Date: 30th July - 2nd August, 2015
Report and pictures by David Mainwaring
Welcome to the greatest show on Earth! Let’s see if it lived up to the hype. With 700 registered players, the biggest ever pinball tournament starts here!
I was very eager to find out what the Convention Center had in store for us, with ReplayFX being the new venue for the Pinburgh tournament this year.
The venue was the biggest I have ever been to. Set up in one of the main halls - one of many halls - it was vast, and far bigger than I ever imagined.
There were many machines present - approximately 450 pinball machines arranged in several banks with plenty of space between the machines for people to walk.
The competition area was set within a security screen with a competition area sign at each entrance so people could clearly see where the free play machines ended and where the competitive events were being held. There was good security at each entrance and everything was clearly signposted.
ReplayFX only took up a small proportion of the Convention Center. The Seminar Room was a long walk from the main event - something we shall cover later.
At 10am we had the start of the qualifying sessions for Pinburgh 2015.
Day 1’s match-play session would be a series of five rounds of multi-player pinball, with multiple games played per round. In each round the opponents are determined by each player’s win-loss rank.
When all five rounds have been played, players would advance to either of the A, B, C, or D Divisions, depending on how well they did in the match-play session.
There was also a display of two Stern The Walking Dead machines with playfields reversed showing the differences between the Spike and S.A.M. systems.
As well as pinball machines, there were many video games scattered in every direction you looked. Here is a view of a small part of the Console Lounge, with every console and vintage computer you could ever imagine.
Alongside the tournaments and other events there was also a raffle. You obtained raffle tickets from the machine and placed the tickets in a box next to the prize of your choice. The winning tickets were then picked out at the end of the day. This was a great idea, since it meant if you won you got what you wanted, and didn’t win something that was just going to end up in a drawer or cupboard.
Day one's play in Pinburgh is over, we all know our designated Divisions, and we're back tomorrow to fight our way through. Divisions A, B and C will carry over the results from the match-play session, while Division D will be reset.
As soon as I left the venue, this is what I saw…
Right, time to meet up again with some friends who I met during the day, and grab some dinner and a few beers.
We arrive back at the Convention Center on Friday morning for the Division play of Pinburgh.
This consisted of rounds 6 to 10, but now they were played in a Division of your own making. Every round you met three new friends, and the better you played the better your opposition became as you moved up the Division table. Of course, if you do badly then your opponents in subsequent rounds should get easier to beat.
Right, it's time for a snack to replace some of those burned-off calories. I think I’ll go for the pork, but without the dog.
Time now to burn off that lunch. Let’s try these.
Late on Friday afternoon I managed to escape and find my way to the building's roof.
While up on the roof I bumped to a few pinheads who had the same idea as me, escaping to some fresh air up on the rooftop.
Meanwhile, by playing in the pinball tournament we were missing the Kong Off World Championships.
Meanwhile, the Replay World Championships were underway with some entries on the scoreboard I could recognise. Sean Grant and Steve Bowden just two I could mention.
Back to the Pinburgh Division play which was ending for the evening. The top 40 in each Division qualified for the final rounds on Saturday and already won money.
Today all the qualifiers from each division will face it out. Today we will find out who wins.
The PAPA TV broadcast team are set and ready to go for all you viewers from all over the world tuning in.
Sunday morning, but it’s not all over yet as we have lots more interesting stuff to see!
There was also a 'dress up in your favourite character' competition. Who are these characters? Answers not on a postcard please.
Many people were posting on Facebook after ReplayFX stating they had taken the best photo of the event. I let you decide who was the winner.
And here's someone taking a photo of someone taking a photo of a … you get the gist.
How about trying your hand at Taxi, but with the handicap of only partially seeing what's going on? Isn’t it hard enough already?
Next let’s see what Heighway Pinball have in store for us.
I had not played Full Throttle for some time - not since the UK Pinball Party back in 2014, in fact. I was pleasantly surprised how finished and polished the game felt. I found the flow was very good, with a lot of exciting shots. The rules/code also seemed to be good, with plenty of action and things to do.
Full Throttle has an LCD on the playfield so you can see what’s going on without lifting your head up. A backbox LCD is available as an optional extra, but not fitted to this model.
Time now to pop up to the Seminar Room. Ouch it’s a long walk, up 3 escalators with a long walk in between.
We're please to present the Heighway Pinball seminar - an exclusive to Pinball News fans around the world. It includes new, detailed information on Alien pinball, including some of the toys and the playfield layout.
Next we stay for the Andrei Massenkoff and Bowen Kerins with their pinball tutorial seminar. Please note mics were not used for much of the content, so you may have to turn up the volume slightly. Another Pinball News exclusive.
After visiting Pinburgh 2014 I really thought that was as good as it gets. However, here at Pinburgh 2015 at the ReplayFX festival there were even more competitions and things to do. Both for the pinball pinheads and the video games scene, along with the kids rides.
The venue was just colossal. How they organised this so well without even a glimmer of a glitch is hard to imagine. It was nice that everyone was very friendly and got along so well.
This is one not to miss next year, so book up early.
The only downside - it's another year to wait until the next one.
Here I leave you with a picture of the skyline as you exited the Convention Center.
David Mainwaring, part of the Pinball News team.
© Pinball News 2015