Wednesday and continued through Thursday until the start of a special preview session for the show's sponsors which began at 6pm on Thursday.
The hall rapidly filled with machines from all eras while the rear walls were decorated by large murals of specially-painted pinball artwork by Dan Fontes and Ed Cassell.
As in the previous two shows, the focus is very much on electro-mechanical pinball machines. Many of these come from the Pacific Pinball Museum's collection, which was recently boosted by the large number of machines donated by Gordon Hasse. The bulk of the remaining EMs come from a small number of private collectors each of who contributed large numbers of their machines.
Each machine has a top-mounted card giving some details of the machine and its noteworthy features or historical significance.
We will have a full list of the machines available to play in either Friday or Saturday's report, once we're sure all those making their may to the show with their games have arrived and set up.
At the bottom right of the picture above is the raffle area, where ticket buyers can put their raffle tickets into containers for specific prizes they'd like to win.
Some of the more immediately notable machines at the Pacific Pinball Expo 2009 included this Metallica conversion from an Earthshaker.
Created by Wade Krause and Dirty Donny, the playfield, cabinet and backbox all feature new, custom artwork while the software has also been changed to play Metallica music, specially-recorded voice calls and different names for the game's features on the display.
While it's clearly based on Earthshaker, pretty much everything has been changed to fit in with the new theme.
Next to the Metallica machine is a new Visible Pinball. Like the original - which it sits adjacent to - this new Visible Pinball has a clear cabinet and playfield to show the inner workings of the various mechanisms.
Unlike its sibling however, the new machine features a more detailed artwork overlay.
Although the focus is on electro-mechanical, there are still plenty of solid state and dot-matrix machines set up for visitors to enjoy.
At around 5pm, the overhead lights were dimmed and the glow from the machines took over as the main source of illumination.
Friday sees the official opening and the start of the seminars at the Pacific Pinball Expo 2009. Pinball News will be there for all three days of talks by a wide variety of speakers on different aspects of pinball.
Check back for the latest news from the show as we update our reports across the weekend.