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 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
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
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
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
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
The staging area where games can be placed before moving to their final destination
More games in the staging area
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 game here
Spooky Pinball have their Rob Zombie games here
CoinTaker have a stack of Full Throttles for sale, with two of them expected to be available to play
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 games here, including two Ghostbusters Pro games
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
VP Cabs have some custom game titles
Curtain frames are built to help divide up the hall
Curtain frames are built to help divide up the hall
More machines
More machines
As the day progresses, machines are starting to be set up
As the day progresses, machines are starting to be set up
The trophies in the tournament area
The trophies in the tournament area
This mystery display-only machine will be unveiled later on Friday
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
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
Part of the Spooky Pinball stand
The Domino's Pizza cabinet
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 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
Cirqus Voltaire with a colour LED display
The ColorDMD 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
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 orginal ramp
The original ramp
The new 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
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
Still work to do
Good to go
Good to go
It's almost a cliche, but a fun one
It’s almost a cliché, but a fun one nonetheless
A nice collection of home model pinballs
A nice collection of home model pinballs
The main row of machines is ready
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
The tournament area
Players in the Texas Wizards Tournament
Players in the Texas Wizards Tournament
Players in the Texas Wizards Tournament
Players in the Texas Wizards Tournament
Current standings were available on monitors, a projector screen and online
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
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
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 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
Andrew with the Xenomorph head


8pm: Steve Ritchie- Stern Pinball

Steve Ritchie
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
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 Best Game of 2015 from Martin Ayub
Steve accepts the award for Game of the Year 2015 from Martin Ayub (picture: Jim Schelberg)
The trophy
The trophy (picture: Jim Schelberg)
Audio 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 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
George talks about the current market for pinball games
Audio 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
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
Complete games for sale
It was a cold morning, but it was warmer in the sunshine
It was a cold morning, but it was warmer in the sunshine
Many used parts were for sale
Many used parts were for sale
What to do when the key doesn't fit the lock?
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
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
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 line for the Safecracker

The Safecracker was one of an arrangement of top-quality machines.

The machines near the entry desk
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
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 Kimballs Pinballs stand
The Mezel Mods 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
The Spooky Pinball stand
They had two Rob Zombie games, along with America's Most Haunted and a Dominos Pinball cabinet
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
The Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International display model
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
Playfield detail
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
Matt at his Back Alley Creations stand

Across the corridor was Mantis Amusements with a large range of metal pinball assemblies.

Mantis Amusements
Mantis Amusements

In the next booth was the artist William ‘Bubba’ Flint who was showing some of his work.

Flint's stand
Flint’s stand

Next door was Double Danger with a nice selection of pinball-related T-shirts, jackets, and caps.

The Double Danger stand
The Double Danger stand

Total Pinball Restorations has the adjacent stand and were showing two samples of their work.

Total Pinball Restorations' stand
Total Pinball Restorations’ stand

Opposite them were Tilt Graphics Inc, with a range of cabinet blades and other pinball artworks.

Tilt Graphics Inc.
Tilt Graphics Inc.

The final vendor in this row was Flip N Out Pinball with their Escalera powered stair-lifters.

Flip N Out Pinball
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
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
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
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
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
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
One end of the CoinTaker stand
Two Full Throttles on the CoinTaker stand
Two Full Throttles on the CoinTaker stand
Three The Big Lebowskis also
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 Hobbit on either end with The Wizard of Oz in the middle
The usual lines to play the newest games
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
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 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
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
The Starship Fantasy stand

Finally, Arcade Factory brought three cocktail-style multi-game video game tables.

Arcade Factory's video games
Arcade Factory’s video games

Replacement sound board maker, Pinsound, also had a stand at the show.

Ad Jonker with Nicolas from PinSound
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
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
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
Fleet, World’s Series and Play-Boy
Screwey, Bally Hoo and Favorite
Screwey, Bally Hoo and Favorite
Spot Ball, Airway, Play Ball!, New Century Special, Pennant & Rainbo
Spot Ball, Airway, Play Ball!, New Century Special, Pennant & Rainbo
There were lots of youngsters playing pinball
There were lots of youngsters playing pinball
There were also numerous video games at the show
There were also numerous video games at the show
A good number of the games were for sale
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
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 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.

Download the file here

You can also watch this video of Jaap’s seminar shot by Rens Hooijmaijers.

12pm: Gerry Stellenberg – Multimorphic

Gerry Stellenberg
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
Pizza party time
Lunchtime at the Multimorphic seminar
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 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 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.

Download the file here

2pm: John Trudeau – Stern Pinball

John Trudeau
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.

Download the file here


3pm: Paul Faris

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.

Download the file here


4pm: Charlie Emery & Ben Heck – Spooky Pinball

Charlie Emery & Ben Heck
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
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.

Download the file here


5pm: Jack Guarnieri & Butch Peel – Jersey Jack Pinball

Jack Guarnieri
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
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.

Download the file here


6pm: Jim Schelberg – Pinball: Hiding Your Gun While Drunk and Barenaked

Jim Schelberg
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
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
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.

Download the file here


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
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
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
The awards for the Best-in-Show winners
Best Pre-'60s: Jeff Frick for World's Series
Best Pre-’60s: Jeff Frick for World’s Series
Best '60s: Ken Head for Diamond Jack
Best ’60s: Ken Head for Diamond Jack
Best '70s EM: Nick Schell for Snow Derby
Best ’70s Electromechanical: Nick Schell for Snow Derby
Best '70s Solid-State: Jeff Bolich for Stars
Best ’70s Solid-State: Jeff Bolich for Stars
Best '80s: Ron Pennington for Taxi
Best ’80s: Ron Pennington for Taxi
Best '90s: Kevin Moore for The Addams Family
Best ’90s: Kevin Moore for The Addams Family
Best Original: Bill Stahly for Af-Tor
Best Original: Bill Stahly for Af-Tor
Best Modern: Kim Keist for Kiss
Best Modern: Kim Keist for Kiss
Best Restoration: Lonny Payne for Fire!
Best Restoration: Lonny Payne for Fire!
Best Custom: Jason Durham for Spinal Tap
Best Custom: Jason Durham for Spinal Tap
Best Video Game: Rodney Black for Mortal Kombat
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
Grand Champion winner, Daniel Lazarus
The winning Fireball machine
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
$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
Door prize winners
Ed gives the ticket drum a spin
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 first winning ticket is drawn

The winner of this was Steven Rothrock from San Antonio.

Steven with his playfield prize
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
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:
Kids’ Tournament winners 1st: Baily Turner, 2nd: Owen Zsohar, 3rd: Joshua Fishman, 4th: Tyson O’Bryan (picture: Ken Kemp)
Women's Tournament Winners
Women’s Tournament winners 2nd: Keri Wing, 1st: Cassie Freeman, 3rd: Jessica Shepard (picture: Ken Kemp)
Novice Division Winners
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
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
Texas Wizards Top Qualifier – DMD, Colin MacAlpine (picture: Ken Kemp)
Texas Wizards Top Qualifier - Solid-State, Robert Byers
Texas Wizards Top Qualifier – Solid-State, Robert Byers (picture: Ken Kemp)
Texas Wizards Top Qualifier - Electromechanical, Carey Fishman
Texas Wizards Top Qualifier – Electromechanical, Carey Fishman (picture: Ken Kemp)
Texas Wizards Winners
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
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.

 

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