Date: 13th & 14th April, 2019
Location: Salle Serge Reggiani, 1 Quai de la Retenue, 76470 Le Tréport, France

Last year marked our return to the Flip Expo show in Le Tréport, France after a few years away. We had a great time then, so returning this year was, to coin a phrase, a “no-brainer”.

The town of Le Tréport in Normandy
The town of Le Tréport in Normandy

Of course there are several other reasons why we’d want to make a return trip – the relative proximity to the Pinball News office in London, the attractive local scenery, the opportunity to stock up on some French wine and cider, the local cuisine, and the friendly nature of both the show and the inhabitants of Le Tréport who clearly embrace the event and look forward to its return each year, as evinced by the many, many posters we saw around town. Even the local paper got in on the act.

Posters near the dock and the local newspaper's front page
Posters near the dock and the local newspaper’s front page

So we arrived in the town around 3pm on Friday, checked-in to our hotel (where our rudimentary French language skills proved sufficient to get us a nice room) and made the ten-minute walk past the port to Salle Serge Reggiani – the main hall where the bulk of the pinballs were being set up.

The port in Le Tréport with the church of St. Jacues overlooking the harbour
The port in Le Tréport with the church of St. Jacques overlooking the harbour

Serge Reggiani is a famed film and stage actor, singer, writer and artist who moved from Italy to the region around Le Tréport at the age of eight before moving to Paris where he went on to become internationally renowned. This hall is named in his honour.

Salle Serge Reggiani (Salle is room or hall in French)
Salle Serge Reggiani (Salle is room or hall in French)

Last year the temperatures were in the mid-20s Celsius (upper 70s in Fahrenheit) which meant there were lots of people lounging around outside, enjoying the warmth and the bright sunshine. There was plenty of sunshine over the weekend this year, but the temperatures were way down into the mid-teens at most which spoiled the fun a little.

So, it was inside the hall was where the fun was happening and when we got there, work was underway to set up the machines and the tournament area.

Setting up in the main hall
Setting up in the main hall
Getting the tournament machines ready
Getting the tournament machines ready
Some games were already set up
Some games were already set up
But there were plenty more to set up, and lots more on their way
But there were plenty more to set up, and lots more on their way

The Free Play Hall also has a large kitchen which was serving hot food, baguettes, hot and cold drinks and crepes all weekend.

Things were getting hot in the kitchen making a steady supply of crepes for the workers
Things were getting hot in the kitchen making a steady supply of crepes for the workers

The Salle Serge Reggiani is only one of the two halls used by the Flip Expo show. In earlier years it only had use of the room above, but recently an adjacent sports hall has been added to cater for the expanded number of vendor stands.

The sports hall for the many vendors
The sports hall for the many vendors

In the sports hall, the tables and dividing walls for the vendors had been laid-out so those who were setting up on Friday could make an early start.

Inside the vendor hall
Inside the vendor hall
American Pinball Houdini and Oktoberfest games arriving
American Pinball Houdini and Oktoberfest games arriving

With everyone busy getting ready for Saturday’s 10am start we took our leave and visited a restaurant we particularly enjoyed last year where we were able to sit outside and overlook the harbour. The temperature prevented any outdoor seating this year, nonetheless we eventually staggered back to our hotel full of delicious local delicacies, ready to be back at the venue for the opening of the show the next morning.

The queue at opening time on Saturday
The queue at opening time on Saturday

Last year entrance to the show was split between the two halls, with payment desks at both. For 2019 there was a solitary entry desk which allowed entry to both halls, which made a lot more sense.

The entry desk
The entry desk

Entry to the show cost just €4 ($4.50/£3.45) per day – a genuine bargain. The reason the cost can be so affordable is that the town welcomes the show by giving them the use of the two halls as well as the electricity they use. In addition, the show can run the kitchen themselves and aren’t tied to any approved catering company. In return, lots of visitors come to visit, stay at the hotels and frequent the local shops, restaurants and bars.

If only every pinball show host town or city was so forward-thinking.

So, let’s take a look in the vendor hall first as that’s where the latest titles were available to play.

Carl Jacob had a long table right by the entrance
Carl Jacob had a long table right by the entrance
He had some retro slot machines for sale too
He had some retro slot machines for sale too
As well as some nice reproduction backglasses, including a mirrored Medieval Madness glass
As well as some nice reproduction backglasses, including a mirrored Medieval Madness glass
There were also the newest Stern games, including a The Munsters LE, a Pro, The Beatles and Guardians of the Galaxy
There were also the newest Stern games, including a The Munsters LE, a Pro, The Beatles and Guardians of the Galaxy

Next door to Carl was Mirco Steffen who had a large display of playfields, cabinet decals and assorted off-cuts or mis-prints which could be used as decoration for your gameroom.

The Mirco Playfields stand
The Mirco Playfields stand
Mirco also had plenty of regular pinball parts for sale
Mirco also had plenty of regular pinball parts for sale
Doc Pinball had lots of electronic components and connectors
Doc Pinball had lots of electronic components and connectors
Fred & Sylie Collet had a long table with assorted collectables and parts
Fred & Sylie Collet had a long table with assorted collectables and parts
This Collectionneur table had boards and flyers for many games
This Collectionneur table had boards and flyers for many games
Pinball flyers
Pinball flyers

Christophe Lienard had all four of the current Jersey Jack Pinball machines on his stand along with assorted parts for modern games.

Part of Christophe's stand
Part of Christophe’s stand
Art blades for various games
Art blades for various games
The four existing Jersey Jack titles were on the stand
The four existing Jersey Jack titles were on the stand
Plus there was this gap on the end - what could that be for?
Plus, there was this gap on the end – what could that be for?

Until about a week before the show it was a secret that the fifth Jersey Jack Pinball title would enjoy its European debut at the Flip Expo show. However, word soon spread and it wasn’t long before people were making the trip to Le Tréport just to catch this new game. More on that later though.

Xavier Chiaroni had a large stand filled with games and collectables from yesteryear
Xavier Chiaroni had a large stand filled with games and collectables from yesteryear
Plus the latest in audio reproduction technology
Plus, the latest in audio reproduction technology
Vincent's VV Pinball had a long stand filled with LEDs and other pinball parts
VV Pinball had a long stand filled with LEDs and other pinball parts
Assorted pinball playfields for sale
Assorted pinball playfields for sale
CHMPinball were championing Gottlieb pinball parts and spares
CHMPinball were championing Gottlieb pinball parts and spares
Gottlieb pinball parts
Gottlieb pinball parts
This stand had all kinds of Americana
This stand had all kinds of Americana

Starting on the second row of vendors, the first stand was from Flip Projects who were offering on-the-spot board diagnostics and repairs.

Flip Projects had their fault-finding and repair equipment set up
Flip Projects had their fault-finding and repair equipment set up
You could also buy the Pinball 2000 replacement controller system, Nucore
You could also buy the Pinball 2000 replacement controller system, Nucore
There were also lots of pinball parts to buy
There were also lots of pinball parts to buy
Pascal Janin was at Flip Expo selling his replacement and add-on pinball controller boards
Pascal Janin was at Flip Expo selling his replacement and add-on pinball controller boards
LocaFlip had pinball glass, manuals and assorted boards for sale
LocaFlip had pinball glass, manuals and assorted boards for sale
Tommy, Transformers, Iron Man and X's & O's - we could never play this last one as it never seemed to have any credits
Tommy, Transformers, Iron Man and X’s & O’s – we could never play this last one as it never seemed to have any credits
Some games were entertaining even if you couldn't play them
Some games were entertaining even if you couldn’t play them

On the opposite side of the row, Art Cab had some interesting video pinball and other arcade-style games, as well as bare pinball cabinets.

Art Cab's full-size and miniature video pinballs
Art Cab’s full-size and miniature video pinballs
The Art Cab stand
The Art Cab stand
On the subject of video games, Fabrique A Bornes had some interesting home games for sale
On the subject of video games, FabrikBorne had some interesting home games for sale
Eric Bateman brought along many assorted home game system cartridges
Eric Bateman brought along many assorted home game system cartridges
The stand at the end of the row had all kinds of different memorabilia and gaming parts
The stand at the end of the row had all kinds of different memorabilia and gaming parts
You're bound to find something fascinating in this collection
You’re bound to find something fascinating in this collection

One of the largest stands belonged to Zpeakabonks Pinball Paradis whose 18m stand featured many of the latest titles to play as well as a good selection of pinball parts.

The two American Pinball titles were here
The two American Pinball titles were here
Total Nuclear Annihilation, Alice Cooper's Nightmare Castle and The Munsters LE were also very popular
Total Nuclear Annihilation, Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle and The Munsters LE were also very popular
There were lots of pinball parts to buy
There were lots of pinball parts to buy
LOTS of parts!
LOTS of parts!
Over on the side wall, MB Jeux had new and reclaimed pinball parts as well as four lovely older machines
Over on the side wall, MB Jeux had new and reclaimed pinball parts as well as four lovely older machines
No shortage of parts to explore here
No shortage of parts to explore here
Kiss, Dolly Parton, Future Spa and Canada Dry
Kiss, Dolly Parton, Future Spa and Canada Dry
The final stand on the side wall as from Patrick Regnier who had a big range of pin badges
The final stand on the side wall as from Patrick Regnier who had a big range of pin badges
Different kinds of pins
Different kinds of pins

We’re on the home straight now, with the final row of vendor stands headed-up by Jean Philippe Passarieux.

Plenty of boards to rummage through
Plenty of boards to rummage through
Some interesting multi-game miniature cabinets, at good prices too
Some interesting multi-game miniature cabinets, at good prices too
There were more good prices at Olivier Isambourg's stand
There were more good prices at Olivier Isambourg’s stand
FlipperLED had LEDs of course, but more besides
FlipperLED had LEDs of course, but more besides
They also had plenty of coloured pinball rubbers
They also had plenty of coloured pinball rubbers

Returning to the opposite corner of the hall, at midday on Saturday the newest Jersey Jack Pinball title was revealed on Christophe Lienard’s stand. In typically understated fashion, there was no announcement, no fanfare or presentation, it was just brought out from the back room where it had been stored so the first games could be streamed on the internet.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory appears on the stand
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory appears on the stand
The playfield of the Limited Edition model at the show
The playfield of the Limited Edition model at the show
The Wonkavision camera toy (it's just a toy, as the real camera is in the backbox)
The Wonkavision camera toy (it’s just a toy, as the real camera is in the backbox)
The upper-right part of the playfield
The upper-right part of the playfield
The shots under the Wonkavision screen
The shots under the Wonkavision screen
The upper-right flipper area
The upper-right flipper area
The Wonkavision screen showing the game rules
The Wonkavision screen showing the game rules
The Most Secret Machine subway entrance
The Most Secret Machine subway entrance
The everlasting gobstopper
The everlasting gobstopper
The secret ball lock which carries over between games
The secret ball lock which carries over between games (only on the Limited and Collector’s Editions)
The Wonka Bar counter - as soon as one of the inserts on the right column is lit, it carries over to the next ball
The Wonka Bar counter – as soon as one of the inserts on the right column is lit, it carries over to the next ball

There was a large box of chocolate mint miniature Wonka Bars for people to enjoy. Jack threw some of them out into the crowd too.

The box of miniature Wonka Bars
The box of miniature Wonka Bars
Jack throws a handful of Wonka Bar chocolates into the crowd
Jack throws a handful of Wonka Bar chocolates into the crowd
The crowd waiting to play the new game
The crowd waiting to play the new game
Jack with a bar and his new game
Jack with a bar and his new game
The first game is played on the new machine
The first game is played on the new machine

We recorded some video of the playfield and of the first game being played with Franck Bona on the flippers.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at Flip Expo 2019

In addition, Pinball News teamed up with Jonathann Joosten of Pinball Magazine to record a special bonus podcast interview with Jack Guarnieri where he talks all about the new game.

To record our interview we took to a back room at the show where the show organiser, Franck, made sure we were well looked after, with chocolate crepes and champagne.

Jonathan, Jack, Martin and Franck enjoying the Flip Expo label champagne
Jonathan, Jack, Martin and Franck enjoying the Flip Expo label champagne

You can listen to the full interview here.

Our interview with Jack Guarnieri about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

The reveal of the game coincided with the reception drinks in the hall, attended by the Mayor of Le Tréport. Sadly, we were busy with the new game, but managed to enjoy a nice sip of Ricard nonetheless.

Reception drinks and snacks in the Vendor Hall
Reception drinks and snacks in the Vendor Hall

As we move from the Vendor Hall to the Free Play Hall, we spotted a couple more pieces of classic Americana outside.

Two US Army Jeeps
Two US Army Jeeps
This food truck was serving drinks and snacks outside the Free Play Hall, while a supermarket was about 30-seconds' walk away
This food truck was serving drinks and snacks outside the Free Play Hall, while a supermarket was about 30-seconds’ walk away

So, let’s go into the Free Play Hall, and as we entered the room the first games we came across were table footballs (foosballs or baby-foots).

Table football games by the entrance to the Free Play Hall
Table football games by the entrance to the Free Play Hall

Beyond these tables, PinSound had a large stand to showcase their replacement sound board and custom audio packages for a range of games. They had several demonstration machines set up so visitors could hear the PinSound system in action.

The PinSound stand
The PinSound stand
Some of the PinSound demonstrator machines
Some of the PinSound demonstrator machines

There were a few other vendors in the Free Play Hall too.

Boards, playfields and a box of US license plates
Boards, playfields and a box of US license plates
Popcorn and Candy Floss (Cotton Candy) could be bought here
Popcorn and Candy Floss (Cotton Candy) could be bought here
The kitchen was busy throughout the show selling baguettes, crepes, croissants as well as hot and cold drinks
The kitchen was busy throughout the show selling baguettes, crepes, croissants as well as hot and cold drinks
For something a little more upmarket, you could buy champagne at this stand
For something a little more upmarket, you could buy champagne at this stand

The rest of the hall was taken up by free-play machines and the tournaments which occupied the area around the stage at the back of the room.

Free play machines in the hall
Free play machines in the hall
Free play machines in the hall
Free play machines in the hall
Free play machines in the hall
Free play machines in the hall
Free play machines in the hall
Free play machines in the hall
Machines being played in the Free Play Hall
Machines being played in the Free Play Hall

Although there was a good selection, the Free Play Hall was by no means packed with machines. There were a few gaps and several of the machines there had no credits and so couldn’t be played.

There were a few gaps where more machines could have fitted
There were a few gaps where more machines could have fitted
Anyone who has taken machines to a show knows they are likely to be needed at some point
Anyone who has taken machines to a show knows they are likely to be needed at some point
A wide view of the Free Play Hall
A wide view of the Free Play Hall

At the back of the hall was the tournament area where events were run by Nicolas Linqué.

The main tournament took place on Saturday. Players could choose to play any five of the available machines to try to get a highly-ranked score, plus they had a joker game which they could use (or not) to try to improve their ranking.

Play in the main tournament
Play in the main tournament
Play in the main tournament
Play in the main tournament
Score cards for the main tournament
Score cards for the main tournament

The play-offs took place on Saturday evening, with the eventual winner being Samuel Reolid who beat Franck Bona into second place on the final game which was played on Dialed-In!

Jack and Nicolas with the winner of the main tournament, Samuel Reolid
Jack and Nicolas with the winner of the main tournament, Samuel Reolid
(picture by NicoFlip)

On Sunday there were two more tournaments. In the morning there was a kids tournament where the winner was Alexandre Bouet.

Winner of the kids tournament, Alexandre Bouet
Winner of the kids tournament, Alexandre Bouet
(picture by NicoFlip)

Finally, there was a side tournament held on Sunday afternoon. The winner of this was Anthony Rorive.

The winner of Sunday's side tournament, Anthony Rorive
The winner of Sunday’s side tournament, Anthony Rorive
(picture by NicoFlip)

The tournament results conclude our coverage of this year’s Flip Expo show.

We continue to enjoy visiting Flip Expo and Le Tréport each year. Even with the cold weather, the town looked delightful and the show was as well-organised as ever.

Part of that organisation is to make sure it is as relaxing and enjoyable for everyone as possible. It has a great laid-back feel, with visitors coming and going as they please and a general lack of pressure to make sure you see everything. The low price of entry is a big help here, as it encourages family members to come along even if they are not especially into pinball (yet).

The only worrying thing is the possibility that this might be the last Flip Expo, since we heard that the main organiser, Franck Michaux, is looking to step down from running the show. That would be a real shame, as Flip Expo is probably as popular and as successful as it has ever been.

Hopefully it will continue for many years to come, and we hope you enjoyed our coverage of this year’s Flip Expo show. We leave you with our exclusive Eighteen Minute Tour of the show, looking at all the machines, vendors and other attractions for visitors to enjoy.

Pinball News Eighteen Minute Tour of Flip Expo 2019
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7 Comments

  1. mic

    April 18, 2019 at 10:12 am

    hi Martin, about the side tournament on sunday, you could have add that it was a “familly affair”, as Anthony did beat me in second place, this boy has no respect for his poor & old father (looooooool inside)… see you Martin 😉

    Reply

    • Pinball News

      April 18, 2019 at 10:43 am

      Ha. I didn’t want to make the pain of being beaten by your son any worse, Michel. 🙂

      Reply

      • mic

        April 18, 2019 at 11:34 am

        ha yes, good point ! tanx than 😉

        Reply

  2. Jimy_speedt

    April 18, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Great report and pics !!!

    This year, besides the JJP announcement, congratulations, there was a special request to bring pinsound fitted machines. Do not find must about it here 🙂

    If you fancy a pinball day, end of August in South Belgium, nearby Luxembourg, be welcome to come and report here.

    Have a good ball !!!

    Reply

  3. Stuart McPherran

    April 19, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    Could you please bring back the game list that you did with your old website a couple years ago? I miss that.

    Reply

  4. noflip95

    April 26, 2019 at 11:08 am

    As usual, a very nice and professional report with tons of photos.
    Very complete, showing quite everybody, stands and pinballs.

    I like it when the report also talks about the atmosphere and the environment.

    If you come back next year, do not forget to take a walk up the cliff on Saturday night! The view with the illuminated city below is superb. The funicular (free) remains open and for the descent, the stairs are lit automatically.

    Reply

  5. Town of Le Tréport

    April 26, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Great report, as usual ! Thank you for having mentioned the welcoming of the town of Le Tréport. This partnership is always a pleasure for our town.
    We hope to see you again next Year.

    Reply

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