Date: 18th - 20th March, 2016 Location: Embassy Suites Dallas-Frisco, 7600 John Q. Hammons Drive, Frisco, TX 75034, USA It’s March, and that means it’s time for the annual Texas Pinball Festival which returns to its home since 2014, the Embassy Suites hotel in Frisco, around 30 minutes by car from DFW airport. The Embassy Suites hotel in Frisco The show is in the conference centre which is right at the back of the hotel. The best way to access the show is through the rear doors, which brings you to the Business Center which acts as the show’s registration desk. The show registration desk Opposite the Business Center is the entrance to the Frisco Grand Ballroom, which hosts the Texas Pinball Festival. The main entrance to the show (picture: Gary Flower) We are here for the entire duration of the show, from the set-up on Thursday to the closing ceremony on Sunday afternoon. As we arrived, games were being unloaded and placed in position in the hall. The (almost) empty hall (picture: Gary Flower) Games were unloaded and brought into the hall through the loading bay at the back. More games arrive A staging area allowed games to be unloaded quickly, so vans can be removed and the next vehicles take their place. The staging area where games can be placed before moving to their final destination More games in the staging area A near-constant stream of vehicles turned up on Thursday, and pretty soon piles of machines and boxes were dotted around the hall. Here are some of them. Spooky Pinball have their Rob Zombie games here CoinTaker have a stack of Heighway Pinball’s Full Throttles for sale, with two of them expected to be available to play Marco Specialties have a number of Stern Pinball titles here, including two Ghostbusters Pro games (picture: Gary Flower) VP Cabs have some custom game titles Curtain frames are built to help divide up the hall More machines As the day progresses, machines are starting to be set up The trophies in the tournament area This mystery display-only machine will be unveiled later on Friday On Friday morning the set-up continued ahead of the 5pm opening. More machines arrive at the staging area Spooky Pinball had their Rob Zombie Spookshow International set up, along with America’s Most Haunted and the cabinet and translite from their upcoming Domino’s Pizza game. Part of the Spooky Pinball stand The Domino’s Pizza cabinet Over on the other side of the hall, ColorDMD were showing their new colour LED display, which replaces the over-size LCD panel they are currently using. A ColorDMD colour LED display A little later, a colour LED display was fitted into a game where the size of the LCD panel had previously made it impractical – Cirqus Voltaire. Cirqus Voltaire with a colour LED display The ColorDMD LED display The display is not available to buy yet, so this was more of a proof-of-concept. CoinTaker also had a customised game; in this case it was a Stern Kiss. CoinTaker’s Kiss CoinTaker’s Kiss Over on the Marco Specialties stand, the two Ghostbusters had received some last-minute improvements, with a whole new ramp assembly and different flipper coils. The new ramp adds a clear plastic shield to prevent the ball flying off – not something we have experienced but something the slightly weaker new flipper coils should also help prevent. The original ramp The new ramp On the Dutch Pinball stand, the production sample The Big Lebowski machines were getting a lot of attention. The Dutch Pinball stand Elsewhere in the hall, some machine donors still had some work to get their games ready for the opening, while others were ready to go by lunchtime. Still work to do Good to go It’s almost a cliché, but a fun one nonetheless A nice collection of home model pinballs The main row of machines is ready Over in the tournament area, qualifying for the main event of the weekend, the Texas Wizards Tournament, began on Friday morning and remained busy throughout the afternoon. The tournament area Players in the Texas Wizards Tournament Players in the Texas Wizards Tournament Current standings were available on monitors, a projector screen and online Outside the main hall in the Bass School room, Rob Anthony was back with his Pinball Classics stand, selling parts, mods, clothing, books, and making board repairs. Rob Anthony The show opened to the public at 5pm on Friday. In total, 326 machines were available to play in the free play area, with another 12 in the historical exhibit and 14 in the tournament area for an overall total of 352 machines. Free Play 2001 2001 4 Roses AC/DC Premium Addams Family, The Addams Family, The Addams Family, The Addams Family, The Addams Family, The Af-Tor Airborne Avenger* Alive! America’s Most Haunted America’s Most Haunted* Andromeda* Apollo 13* Argosy Aspen Astro Attack from Mars Avengers LE Avengers LE, The Avengers Pro, The Aztec Back to the Future Back to the Future Bad Girls Bank a Ball Barb Wire Baywatch Big Casino Big Guns Big Lebowski, The Big Lebowski, The Big Top Big Top* Black Hole Black Knight Black Knight 2000 Black Pyramid Black Rose* Breakshot* Bride of Pinbot 2.0 Bride of Pinbot, The Machine Cactus Canyon Cactus Canyon Continued Capt. Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy* Capt. Fantastic (Home) Car Hop Catacomb Centaur II Centigrade 37 Champion Pub, The Circus Cirqus Voltaire Classy Bowler Close Encounters of the Third Kind Congo* Corvette Creature from the Black Lagoon Creature from the Black Lagoon Crescendo Cyclone Cyclone Demolition Man Demolition Man Demolition Man Demolition Man* Diamond Jack Doctor Who Doozie Dr. Dude Dracula, Bram Stoker’s Drop-A-Card Dyn O’ Mite Earthshaker! Earthshaker! Eight Ball Deluxe Eight Ball Deluxe Elektra Elvira & the Party Monsters Elvis Embryon Evel Knievel F-14 Tomcat F-14 Tomcat F-14 Tomcat F-14 Tomcat Family Guy* Far Out Fathom Fathom Finland Fire! Fire! Fireball II Fireball! (Home) Flash Flash Gordon Flash Gordon Flintstones, The Flintstones, The Flintstones, The Flipper Clown Flipper Clown Flipper Cowboy Flipper Parade Flipper Pool Four Million BC Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s Freedom Full House* Full Throttle Full Throttle Galaxy Galaxy* Game of Thrones LE Game of Thrones Premium Game of Thrones Pro Getaway, The – High Speed 2 Ghostbusters Pro Ghostbusters Pro Gilligan’s Island Gilligan’s Island Godzilla* Harlem Globetrotters Harlem Globetrotters* Heat Wave High Speed High Speed High Speed* Hi-Lo Ace Hi-Score Pool Hobbit, The Hobbit, The Hokus Pokus* Hook Hook Hurricane Hurricane Indianapolis 500 Iron Man Iron Man VE Iron Man VE Jackbot Jacks Open Johnny Mnemonic Johnny Mnemonic Jokerz! Judge Dredd Judge Dredd Judge Dredd Jungle King Jungle King Jurassic Park King Pin Kiss LE Kiss Pro Kiss Pro* Klondike Laser Cue Laser War Last Action Hero Lectronamo Lethal Weapon 3 Lethal Weapon 3 Lexy Lightspeed – Escape from Earth Lexy Lightspeed – Escape from Earth Lightning Ball Little Chief Lost World Lovely Lucy Mars God of War* Masquerade Mata Hari Medieval Madness Medieval Madness Remake Medieval Madness Remake Medieval Madness Remake Metallica Pro Metallica Pro Metallica Pro MIBs Middle Earth Monopoly Monopoly Monte Carlo Mousin’ Around Mustang LE NASCAR NASCAR NBA Fastbreak No Fear No Fear No Fear Party Zone, The Pinball Magic Pinball Pool Pinball Pool* Pinbot Pinbot Pinbot Pinbot Pirates of the Caribbean Playboy (Bally) Playboy(DE) Pokerino Pro Pool Pro-Football RBG Revenge from Mars Revenge from Mars Revenge from Mars Reverse Flush Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Ro Go* Road Kings* Roadshow Roadshow Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International* Rocky & Bullwinkle Rocky & Bullwinkle Rollercoaster Tycoon Rollercoaster Tycoon Rollergames Rollergames Safecracker Saturn 2 Scared Stiff* Seven Seas Shrek Silverball Mania Simpsons Pinball Party, The Simpsons, The Sinbad Sinbad Sinbad Ski Club Slick Chick Snow Derby Sound Stage Space Invaders Space Invaders Space Invaders Space Odyssey Space Odyssey Space Odyssey Space Shuttle Space Shuttle* Space Station Special Force Spider-Man Spider-Man VE Spider-Man VE Spider-Man* Spider-Man* Spinal Tap Spy Hunter Star Gazer Star Trek – Mirror Universe Star Trek – The Next Generation Star Trek – The Next Generation Star Trek – The Next Generation Star Trek (Bally) Star Trek (Bally) Star Trek (DE) Star Trek LE Star Wars (DE) Star Wars Episode 1 Star Wars Episode 1 Stargate Stargate Stargate Stars Starship Troopers Starship Troopers* Strikes & Spares Strikes ‘N Spares Super Mario Bros. Mushroom World Super Spin Super Straight* Swords of Fury Tales from the Crypt Target Alpha* Taxi Taxi Taxi* Taxi* Terminator 2 Terminator 2 Time Warp Top Score Touchdown Transformers LE Trident Triple Strike Tron Tron LE Twilight Zone Twilight Zone TX-Sector Vector Vector* Volley Walking Dead LE, The Walking Dead Pro, The Wheel of Fortune Whirlwind Whitewater Whitewater Whitewater Wild Life Wizard of Oz, The Wizard of Oz, The World Cup Soccer World Poker Tour WWE Wrestlemania LE WWE Wrestlemania Pro Xenon Xenon* Xenon* Xenon* Yukon Historical Exhibit Airway Bally Hoo Favorite Fleet New Century Special Pennant Play Ball! Play-Boy Rainbo Screwy Spot Ball World’s Series Tournament Machines Atlantis Campus Queen Cleopatra Demolition Man Dracula, Bram Stoker’s Fireball! Frontier Game of Thrones Pro Nitro Groundshaker Spider-Man Star Trek Pro Terminator 3 Torch Whirlwind The first of the show’s seminars began at 6pm on Friday. We were hoping the seminars would be streamed live, so we didn’t have our usualy recording equipment with us and unfortunately the system we tried to record with didn’t give us a satisfactory result – something we didn’t discover until after the Friday’s seminars were over. So we don’t have recordings for the first three seminars, but we do have all of Saturday’s seminars for you to stream or download. 6pm: Jonathan Joosten & Martin Ayub – So You Think You Know Pinball? Pinball Magazine editor, Jonathan Joosten, and Pinball News editor, Martin Ayub, hosted this pinball quiz where audience members picked the correct answer to questions about pinball by moving to the left or right half of the seminar room. Martin Ayub and Jonathan Joosten (picture: Jim Schelberg) Those who were correct moved on to the next round. As the number of people remaining was whittled down, the eventual winner of the round won a pile of prizes donated by vendors and manufacturers. 7pm: Andrew Heighway – Heighway Pinball Andrew Heighway Andrew updated everyone with the developments taking place at the Heighway Pinball factory in south Wales and introduced David Thiel as the newest team member, working on the music and sounds for their upcoming Alien Pinball game. Andrew showed a gameplay video for Alien Pinball, described the toys in the game, and showed a model of the Xenomorph head. Andrew with the Xenomorph head 8pm: Steve Ritchie- Stern Pinball Steve Ritchie Steve showed a slideshow of images he took at the Stern Pinball factory, which included many of the people working there and shots of his recent Game of Thrones game in production. He also told stories about his years in the business and took questions from the audience. It was a packed house for Steve’s seminar At the end, Steve accepted an award from Pinball News editor, Martin Ayub, on behalf of readers who voted his Game of Thrones machine the Game of the Year for 2015. Steve accepts the award for Game of the Year 2015 from Martin Ayub (picture: Jim Schelberg) The trophy (picture: Jim Schelberg) You can watch a video of some of Steve’s talk on Stern Pinball’s Facebook page. 9pm: Coast 2 Coast Pinball Podcast Live – George Gomez The final seminar of the evening was a Coast 2 Coast pinball podcast with Nate Shivers who was interviewing George Gomez. George Gomez with Nate Shivers George spoke about his current role within Stern Pinball and how the market for games has changed since he designed his first game for Williams back in 1994. George talks about the current market for pinball games You can hear Nate’s interview with George on the Coast 2 Coast podcast website. Saturday began with the swap meet which, as usual, was held in the parking lot just outside the hotel’s rear entrance. The swap meet in the hotel’s parking lot There was a good turn-out of both buyers and sellers, with plenty of project games and assorted used parts available. Complete games for sale It was a cold morning, but it was warmer in the sunshine Many used parts were for sale What to do when the key doesn’t fit the lock? Unfortunately, there were not enough working games in the show hall for an attempt to beat the existing world record for the most people playing pinball simultaneously, so the show hall opened at 9am instead, an hour earlier than planned. Guests registering for the show Entry to the show cost $25 for adults for the Friday session, $35 for Saturday, and $20 for Sunday. Entry for kids aged 5 to 12 cost $10 less than the adult price, while a three day pass was also available at $60 for adults or $35 for kids. Show entry prices Next to the entry desk was a Safecracker filled with special TPF commemorative tokens. As a result there was a constant queue of people waiting to play and hoping to win one of these tokens. The line for the Safecracker The Safecracker was one of an arrangement of top-quality machines. The machines near the entry desk The mystery machine behind the chain was revealed to be a highly-modded Creature from the Black Lagoon from Pinball Side Mirrors. The Creature was for display only Two more customised games – A Kiss and a The Walking Dead – were at the Kimballs Pinballs and Mezel Mods stands. The Kimballs Pinballs stand The Mezel Mods stand Opposite these two stands was Spooky Pinball’s display, which included two Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International games – one playable, the other for display only. The Spooky Pinball stand They had two Rob Zombie games, along with America’s Most Haunted and a Dominos Pinball cabinet Naturally, most interest was in the Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International game. The Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International display model Playfield detail Playfield detail Playfield detail Playfield detail Click to expan You can see a little of the game play in this short video: Next door to Spooky Pinball was Back Alley Creations. Matt at his Back Alley Creations stand Across the corridor was Mantis Amusements with a large range of metal pinball assemblies. Mantis Amusements In the next booth was the artist William ‘Bubba’ Flint who was showing some of his work. Flint’s stand Next door was Double Danger with a nice selection of pinball-related T-shirts, jackets, and caps. The Double Danger stand Total Pinball Restorations has the adjacent stand and were showing two samples of their work. Total Pinball Restorations’ stand Opposite them were Tilt Graphics Inc, with a range of cabinet blades and other pinball artworks. Tilt Graphics Inc. The final vendor in this row was Flip N Out Pinball with their Escalera powered stair-lifters. Flip N Out Pinball At the end of the row, Marco Specialties had their usual large stand with four of the latest Stern Pinball titles – Ghostbusters Pro x 2, Game of Thrones Premium and Spider-Man Vault Edition – together with a sample of their parts range. The Marco Specialties stand Facing Marco was a display by three Missouri pinball organisations – 1984, Queen City Pinball and Ozark Pinball Syndicate. Machines from 1984, Queen City Pinball and Ozark Pinball Syndicate Machines from 1984, Queen City Pinball and Ozark Pinball Syndicate The stand next door was home to Wizard Enterprises and their range of illuminated pinball bumper caps and backglasses. Wizard Enterprises Standing in the centre of the hall was VP Cabs gazebo featuring a display of digital pinball machines in various shapes and sizes. The VP Cabs stand To the left of the gazebo was Arcade Components who had a selection of replacement boards and component kits, and were promoting their repair services. Arcade Components The left-side back of the hall belonged to CoinTaker who, alongside their own LED products, also had games from two manufacturers they were representing – Dutch Pinball and Heighway Pinball. One end of the CoinTaker stand Two Full Throttles on the CoinTaker stand Two The Big Lebowskis also The two The Big Lebowskis, like all the new releases, had a sizeable queue of guests waiting to play them. Playing the newest games usually involved a wait The assorted parts stand was back this year at the rear of the hall, next to the queue for The Big Lebowski. Manuals, backglasses, boards and more The Game Preserve had a selection of machines, including the Back to the Future with the obligatory DeLorean. The Game Preserve’s stand Fans of console gaming could pick up cartridges, discs, systems, cables, controllers and other gaming essentials at Game Over’s stand. Game Over’s stand Bob Herbison always has a stand at the show to exhibit his lovely restorations of EM pinballs. Bob Herbison’s stand Pinballz Arcade will be opening a new third location just north of Austin soon, and they were at the show to promote it and their two existing premises in Austin and Buda. The Pinballz Arcade stand Fun! Billiards and Gameroom Superstore in Mesquite brought a large selection of quality machines for everyone to enjoy. The Fun! stand KingPin Games are the local Jersey Jack Pinball distributor and they had three JJP machines at the show – two The Hobbits and one The Wizard of Oz. The Hobbit on either end with The Wizard of Oz in the middle The usual lines to play the newest games but the waiting time wasn’t too bad The DFW Pinball and Arcade Club are big supporters of the show and brought a mass of games as usual. DFW Pinball & Arcade Club’s machines Multimorphic are based in Austin in Texas, so this is the closest thing to a local show for them. They had two fully-working prototype games running Lexy Lightspeed: Escape from Earth and their new Cannon Lagoon game. The Multimorphic stand The Gulf Coast Pinball Club also supported the show by bringing a selection of machines for the free-play main hall. The Gulf Coast Pinball Club machines Starship Fantasy were also at the TPF with their huge range of replacement plastic ramps, backglasses, playfields, and other vital pinball parts. The Starship Fantasy stand Finally, Arcade Factory brought three cocktail-style multi-game video game tables. Arcade Factory’s video games Replacement sound board maker, Pinsound, also had a stand at the show. Ad Jonker with Nicolas from PinSound The adjacent stand was occupied by Jonathan Joosten of Pinball Magazine. He was selling the newly-reprinted issue 1, along with issues 2 & 3, and the book Pinball by Santiago Ciuffo. When we stopped by he was out on the show floor photographing pinballs. The Pinball Magazine stand Our final vendor is Mirco Stefan from High Class Pinballs with reproduction playfields and a large selection of gold-plated pinball parts. High Class Pinballs There was also an exhibit of twelve flipperless, mechanical games from pinball’s earliest days. Fleet, World’s Series and Play-Boy Screwey, Bally Hoo and Favorite Spot Ball, Airway, Play Ball!, New Century Special, Pennant & Rainbo There were lots of youngsters playing pinball There were also numerous video games at the show A good number of the games were for sale This Reverse Flush has a playfield sloping away from the player, reverse flippers and the score counted down rather than up Over in the seminars room there was a full schedule on Saturday, starting at 11am. 11am: Jaap Nauta – Dutch Pinball Jaap Nauta Jaap started by thanking everyone who has supported Dutch Pinball and their The Big Lebowski project, before turning to the many lessons the team learned, including differences between the cultures in the Netherlands and the US such as the use of language and the means of transferring money. But he said they had many things in common – the love of pinball, and of food and drink. – and that Dutch Pinball’s mission is to bring fun to people. Jaap said they expected to manufacture and ship their first real production The Big Lebowski in approximately two weeks’ time. He showed the audience the game’s menu system for game set-up, tests and diagnostics. https://www.pinballnews.com/site/wp-content/uploads/shows/pinball-expo-2016/dutchpinball.mp3 You can also watch this video of Jaap’s seminar shot by Rens Hooijmaijers. 12pm: Gerry Stellenberg – Multimorphic Gerry Stellenberg Gerry’s lunchtime seminar began with the delivery of dozens of boxes of pizza and several large coolers of soft drinks for those in the audience to enjoy. Pizza party time Lunchtime at the Multimorphic seminar One everyone had been fed and watered, Gerry explained all the benefits of the P3 platform over a traditional pinball and how the P3 is the most innovative, the most modular, the most open, has the best cost-per-game, and the best use of floor space. He explained the origins of the P3 platform, coming out of the P-ROC and then the P3-ROC pinball control systems. He said once they had completed the innovative and modular control system, they turned their attention to doing the same to game design. Gerry then unveiled the new, simpler games they have been working on for the P3 platform together with Lexy Lightspeed: Escape from Earth. The second game is revealed The first is Cannon Lagoon which uses a new, simple upper playfield module and a second screen on the back panel. The Cannon Lagoon upper playfield area The third and fourth games are reworking of demonstration games the team built when first showing the P3. Barnyard and Rocs illustrate potential uses of ball-tracking within the P3‘s architecture, much of which was subsequently incorporated into Lexy Lightspeed. https://www.pinballnews.com/site/wp-content/uploads/shows/pinball-expo-2016/multimorphic.mp3 2pm: John Trudeau – Stern Pinball John Trudeau John talked about the three games he has worked on since joining Stern Pinball – Mustang, WWE Wrestlemania, and Ghostbusters. He said before designing WWE he had been working on a different licence but they hit problems when the licensor and Stern wanted to take the licence in different directions. So that project was shelved for the time being and WWE was quickly licensed and put into production. John then took questions from the audience which were largely about the Ghostbusters game, and included details of the differences between the Pro, Premium and LE models, which elements were taken from each of the first two movies, and the roles of each member of the design team in creating the finished game. https://www.pinballnews.com/site/wp-content/uploads/shows/pinball-expo-2016/johntrudeau.mp3 3pm: Paul Faris Paul Faris Paul initially spoke about how his career began as a fine art artist, during which time he was asked if he would be interested in joining a pinball company to create art for them. He was reluctant at first, but eventually the lure of a regular salary and job security persuaded him to join Bally in 1976 to set up their in-house art department. Until then, Bally had used Advertising Posters to create their pinball artwork but wanted to bring that aspect of production in-house. Paul talked about the different types of printing systems and showed many examples of his pinball artwork from games such as Paragon, Centaur, Lost World, Eight Ball, Hook, Back to the Future, and Goldeneye. He also showed prototype artwork for games which were never produced, including Total Recall and Batman Returns. https://www.pinballnews.com/site/wp-content/uploads/shows/pinball-expo-2016/paulfaris.mp3 4pm: Charlie Emery & Ben Heck – Spooky Pinball Charlie Emery & Ben Heck Charlie detailed, through a series of pictures, how the new Spooky Pinball factory was constructed, and then how the last few America’s Most Haunted machines were built there. He then moved on to the manufacturing of the first Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International machines – the company’s second title. Charlie then showed the development process for the backglass artwork on the Rob Zombie game, from the early pencil sketches to the final oil painting. He did the same for the cabinet and playfield artwork, showing how both were created. The Spooky Pinball team Ben then talked through his ideas for the dot-matrix displays and animations for the Rob Zombie game which David van Es then drew and animated. Finally, the team turned to the upcoming Domino’s Pizza Pinball and introduced Blake Dumesnil at the end of the desk who will be creating the cabinet artwork and helping with game design. https://www.pinballnews.com/site/wp-content/uploads/shows/pinball-expo-2016/spookypinball.mp3 5pm: Jack Guarnieri & Butch Peel – Jersey Jack Pinball Jack Guarnieri Jack showed pictures from the Jersey Jack Pinball factory in Lakewood, NJ, where production of The Hobbit is underway. He had visited some of the first customers to receive their games and showed pictures of the fortunate recipients with their new purchases. Butch then spoke about The Hobbit and its menu system for tests, diagnostics, game settings and customisation options. Butch Peel Jack interrupted to give away a set of bumper cap barrel toppers to members of the audience who knew their The Hobbit trivia. https://www.pinballnews.com/site/wp-content/uploads/shows/pinball-expo-2016/jerseyjack.mp3 6pm: Jim Schelberg – Pinball: Hiding Your Gun While Drunk and Barenaked Jim Schelberg Jim is the editor of the Pingame Journal and he was back with a new selection of video clips and segments featuring pinball in one form or another. This time he had new material from the Toronto band Barenaked Ladies’ Silverball album, and its pinball-loving front man Ed Robertson. Because Jim’s seminar was mostly visual in nature, we do not have an audio recording of it here. 7pm: Mark Ritchie & Chris Granner Chris Granner & Mark Ritchie Gary Flower introduced Chris and Mark so that they could talk through their game collaborations at Williams and Capcom. Chris explained how he came to be employed by Bally after learning to program music in assembly language. Gary with Chris and Mark Chris’s collaboration with Mark began with the game Road Kings. Chris explained how he took Mark’s wish for a guitar-based rock track and made it work with the Yamaha synthesiser sound chip they were using. Mark and Chris moved through the games Big Guns, Taxi, Police Force, Diner, Fish Tales and Indiana Jones, before turning to the game Kingpin which Mark designed at Capcom, explaining how well the two of them worked together. Chris said it was a tradition that composers were allowed to do whatever they wanted for a game’s high score entry music, and frequently used a track they really liked but which the game designer had rejected. https://www.pinballnews.com/site/wp-content/uploads/shows/pinball-expo-2016/ritchie_granner.mp3 8pm: Autograph Session Once all the seminars were over, there was a line of pinball celebrities who would sign backglasses, translites, flyers or other pinball memorabilia. The autograph session At the table were George Gomez, John Trudeau, Steve Ritchie, Mark Ritchie, Jack Guarnieri and Chris Granner. Signings at the autograph session The Texas Pinball Festival was brought to an end at 2:30pm on Sunday with an awards presentation where the owners of the best games on the show floor in a number of categories were presented with awards and cash prizes by TPF organisers Ed Vanderveen and Ken Kemp. The awards for the Best-in-Show winners Best Pre-’60s: Jeff Frick for World’s Series Best ’60s: Ken Head for Diamond Jack Best ’70s Electromechanical: Nick Schell for Snow Derby Best ’70s Solid-State: Jeff Bolich for Stars Best ’80s: Ron Pennington for Taxi Best ’90s: Kevin Moore for The Addams Family Best Original: Bill Stahly for Af-Tor Best Modern: Kim Keist for Kiss Best Restoration: Lonny Payne for Fire! Best Custom: Jason Durham for Spinal Tap Best Video Game: Rodney Black for Mortal Kombat The award for the Grand Champion game at the show went to Daniel Lazarus for his Fireball. Grand Champion winner, Daniel Lazarus The winning Fireball machine There were also two $500 cash prizes donated by Pinball Side Mirrors which were drawn at random and went to people who brought pinball machines for visitors to play. The prizes went to Nick Greenup and Rod Bangert. $500 cash prize winners, Nick Greenup and Rod Bangert Then it was time for the big prize draw in the American Heroes Raffle. Tickets cost $5 each, or 5 for $20, with all the profits going to the Pinball for Patriots programme. Draws for door prizes donated by show vendors were made on the hour during show hours until 10pm each night, with all tickets entered into the big prize draw. Door prize winners Ed gives the ticket drum a spin The first big prize was an America’s Most Haunted playfield, donated by Spooky Pinball. The first winning ticket is drawn The winner of this was Steven Rothrock from San Antonio. Steven with his playfield prize Then came the draw to win the brand new Stern Spider-Man Vault Edition machine. The winner was Ron Woodard. Ron with his prize of a brand new Spider-Man Vault Edition Finally, we come to the tournaments held at this year’s Texas Pinball Festival. There had been a shake-up in the main tournament format, with the previous multi-discipline events condensed into a single Texas Wizards Tournament, which was boosted with a kids tournament and a parent/kid competition. The change seemed to work wonders, as the tournaments finished on-time, had minimal issues and had the largest pay-out to players in the history of the show. However, because we were so busy in the seminars room and shooting our videos out on the show floor, we couldn’t give the tournaments our full attention. So who better could we ask to describe all the changes and how the worked out than Texas Pinball Festival Tournament Director and show organiser, Ken Kemp. The TPF tourneys have grown. In fact, they had grown so large that it required a small army just to try to keep things running smoothly. While that had always been the intention, it became obvious that it was time to step back and recalibrate. Based on input from IFPA and numerous tournament players, the TPF sought to scale back the 2016 tourney in an effort to make it run as smoothly as possible and bring changes tournament players had been asking the TPF to implement. First, the TPF paid 100% of the tournament entry fees back to the players. This was a change that had been requested by many players and 2016 was a trial run to see if such a change would be successful and allow the tournaments to refocus. Second, the number of tournaments and divisions was greatly scaled back. Only a few remained – the main Wizards Tournament, Women’s Division, Novice Champion, Kids Tournament, and a Parent Child Tournament. While this radically changed the number of people who could hope to compete in the finals, it did have the effect of reducing the complexity of the tournament to a great degree. Third, the number of machines used in the tournament area was also greatly scaled back. This allowed a more manageable number of machines to be serviced and kept in play through the weekend. It also lowered the number of people required to keep scores. Finally, the TPF chose to use the Never Drains tournament software developed by Karl DeAngelo. This decision turned out to be key, because of its ease-of-use and familiarity to many tournament players. Most people who attended TPF and played did not know it, but Karl made serval tweaks to the system at the request of TPF organizers and volunteers so that it could specifically handle the unique types of tournaments ran at TPF. We just can’t thank Karl enough for his software. The tournament ran very smooth and this was in large part a testament to the Never Drains software. The ability for players to add themselves to an electronic queue so that they did not need to physically wait in line was amazing and players loved it! Spearheading the revamp of the tournament this year was Texas native and competitor Colin MacAlpine. Colin, who has played in numerous tournaments, including many out of his home state was able to bring a fresh perspective and ideas to the revamp effort. I think having Colin on board really helped a great deal. He was able to bring a much-needed outside viewpoint which helped tremendously. Kids’ Tournament winners 1st: Baily Turner, 2nd: Owen Zsohar, 3rd: Joshua Fishman, 4th: Tyson O’Bryan (picture: Ken Kemp) Women’s Tournament winners 2nd: Keri Wing, 1st: Cassie Freeman, 3rd: Jessica Shepard (picture: Ken Kemp) Novice Division winners 3rd: Rens Hooijmaijers, 1st: Josh Noble, 4th: Matthew Henri, 2nd: Thomas Law (picture: Ken Kemp) Parent/Child Tournament winners Parent/Child Tournament winners 1st: Graeme & Colin MacAlpine 3rd: Luke & Robert Byers 2nd: Molly & Lynn Lyons 4th: Briana & Gary Solomon (picture: Ken Kemp) Texas Wizards Top Qualifier – DMD, Colin MacAlpine (picture: Ken Kemp) Texas Wizards Top Qualifier – Solid-State, Robert Byers (picture: Ken Kemp) Texas Wizards Top Qualifier – Electromechanical, Carey Fishman (picture: Ken Kemp) Texas Wizards Winners 3rd: Phil Grimaldi, 1st: Colin MacAlpine, 2nd: Jason Mawson, 4th: Kevin Stone (picture: Ken Kemp) Tournaments at any event cannot run without the support of numerous volunteers and the TPF was fully staffed with friendly, helpful people in the tournament areas at all times. Of course volunteers that run the tournaments are only part of the story. The other crucial pieces are the games brought by people to be used in the tournament area. The games have always always exceptional and this year that legacy held true. Games included a mint Bally Fireball that would go on to win the Best Of Show award for Best Pinball in Texas. All in all it was a great 2016 for the TPF and for the revamp of the tournaments. Planning has already began to build upon the successes achieved this year. Here’s to 2017! Ken’s report brings us to the end of this extended Texas Pinball Festival 2016 show report. The TPF organisers: Paul McKinney, Ed Vanderveen, Kim Vanderveen and Ken Kemp We leave you with our exclusive Twenty-Four Minute Tour video, taking you around the Texas Pinball Festival’s show floor.