Date: 6th - 9th September, 2018 Location: Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Center, 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2W3, Canada Additional photography: Christina Staines Hello and welcome to our live coverage from the Roundhouse of the Vancouver Flipout Pinball Expo 2018. We’ll be here right across the three days of the show, and even the set up on Thursday, bringing you all the action from this, the largest Canadian pinball event of the calendar. The venue for this year’s show is the Roundhouse Community & Arts Center in downtown Vancouver. While previous shows had been held at the Holiday Inn hotel, also in downtown Vancouver, this year the show needed more space and so moved to the main exhibition hall at the Roundhouse. The new home of the Roundhouse in Vancouver It’s a ten-minute walk from the previous venue to the new one, but the Roundhouse certainly offers lots more space at the cost of not having your accommodation in the same building as the show. The show was held in the Gerry Thorne Exhibition Hall Thursday The actual show doesn’t open to the public until 10am on Friday but the tournaments can run for somewhat longer, so the qualifying rounds began on Thursday at 4pm, even as the rest of the show was still being set up. Tournament qualifying games Classic tournament qualifying More Classic games being played on Thursday afternoon Some of the plaques for the winners The tournaments are held on the right side of the hall, while the central and left areas are where all the free play machines are located along with the vendor tables. Most of these machines were set up by the time the tournament qualifying games began, but there were still a few more to be added. A few more machines to be added to these rows of classic machines Lots more electromechanical pinballs There are plenty of newer machines to play too More newer titles Among the newest titles at the show are Thunderbirds from Homepin, Deadpool Pro from Stern Pinball and Pirates of the Caribbean from Jersey Jack Pinball. Both Mike Kalinowski from Homepin and Jack Guarnieri from Jersey Jack Pinball are appearing at the Vancouver Flipout Pinball Expo. In fact, Mike had arrived a couple of days earlier and was helping at the show by checking the machines were working and managing all the machine keys. Thunderbirds from Homepin Mike Kalinowski sorts out the keys More of the modern pinballs at the show Work was continuing until midnight to get everything ready Banners needed to be put up Lights needed adjusting And the entry desk prepared for the arrival of paying guests The left side of the hall is where the vendors will be located At the back of the exhibition hall is an outside seating area where the food trucks will be parked. Friday We returned to the show in plenty of time for Friday’s 10am opening expecting a long queue of visitors eager to get in to play the 130+ machines on the show floor. Friday, though, is a regular working day and so things got off to a relatively slow start. The entrance to the exhibition hall The queue to get in as the show opened Suzanne Floyd welcomes guests to the Vancouver Flipout Pinball Expo 2018 Inside the hall, a row of six woodrail pinballs had been added along with a Skill Roll novelty game. Jack ‘N Jill, Bank-A-Ball, Derby Day, Classy Bowler, Universe and Nags As American as baseball and hot dogs Over on the left side of the hall, the vendor stands were filling up nicely. East Van Amusements had brought a row of classic videos Pinball Vancouver has some nicely restored classic pinballs for sale Dirty Donny would be at the show later to display, sell and sign his artwork Show organiser Tommy Floyd’s company, Nitro Amusements, were selling common parts and upgrades Some of the parts on the Nitro stand Let’s take a look around the hall as the doors open to the public just after 10am on Friday. The vendor stands on the left, free play machines in most of the rest of the hall More of the free play pinballs More of the free play pinballs More of the free play pinballs More of the free play pinballs The tournament area soon became busy once the doors opened, with players trying to qualify in the Open and Classic divisions. The tournament area Qualifying in the Open Some of the Classic machines Outside, three food trucks had arrived and were setting up to serve food at lunchtime and into the evening to show guests. One of the food trucks Anyone for a tandoori tikka dog? We’re not quite sure what type of food is sold here, but more might be revealed later After a break, we returned to the show in the evening to find the grand prize in the show raffle – a new-in-box Iron Maiden pinball – was on display next to the front desk. Tickets could be purchased for $20 with the draw taking place at 3pm on Sunday. The $20 grand raffle prize of a new-in-box Iron Maiden was at the front desk The grand prize We had returned just in time for the start of the VIP party which began at 7pm in an adjacent room. This was a buffet-style sit-down dinner, with drinks provided by the sponsor Pabst Blue Ribbon and music DJ’d by Pinball Magazine’s Jonathan Joosten. In addition, a prize raffle was held, with everyone attending given a numbered ticket for the draw. Tommy Floyd and Jack Guarnieri pick the first winning ticket of the evening Looking for the holder of the winning ticket At the end of the raffle, everyone who hadn’t won a prize was invited to come up and pick from the remaining items as Jonathan pumped up the music. Jonathan was the DJ for the evening Jonathan and Tommy Saturday Saturday’s action began at 10am. While the hall certainly got busy later in the day, there was only a handful of visitors waiting for the show to open. Saturday’s opening The main hall later in the day on Saturday There were usually games available to play straight away, otherwise it was normally only a short wait Even the very newest titles only had a couple of people waiting to play them Jack Danger from DeadFlip was streaming live from the show Dirty Donny was at the show signing pinball items and copies of his book Saturday was also ‘Seminars Day’, with three presentations in the afternoon in the adjacent theatre. The first was scheduled to begin at 12:30pm, but before that free pizza was served, provided by show organiser Tommy Floyd of Nitro Pinball. Free pizza in the theatre Food and drink weren’t permitted in the seating area Once everyone had enjoyed their food, they took their seats and the first seminar could begin. This was from the American Pinball team of Joe Balcer and Nirmal Vasani. The first seminar in the theatre Joe began by describing how he got into the pinball business and the companies he worked for, including Data East/Sega/Stern, Jersey Jack and now American. Joe talked about his career in pinball The main focus of his talk was the Houdini machine from American Pinball, and Joe described how the company first showed their initial design from another game designer in October 2016 at Pinball Expo, but Joe subsequently redesigned it and the team brought the new playable machine to the Texas Pinball Festival in March the following year, a mere four months later. Joe with the Houdini machine Joe and Nirmal had brought with the some special prizes which they took back to the show floor to give to the best players on the Houdini machine. Houdini prizes But they didn’t leave without giving a sneak preview on the screen of American Pinball’s second title. Oktoberfest: Pinball on Tap will be the name of American Pinball’s second title A shot of the playfield Joe shows one of the characters from the game You can watch Joe and Nirmal in their presentation with the video below. The second seminar featured Mike Kalinowski of Homepin. Mike Kalinowski Mike gave a slideshow documenting his early years working with electronics and the formation of his company, Homepin. He showed how the factory he created in Shenzhen, China, grew and how they were able to start producing Thunderbirds pinballs there. He described the personal and professional hurdles he had to overcome along the way, as well as explaining the processes used and the decisions made about various features in the Thunderbirds game. The final seminar was from the Jersey Jack Pinball duo of Jack Guarnieri and Butch Peel. Jack Guarnieri Butch Peel While Butch controlled the slideshow, Jack talked about his early years in the business, how he formed Jersey Jack Pinball, the company’s first four titles – The Wizard of Oz, The Hobbit, Dialed In! and Pirates of the Caribbean. He spoke about the visitors he has at the factory and how his choice of licenses is made, with the emphasis on selecting family-friendly themes. Sunday Maybe it was the wet weather, but whatever the reason Sunday turned out to be the busiest day of all at the show. Early signs suggested a busy day on Sunday Lots of youngsters were playing both on the pinballs… …and on the video games It wasn’t long before almost every machine was in use At times it was tricky to walk down the aisles with the volume of people playing or waiting Here’s a full list of all the pinballs at the show: AC/DC Pro Lady Luck Addams Family, The Lethal Weapon 3 Amigo Lord of the Rings, The Attack From Mars Remake Std Majorettes Bad Cats Mario Andretti Bank A Ball Medieval Madness Batman 66 Premium Melody Black Hole Metallica Pro Black Knight Meteor Black Knight 2000 Monster Bash Black Rose Mustang Pro Blackwater 100 Nags Bow and Arrow No Good Gofers Bride of Pinbot, The Machine Paradise Bride of Pinbot, The Machine Paragon Capt. Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy Pharaoh Centigrade 37 Pink Panther Champion Pub, The Pin-Up Cherry Bell Playboy (Bally) Classy Bowler Power Play, Bobby Orr Count-Down Priates of the Caribbean LE (JJP) Creature from the Black Lagoon Prospector Cross Town Raven Deadpool Pro Revenge from Mars Demolition Man Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International Derby Day Royal Flush Dialed In! Safecracker Diner Scared Stiff Dirty Harry Seawitch Dracula, Bram Stoker’s Shadow, The Eight Ball Sinbad Elvira & The Party Monsters Slick Chick F-14 Tomcat Space Invaders Fish Tales Space Odyssey Flight 2000 Star Trek: The Next Generation Four Million B.C. Starship Troopers Frontier Stellar Wars Galaxy Street Fighter II Getaway, The: High Speed 2 Strikes and Spares Gigi Surf ‘N Safari Gilligan’s Island Tales of the Arabian Nights Gold Rush Terminator 2 Golden Arrow Terminator 3 Grand Lizard Theatre of Magic Gridiron Thunderbirds Haunted House Tommy, The Who’s High Hand Top Score Hobbit, The Total Nuclear Annihilation Houdini Twilight Zone Indiana Jones (WMS) Universe Jack ‘N Jill Walking Dead Pro, The Jackbot Whitewater Jacks Open Who Dunnit? Jive Time Wizard of Oz, The Jurassic Park Wizard! King of Diamonds World Poker Tour Kings & Queens WWE Wrestlemania Lady Luck You can take a look around the show floor in our exclusive Ten Minute Tour video from Vancouver Flipout Pinball Expo 2018. There were two main events taking place on Sunday. First, at 3pm the draw for the grand prize of a new-in-box Iron Maiden pinball took place. Tickets for this had been sold at the front desk all three days, at a price of $20 each. Mike Kalinowski of Homepin helped Tommy Floyd with the draw. Mike holds the bag of tickets while Tommy draws a winner We have a winner! The holder of the winning ticket comes to claim their prize The winner was actually Gary Ellingson from Calgary but his granddaughter was the one holding the ticket at the show There were multiple tournaments held over the show’s three days and the extended qualifying session on Thursday, but the main one was the Modern Tournament which reached its conclusion on Sunday afternoon. There were two divisions – Open and Novice, with the Open being exactly that and the Novice for those with IFPA rankings below 2,500. Both used the Drains Tournament Manager system for qualifying and play-offs, with the full results being available online here. The winner of the Open Division was current World Champion, Raymond Davidson, who was top qualifier and won two of the three games in the final. In second place was Johnny Modica, while third and fourth were decided by a play-off, with Colin Urban winning and Mike Tzanakos ending in fourth. Mike (4th), Colin (3rd), Johnny (2nd) & Raymond (1st) In the Novice Division it was a close final which resulted in a win for Curtis Dowhaniuk, ahead of Billy Gordon in second, Geoff Millman in third and Rick Exner in fourth. Geoff (3rd), Rick (4th), Billy (2nd) & Curtis (1st) This was our first tie visiting the Vancouver Flipout Pinball Expo in person, so we couldn’t do a direct comparison between this year’s show at the Roundhouse and the earlier two shows at the Holiday Inn, but it was clear that the move to the new venue was sorely-needed given the number of machines. Even with 115 pinballs set up, organiser Tommy was turning away around 30 more due to lack of available space for them. Of course, more machines also means more problems and so more technical help needed, but there was no lack of helpers who could regularly be seen with their heads buried inside a game, bringing it back to life. Although there were food trucks outside the hall, there were also plenty of local stores providing a wide range of refreshments. We seemed to spend most of our mealtimes in Urban Craft across the street which served excellent, good value food, had a wide assortment of fruit, vegetables and delicatessen items, and served hot drinks, beer and cider, even having a happy hour from 4pm each day. Meanwhile, just a couple of minutes away were two streets packed with bars and restaurants. With such a choice, it was probably only the rain which persuaded show guests to take advantage of the food trucks. Having the three seminars on Saturday was a useful diversion from the show floor. The attendance wasn’t the greatest despite Tommy providing free pizza in the theatre, but for the devoted pinball fans there was a lot of useful and interesting information imparted as we hope you can see and hear in our recordings above. There was also an impressive selection of tournaments run by Dave Stewart, Germain Mariolle, and Rob Moller, which multiple divisions for all skill levels, ages and sexes. There were too many for us to cover in full, but you can find player rankings, qualifying standings and final results for a number of them on the VPO2018 page at NeverDrains.com. All of which concludes our coverage of this year’s Vancouver Flipout Pinball Expo. We hope you enjoyed our four days of reports and we look forward to returning to Vancouver next year for an even bigger show.