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

Hello and welcome back to Saturday at Lodi for our third report from the GSPF 2018.

After breakfast back at the hotel I ran into Ron Chan and Gordon Hasse in the lobby who asked if I was going to the swap meet?  Oh yes, the swap meet, guess I’d better hurry up and get to the show venue.  By the time I got there the swap meet was in full swing.

The Swap Meet began at 10am on Saturday
The Swap Meet began at 10am on Saturday
With the strong sunlight, the swap meet was held in a shaded area
With the strong sunlight, the swap meet was held in a shaded area
Lots of pinball and gaming parts under cover
Lots of pinball and gaming parts under cover
Complete machines too
Complete machines too
And everything in between
And everything in between

I then dived into the main show halls to see how it compared to last time I saw it during the set up.  Up to this point I hadn’t had the chance to play any games and this didn’t change much as went around taking pictures and talking to people.

Alice Cooper's Nightmare Castle had arrived and was proving to be very popular
Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle had arrived and was proving to be very popular
This set of recent releases was in great demand too
This set of recent releases was in great demand too
Some older titles
Some older titles
Gottlieb corner
Gottlieb corner
Although it was busy, there were always games available to play
Although it was busy, there were always games available to play
More fun in the show halls
More fun in the show halls
The Marco Specialties stand was hard to miss
The Marco Specialties stand was hard to miss
There were plenty of Guardians of the Galaxy available
There were plenty of Guardians of the Galaxy available
Meanwhile the four Jersey Jack games also had queues to play them
Meanwhile these four Jersey Jack games also had queues to play them
The biggest queue was for Pirates of the Caribbean
But the biggest queue was for Pirates of the Caribbean
Not to be outdone, American Pinball's Houdini was also drawing a healthy crowd
Not to be outdone, American Pinball’s Houdini was also drawing a healthy crowd
If you didn't want to wait, there were plenty of alternatives to play
If you didn’t want to wait, there were plenty of alternatives to play
The middle of the three halls
The middle of the three show halls
The furthest of the three halls
The furthest of the three halls
The pin-golf tournament seemed to be very popular
The pin-golf tournament seemed to be very popular
Another score is recorded on the score card
Another score is recorded on the score card
That's clear enough
That’s clear enough
Pin-golf tickets were available here at the PPM stand
Pin-golf tickets were available here at the PPM stand
A Kids Tournament was taking place next to the PPM booth
A Kids Tournament was taking place next to the PPM booth
Lots of prizes for the competitors
Lots of prizes for the competitors
Illuminated backbox display cases
Illuminated backbox display cases
This app and hardware combo gives you remote access to your pinball's menus
This app and hardware combo gives you remote access to your pinball’s menus
The Guardians of the Galaxy illuminated topper alongside the WOZ topper
The Guardians of the Galaxy illuminated topper alongside the WOZ topper
The back of this video pinball obviously needs quite a few fans, but at least you can have fun with them
The back of this video pinball obviously needs quite a few fans, but at least you can have fun with them by displaying animated messages
Pinball and picture framing at The Flipper Room in Concord
Pinball and picture framing at The Flipper Room in Concord
The World of Wonders Science Museum is the GSPF beneficiary, receiving the proceeds from the show
The World of Wonders Science Museum is the GSPF’s beneficiary, receiving the proceeds from the show
There was a world of pinball wonders at the Pinball Collectors Resource booth
There was a world of pinball wonders at the Pinball Collectors Resource booth
Lots of flyers, manuals and game schematics were available to buy
Lots of flyers, manuals and game schematics were available to buy
Plus lots of other gameroom collectibles
Plus lots of other gameroom collectibles
The food and drink stand offered full meals and snacks, plus soft drinks and...
The food and drink stand offered full meals and snacks, plus soft drinks and…
...beer! Although the beer had to be enjoyed outside
…beer! Although the beer had to be enjoyed outside

Speaking of outside, the camping area was fully booked with RVs and camping guests.  Fortunately, it was great weather right across the set-up and show days.

Part of the camping area behind Jackson Hall
Part of the camping area behind Jackson Hall

Most of my day was spent in the Jackson Hall working on the Pinball University talks and driving the audio/video kit while photographing the speakers, recording them, and trying to write parts of this report in any remaining time.

Me working on the audio and video
Me working on the audio and video

Before the schedule began, it was time for some lunch from Sparky Malmberg’s epic BBQ party out in the camping area.

Sparky working the BBQ
Sparky working the BBQ

This is an annual tradition from the Pin-A-Go-Go days and has grown steadily over the years.  Our little group got in early so we could hurry back to set up the Pin-U talks.

Great BBQ sides
Great BBQ sides
Who's going to be the one to ruin this work of art by taking a cupcake?
Who’s going to be the one to ruin this work of art by taking a cupcake?

The first Pinball University talk of the day brought Gordon Hasse and Larry Zartarian to the stage in the Jackson Hall.  They were talking about the use of music within pinball.

Gordon Hasse & Larry Zartarian
Gordon Hasse & Larry Zartarian

Larry began by talking about the Pacific Pinball Museum, their collection, their aims and some of the games which related to the topic of this talk.

Gordon had a presentation showing how the popular cultural references of the time have been incorporated into pinball themes, sounds, music and artwork throughout pinball’s history, using the ideas already seeded in their minds.

The duo were then joined on the video screen by David Thiel who has composed music and create sounds for many pinball and video games.  He spoke about how the technology used to generate pinball music has developed ever since electronic sounds replaced bells and chimes.  He also showed how he created some of the music for the Alien pinball game.

Download the audio of this seminar here

The next talk was also by Gordon Hasse who this time looked at pinball’s “Golden Age” in the mid-1950s, and the year 1954 in particular.

Gordon Hasse
Gordon Hasse

After detailing pinball’s development from the bagatelle parlour games in France through the creation of coin-operated US models, the introduction of flippers, and the adoption of popular themes to the point where pinball became part of that pop-culture.

Gordon then talked about the themes, the artists and the designers of those games in the post-war “Golden Age”.

Download the audio of this seminar here

The third talk of the day came from Butch Peel from Jersey Jack Pinball.

Butch Peel
Butch Peel

Butch talked about his role at JJP and how he was recruited by Jack Guarnieri after seeing Butch’s passion for the game. Jack was supposed to join Butch on the stage but a family emergency meant he was unable to attend.

Then Butch turned his attention to JJP’s latest game, Pirates of the Caribbean.  He showed numerous drawings and layouts, talked about the game’s many features, and gave a detailed breakdown of the ruleset.

Then I joined Butch to ask him about how the games are developed across multiple locations, how the parts needed are specified, ordered and then inspected, and how the company interacts with social media, amongst other topics.

Download the audio of this seminar here

The final Pin-U talk of the day came from Stern Pinball’s Art Director, Greg Freres.

Greg Freres
Greg Freres

Greg talked the audience through his life in art, starting with his early influences from comic books and his artist mother, through his schooling and into first job creating point-of-purchase advertising and right up to his current job at Stern Pinball.

He also looked at the artwork from other pinball artists through the years, the effect their creative styles had on him and speculated on the contemporary designs which influenced their work.

Download the audio of this seminar here

In between working on the Pin-U audio and video I was able to sneak out and shoot a video walk-through of the Lodi Grape Festival show halls.  If you would like to join me, check out my Twenty-Eight Minute Tour video.

I’ll be returning to the show on Sunday for one final report and to bring you the last four Pin-U talks.  See you there.

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One Comment

  1. Timathie Eisenga

    30th May, 2018 at 2:52am

    Love the Trailer of pinball with jukebox playing Pink Floyd the wall. Picking up the audio was just as fun to listen to also broken bits of conversations mixed with chimes and call outs from the games. Very few games that were down there was plenty of help to get them going again.

    Reply

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