PACIFIC PINBALL
EXPOSITION 2012


Date: September 20th - 23rd, 2012
Location: Marin Civic Center Exhibition Hall, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael, California 94903, USA

Last year's Pacific Pinball Exposition was mooted as possibly the last such show, yet here we were back again at the Marin Civic Center north of San Francisco for PPE 6.

However, there was a definite aire of finality around this sixth Exposition as the drive to raise funds for a new permanent base for the Pacific Pinball Museum - which would obviate the need for a show in a location such as this - was well under way, and optimism was high the Museum would soon have its new home.

As usual, the PPE's machines and exhibits were set up in the main Civic Center hall.

The Marin Civic Center, home of the Pacific Pinball Exposition
The Marin Civic Center, home of the Pacific Pinball Exposition

The delivery and setting up of machines in the hall took place in the days before the official opening, which took the form of a VIP party on the evening of Thursday 20th September.

This was our first chance to explore the show floor before the large crowds showed up over the next three days.

When the show did open to the public on Friday morning, a queue soon built up before the doors opened and the first visitors could enter the exhibition hall.

The queue to get in just before the show opened at 10am on Friday
The queue to get in just before the show opened at 10am on Friday

No tickets could be purchased in advance, so these were the first visitors to enter the show
No tickets could be purchased in advance,
so these visitors were the first to enter the show

Even before guests reached the entrance to the hall, their pinball education began with a series of informational posters along the entry corridor highlighting the scientific landmarks featured in pinball artwork.

Informative posters in the corridor leading to the main hall
Informative posters in the corridor leading to the main hall

New inventions on the backglass of Egg Head
New inventions on the backglass of Egg Head

The layout of the exhibition hall was largely unchanged from the previous year. As visitors entered, the organisers' desk was on the right, dot matrix and solid-state games were in front and to the left, electro-mechanical games were on the right, while vendor stands were set up around the outer walls of the room.

A notice on etiquette greets visitors, with a row of DMD machines behind
A notice on etiquette greets visitors, with the first row of DMD machines behind

The organisers' desk
The organisers' desk

Apart from being the place where wristbands could be obtained, the organisers' desk also sold T-shirts for the show and the Pacific Pinball Museum, show posters, postcards, DVDs, mugs, magazines and other assorted souvenirs.

Items for sale at the organisers' desk
Items for sale at the organisers' desk

Large hand-painted murals hung over the DMD games as well as elsewhere in the hall
Large hand-painted murals hung over this row of DMD games,
as well as elsewhere in the hall

A raffle stand was set up on the far left as you entered, selling tickets and displaying the prizes on offer, including three pinball machines - Slick Chick, 2001 and X-Men Pro.

Sales of raffle tickets were brisk all weekend
Sales of raffle tickets were brisk all weekend

Raffle prizes
Raffle tickets were placed in tubs, with one tub for each prize

Raffle tickets were available for fun prizes or one of three pinball machines - Slick Chick, 2001 and X-Men Pro
Raffle tickets were available for fun prizes or one of three pinball machines -
Slick Chick, 2001 and X-Men Pro

Two of the three machines being raffled
Two of the three machines being raffled

So let's take a look at a small selection of the machines available to play in the hall.

This Addams Family had an as-yet-unreleased ColorDMD display fitted
This Addams Family had an as-yet-unreleased ColorDMD display fitted

The History of Pinball crew were just one of many shooting at the PPE
The History of Pinball team were just one of many crews shooting at the PPE

Solid-state games
Solid-state games

More solid-state games
More solid-state games

A mixture of solid-state and electro-mechanical games
A mixture of solid-state and electro-mechanical games

Electro-mechanical machines and wood rails
Electro-mechanical machines and wood rails

More wood rails
More wood rails

More wood rails
Even more wood rails

And even more
And more still

The obligatory arty shot
The obligatory arty shot

More giant hand-painted murals hung from the ceiling...
More giant hand-painted murals hung from the ceiling...

...and at the back of the hall above the historic collection
...and at the back of the hall above the historic collection

For those with deep enough pockets, the murals were available to purchase.

Prices for the murals
Prices for the murals

Each year the PPE celebrates either the science, art or history of pinball. This year it was the turn of science to be in the spotlight, as a number of exhibits on the show floor demonstrated how magnetism, electricity and kinetic energy play such major roles in the way pinball operates.

Some of the science of pinball exhibits
Some of the science of pinball exhibits

The powers of light and induction are explored in these exhibits
The powers of light and induction are explored in these exhibits

This flashy and noisy exhibit shows how pop bumpers can transfer energy into the balls in the clear bowlto create seemingly random motion
This flashy and noisy exhibit shows how pop bumpers can transfer energy into the balls in the clear bowl to create seemingly random motion

A table was set up in the hall so visitors could make donations towards the Museum's new home, and in thanks to those who had already contributed

A table was set up so visitors could donate towards the Museum's new home, and the thank those who had already contributed
A table was set up so visitors could make a donation towards the Museum's
new home, and in thanks to those who had already contributed

Here's the full list of all 358 pinballs on the show floor:

Exhibit Hall Machines
2001
4 Queens
4 Roses
4 Square
4-Belles
Abra Ca Dabra
AC/DC Premium
Ace High
Add a Line
A-Go-Go
Ali-Baba
All-Star Basketball
All-Star Basketball
Al's Garage Band Goes on a World Tour
Amigo
Apollo 13
Aquarius
Arabian Knights
Arrowhead
Astrologic
Attack from Mars
Auto Race
Band Wagon
Barnacle Bill
Basketball
Beat the Clock
Beat Time
Big Ben
Big Ben
Big Brave
Big Casino
Big Valley
Black Pyramid
Black Rose
Blackwater 100
Blue Chip
Bobby Orr Power Play
Bonanza
Bow and Arrow
Bowling Queen
Bowl-O
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Bronco
Buccaneer
Buck Rogers
Buffalo Bill
Butterfly
Cactus Jack
Campus Queen
Capersville
Capt. Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
Capt. Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
Centaur
Central Park
Champ
Charlie's Angels
Chinatown
Circus (Bally)
Circus (Gottlieb)
Classy Bowler
Cleopatra
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
College Daze
Combat
Cosmic Venus
Count-Down
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Criss Cross
Criss Cross
Cross Town*
Crossroads
Crossword
Crossword
CSI
Cyclone
Cyclone (Gottlieb)
Daisy May
Dancing Dolls
Dealer's Choice
Diamon Lill
Diamond Jack
Diner
Ding Dong
Disco Fever
Doctor Who
Dolly Parton
Domino
Doodle Bug
Doozie
Double Feature
Dr. Dude
Dragon
Duotron
Earthshaker
Earthshaker*
Easy Aces
Egg Head
Eight Ball
Eight Ball Champ
El Dorado
El Toro
Embryon
Evel Knievel
Expressway
F-14 Tomcat
Family Guy
Fan-Tas-Tic
Farfalla*
Fireball
Fireball
Fireball Classic
Fireball II
Firepower
Flash
Flash Gordon
Flip a Card
Flip a Card
Flip Flop!
Flipper
Flipper Clown*
Flipper Football
Flipper Pool
Four Million BC
Four Stars*
Frontiersman
Full House*
Fun Fair
Funhouse
Funland
Galahad
Galaxy
Galaxy
Genie
Gigi
Gin
Grand Champion
Grand Slam
Green Pastures
Gusher
Gypsy Queen
Hang Glider
Happy Go Lucky
Harbor Lites
Harbor Lites
Harlem Globetrotters
Hawaiian Beauty
Hercules
Hi Diver
High Hand
High Roller Casino
High Speed
Hit the Deck
Hokus Pokus
Hot Line
Hot Shot
Hurdy Gurdy
Hurdy Gurdy
Hurricane
Ice Revue
Ice Show
Indiana Jones (WMS)
Iron Man
Jack in the Box
Jacks Open
Jet Spin
Joker
Jolly Park
Joust
Jungle King
Jungle King
K.C. Jones*
Kewpie Doll
Kewpie Doll
King Kool
King of Diamonds
King Pin
King Tut
Kings & Queens
Klondike
Lady Luck
Lady Luck
Laser Ball
Liberty Bell
Lights, Camera, Action*
Lovely Lucy
Lovely Lucy
Lucky Inning
Madison Square Gardens
Magic
Magic Circle
Majorettes
Mars Trek
Medieval Madness
Medieval Madness
Medieval Madness
Medusa
Mermaid
Meteor
Micro Pin
Mini Pool
Mini Zag*
Miss-O
Monaco
Monopoly
Monster Bash
Monte Carlo
Moon Flite
Moon Shot (Bally)
Moon Shot (Chi. Coin)
Motordome
Moulin Rouge
Mystic Marvel
Niagra
Night Rider
Nip-It
North Star
Old Chicago
Old Chicago
Old Faithful
Old Faithful
Out of Sight
Outer Space
Oxo
P3
Paddock
Panthera
Paratrooper
Party Zone
Pat Hand
Phantom of the Opera*
Pharaoh
Pinball Pool
Pinbot
Pirates of the Caribbean
Play Mates
Playboy (Bally)
Playtime*
Pop-A-Card
Pro-Football
Quartette
Queen of Diamonds
Queen of Hearts
Quintette
Rack a Ball
Rainbow
Rawhide
Revenge from Mars
Rip Snorter*
Road Race
Roadshow
Robocop*
Rock n Roll
Rocket III
Rocket Ship
Roller Coaster
Roller Disco
Rose-Bowl
Roto Pool
Royal Flush
Royal Flush
San Francisco
Scuba
Sea Ray
Seven Up*
Shangri-La
Shindig
Shoot the Moon
Sittin' Pretty
Skipper
Sky Jump
Sky Kings
Sky Line
Skylab
Skyway
Slick Chick
Slick Chick
Sluggin' Champ
Sluggin' Champ
Soccer*
Solar Ride
Sound Stage
South Pacific
Southern belle
Space Odyssey
Space Ship
Spanish Eyes
Spectrum
Spin a Card
Spot Bowler
Springtime
Square Head
Stage Coach
Stampede*
Star Pool
Star Race
Stardust
Stars
Stingray
Straight Shooter
Striker
Subway
Super Orbit
Super Star
Super Straight
Super-Flite
Sure Shot*
Surf Champ
Sweet Hearts
Swinger
Target Alpha
Taxi
Taxi
Taxi
Teacher's Pet
The 4 Horsemen
The Addams Family
The Champion Pub
The Simpsons
The Wizard of Oz
Theatre of Magic
Thing
Three Musketeers
Tide Pool
Time Machine
Tom Tom
Top Card
Top Score
Top Speed!!
Transformers Pro
Tri Zone
Triplets
Tron
Twilight Zone
Twilight Zone
Twin-Bill
Twin-Bill
Universe
Volley
Wagon Train
Watch My Line
West Club
Whirlwind
Wild Card
Wild West
Wild Wild West
Wishing Well
Wizard!
Wizard!
World Beauties
World Champ
World Cup Soccer
World Fair*
Xenon
X-Men Pro
X-Men Pro
X-Men Pro
Yukon
Zip-A-Doo

As ever, there was a substantial historical section exhibiting machines which demonstrated pinball's origins and significant developments during the game's early years.

A battery like those used to power early electrical pinball games
A battery like those used to power early electrical pinball games

Regular free tours of the historic machines gave an overview of pinball's development and a look at some of the early machines which broke new ground with their innovative features and technological advancements.

Dan Miller gives another tour of the historic machines
Dan Miller gives another tour of the historic machines

Starting with one of the earliest Parlor Bagatelle games
Starting with one of the earliest Parlor Bagatelle games

Historical Exhibit Machines
Army vs Navy
Baffle Ball
Ballyhoo
Big Game
Bumper
Buttons
Cargo
Fleet
Gizmo
Heavy Hitter
Humpty Dumpty
Merry-Go-Round
One Two Three
Parlor Bagatelle Table
Play Ball
Play Ball
Play Ball
Whiffle
World's Fair Jigsaw

Alongside the historical exhibit were the two Visible Pinball machines.

These two Bally Freedom machines 'clearly' show the differences between the electro-mechanical and solid-state forms of the same Freedom design. All the relays, switches and the score motor in the base of the cabinet has gone, while the backbox houses circuit boards instead of score reels.

The two Visible Pinball machines
The two Visible Pinball machines

Also on the floor for visitors to enjoy was The Wizard of Oz, which attracted a large queue to both play the machine and talk to Jersey Jack Pinball's Jack Guarnieri.

Jersey Jack Pinball's The Wizard of Oz
Jersey Jack Pinball's The Wizard of Oz

Young players on The Wizard of Oz
Young players on The Wizard of Oz

You can read much more about the arrival of The Wizard of Oz in our exclusive report, and there's more below in the seminars section.

Just along from Jack, Marco Specialties were flying the flag for Stern Pinball, presenting two of their X-Men Pro machines for guests to play.

Visitors queue to play Stern's X-Men Pro at the Marco Specialties stand
Visitors queue to play Stern's X-Men Pro at the Marco Specialties stand

Finally, there were another 14 machines in the tournament room bringing the total number of machines at the 2012 Pacific Pinball Expo to 394.

Tournament Machines
2001
Aladdin's Castle
Attack from Mars
Bobby Orr Power Play
Class of 1812
Lucky Strike
Medieval Madness
Sky Kings
Space Invaders
Space Station
Spy Hunter
Starship Troopers
Time Zone
Wheel of Fortune

There were also six non-pinball games, including four bingos, a pitch and bat game and a spinning wheel skill game.

Other Machines
Happy Days (bingo)
Manhattan (bingo)
Ringer
South Pacific (bingo)
Spot-Lite (bingo)*
Target Gallery (pitch & bat)*

But a pinball show wouldn't be a pinball show without parts vendors selling all manner of pinball essentials and needless frivolities.

Vendors in attendance this year were:

PPE 2012 Vendors
Airfield by LEDseq
Fabulous Fantasies
Great Lakes Modular
Illinois Pinball
Jeff Stern Amusements
Marco Specialties
Pinball Classics
Pinball Collectors Resource
Playland Not at the Beach
 

Great Lakes Modular's stand
Great Lakes Modular's stand

Playland Not at the Beach
Playland Not at the Beach

The Pinball Collectors Resource
The Pinball Collectors Resource

Rob Anthony of Pinball Classics and Tony Clarke of Great Lakes Modular
Rob Anthony of Pinball Classics and Tony Clarke of Great Lakes Modular

Custom shooter rods from Pinball Classics
Custom shooter rods from Pinball Classics

Marco Specialties
Marco Specialties

Jeff Stern Amusements
Jeff Stern Amusements

Airfield animated playfield lighting kits
Airfield animated playfield lighting kits

Fabulous Fantasies
Fabulous Fantasies

A Retro Pinball King of Diamonds on the Fabulous Fantasies stand
A Retro Pinball King of Diamonds on the Fabulous Fantasies stand

Illinois Pinball
Illinois Pinball

Here's our look around out Pacific Pinball Exposition 2012 exhibition hall. We would normally call it a Three Minute Tour or even a Four Minute Tour, but there's so much to see it rapidly became our Eight Minute Tour.

The Pinball News Eight Minute Tour of PPE 2012

Just a short walk over the bridge to the hotel and a turn to the right brought you to the Sausalito Room where the nine seminars and four film screenings were held.

The Embassy Suites, home of the PPE seminars
The Embassy Suites, home of the PPE seminars

This way to the seminars and films
This way to the seminars and films

The first seminar featured a screening of a short film about artist Wade Krause, made by Pinball Donut Girl producer, Anna Newman.

Film - Wade Krause: Pinball Artist

Film producer, Anna Newman
Film producer, Anna Newman

Before the screening, the film's producer Anna talked about how she met Wade and why she was inspired to make a film about him. Then, after it was shown, Anna was joined by Wade, the film's director Don, and Charlie who shot the visible pinball footage. Wade described how his artistic talents turned to pinball after buying games in the 1980s and creating his own backglasses.

Wade talks about his work
Wade talks about his work with Charlie (left) and Don (right)

Audio Click here to play the MP3 file, or right click to download it.
You can also use the player below to play it within this page.
(Note: the audio does not include the film soundtrack itself)
 

Get the Flash Player to hear this audio clip.

P-ROC/P3: New Innovations in Pinball

The team behind the P3 pinball platform were at the Pacific Pinball Exposition, led by Gerry Stellenberg who spoke about the creation of the P-ROC system and how it has developed, before turning to the P3 itself.

Gerry Stellenberg with the P-ROC controller board
Gerry Stellenberg with the P-ROC controller board

Then the P3 prototype was introduced to the audience.

The P3 pinball platform with the glass cover removed
The P3 pinball platform with the glass cover removed

Gerry used the LCD screen inside the P3 to run his presentation on the screen behind him, which explained how the system was created and its capabilities.

Pinball News readers will already be familiar with the P3, but in summary the game's most prominent feature is the LCD monitor embedded in the playfield with 'floating' flippers and slingshots sitting above it. The machine also features unique ball-tracking technology, a row of scoops across the playfield with a corresponding row of pop-up wall targets in front. Further up the game sits a swappable upper playfield which allows multiple designs to be used in the same machine.

The P3 is totally different under the playfield too. There is no switch or lamp matrix - all switches, lamps and solenoids connect to controller boards located on the underside, removing the need for a backbox.

Having explained and demonstrated how the P3 works, Gerry then invited a member of the audience to play the machine while a camera overhead displayed the playfield image on the projector screen.

Gerry explains the P3 system
Gerry explains the P3 system

After the seminar, the P3 was taken to the main show hall where the Multimorphic team showed visitors its many features.

Les, Gerry and Brandon with the P3 in the exhibition hall
Les, Gerry and Brandon with the P3 in the exhibition hall

Audio Click here to play the MP3 file, or right click to download it.
You can also use the player below to play it within this page.
 

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How to Play Pinball Like the Pros

Jon Olkowski and Dylan Eichenbaum held their seminar to teach basic pinball playing and ball control skills to the audience. They explained the principles of trapping the ball, passing it and setting up the next shot, as well as the effects different types and colours of rubber have on the ball's behaviour.

Dylan and Jon
Dylan and Jon

They illustrated this with a combination of pre-recorded videos and live demonstrations using a Tron machine in the seminar hall with an overhead camera.

Jon sets up a ball for a post pass demonstration
Jon sets up the ball for a post pass demonstration

Although much of Jon and Dylan's presentation was visual, we have included an audio recording of it here as it contains many useful tips which don't necessarily need the accompanying slideshow.

Audio Click here to play the MP3 file, or right click to download it.
You can also use the player below to play it within this page.
 

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Gary Stern

Gary's talk at the Pacific Pinball Expo was somewhat different from his many previous talks, taking a much more personal walk through his years in the business, starting with how his father Sam Stern first got into pinball by operating games in Philadelphia.

Gary Stern
Gary Stern

Soon Sam became a distributor for the machines made by Harry Williams in Chicago, and ended up buying half the company from Harry. Gary said even though his father now owned half the company, they didn't trust him enough to let him into the factory for almost a year, while he took care of machine sales. Gary also had his own space at the factory from the age of 16, from where he studied and learned the business from Sam and Harry. In 1959 Sam bought Harry out, although Harry continued to work at the factory, designing games.

Gary Stern
Gary Stern

Gary stressed that the most important function of the engineering department is to produce the bill of materials for material control to ensure the factory has constant supply of the parts necessary to keep making games. Gary talked about the rise and fall of the original Stern Pinball, the formation of Data East Pinball, the transfer to Sega Pinball, and its evolution into the current Stern Pinball.

Audio Click here to play the MP3 file, or right click to download it.
You can also use the player below to play it within this page.
 

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Clay Harrell

Like the seminar which preceded it, Clay's talk was a highly personal account of his life in pinball. He focused on a number of events where, for reason he attempted to explain, not everything had a successful ending.

Clay Harrell
Clay Harrell

These included his editorship of the Pingame Journal, the creation of the pinball repair guides, the establishment and closure of the Tilt Town arcade in Detroit, and the new private collection which subsequently replaced it.

Clay addresses the audience during his seminar
Clay addresses the audience during his seminar

Clay gave his own personal views on why things turned out the way they did and some of the background to those events which might help explain them.

At the request of the speaker, the precise details and the audio from this seminar is not available.


Film - Wayne Neyens

At last year's Pacific Pinball Exposition, the first in the Pioneers of Pinball series of films featured an interview with Wayne Neyens. That interview led to this follow-up second interview, shot and edited by Will White, where Wayne spoke in-depth about some of his designs and the many mechanisms he created for use in them.

Wayne with his Kewpie Doll game
Wayne with his Kewpie Doll game

The audience enjoy the second film about Wayne
The audience enjoy the second film about Wayne

Both parts of the Pioneers of Pinball series is available to purchase from the Pacific Pinball Museum by e-mailing info@pacificpinball.org. Due to this, and the highly visual nature of the film, the audio from this screening is not available here.


Film - Pinball Donut Girl

Film producer, Anna Newman
The film's producer, Anna Newman

We first reported on Anna's IndieGoGo campaign to raise funding for the Pinball Donut Girl featurette a year ago. That funding drive reached its goal, and since then work on the film has been under way. Anna was here to show a 10-minute cut of the film and introduce the cast and crew who could then answer any questions about it.

Cast and crew join Anna
Cast and crew join Anna

The film happened after Matt Walsh recalled a similar story of his visits to a donut store where the young waitress was a wizard on the Pinbot game they had. Matt told the story to Anna and she decided to turn it into Pinball Donut Girl.

The film's two male leads
Brian J Patterson & Matt Walsh

You can listen to Anna and the crew discuss Pinball Donut Girl in the audio recording below. Although the 10 minute version of the film was shown, we have not included the soundtrack here.

Audio Click here to play the MP3 file, or right click to download it.
You can also use the player below to play it within this page.
 

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Jersey Jack Guarnieri - The Wizard of Oz

Last year Jack was at the PPE to reveal the cabinet artwork (which he subsequently left in the car he took to the airport), but this year he had a nearly-complete machine to unveil.

Jack Guarnieri
Jack Guarnieri

The machine was covered in white cloths which were soon removed to reveal the machine to the audience.

The covers are taken off The Wizard of Oz
The covers are taken off The Wizard of Oz

Those who had read our update had already seen the game from the unboxing and setting up from the previous night, but for many it was their first look at the machine.

There was standing room only in the seminars room
There was standing room only in the seminars room

Jack spoke about the new features in The Wizard of Oz, including the use of multi-colour LEDs across the playfield and the use of clear inserts on the playfield which take their colour from the multi-colour LEDs beneath. He wouldn't be drawn on what would happen with the crystal ball, simply saying "it will do something".

Jack said he knew what JJP game number two would be, and game number three, but right now his focus is on delivering game number one.

Jack with The Wizard of Oz
Jack with The Wizard of Oz

He said the game was the result of leaving the most talented and dedicated pinball designers to get on with it, though he did want then to come up with a product eventually.

At the end of the seminar, Jack distributed JJP-branded T-shirts to members of the audience before they crowded round The Wizard of Oz to see it. It was then moved into the main exhibition hall where visitors could play it for most of the rest of the show.

Jack sends another T-shirt to its new owner
Jack sends another T-shirt to its new owner

Everyone wants to get a look at the game
Everyone wants to get a look at the game

Audio Click here to play the MP3 file, or right click to download it.
You can also use the player below to play it within this page.
 

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George Gomez

George started by saying he knew everyone wanted to hear him talk all about his next game, but he wasn't going to. However, he did promise that there was a very exciting period coming up at Stern over the next few months.

George Gomez
George Gomez

George's seminar looked at how a pinball machine is designed, from the initial search for ideas through to the development and clarification of those ideas and how they could apply to pinball.

He used the company's recent X-Men game as an example, showing how the X-Men concept was reduced to a number of bullet points; the prologue of gathering together the X-Men to fight Magneto, the exploitation of each character's individual talents, and the battling of other villains. This was followed by ideas for toys which could go into the game to tie together the theme, the storyline and the characters.

He also revealed how the initial concept was to work with the X-Men movies, but that soon changed to using the original Marvel comics to give them more freedom and a wider range of possibilities.

After that, George showed some early cabinet and backglass ideas.

Early designs for X-Men cabinets
Early designs for X-Men cabinets

George said one of the biggest changes he has made at Stern Pinball is to allow each design team to create their own games with their own look and feel, so each new machine doesn't resemble the previous model.

More cabinet and translite designs
More cabinet and translite designs

X-Men development pictures
X-Men development pictures

The development pictures show the game with steel ramps instead of the plastic ones used in the production game which, George said, made the game lightning fast.

George then showed some sketches from some of his earlier games, including The Lord of the Rings and The Sopranos.

Early playfield sketches for The Lord of the Rings
Early playfield sketches for The Lord of the Rings featuring a spinning ring toy

Early ideas for the safe toy on The Sopranos
Early ideas for the safe toy on The Sopranos

George said he sketches a lot, as it allows him to develop his ideas quickly. Sketching also formed the second half of his seminar where he invited ideas for a new game from the audience and sketched a possible playfield design based upon them.

The theme chosen was a haunted mansion, and as George asked the audience to brainstorm possible playfield features, characters and settings, he sketched them in his Batman Rising-branded notebook which was projected on the screen from an overhead camera.

George sketches ideas from the audience
George sketches ideas from the audience

At the end of the seminar, George donated his sketches to the Pacific Pinball Museum to be auctioned as part of their fundraising campaign for a new home.

George and Gary present the sketches to the Pacific Pinball Museum's Ron Chan to help boost their fundraising project
George and Gary present George's sketches to the Pacific Pinball Museum's
Ron Chan to help boost the Museum's fundraising project

Audio Click here to play the MP3 file, or right click to download it.
You can also use the player below to play it within this page.
 

Get the Flash Player to hear this audio clip.

Tim Arnold

Time began by explaining the origins of the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club and the Pinball Hall of Fame, and how they grew out of the Fun Nights he used to hold at his home, where he had over 1,000 pinballs with 350 set up to play. This soon grew out of control and, according to Tim, stopped being fun, and so came to an end.

Tim Arnold
Tim Arnold

Out of those fun nights came the Pinball Hall of Fame, turning the hobby into a not-for-profit business, with professional facilities and regular hours. Tim talked through the economics of renting property in Las Vegas, the price they were able to negotiate for the first home for the Hall of Fame, how things changed over the duration of the agreement and how they eventually ended up in their present, larger home.

Tim said this year has been phenomenal for business, peaking at over $17,000 a week through the coin slots, although that has since dropped back to $8,000-$10,000 once the summer's tourism business died down.

Tim then looked at some of the other large pinball collections open to the public across the US. Some are museums with an educational programme, others are large arcades. Some are pay-per-play, while others charge for entry and then have their machines on free play. Clay Harrell joined Tim to talk about his experiences setting up one such place in his home city of Detroit.

Clay Harrell
Clay Harrell

Finally, Tim offered his top tips for setting up a large collection for the public to play, from the initial proposal to building rental agreements and prices.

At the end of his Seminar, Tim was honoured by the Pacific Pinball Museum with their Lifetime Achievement Award for 2012. Founder and Executive Director Michael Schiess presented Tim with his trophy.

Tim receives his Lifetime Achievement Award from Michael
Tim receives his Lifetime Achievement Award from Michael

In return, Tim said the Museum appeared to always be in one catastrophe or another and so presented Michael with the Pinball Hall of Fame's Cat Ass Trophy.

Tim and Michael with their respective trophies
Tim and Michael with their respective trophies

Audio Click here to play the MP3 file, or right click to download it.
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Michael Schiess & Larry Zartarian

Michael and Larry's seminar updated PPE guests on their search for a new home closer to the centre of San Francisco, and the fundraising drive which was underway through IndieGoGo.

Michael Schiess and Larry Zartarian
Michael Schiess and Larry Zartarian

They explained the Museum's mission, what coming to the Museum gives visitors, the links they have forged with the artistic communit,y and described the landmark achievements they have made so far.

They also spoke about the Museum's previous attempts to find new premises. Last year the hope was to secure a facility at the historic Naval Base, but the building there ultimately proved to be unaffordable without co-operation from the City of Alameda which was not forthcoming, and so the search for a new home continued.

The hope is to move to the Palace of Fine Art in the Golden Gate Park, but they are up against stiff competition from other bidders and it will ultimately be up to the city to decide who wins. There are alternative plans should their bid not succeed, but the focus is very much on building solid funding to demonstrate to the city that they have the financial backing and community support necessary to succeed if their bid for the Palace of Fine Art is accepted. They should find out whether their proposal has won within 6-12 months.

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Mark Helms & Howard Cook

Mark and Howard were the team behind the 1997 History of Pinball documentary which looked at pinball's original and the multiple rises and falls in popularity it has experienced.

Howard Cook & Mark Helms
Howard Cook & Mark Helms

Mark spoke about why they created the hour-long documentary, who they interviewed - both inside the industry and outside, such as Guns N Roses' Slash - the stories they told, and how he and Howard got the film broadcast on a major US TV channel.

The History of Pinball is now available in a re-mastered form on DVD, and a follow-up documentary - The History of Pinball Part Two - is now being shot, as you can see from the picture of the film crew near the top of this report.

Mark and Howard were looking for suggestions of people they should interview for the new film and potential ways they could distribute their original documentary.

The seminar was followed by a screening of The History of Pinball.

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That concludes the seminar schedule.

While the seminars were under way, across the bridge in the Marin Civic Centre the qualifying rounds of the tournaments were being held in a side room off the corridor leading to the main hall.

The venue for the tournaments
The venue for the tournaments

Inside the tournament room
Inside the tournament room

More tournament machines
More tournament machines

Qualifying ran all day Friday and Saturday, with the finals being held on Sunday. This year the tournaments were organised by Tournament Director, Jeannie Rodriguez.

Tournament Director Jeannie Rodriguez
Tournament Director Jeannie Rodriguez

There was tournament for kids, a match play event, a tournament for 'shorties' and the main open division.

In the Open division it was a win for Jeff Gagnon who beat Andrei Massenkoff in the final, with Karl DeAngelo and Alex Samonte in joint third place.

A victorious Jeff Gagnon
A victorious Jeff Gagnon

Open Division
Pos Name
1st Jeff Gagnon
2nd Andrei Massenkoff
3rd= Karl DeAngelo
3rd= Alex Samonte

Here are the other placings in the Open division:

6 Jeremy Williams
6 TJ Beyer
6 Salem Ayoob
6 Johnny Modica 
10 Joe Scaletta
10 John Kremmer 
10 Walter Hurwitz
10 Eden Stamm 
14 Kevin McCabe
14 Scott Davids
14 Chris Heilig
14 James Vierra
17 Dave Stewart 
18 Per Schwarzenberger 
19 Darren Ensley
20 Chris Kochan
20 Josh Lehan 
22 Jeff Fehervari
23 Tim Moyers
23 Jon Olkowski 
25 Devon Kelly 
25 Josh Warren 
27 Eric Wagensonner
28 Danny Rockholt
28 Chris Lindboe
30 Matt Willmarth
31 Joseph Perry
32 Damien Charléty 
33 Chris Lammi
34 Chris Harkins
35 Richard Leavitt
36 Garrick Stoner
37 Andreas Haugstrup Pedersen
38 Benjamin Liggett
39 Rod Bogart
40 Kenley Fritts
40 Kevin Riekki
42 Edwin McCarthy
43 Julie Gray 
44 Marcus Petersen
45 Martin Ayub
46 Seth Kleinberg
47 Joe Miksits
48 Warren Schwader
49 Erin Ray
50 Jonathan Abrams
51 Edward Dobson 
52 Nina G 
53 Jesse Petersen
54 Pat Choy
55 Rodney Olsen
56 Nathan Stellhorn 
57 Matt Tyrell
58 Danny Dawkins
59 Nicole Anne Reik 
60 Dylan Eichenbaum
61 Myong Choi
61 Brittany Shoot
63 Bob Rog
64 Stewart Katz
65 Glenn Bedford
66 James Gerlach
67 Tim Lobes
67 Tiffany Brittman
67 Mitch Tunick
70 Evan Frank
71 Erica Riekki
72 Izzy Schwartz
73 Alex Lambert
74 Jake Nielsen
75 Erich Fritts
76 Ed Zipp
77 Jeanette Rog
78 Peter Bogdanov
79 Shon Dolcini
80 David Rockholt
81 Doug Hogue
82 Laura Rog
83 Emily Courchesne

Jeff nearly made it a double in the Matchplay Tournament, but it was Tim Hansen who won that one with Jeff in second, Julie Gray in third, Johnny Modica in fourth and Josh Warren fifth.

The Kids Tournament
The Kids Tournament

In the Kids Tournament, the first place trophy was claimed by Nick Fitzpatrick, ahead of Zack Orozco in second, Jack Slovacek in third and Natlie Jeng in fourth.

Finally, the 'Shorties' tournament (a twist on Shorty's pinball bar in Seattle which hosts regular pinball events) was one of the few tournaments - if not the only - with a maximum height restriction.

The winner of this one was Julie Gray who rose above the competition to take first place. Nina G was in second, with Nicole Anne Reik third.

As the Open final rounds and awards were taking place, further awards were made in the main hall to recognise those who make a special effort with their machines and their organisational skills to help make the show such a success.

The Best Original Condition: Solid-state or DMD - award went to Steven Borel with his High Speed 2 - The Getaway.

Steven with his award for Best Original Condition machine
Steven with his award for Best Original Condition: Solid-State or DMD

The award for Best Original Condition: Electro-mechanical, went to Larry Zartarian for his Roto-pool game.

Larry collects his award for the Best Original Condition - Electro-mechanical
Larry collects his award for the Best Original Condition: Electro-Mechanical

The Best Restored DMD or Solid-State award was given to Shon Dolcini for his World Cup Soccer machine.

Shon with his Best Modified or Custom award
Shon with his Best Restored: DMD or Solid-State award

The equivalent award for electro-mechanical machines went to Dan Kramer for his Rally West Club game.

Dan recieves his Best Restored: Electro-Mechanical award from Michael Schiess
Dan receives his Best Restored: Electro-Mechanical award from Michael Schiess

The winner in the Best Custom Game was Tim Jenison with the Cosmic Venus machine as used in the movie Tilt!

Tim Jenison collects his award for the Best Custom Game
Tim Jenison collects his award for the Best Custom Game

The final award went to the Best of Show machine and this was won by Jack Guarnieri for The Wizard of Oz.

Jack received the Best of Show award from Michael
Jack received the Best of Show award from Michael

Additional awards were then presented, first to Jon Olkowski for his work running the tournaments at PPE in previous years, and for all his work promoting pinball in the Bay Area.

Jon receives his award of a necklace made of small pinballs with two larger chromed balls
Jon receives his award of a necklace made of small pinballs
with two larger chromed balls

Awards of pinball books were then given to Jeannie Rodriguez and Eric Kos for running this year's tournaments.

Eric, Jon, Jeannie and Michael
Eric, Jon, Jeannie and Michael

And that brings us to the end of this Pacific Pinball Exposition 2012. Will there be another one? Will there be something to draw us back to the West Coast next September?

Whatever happens, these have been six extraordinary pinball shows which have raised the bar in terms of expectations and what a pinball show can achieve, both within the pinball community, and by reaching out to the wider public.

Anyone interested in donating to the Museum's fundraising campaign should write to info@pacificpinball.org or make contributions directly to: donate@pacificpinball.org.

 

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