Date: 18th-20th May, 2018
Location: Lodi Grape Festival Fairgrounds, 413 E. Lockeford Street, Lodi, California 95240, USA

Hello and welcome back to Lodi for continuing coverage of the GSPF 2018.

It’s another hot sunny day but inside the three show halls it’s decidedly cool for the continuation of the set-up.  More and more machines began sporting the yellow Post-It notes indicating they have been leveled and are ready to play.

More machines in the EM zone
More machines in the EM zone
Woodrails in the EM zone
Woodrails in the EM zone
More woodrail pinballs
More woodrail pinballs
EM games from Bally, Williams and Keeney
EM games from Bally, Williams and Keeney
Lots more EM pinballs
Lots more EM pinballs

A little further back into the Chardonnay Hall are the two machines which are prizes for the raffle.  Draws are held on Saturday and Sunday and tickets cost $5 each.  The winner of Saturday’s draw gets to choose which of the two machines they would like.

The raffle prizes - Lethal Weapon 3 and Fire!
The raffle prizes – Lethal Weapon 3 and Fire!

In addition to the two raffle draws, there is a silent auction for a wide range of items – both coin-op-related and more generic products.

The tables with the silent auction items
The tables with the silent auction items
More items in the silent auction
More items in the silent auction
There's an Alien game at the show too
There’s an Alien game at the show too
Plus a P3 and America's Most Haunted
Plus a P3 and America’s Most Haunted

ColorDMD had a nice group of games featuring their multi-colour displays.

Games sporting ColorDMD displays
Games sporting ColorDMD displays
Yes, The Dude made it
Yes, The Dude made it
More of the DMD machines
More of the DMD machines

Meanwhile, over in the Cabernet Hall, the tournament games were getting some final tweaks before the start of the pin-golf.

The tournament area
The tournament area

In another corner of the same hall, the Pacific Pinball Museum had their Mini-JuJu Airstream containing five pinballs.

The Mini-JuJu
The Mini-JuJu
Inside the Airstream
Inside the Airstream
Inside the Airstream
Inside the Airstream

The show opened at 1pm, but games were still being set up as the top of the hour approached.

Not quite ready
Not quite ready

Finally, with minutes to spare, the last finishing touches were made.

Clean the glass and we're good to go
Clean the glass and we’re good to go
Time to power up all the Stern games
Time to power up all the Stern games
This Iron Maiden Pro has a speaker lights kit from Mezel Mods
This Iron Maiden Pro has a speaker lights kit from Mezel Mods

As the doors opened, there was a lengthy queue of guests waiting to enter.

The queue to get in as the doors opened
The queue to get in as the doors opened
The first few guests through the door purchase their wristbands
The first few guests through the door purchase their wristbands
Wristbands for everyone
Wristbands for everyone

The first of the Pinball University talks began at 2:30pm on Friday with Rob Anthony of Pinball Classics demonstrating his soldering techniques.

Rob Anthony wielding his soldering iron
Rob Anthony wielding his soldering iron

Rob demonstrated how he removed the RAM chip on a Williams WPC CPU board by desoldering it so he could install one of the NV-RAM non-volatile replacement RAM chips.  He had an overhead camera so he could show the audience exactly how he used the iron, while explaining the ideal temperature and types of bit to use.

Rob shows the WPC CPU board to the audience
Rob shows the WPC CPU board to the audience

Download the audio of this seminar here

The second Pin-U talk was by John Mohr who presented his Five Cheap Tricks To Fine Tune Your Solid-State Game.

John Mohr
John Mohr

His tricks included ways to repair flickery lamp sockets, how to re-use connector pin headers, and using an inductive amplifier tool designed to find signals in wiring looms and use it to trace the audio signal through a sound board.

After his talk, John took the audience to the back of the hall where he demonstrated some of his techniques on a real game backbox.

John Mohr demonstrated using an inductive amplifier to trace the audio on a sound board
John Mohr demonstrated using an inductive amplifier to trace the audio on a sound board

Download the audio of this seminar here

The third session at Pin-U introduced the audience to the new Kill Bill custom pinball and its designer Dennis Van de Pas.

Dennis Van de Pas
Dennis Van de Pas

Based on a Bally World Cup Soccer, the new game adds a number of shots to the playfield, changes the way the ramps and scoops work, adds more ball locking positions, and completely rethemes the artwork.

Kill Bill's playfield
Kill Bill’s playfield

Dennis spoke about his influence from games such as Twilight Zone and Attack from Mars before explaining why he chose World Cup Soccer as the basis for Kill Bill.  He described all the hardware changes he made, the new shots he added and the extensive supporting ruleset.

Kill Bill's playfield feature
Kill Bill’s playfield feature

He concluded by moving to the game and simulating shots to trigger many of the modes and multiballs.

Download the audio of this seminar here

The final session taught novice and intermediate players how to improve their playing skills.  Our hosts were three local tournament players, Jon Olkowski, Louise Waggensonner and Eric Waggensonner.

Louise, Eric and Jon
Louise, Eric and Jon

They showed video clips of various maneuvers including trapping the ball, bounce passes, post passes and nudging skills, then invited members of the audience to try them for themselves using a Guardians of the Galaxy machine set up next to the stage and fitted with an overhead camera.

Download the audio of this seminar here

That’s all for Friday’s action for now.  The show is still continuing, so I will update this report later tonight before starting on Saturday’s action in my next installment.

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