SOUTH COAST SLAM
Date: April 14th & 15th, 2012
The third annual South Coast Slam took place in the West Sussex seaside town of Worthing and, as with the previous two shows, The Charmandean was the venue.
Although the doors didn't open to the public until Saturday morning, work setting up the games and installing the necessary power outlets began at lunchtime on Friday.
The show hall consisted of three connected areas. Two of these joined together to create the main hall, while a side room contained the various tournaments and the bar.
Unfortunately, the whole venue would not become available until 10pm that day, so as many games as possible were brought into the central area so that they could be moved in and set up in the adjacent rooms as soon as they were vacated.
With the majority of the games having arrived, leg bolt spanners were put down as people took a break at about 6pm and departed for a Chinese meal at a restaurant in the centre of Worthing.
The second half of the main hall was opened up soon after 9pm, and it was 'all hands to the pump' to get the games in position, on their legs and the power cables laid so they could be checked and any necessary adjustments made.
Before long the lines of machines were starting to form, so that just after midnight the hall could be vacated until the morning.
During the set-up, the Slam's special guest, Steve Ritchie arrived with Gary Flower.
More work took place from 9am with the show opening to the public at 10am.
Entry to the South Coast Slam was £10 per adult, with free entry for kids with a paying adult.
In addition, raffle tickets were available at the entry desk at £10 for a strip of five, or £20 for three strips. The grand prize was a Star Trek - The Next Generation pinball machine, refurbished by Nick Marshall, which would be signed by its designer Steve Ritchie. There were plenty of other great prizes too, such as a laptop from SJ Computing, Nokia mobile phones from Mark Squires, speakers, games systems, video and pinball game parts, Millwax cleaning materials from Sean Mills, and much more.
A few games arrived after the show had begun, and another one or two were brought in on the Sunday, but by opening time on Saturday the line-up was in good shape.
At the end of the central bank were two more rows of machines. Facing the rest of the hall were the modern Stern games, starting and ending with a Lord of the Rings.
Backing on to these was a bank of machines which were a tribute to Steve Ritchie.
At the end of the row of Black Knight 2000s was the Psych Out tent - an immersive environment designed to overload the senses with numerous flashing coloured lights, loud music, smoke and pinball. This would host a competition on Sunday, but on Saturday it was open for everyone to enjoy the experience.
As usual, one of the busiest people both before and during the show, was Andy Netherwood of Pinball Mania, who could usually be found with his head inside a pinball machine, bringing it back to life for visitors to enjoy.
The full list of the 100 pinballs at the show is:
The main hall was not filled with just pinballs though. The South Coast Slam has a growing video games element and the right wall of the hall was home to most of these.
In fact, when the local commercial TV channel visited to film a report for their evening news programme, it was a video game they chose for the reporter to play, rather than a pinball.
In addition, there were also three cocktail video games located in the bar area for visitors to play while taking a break from the main hall. They were Space Invaders, Moon Cresta and Field Goal.
Apart from the pinball and video games, a number of vendors were also at the Slam.
Peter Smets had his Rastermania stand at one end of the video games row, selling games, boards, controls and assorted game parts.
Sean is the UK distributor for PinLED, Mills Amusement products, Rottendog boards and has added ColorDMD to his portfolio. He had a number of ColorDMD systems for Attack from Mars for sale at the show. With the first run selling out in the US very quickly, Sean's supply of kits didn't last long either.
The ColorDMD system was fitted to Stan Simpson's Attack from Mars, which was one of the high score competition games sited next to Sean's stand.
Inside the bar area, Steve Ritchie had a stand next to Gary Flower. Steve was selling signed pinball products and artwork, while Gary had an eclectic mix of pinball-related items, including artwork, plastics and videos.
When he wasn't competing in the various pinball tournaments over the weekend, Albert Medaillon had a selection of pinball LED lamps for sale from his stand which was also in the bar area.
For those in need of nourishment as well as refreshment, there was a stand beside the bar selling sandwiches, rolls, burgers, crisps and cakes.
Let's take a look around the South Coast Slam with our unique Four Minute Tour - a video walk around the show floor on Sunday afternoon, letting you experience the games, the vendors, the people and the sounds for yourself.
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The South Coast Slam is also home to a number of competitive events, some established, and some new for 2012.
On Saturday there was the Super Slam Showdown pinball tournament, the NBA Fastbreak Challenge and the UKVAC Classic Arcade Video Game Open. On Sunday it was the turn of the Old Skool Rulz classic pinball tournament and the Psych Out competition, while high score competitions on a number of machines ran across both days.
Pre-registration for the Pinball News-run Super Slam Showdown began on March 21st and signed up 91 players before closing one week later. Those who pre-registered saved 25% on the full price of £10 paid by the three additional players who signed up on the day.
The tournament was held in the room linking the main hall to the bar and consisted of eight pinball machines. Competitors could play one game on any five of them, and the top three scorers on each machine went into the play-offs. However players could only qualify once, so if they got through on one machine, their scores on all the others were deleted and everyone placed below them on those machines moved up one place.
The eight machines were chosen to produce a diverse mix of games and styles - some familiar, some less so. They were:
The Cisco machine was a converted Strikes and Spares, and it was used on road shows within the company to promote their various divisions and services.
The qualifying round of the Super Slam Showdown ran from 10am until 4pm, with no further qualifying games allowed to start after 3:45pm. Thankfully, everyone played their qualifying games in good time, with the result that nobody ran out of time to complete their five games and the draw for the first round of play-offs was able to begin at 4pm.
The 24 qualifiers were:
Qualifiers were paired up at random for a best-of-three single-elimination match. Each player of the pair could choose a machine and if it was 1-1 after two games, a third machine was selected for them on which to play the deciding game.
Results for the play-offs were recorded on a large paper chart.
After three rounds of play-offs, the three players for the final were decided. They were Albert Medaillon from Germany, Franck Bona from France and Mike Parkins from the UK.
Each player could choose one machine on which to play a three-player game. The winner of the game would win 9 points, the second-placed player 5 points and the lowest scorer 2 points. Albert chose first and selected Hurricane but it was Franck who built up and impressive score and took the win, with Mike second and Albert third.
Mike's selection of World Cup Soccer was the next machine played, but the result was very similar with Franck winning again.
Mike and Albert swapped positions but with his 18 points to Albert's and Mike's 7 points, Franck could not be beaten and had secured the win after just two games.
Mike and Albert played Roadshow (Franck's choice of machine) to decide second place, and it was Albert who was victorious in that game.
In the play-off for 4th, 5th and 6th places, David Dutton won the game ahead of Paul Owen with Nick Marshall in 6th place.
The full results for the Super Slam Showdown 2012 are:
While the Super Slam Showdown was taking place, a new tournament to the Slam was underway next to the bar. The NBA Fastbreak Challenge was devised by Darren Ball and Mark Robinson and used two linked NBA Fastbreak machines for head-to-head play between groups of players.
30 players were pre-registered at a cost of £7.50, and allocated one of the NBA teams featured in the game, which they then represented. Six leagues of five 'teams' were produced in which each team played each of the other teams. The team which won earned two points, the losing team got zero, and if there was a draw, both teams got one point.
After everyone had played their four opponents, the top team in each of the six leagues went into the play-offs.
After those play-offs, the final came down to a battle between Dan Williams and Stan Simpson.
In the final, it was Stan who triumphed and collected the trophy, certificate, medal and cash prize, courtesy of Pinball Mania.
With the pinball tournaments running at the bar end of the building, there was a video games competition taking place at the opposite end.
The UKVAC Classic Arcade Video Game Open returned after a successful first outing last year and, as before, it was run by Phillip Eaton.
Because we were busy at the other end of the hall running the Super Slam Showdown, Phillip now tells us how his tournament went.
In addition to the pinball machines at the Slam this year, the selection of classic video games was enhanced by being both bigger (i.e. several more machines) and more classic. Several premier titles were on offer throughout the weekend, such as Tempest, Space Invaders, TRON, Defender, together with many others from the early and mid-'80s era.
Following the success of the inaugural Classic Video Game Tournament from last years Slam, the tournament returned again in 2012, taking place on the Saturday. Entry was priced at £3 per competitor; single entry only, and sign-up was on-the-day only.
This year the format was modified slightly; whereas last year each competitor had to play all 6 machines, with ranked scores totaled from all machines to decide the winner, this year competitors could choose 5 machines on which to qualify from a total of 7 available, and then the top 4 played off into two semi finals and a final.
The qualifying machines were Liberator, Super Zaxxon, Mad Planets, Juno First, TRON, Space Invaders and Return of the Jedi.
Machines for qualifying were chosen from the overall pool of games using several criteria, such as being sufficiently challenging to avoid long play-times, being a little uncommon to fox the specialists and, of course, being as reliable as possible.
As is always the case for this tournament format (which is the same the format used in several major UK and European pinball tournaments in recent years), as the tournament progresses, the screens showing the player qualifying positions and the individual machine scores entice players back again and again to see how they’re doing.
This year it was especially close for 3rd, 4th and 5th places. As the last remaining player played his final games, qualifying positions went down to the wire and eventually resulted in an exciting play-off for 4th and 5th places!
In the end, the top four qualifiers as shown above made it through to the finals, and after those, finished in the same positions as they qualified, except that Martin Deem managed to overcome Dave Saunders in a mammoth and close final game played on Amidar, leaving:
Later on that day, players were presented with Lindt golden chocolate bunnies, while the tournament machines were released for the competitors to play just a few more times to find out what might have happened if....
Video games available to play at the Slam included the following plus another 6 or 7 which were not recorded:
The South Coast Slam officially closed to the public at approximately 6:30pm when all the machines were switched off, but for those in the pinball and video game communities, the action resumed a short time later after a break for dinner, and continued into the night.
For those who remained behind, Steve Ritchie did a brief, informal talk and a Q&A session with the audience.
He spoke about the changes there have been at Stern, working with Lyman on AC/DC and how software development on the premium and limited edition models is still continuing.
Sunday at the Slam began once again at 10am, and the eight machines from the Super Slam Showdown had (mostly) been replaced by the eight which would form the Old Skool Rulz classics tournament. Volcano and Cisco remained, and they were joined by Spectrum, Flash Gordon, Dolly Parton, Fathom, World Fair and Mars - God of War.
Entry to the Old Skool Rulz tournament - run by Nick Marshall and Kate Morris - cost £5 on-the-day and up to two entries could be purchased per person. Getting one of the top two scores on any machine would get you through to the play-offs. If you got a top score on more than one, the highest position prevailed and the others were discarded.
The sixteen qualifiers were:
In the first round of play-offs, players were put in four groups of four to play on a randomly selected machine. The top two players from each group progressed to leave eight semi-finalists. This was then repeated with two groups of four, with the top two going into the final.
The four finalists were: Peter Blakemore, Albert Medaillon, Will Dutton and Andy Foster, and their randomly chosen machine was Flash Gordon.
In the final, Albert improved on his second place from the previous day to take first place. Will Dutton was the runner-up, with Andy Foster third and Peter Blakemore in fourth place.
The full results of the Old Skool Rulz tournament are:
Meanwhile, over in the Psych Out tent, the competition to score the most on Tommy while wearing distorting glasses and withstanding a sensory overload of lights and sounds was underway.
When the smoke had cleared, it was Thomas Hare who had prevailed with the high score. Psych Out organiser Ivan Durneen presented Tom with the trophy, a Tommy T-shirt and a Tommy video.
There were also several other high score competitions running across the weekend - one on Attack from Mars, one on The Shadow - and a separate 'kidz' competition on The Flintstones held on both days.
Andreas Hedström from Uppsala, Sweden was the winner of both adult high score competitons and picked up two trophies for his efforts.
The winners of the two Kid's high score competitions on The Flintstones were Tim Raison and his brother Martyn.
The final competitive event was a high score competition held on AC/DC where the top four scorers would battle it out for the chance to play against Steve Ritchie in the final. As it transpired, Andy Foster was one of the top four but was occupied in the Old Skool Rulz tournament final, so the remaining three played against Steve.
When Andy was free he played Steve to get his score and placing, but Steve also took his score from the game as his final score. Neither player had a great game, so Steve ended up third and Andy fourth.
The overall winner was James Watson, with David Dutton second, Steve in third, Andy in fourth and in fifth place was Terry Sullivan.
With all the competitions and tournaments settled, the last event at the South Coast Slam was the draw for the prizes in the charity raffle.
The grand prize of the Star Trek - The Next Generation was the first to be awarded, and the ticket was drawn by Steve Ritchie who would then sign the machine.
There was a brief moment of excitement as Kate Morris who is pictured above with Steve thought she might have won. Unfortunately for her, while the number drawn matched her ticket, and the winning ticket was green while her ticket was green, there were two shades of green ticket in use, and hers was just the wrong shade.
Instead, the winner was John Helliwell who quickly got Steve to add his moniker to the machine.
After the Star Trek - The Next Generation draw, all the remaining items were awarded, with Will choosing the winning tickets.
Once the raffle was over, there was a little time remaining for visitors to continue enjoying the games in the hall. Then the process of breaking down the show began.
And so the third South Coast Slam drew to a close. For some, the work of returning games and sorting out the details would continue for several more days, but everyone agreed the show had been another great success - not only for everyone in the pinball and video game communities, but also for the show's chosen good cause, ECHO - a charity for children with heart disease.
They benefited to the tune of £3,400 ($5,400), thanks to South Coast Slam raffle ticket purchases, competition entries and other donations.
It has been suggested the Slam will take a break for 2013 due to personal commitments of the organiser, but will be back in early 2014 for another frantic weekend of pinball and video game madness.
© Pinball News 2012