Date: 28th July 2009

Despite having no new games manufactured for nine years, Pinball 2000 continues to be popular and there has recently been some good news for fans and owners of the system.

As regular readers of Pinball News will know, the Nucore replacement computer system from Big Guys Pinball has been developed to eliminate the inherent weaknesses of the original computer and provide a number of significant improvements.

The path to production has been a long one, but their efforts have come to fruition. After two years of development and negotiations, the first systems will ship to pre-order buyers today.

The first group of pre-orders were accepted from March 18th to April 24th through Pinball Life and will be fulfilled first . Then, when the next batch of boards arrive in late August or early September, later pre-orders will ship. Soon after, the Nucore system will be available from stock.

A Nucore-equipped Pinball 2000 machine
A Nucore-equipped Star Wars Episode 1 machine

With the future of Revenge From Mars and Star Wars Episode 1 machines secured thanks to Chuck and Don, thoughts can now turn to possible development of new games for the Pinball 2000 platform.

Meanwhile, competitive play on existing Pinball 2000 games received a boost with a number of improvements to one tournament system and the public release of the original Williams tournament software.

Jim Askey has released the new V1.2 software for his on-line Revenge From Mars tournament system. By installing a network card and connecting your game to the internet, it becomes part of a worldwide tournament.

Jim Askey's online tournament
Jim Askey's online tournament

The new version increases the number of division from 1 to 3, adding Martian Champion and Attack Mars Champion high score tables to the original main score rankings. There is also an enhanced score backup facility with online access to your high score history, recent scores and machine status.

Jim also has a new logo which he intends to have printed on t-shirts and perhaps stickers to easily identify machines connected to the tournament system.

Jim's system built on the ideas from the original Pinball 2000 tournament system developed by the Williams programmers for the 1999 Pinball Expo Flip Out tournament in Chicago.

The 12 Star Wars Episode 1 machines used for the original tournament
The 12 Star Wars Episode 1 machines used for the original tournament

That system used a network card to connect all 12 machines to one central computer which used a bar code reader to identify individual players, keep track of the number of credits they had remaining and record their end-of-game scores.

The system made a come back at the 2006 European Pinball Championship held in Munich. It featured a number of enhancements and could simultaneously track multiple RFM and SW-E1 machine scores.

The EPC 2006 tournament machines
The EPC 2006 tournament machines

Now Chris Heilmann & Martin Wiest have made the full tournament system available for free public download through the German forum.

The software is written in Java and comes with extensive documentation about how to install the necessary hardware and software. Like the original, it needs a network card and a barcode reader to be used in a tournament, but can be installed and run without the barcode reader.

The documentation for the P2K tournament system
The documentation for the P2K tournament system

You can Read Martin Wiest's notes and download the software and the accompanying documentation through by clicking here.


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