Welcome to our extensive coverage of this 20th Anniversary Texas Pinball Festival held at the Embassy Suites & Frisco Conference Center here in the city of Frisco, around 23 miles due north of Dallas.

The Embassy Suites hotel in Frisco
The Embassy Suites hotel in Frisco

WEDNESDAY

The show doesn’t open to the public until Friday afternoon, but we’re here from Wednesday to bring you the build-up and show how this 20th anniversary Texas Pinball Festival is coming together.

We’ll update this report from now until the show closes and beyond, to make sure you get all the news and excitement.

First though, a little about the venue.

The show is held in the Frisco Conference Center which is attached to, but separate from, the Embassy Suites hotel. The Embassy Suites is the main show hotel and as such sells out almost immediately rooms for the next show become available, but the area has a plethora of lodging options. Paradoxically, the walk from the Embassy Suites to the Conference Center is sufficiently long, some alternative hotels are actually closer to the Conference Center.

Where the Embassy Suites ends and the walk to the Conference Center begins
Where the Embassy Suites ends and the walk to the Conference Center begins
The corridor from the hotel to the Conference Center
The corridor from the hotel to the Conference Center

The Embassy Suites and the Conference Center are closely linked in other ways though, and the Texas Pinball Festival effectively takes over both for the duration of the show. Indeed, the Pinball News and Pinball Magazine joint quiz, So You Think You Know Pinball? takes place in the bar of the Embassy Suites.

Also, the parking garage for the hotel and the Conference Center has been specially branded for this year’s Texas Pinball Festival.

The parking garage
The parking garage

For those not staying at the Embassy Suites, the Conference Center has its own entrance.

The entrance to the Frisco Conference Center
The entrance to the Frisco Conference Center

A number of the parking spaces outside the Conference Center have been blocked off, presumably in preparation for Saturday’s swap meet, organised by the DFW Pinball & Arcade Club.

The site of Saturday morning's swap meet
The site of Saturday morning’s swap meet

So, that’s the venue. What about the show?

Well, as of Wednesday lunchtime there isn’t much to show you other than a mostly-empty hall?

The Texas Pinball Festival  show hall
The Texas Pinball Festival show hall

Some setting up is under way. A selection of machines from Stern Pinball provided by FUN! Billiards and Gameroom Superstore are already in the hall, while a few others are trickling in.

A mixed bunch of machines from Stern Pinball
A mixed bunch of machines from Stern Pinball
Perhaps the most important part of the whole show - the power
Perhaps the most important part of the whole show – the power

By this time tomorrow we expect the hall to be buzzing as companies prepare their stands in preparation for the opening on Friday. The organisers have been preparing for this special 20th anniversary show since the close of last year’s show, and we can expect a few changes. For one thing, if you’ve attended the Texas Pinball Festival in recent years, the floor layout will be a little different this time.

The floor plan for the 2024 Texas Pinball Festival
The floor plan for the 2024 Texas Pinball Festival
Material for the on-site registration and pre-registration packs has arrived
Material for the on-site registration and pre-registration packs has arrived

The Seminar Room is still in the same place though, and we’ll be reporting on the extensive schedule of presentations taking place there on Friday and Saturday.

THURSDAY

Thursday is the main set-up day for the show floor.

Thursday morning in the main hall
Thursday morning in the main hall

With the booths marked out on the floor yesterday, the dividers are going in as more machines and parts arrive. There are also ceiling-hung banners to mark out many of the stands to help guests locate them.

Some of the banners hung over the stands
Some of the banners hung over the stands

The Stern Pinball machines we showed above are still in their boxes while the joint Marco/FUN! stand is built.

The Marco and FUN! stand representing Stern Pinball
The Marco and FUN! stand representing Stern Pinball

At the back of the hall is the loading bay where trucks back-up and disgorge their contents of machines and parts.

Trucks unload their machines and parts
Trucks unload their machines and parts

As usual, there are four staging points where unloaded games can be stacked before moving to their final destination in the hall. This speeds up the unloading process and frees up the loading bay for the next truck.

The four staging points for unloaded machines
The four staging points for unloaded machines
The loading bay crew ensure everything runs smoothly
The loading bay crew ensure everything runs smoothly
Mayfair Amusements has a head-start on setting up their stand
Mayfair Amusements has a head-start on setting up their stand

By late afternoon things were taking shape, with most exhibitors hoping to set up their stand by the end of the day.

Setting up games at the Spooky Pinball stand
Setting up games at the Spooky Pinball stand
Lots of Looney Tunes and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre games
Lots of Looney Tunes and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre games
Another Spooky Pinball game is unboxed
Another Spooky Pinball game is unboxed

Dave Peck’s Motörhead homebrew game was also on the Spooky Pinball stand. It uses the same control system as Spooky games and includes assistance from some of the Spooky team members. Could this be a future Spooky release?

Also on the Spooky stand was this impressive-looking Motörhead hombrew
Also on the Spooky stand was this impressive-looking Motörhead hombrew
The Motörhead playfield styled after Centaur
The Motörhead playfield styled after Centaur
The animated topper
The animated topper
A view from the playfield
A view from the playfield
American Pinball has plenty of machines here too
American Pinball has plenty of machines here too
Including three of the new Barry O's Barbecue Challenge
Including three of the new Barry O’s Barbecue Challenge
The Stern Pinball games are starting to be unboxed
The Stern Pinball games are starting to be unboxed
Jersey Jack Pinball also have a big presence here
Jersey Jack Pinball also have a big presence here
Chicago Gaming have a bunch of Pup Fiction games, a year after they were revealed at the show
Chicago Gaming have a bunch of Pup Fiction games, a year after they were revealed at the show

The Chicago Gaming stand is directly in front of what had previously been the main hall entrance. This has now been moved along the corridor towards the Seminars Room.

The previous main hall entrance
The previous main hall entrance

Not all the action takes place in the main hall though. There are vendor stands outside in the corridor, there’s the Seminars Room and, of course, the many tournaments being held in their own dedicated space.

Looking back towards the registration booth
Looking back towards the registration booth
Looking towards the seminars room
Looking towards the seminars room

The Seminars Room looks pretty much unchanged from previous shows, with a stage for the speakers and plenty of seating.

This way to the seminars
This way to the seminars – Ooh, and here are next year’s dates!
The Seminars Room
The Seminars Room

As in other recent shows, the tournament have their own dedicated space one floor up on the corridor from the hotel to the main hall. The location is not immediately visible unless you know it’s there, but those taking part know where to go.

Machines are set up for the tournaments
Machines are set up for the tournaments

There are four tournaments overall – the Texas Wizards Tournament, the Classics Side Tournament, the Women’s Tournament and the Kids’ Tournament.

Tournament players line up to register
Tournament players line up to register
The tournaments registration desk
The tournaments registration desk
Inside the Tournaments Room
Inside the Tournaments Room
There's plenty of seating for the competitors
There’s plenty of seating for the competitors

Later in the day we returned to the show floor to check on the progress setting everything up.

In the lobby area, those who had pre-registered for the Texas Pinball Festival were able to collect their wristbands, badges and show guides.

Pre-registered guests collecting their packs
Pre-registered guests collecting their packs

Inside the main hall, Nitro Pinball had a Centaur Revisited from Haggis Pinball. It appeared to have early code with some features not working quite right, but the mechanical build quality was outstanding.

Centaur Revisited from Haggis Pinball
Centaur Revisited from Haggis Pinball

If Centaur Revisited is a title for the future, there is always an educational hand-on display in the hall celebrating pinball’s past.

Setting up the History Of Pinball exhibit
Setting up the History Of Pinball exhibit

American Pinball had set up their Barry O’s Barbecue Challenge machines. There were three on their own stand and at least one other on a distributor’s stand. Plus, there may well be another one available to play in a room in the Embassy Suites for those in the know.

Barry O's Barbecue Challenge on the American Pinball stand
Barry O’s Barbecue Challenge on the American Pinball stand

A stone’s trow away, Lord of the Gameroom were building their impressive-looking stand.

Building the stand for Lord of the Gameroom
Building the stand for Lord of the Gameroom

Over on Brad Albright’s stand, he was exhibiting the playfield and backglass artwork he created for the Motörhead game.

The Motörhead game's artwork
The Motörhead game’s artwork

Pinball Brothers team members are not expected to attend the Texas Pinball Festival this year, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be well-represented at the show. Some of their games and equipment had arrived in the hall, including two Alien Ripley Edition machines.

Items for the Pinball Brothers' stand
Items for the Pinball Brothers’ stand

Although FUN! Billiards & Gameroom Superstore and collaborating with Marco to create the Stern Pinball display, FUN! also have their own stand.

The FUN! stand
The FUN! stand

Meanwhile, upstairs in the tournament room there was the Scrutinizer Tournament taking place.

The Scrutinizer Tournament
The Scrutinizer Tournament

Although not part of the official Texas Pinball Festival schedule of events, this tournament gives the organisers an opportunity to test out all the machines in advance of the main events beginning on Friday morning.

Medals for the top players in the Scrutinizer Tournament
Medals for the top players in the Scrutinizer Tournament

That wraps things up for Thursday. The main elements of the show all begin on Friday, from the free play session on the tournaments machines from 8:30am to the start of qualifying in the Wizards and Classics tournaments at 10am, to the first in the extensive schedule of seminars at 3pm, to the opening of the main hall at 4pm.

FRIDAY

As we said above, the tournaments are the first official event on the Texas Pinball Festival calendar, with qualifying in the Wizard and Classics tournaments getting underway at 10am.

Inside the tournaments room
Inside the tournaments room

The eight Classics machines were set up at the left-hand end of the tournaments room,

Some of the Classics Tournament machines
Some of the Classics Tournament machines

The eight machines used for the Classics were:

Barracora
Centigrade 37
Cleopatra
Dragon
Harlem Globetrotters
Ice Fever
Mars Trek
Sorcerer

The remaining machines were used for the Wizards Tournament, which was split into three divisions – A, B & Novice.

Competitors had to register scores on machines of their choice from three categories – Modern, Classics & Vintage. Their ranking was based on their best position across all three.

Players in the Wizards Tournament
Players on the modern machines in the Wizards Tournament
Players on the classic machines in the Wizards Tournament
Players on the classic machines in the Wizards Tournament
Players on the vintage machines in the Wizards Tournament
Players on the vintage machines in the Wizards Tournament

The machines used in each category were:

ModernClassicsVintage
Star Wars (Stern)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Metallica
Avatar
Foo Fighters
High Speed 2: The Getaway
Terminator 2
Whirlwind
Time Machine (DE)
Diner
Kiss
Viking
Super Spin
Jacks Open
Spin Out

Current rankings are viewable on the Never Drains website for the A Division, B Division, Novice Division and Classics.

Then it was back to the main show hall to catch up on the latest changes.

Lord of the GameRoom's stand was shaping up nicely
Lord of the GameRoom’s stand was shaping up nicely
Turner Pinball has two of their updated Ninja Eclipse machines
Turner Pinball has two of their updated Ninja Eclipse machines with many changes, including the playfield artwork
Ninja Eclipse now features a more-traditional cabinet and coin door
Ninja Eclipse now features a more-traditional cabinet and coin door
Even the backbox has returned to a familiar design
Even the backbox has returned to a familiar design
The bottom apron and lock bar
The bottom apron and lock bar
The translite image for Ninja Eclipse
The translite image for Ninja Eclipse
Nearby, Jersey Jack Pinball were setting up their stand with Elton John and The Godfather machines
Nearby, Jersey Jack Pinball were setting up their stand with Elton John and The Godfather machines
The Godfather machines on the JJP stand
The Godfather machines on the JJP stand

Over at American Pinball we had the opportunity to play some games on Barry O’s Barbecue Challenge.

Barry O's Barbecue Challenge from American Pinball
Barry O’s Barbecue Challenge from American Pinball
The Stern Pinball display had a definite Jaws theme this year
The Stern Pinball display had a definite Jaws theme this year
Pinball Brothers had their two Alien Ripley Edition machines up and almost ready to go
Pinball Brothers had their two Alien Ripley Edition machines up and almost ready to go
The also have a solitary Queen machine, though it looks as though there could be space for a second
The also have a solitary Queen machine, though it looks as though there could be space for a second
Barrels of Fun were fully set up with their three Labyrinth machines
Barrels of Fun were fully set up with their three Labyrinth machines
Chicago Gaming's Pulp Fiction machines were attracting plenty of attention
Chicago Gaming’s Pulp Fiction machines were attracting plenty of attention
Multimorphic had three P3 machines fitted with their latest tile, The Princess Bride
Multimorphic had three P3 machines fitted with their latest tile, The Princess Bride
The also brought ten more P3s equipped with all the other playfield modules
The also brought ten more P3s equipped with all the other playfield modules
The other five P3s on the Multimorphic stand
The other five P3s on the Multimorphic stand
It wasn't just the big manufacturers setting up machines
It wasn’t just the big manufacturers setting up machines
Romain and Timothée were setting up their PinSound display with some new products to exhibit
Romain and Timothée were setting up their PinSound display with some new products to exhibit
New products included full speaker light kits for select Spike 2 titles
New products included PinVision full speaker light kits for select Spike 2 titles
One of the PinVision speaker modules
One of the PinVision speaker modules
The PinVision speaker lights controller module which takes in audio and shaker motor signals to react to gameplay
The PinVision speaker lights controller module which takes in audio and shaker motor signals to react to gameplay
Meanwhile the homebrew section was filling up with innovative games
Meanwhile the homebrew section was filling up with innovative games
The Saw game attracted a lot of attention
The Saw game attracted a lot of attention

The main hall opened at 4pm, by which time a sizeable crowd had gathered outside the new entrance doors.

The new entrance to the show
The new entrance to the show
The first guests enter the show just after 4pm on Friday
The first guests enter the show just after 4pm on Friday

Friday’s seminars began at 3pm and continued until around 10pm.

3pm – How To: Get Started In Pinball Tournaments – Louis Marx

Louis Marx
Louis Marx

Louis described the various reasons people play in competitive pinball, including the camaraderie, the sense of community and the sharing of knowledge about the games. He continued with the differences between sanctioned and non-sanctioned events, along with some of the other types of tournaments and leagues available.

He showed where you can find details of upcoming events, including Pinside, the IFPA calendar and Tilt Forums. He also suggested asking local distributors if they support and leagues or tournaments.

3:30pm – Origins of TPF – Some of the Original Founders

The TPF founders group
The TPF founders group

Hosted by this year’s co-organiser, Paul McKinney, this group comprised of several of the original founders of the Texas Pinball Festival, spoke about each of their involvement in the pinball scene and how they collaborated to create the first show.

2024 TPF Co-Organiser, Paul McKinney
2024 TPF Co-Organiser, Paul McKinney

They also described what they wanted the show to achieve and the features they wanted to include, such as a strong seminars schedule.

4pm – The History of Pinball – Jeff Frick

Jeff Frick
Jeff Frick

Jeff started with the design and features of the easiest pre-war bagatelle and similar pin-games before moving on to the beginnings of coin-op pinball manufacturing.

He described the timeline of game development and how re-theming of older games to utilise popular themes from present-day culture gave them a new lease of life.

He also discussed the methods and impact of pinball games used for gambling.

5pm – How To: Make NIB Games On-Location Ready – Imoto Harney & Matthew Talley

Imoto Harney
Imoto Harney
Matthew Talley
Matthew Talley

Imoto is Marketing Director at Marco Specialties while Matthew is co-owner of Lynn’s Arcade in Seaside, California. In this seminar they both explained their history in pinball and their current roles before looking at the steps any location owner should take before putting their new game on site.

That included opening it up and reseating all the connectors, as they can work loose during transport. They recommended installing plastic protectors to protect the unique artworked playfield plastics, and replace any black rubber rings or flipper rubbers with either polyurethane or silicone alternatives to reduce the dirt and dust spread across the playfield.

6pm – Behind The Game: Venom – Brian Eddy & Dwight Sullivan

Brian Eddy
Brian Eddy
Dwight Sullivan
Dwight Sullivan

Brian is the designer and Dwight was lead programmer on Stern Pinball’s recent Venom game.

Brian talked about how the original concept of choosing your host and changing the game developed over time, showing multiple iterations of the playfield.

Dwight explained how the rules were created, based around the Marvel characters and their Venom-ised variants.

7pm – The Secret Sauce… – David Fix, Steven Bowden, Ryan McQuaid

David Fix
David Fix
Steven Bowden
Steven Bowden
Ryan McQuaid
Ryan McQuaid

David is Executive Vice-President at American Pinball who spearheaded the creation of Barry O’s Barbecue Challenge, following the passing of the game’s original designer, Barry Oursler. Steven headed the rules development, while Ryan McQuaid worked on bringing the original design into production.

David talked about the need to honour Barry’s legacy by producing his final design. Originally called Car Hop, it was rethemed around Barry’s love of barbecue and fast cars.

Steven spoke about the many nods to Barry’s earlier designs in the new game, with references to Space Shuttle, Phoenix, Fire!, Doctor Who and many more.

8pm – Behind The Game: Elton John – Steve Ritchie & Bill Grupp

Steve Ritchie
Steve Ritchie
Bill Grupp
Bill Grupp

Steve was the designer for Jersey Jack Pinball’s latest release, Elton John, while Bill was the lead programmer.

They spoke about the development of the game’s playfield and many features, including certain requirements from the licensor but also about the freedom they had with the music selected and the portrayal of Elton on the playfield.

Steve and Bill
Steve and Bill

Steve described the design of the piano lock mechanism, while Bill talked about the LED wrap around the side and what that allowed them to do in conveying information to the player in addition to the backbox user interface.

9pm – How To: Play Better – Bowen Kerins

Bowen Kerins
Bowen Kerins

Bowen came to the seminar with a Labyrinth machine from Barrels of Fun, for which he helped craft the rules. He set out to explain those rules as he demonstrated them in action by playing the machine.

He also pointed out some of the best scoring strategies as well as some more esoteric features included in the ruleset.

SATURDAY

Despite the threat of rain, Saturday at the Texas Pinball Festival began as usual with the swap meet, organised by the DFW Pinball & Arcade Club, in the parking lot outside the Conference Center. Previously it had officially started at 8am with an unofficial earlier start for keen bargain hunters. This year that early start was made official, beginning in the dark at 6am.

We didn’t quite make it to the swap meet at 6am, preferring to wait until there was just a little bit of natural light by which to check out the items for sale.

Saturday's swap meet
Saturday’s swap meet
The swap meet in the parking lot
The swap meet in the parking lot
More cars and trucks selling pinball and arcade items
More cars and trucks selling pinball and arcade items
As usual, Dunkin' Donuts and hot coffee was available for free, courtesy of the organisers
As usual, Dunkin’ Donuts and hot coffee was available for free, courtesy of the organisers
Elite Home Gamerooms were auction off some of their items, with some good bargains available
Elite Home Gamerooms were auction off some of their items, with some good bargains available
Including these pinballs
Including these pinballs
More swap meet vendors with interesting items for sale
More swap meet vendors with interesting items for sale
More swap meet vendors with interesting items for sale
More swap meet vendors with interesting items for sale
More swap meet vendors with interesting items for sale
More swap meet vendors with interesting items for sale
Not everything was arcade related, but most items were
Not everything was arcade related, but most items were
Assorted pinball-related items
Assorted pinball-related items
Assorted pinball-related items
Assorted pinball-related items
Plain and simple
Plain and simple

Saturday at the TPF featured a full day of seminars, starting at 9am with the Barrels of Fun team.

9am – More Than A Barrel Of Fun – Barrels of Fun

The Barrels of Fun team: (Bowen Kerins, Phil Grimaldi, Brian Savage, Jessica DeNardo, David van Es & Trent Armstrong
The Barrels of Fun team (L-R): Bowen Kerins, Phil Grimaldi, Brian Savage, Jessica DeNardo, David van Es & Trent Armstrong

Company CEO David van Es introduced the Barrels of Fun team on stage with him and also recognised those members who were in the audience.

David van Es
David van Es

Trent Armstrong then explained how, when designing their launch title, Labyrinth, they wanted the player to become fully immersed in the world of Labyrinth rather thank just be presented with a series of clips from the movie.

Phil, who is leading the rules design for the game, told the audience about a new Tea Party multiball mode which they had just added to the code.

David then asked the audience to give the team feedback about the types of themes they would like to see turned into a future Barrels of Fun pinball.

10am – How To: Create The Most Awesome Manual – Butch Peel

Butch Peel
Butch Peel

Butch was at TPF to talks about the manual – both printed and electronic – he created for the Chicago Gaming/PlayMechanix pinball, Pulp Fiction.

He said pinball documentation should always be accurate, comprehensive, consistent, straightforward, and aesthetically pleasing, with a show-and-tell philosophy working best. Having it in full-colour also aids clarity and brings explanations to life.

Butch stressed how important information bears repetition, while having both a printed and an electronic version – complete with hundreds of links throughout – was vital.

11am – How To: Learn The Essentials Of Pinball Maintenance & Repair – Imoto Harney, Matthew Talley & Eugene Mosh

Imoto Harney, Matthew Talley and Eugene Mosh
Imoto Harney, Matthew Talley and Eugene Mosh

Eugene first spoke about his long history in coin-op gaming and repairs, and more recently, pinball.

Matthew described the basic pinball repair and maintenance tools everyone should own, such as the different types of screwdrivers, nut drivers, a magnetic pick-up tool, Allen keys. pliers, snips and wire strippers.

He then moved on to talk about rebuilding your flippers – why you should do it, how often, and the different type of flipper mechanisms used by different manufacturers.

12pm – How To: Homebrew Avoiding Electrical Pitfalls – David Beecher

David Beecher
David Beecher

David is one of the founders of FAST Pinball and designer of their pinball control system currently being used in several commercial games as well as many more homebrew designs. He described the differences between their two product ranges – a retro one for replacing existing boards in a game so it can be repaired or rethemed, and a modern one for building new game designs from scratch.

He continued, talking about power supply considerations when building a pinball, looking closely at the specifications to ensure it can handle the large inrush when the machine is first switched on, and provide enough current during play.

2pm – How To: Homebrew Making Pinball, Making Friends – Panel Discussion

The Homebrew Making Pinball, Making Friends panel
The Homebrew Making Pinball, Making Friends panel

Hosted by FAST Pinball’s Aaron Davis, this discussion panel included makers of five of the homebrew games appearing on the TPF show floor. They were:

  • Sean Irby (Eight Ball Beyond)
  • Eric Klotz (Saw)
  • Kyle Smet (Friday the 13th)
  • Angel Montano (Mechwarriors – Mercenary 5 Pinball)
  • Anthony Van Winkle (Swords of Vengence)

They were joined by Ernie Silverberg of Trident Pinball who makes starter kits for anyone looking to create their own game design.

3pm – Inconceivable! Multimorphic introduces their latest game, The Princess Bride – Multimorphic Team

Gerry Stellenberg
Gerry Stellenberg
The Multimorphic team (L-R) Steve Shoyer, Josh Kugler, Colin MacAlpine & Stephen Silver
The Multimorphic team (L-R) Steve Shoyer, Josh Kugler, Colin MacAlpine & Stephen Silver

Head of Multimorphic, Gerry Stellenberg, introduced the team on stage who are part of the team responsible for the latest new game for the P3 pinball platform, The Princess Bride.

Stephen Silver is the creative lead for the game, with Josh and Steve writing the code and Colin crafting the ruleset. They talked about the features in the game, all the movie assets they were able to call on, plus the additional pinball-specific music and quotes.

Gerry also spoke about the different versions of the game, the new cabinet front artwork and how the cost of a The Princess Bride kit compares to the cost of purchasing a complete new game from other manufacturers.

The Multimorphic team with their The Princess Bride pinball
The Multimorphic team with their The Princess Bride pinball

Each creator talked about their vision for their game, their control system of choice, the motivations they had to complete the project, and the challenges they faced along the way.

4pm – Behind The Game: Foo Fighters – Tanio Klyce

Tanio Klyce
Tanio Klyce

Tanio was the lead coder on the recent Stern Pinball title, Foo Fighters. He said he doesn’t take the lead on too many games – his last was Deadpool – as he usually works on other software including the Insider Connected platform – but was delighted to work with lead designer, Jack Danger, on his first full cornerstone design.

Tanio spoke about the choice of theme, the design process, the way the rules are structured and the overarching storyline wrapping them all together. It was intended Jack Danger would be joining Tanio on-stage at TPF but he had to cancel at the last minute due to a family emergency.

5pm – So You Think You Know Pinball? – Martin Ayub & Jonathan Joosten

So You Think You Know Pinball? hosts Jonathan Joosten and Martin Ayub
So You Think You Know Pinball? hosts Jonathan Joosten and Martin Ayub

Martin and Jonathan returned for another edition of their free prize quiz, held in the Cypress Lounge in the Embassy Suites.

The format was unchanged from previous years, with a series of pinball-related questions, each with two possible answers. Everyone in the audience stood up and took part initially, splitting into two groups depending on which of the two answers they thought was the correct one. Those in the group which got the answer correct continued to the next question, while those who got it wrong sat down for the remainder of this round.

After a series of questions, the number of remaining contestants was reduced to 4 or 5, at which point everyone got to pick a prize ticket from a bowl. The many prizes available to win all had matching tickets, so everyone still in the quiz got the corresponding prize, no matter how big or small it was.

The next round then started with everyone back in the quiz.

Prizes were generously donated by American Pinball, Barrels of Fun, Multimorphic, Jersey Jack Pinball, Spooky Pinball, Christopher Franchi, Dutch Pinball, PinSound, Back Alley Creations, Nitro Pinball, Pinball Magazine, Pinball News, Turner Pinball and Stern Pinball.

The prizes included playfields from Labyrinth and Galactic Tank Force, backglasses from Labyrinth, Legends of Valhalla and Hot Wheels, translites from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Looney Tunes, banners for Elton John and The Godfather, plus lots of T-shirts, bottle openers, plastic sets and more.

6pm – Autograph Session

At 6pm, show guests could bring pinball items they wanted to be signed to the signing table which was set up in the Conference Center’s lobby.

The autograph session
The autograph session

Show speakers were in attendance, armed with Sharpies and ready to sign guest’s personal items or flyers for the games on which they worked.

The session ran for around an hour.

7pm – Let’s Get Looney – Cary Hardy & Spooky Pinball

The Spooky Pinball team
The Spooky Pinball team (L-R): Christopher Franchi, Brad Duke, Corwin Emery, Hilton Jones, Spooky Luke & Ben Heck
Cary Hardy
Cary Hardy

Cary Hardy introduced this panel Q&A about Spooky Pinball and their latest two releases, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Looney Tunes.

They talked about how, despite the two games sharing a single playfield layout, the rules, artwork and assets are all completely different, before explaining the rules design philosophy for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the process which led to Brad becoming the artist for the Looney Tunes game.

8pm – An Evening With George Gomez

George Gomez
George Gomez
The Stern Pinball team (L-R): Dwight Sullivan, Michael Barnard, Mike Vinekour, Tanio Klyce, Rick Nagle, Elizabeth Gieske
The Stern Pinball team (L-R): Dwight Sullivan, Michael Barnard, Mike Vinekour, Tanio Klyce, Rick Nagle, Elizabeth Gieske

George was accompanied by a team from Stern Pinball but began this seminar by talking about the past year at the company before showing some behind-the-scenes pictures of the design team, an early concept for the topper for 007 James Bond and the original arc motion for Bond’s jetpack model.

Several of the panel members then talked about their history in pinball, how they came to be part of the Stern Pinball team, and what they have recently been working on.

The Stern seminar was the final presentation for the 2024 Texas Pinball Festival, but there was still one other event to be hosted in the seminars room.

The band Go-Go Rillas (consisting of Bingo, Bango, Bongo and Fred) took to the stage at 11pm and went bananas for around an hour.

The Go-Go Rillas on stage
The Go-Go Rillas on stage
(picture: Jonathan Joosten)

For those guests who didn’t want to venture too far from the TPF show, there were food trucks set up in the car park just outside the Conference Center’s entrance.

One of the food trucks parked just outside the building's entrance
One of the food trucks parked just outside the building’s entrance
A second food truck
A second food truck

During a gap in the seminars at 1pm resulting from the non-appearance of a speaker, we took the opportunity to record our UHD 4K Tour video of this year’s Texas Pinball Festival.

Obviously, it was a busy time in the show hall, but we managed to navigate our way through the crowds to cover every machine and vendor stand. Plus we explore the corridors, side rooms, seminar room and the tournaments room. We hope you enjoy it.

In the tournaments room, Saturday was a very busy day with the finals of the Kids Bump and Win, the finals of the Classics, and the finals of all three divisions of the Texas Wizards tournament.

Trophies and plaques for the top players in each division
Trophies and plaques for the top players in each division

Kids’ Bump ‘N Win

Qualifying for the Kids’ tournament began at midday on Friday and continued until 2pm on Saturday.

The format was a simple highest score tournament held on Jaws. Players had to be aged 12 or under and they could have up to a maximum of two $5 entries each. Each entry consisted of two games. The highest score they achieved in any game would be their qualifying score.

Trophies for the top four in the Kids' tournament
Trophies for the top four in the Kids’ tournament

When qualifying was over, these were the standings:

Qualifying PositionNamePoints
1Miles Bradley200
2Carter Fell195
3Liam Bradley190
4Orazio Strealy189
5Barrett Ulman188
6Annabelle Warren187
7Noah Archer186
8Lyla Warren185
9Flynn Johnson184
10Kaden Sprague183
11Brandon Chapman182
12Ewan Johnson181
13Sasha Lauzoa180
14Harrison Marx179
15Alana Johnson178
16Ian Steffen177
17Scarlett Marx176
18Riley Steffen175
Qualifying positions in the Kids’ Bump ‘n Win tournament

The top four made it into a single game final, also on the Jaws machine.

In that final, it was a triumphant win for Liam Bradley whose 730M score was way out in front. His nearest competitor was second-placed Miles Bradley who achieved 143.3M. In third place on 75.1M was Carter Fell, while fourth went to Orazio Strealy on 41.8M.

Congratulations to all the players and especially to the four finalists.

Classics

Entry to the Classics Tournament cost $30 for ten games spread across any of the available machines. The player’s best score on 4 different machines made up their overall ranking. The top score on a machine earned 200 points, second place was 195 points, and third 190 points, with each place beyond that earning 1 point less.

The top 24 players qualified for the finals which would be played as 4-player 3-game groups. The top 8 of those received a bye through the first round.

Qualifying PositionPlayer NameScore
1Eric Stone784
2Preston Moncla765
3Geoff Davis745
4Ben Clement740
4Derek Thomson740
6Andrew Foster732
7Bob Caldwell722
8Dan Newman718
9Marc Jackson717
10Daniel Martin712
11Mark Meserve707
12Brian Krivonak706
12Austin Trent706
14Jack Revnew705
15Albert Neumann704
16Garrett Shahan700
17Robert Byers699
17Wesley Johnson699
19David Smith694
20Frank Williamson691
21Michael Bradley684
22Mark Beardsley681
23Mark Pearson679
24Rick Prince677
Classics Tournament qualifiers
The play-offs in the Classics tournament
The play-offs in the Classics tournament

The bottom 16 of the 24 were reduced to 8. They then met the 8 players with the byes to reduce the numbers to 8 and then to the final four who were Eric Stone, Geoff Davis, Mark Meserve and Jack Revnew.

The final of the Classics tournament
The final of the Classics tournament

In the three games of the final, Mark won on Ice Fever, Geoff won on Barracora, and Jack won on Harlem Globetrotters. Jack’s second place on Ice Fever and third on Barracora was enough to earn him the win. Mark was second, while Eric and Geoff were tied for third which Eric won on a tie-breaker on Sorcerer.

Final PositionPlayer Name
1Jack Revnew
2Mark Meserve
3Eric Stone
4Geoff Davis
Classics Tournament top four

The Texas Wizards tournament qualifying, like the Classics, began on Friday morning at 10am. Unlike the Classics though, it continued until 4pm on Saturday, with the play-offs beginning at 5pm.

There were three divisions in the Texas Wizards – A, B and Novice. The top 24 qualifiers made it into the A division, the next 8 who were IFPA-ranked outside the top 500 in the world qualified for the B division, and the next 8 who were IFPA-ranked outside the top 3,000 made it to the Novice division.

Qualifying in the Texas Wizard tournament
Qualifying in the Texas Wizard tournament

The A division qualifiers were:

Qualifying PositionPlayerPoints
1Bowen Kerins2222
2Preston Moncla2187
3Eric Stone2181
4Steven Bowden2140
5Marc Jackson2086
6Garrett Shahan2068
7Robert Byers2064
8Walt Wood2059
9Wesley Johnson1978
10Austin Kemp1974
11Sanjay Shah1971
12Phil Grimaldi1955
13Ben Clement1944
14Brian Easterwood1937
15Andrew Foster1931
16Allen Robertson1924
17Ken Kemp1922
18Jason Newman1919
19Derek Thomson1912
20Derek Price1899
21Matt Wilson1891
22Nicholas Gustafson1869
23Todd MacCulloch1867
24Mark Pearson1846
The 24 qualifiers in the Texas Wizards A division

The B division qualifiers were:

Qualifying PositionPlayerPoints
1Clark McCoy1821
1Geoff Davis1821
3Mikey Raisler1782
4Cory Moren1778
5David Smith1774
6Jon Stewart1766
7Howard Dobson1765
8Michael Hew1762
The 8 qualifiers in the Texas Wizards B division

The Novice division qualifiers were:

Qualifying PositionPlayerPoints
1Bryce Bush1729
2Kelly Moncla1692
3Robert Hooton1685
4Brad DeShong1683
5Shawn Quinn1589
6Sven Johnson1565
7Eamon Balouch1551
8Sam Hall1524
The 8 qualifiers in the Texas Wizards Novice division

All play-offs were played as 4-player 3-game matches, usually on one vintage, one classic and one modern machine, with a 4-2-1-0 points award for 1st-4th places.

Starting with the Novice division, the 8 qualifiers were cut to 4 finalists in the semi-finals. The four finalists were Shawn Quinn, Bryce Bush, Sven Johnson and (after a tie-breaker) Kelly Moncla.

In the final played on Time Machine, Avatar and Kiss, it was a win for Bryce Bush who came top in 2 or the 3 games. Kelly Moncla was second, Sven Johnson was third and Shawn Quinn fourth.

Moving to the B division, the two 4-player semi-finals saw Clark McCoy, Michael Hew, Geoff Davis and Jon Stewart progress to the final.

Their final was played on Viking, Terminator 2 and Jaws, and in a very close contest saw a win for Jon Stewart who won a tie-breaker for first with Clark McCoy. Geoff Davis was third and Michael Hew fourth, with just 1 point separating each position.

In the A division, the top 8 qualifiers had a bye through to the quarter-finals, so the remaining 16 played the first round to reduce that number to 8. The 8 from the first round joined the 8 with a bye in the quarter-finals which reduce those 16 down to the 8 who competed in the semi-finals.

They were: Bowen Kerins, Derek Thomson, Garrett Shahan, Marc Jackson, Preston Moncla, Sanjay Shah, Wesley Johnson and Eric Stone.

The two semi-final resulted in Bowen Kerins, Sanjay Shah, Marc Jackson and Eric Stone going into the final.

Bowen started strongly with a win on Super Spin. Eric was second, Marc third and Sanjay fourth.

Play moved on to Time Machine which was a total reversal of positions on Super Spin, with Sanjay first, Marc second, Eric third and Bowen fourth.

So, going into the third and final game, Metallica, it was 4 points for Bowen and Sanjay, 3 points for Eric and Marc. Whoever won on Metallica would win overall.

Metallica is prepared as the last game of the A division final
Metallica is prepared as the last game of the A division final

Bowen led off, putting together a solid performance on his first two balls for a total of 41M.

Bowen starts the last game of the final
Bowen starts the last game of the final

However, Eric did better and had a 71M total after his first two balls. Neither Sanjay nor Marc put in a great ball, languishing around the 1M mark.

Bowen had another solid ball to bring his three ball total up to 97M. Sanjay improved, but could only reach just shy of 29M after his third ball. Marc improved slightly but remained in fourth on a little under 7M.

Eric began on 71M with Bowen 97M as his target.

Can Eric overtake Bowen's total?
Can Eric overtake Bowen’s total?

Eric started Crank It Up mode, choosing For Whom The Bell Tolls as his song. He collected a 14M pay-off to end the mode thinking it was enough, but it only gave him 95M, with just a small end-of-ball bonus. Not yet enough.

However, a few Lady Justice shots soon saw him reach the target and take the win.

Sanjay congratulates Eric on his win
Sanjay congratulates Eric on his win

So, Eric was first, Bowen second, Sanjay third and Marc fourth.

The top four in the Texas Wizards A division:
The top four in the Texas Wizards A division:
Marc Jackson (4th), Sanjay Shah (3rd), Eric Stone (1st) & Bowen Kerins (2nd)

SUNDAY

Sunday is a much shorter TPF day than Saturday, with the show hall opening at 9am and closing five hours later at 2pm.

We strive to cover all the vendors and machines at the show both in video and in pictures. You can see the video version above shot on Saturday lunchtime, here are the pictures taken the following day. Sadly, although there were still three hours of the show still to go, several vendors had decided to start packing up and heading back home.

Wormhole Pinball had a stand in the corridor selling merchandise and  also ran tournaments
Wormhole Pinball had a stand in the corridor selling merchandise and also ran tournaments
NTX Pinball were also streaming their tournament just outside the seminars room
NTX Pinball were also streaming their tournament just outside the seminars room
Trophies for NTX Pinball's Leprechaun's Gold tournament
Trophies for NTX Pinball’s Leprechaun’s Gold tournament
Team Worldwide were set up next to the registration booth to handle your shipping needs
Team Worldwide were set up next to the registration booth to handle your shipping needs
New this year was a concierge desk to answer guests' questions
New this year was a concierge desk to answer guests’ questions
The Artsy Ninja stand
The Artsy Ninja stand
Delicious Doom were selling lots of sweet treats
Delicious Doom were selling lots of sweet treats
BBZ Customs had artwork and metal wallets on their stand
BBZ Customs had artwork and metal wallets on their stand
8 Bit Dreams had photo coasters and assorted clothing for sale
8 Bit Dreams had photo coasters and assorted clothing for sale
This row of Ritchie pinballs was dedicated to Steve Ritchie, but also included a Mark Ritchie game too
This row of Ritchie pinballs was dedicated to Steve Ritchie, but also included a Mark Ritchie game too
Steve Ritchie was one of the earliest supporters of the Texas Pinball Festival
Steve Ritchie was one of the earliest supporters of the Texas Pinball Festival
The TPF Gift Shop had T-shirts and caps from this year as well as from previous years in addition to tickets for the Texas Pinball Raffle
The TPF Gift Shop had T-shirts and caps from this year as well as from previous years in addition to tickets for the Texas Pinball Raffle
Just outside the doors was a shuttle bus service to and from the National Videogame Museum
Just outside the doors was a shuttle bus service to and from the National Videogame Museum
If you want The Good Stuff in gamer art, this is where to come
If you want The Good Stuff in gamer art, this is where to come
You could get all your Lego parts, sets and figures here at Briciktecture
You could get all your Lego parts, sets and figures here at Briciktecture
Lots more digital art available from the Pixel Art stand
Lots more digital art available from the Pixel Art stand
So many pinballs they couldn't all squeeze into the main hall
So many pinballs they couldn’t all squeeze into the main hall
The same was true for the video games
The same was true for the video games
Meanwhile, in the Bass room, Rob Anthony had his Lock When Lit store set up
Meanwhile, in the Bass room, Rob Anthony had his Lock When Lit store set up

Those were the vendors with stands outside the main hall, but now it’s time to dive inside and see who was on the show floor.

Lord of the Gameroom had an impressively-dressed stand featuring characters from several current titles
Lord of the Gameroom had an impressively-dressed stand featuring characters from several current titles
Hmmm... wonder which game this could be referencing?
Hmmm… wonder which game this could be referencing?
American Pinball also went for height to draw attention to their games
American Pinball also went for height to draw attention to their games
American Pinball had a mix of current and slightly older titles
American Pinball had a mix of current and slightly older titles
Losing your ball can often call for a moment of reflection
Losing your ball can often call for a moment of reflection
American Pinball had three of their new Barry O's Barbecue Challenge games on their stand
American Pinball had three of their new Barry O’s Barbecue Challenge games on their stand
The vendor stands were interspersed with multiple rows of free play machines
The vendor stands were interspersed with multiple rows of free play machines
For one of the so-called 'smaller pinball companies', Spooky Pinball had an impressive display of their titles
For one of the so-called ‘smaller pinball companies’, Spooky Pinball had an impressive display of their titles
Last year they premiered Scooby-Doo here, but this year Scooby was slightly upstaged by newer titles
Last year they premiered Scooby-Doo here, but this year Scooby was slightly upstaged by newer titles
This year's newcomers, Looney Tunes and these The Texas Chainsaw Massacre machines
This year’s newcomers, Looney Tunes and these The Texas Chainsaw Massacre machines
When not appearing in seminars or at the signing session, Christopher Franchi could be found here signing posters, translites, flyers and more
When not appearing in seminars or at the signing session, Christopher Franchi could be found here signing posters, translites, flyers and more
Brad Albright's stand had assorted art as well as a display of the Motörhead artwork he did
Brad Albright’s stand had assorted art as well as a display of the Motörhead artwork he did
Brad with his artwork for the Motörhead pinball
Brad with his artwork for the Motörhead pinball
Comet Pinball has their assortment of various LEDs, rubbers and decals
Comet Pinball has their assortment of various LEDs, rubbers and decals
By Sunday lunchtime Mayfair Amusements had packed up some of their products... and they weren't the only ones
By Sunday lunchtime Mayfair Amusements had already packed up some of their products… and they weren’t the only ones
Wizard Enterprises had their LED pinball nightlights and various oscilloscopes on their stand but now had nothing left to sell
Wizard Enterprises had their LED pinball nightlights and various oscilloscopes on their stand but now had nothing left to sell
Pinball Ranch from Sunrise Beach in Texas had brought a bunch of games to the show
Pinball Ranch from Sunrise Beach in Texas had brought a bunch of games to the show
Game Preserve had a large stand with games and more...
Game Preserve had a large stand with games and more…
Wherever a DeLorean is found...
Wherever a DeLorean is found…
...you can be sure a Back To The Future pinball won't be too far away
…you can be sure a Back To The Future pinball won’t be too far away
After last year's debut of their Twilight Zone topper, The Electric Playground had added Godzilla and The Big Lebowski toppers to their range
After last year’s debut of their Twilight Zone topper, The Electric Playground had added Godzilla and The Big Lebowski toppers to their range
Artwork stand Flint's World was also preparing for the end of the show
Artwork stand Flint’s World was also preparing for the end of the show
Pinball Brothers were represented by their USA division which brought these two Alien Ellen Ripley Edition machines
Pinball Brothers were represented by their USA division which brought these two Alien Ellen Ripley Edition machines
And also this sole Queen pinball
And also this sole Queen pinball
In addition to co-hosting the Stern Pinball collection with Marco, FUN! had their own stand with games from several manufacturers
In addition to co-hosting the Stern Pinball collection with Marco, FUN! had their own stand with games from several manufacturers
Some of the DMD pinballs on the FUN! stand
Some of the DMD pinballs on the FUN! stand
More games from alternate manufacturers
More games from alternate manufacturers
Jersey Jack Pinball were going big on their latest Elton John pinball
Jersey Jack Pinball were going big on their latest Elton John pinball
The topper on the Collector's Edition
The topper on the Collector’s Edition
The Elton John machines were mixed with other JJP titles
The Elton John machines were mixed with other JJP titles
The Jersey Jack Pinball stand
The Jersey Jack Pinball stand
After their reveal at Pinball Expo in October, Turner Pinball were back with the latest iteration of their Ninja Eclipse game
After their reveal at Pinball Expo in October, Turner Pinball were back with the latest, more-conventional iteration of their Ninja Eclipse game
More free play machines
More free play machines
A beautifully restored Granny and the Gators pinball/video combo
A beautifully restored Granny and the Gators pinball/video combo
The nearby National Videogame Museum also had a stand at the show
The nearby National Videogame Museum also had a stand at the show

As well as running the swap meet, the DFW Pinball & Arcade Club also brought a great selection of machines for show guests to enjoy.

Machines from the DFW Pinball and Arcade Club
Machines from the DFW Pinball and Arcade Club

The History Of Pinball exhibit had grown this year with more machines for guests to play and learn about pinball’s origins.

The History Of Pinball exhibit
The History Of Pinball exhibit
A few of the exhibits
A few of the exhibits
Even more of the exhibits
Even more of the exhibits
1934's Lightning by Exhibit Supply Co.
1934’s Lightning by Exhibit Supply Co.
Also from 1934 is this Deluxe Relay
Also from 1934 is this Deluxe Relay
Find out more on their website
Find out more on their website
The Multimorphic stand featured thirteen P3 machines
The Multimorphic stand featured thirteen P3 machines
Another five P3 pinballs on the Multimorphic stand
Another five P3 pinballs on the Multimorphic stand
Three The Princess Bride P3 machines
Three The Princess Bride P3 machines
The team on the Multimorphic stand
The team on the Multimorphic stand
On the Arcade Things stand you could get... well... arcade things
On the Arcade Things stand you could get… well… arcade things
Star Trek games through the ages
Star Trek games through the ages
AVS Home Arcade can supply your gameroom needs
AVS Home Arcade can supply your gameroom needs
After a busy show, the PinSound team were ready to pack up and fly home
After a busy show, the PinSound team were ready to pack up and fly home
Double Danger had their usual extensive range of pinball shirts
Double Danger had their usual extensive range of pinball shirts
It was good to see Pinball Armor back and available at the show
It was good to see Pinball Armor back and available at the show
The Pinball Place had brought a nice selection of games
The Pinball Place had brought a nice selection of games
Chris Munroe had his regular stand at the back of the hall
Chris Munroe had his regular stand at the back of the hall
More video and skill games to play
More video and skill games to play
Barrels of Fun had three Labyrinth machines on their stand - all with animated toppers
Barrels of Fun had three Labyrinth machines on their stand – all with animated toppers
The team on the Barrels of Fun stand
The team on the Barrels of Fun stand
Super Skill Shot had their custom shooter rods and launch buttons on their stand
Super Skill Shot had their custom shooter rods and launch buttons on their stand
Lighted Pinball Mods has their usual impressive display of illuminated add-ons
Lighted Pinball Mods has their usual impressive display of illuminated add-ons
Pixelated Princess offered hundreds of video game character stand-ups
Pixelated Princess offered hundreds of video game character stand-ups
The buzz around homebrew games continues to build, so this area was popular throughout the show
The buzz around homebrew games continues to build, so this area was popular throughout the show
FAST Pinball were demonstrating their pinball control system
FAST Pinball were demonstrating their pinball control system
Swords of Vengeance is a 2.0 kit for Swords of Fury
Swords of Vengeance is a 2.0 kit for Swords of Fury
Beavis and Butt-Head Do Pinball
Beavis and Butt-Head Do Pinball
SAW
SAW
Friday The 13th
Friday The 13th
Animal House
Animal House
Eight Ball Beyond
Eight Ball Beyond
Mechwarrior 5 Mercenary Pinball
Mechwarrior 5 Mercenary Pinball

Stern Pinball, as represented by Marco Specialties and FUN!, had the largest stand at the show this year at 45ft x 70ft.

The Jaws-themed Stern Pinball stand
The Jaws-themed Stern Pinball stand
The stand featured a mix of Pro and Premium models
The stand featured a mix of Pro and Premium models
The theming was nicely done
The theming was nicely done
It wasn't exclusively Jaws though
It wasn’t exclusively Jaws though
In fact, quite a few titles were available to play
In fact, quite a few titles were available to play
In 'Mod Alley', Back Alley Creations had the largest selection
In ‘Mod Alley’, Back Alley Creations had the largest selection
More of the Back Alley Creations mods available
More of the Back Alley Creations mods available
Evolution Mods had animated LED strips
Evolution Mods had animated LED strips
Pinball Pro had lots more mods in addition to their signature replacement speakers line
Pinball Pro had lots more mods in addition to their signature replacement speakers line
Mezel Mods also had dozens of finely-crafted models for your game
Mezel Mods also had dozens of finely-crafted models for your game
Pinball Pimp had show specials of game banners as well as selling their wide range of decals
Pinball Pimp had show specials of game banners as well as selling their wide range of decals
Kimballs Pinballs were showing off this spectacular The Avengers: Infinity Quest game
Kimballs Pinballs were showing off this spectacular The Avengers: Infinity Quest game
Precision Pinball Parts were selling their engineered alloy flipper sets
Precision Pinball Parts were selling their engineered alloy flipper sets
Nitro Pinball had all the latest games from several manufacturers
Nitro Pinball had all the latest games from several manufacturers
Including two from Spooky and one from Barrels of Fun
Including two from Spooky and one from Barrels of Fun
And games from American Pinball, Chicago Gaming and Jersey Jack
And games from American Pinball, Chicago Gaming and Jersey Jack
Player One Amusement Group also brough along a mixed bunch of new titles, many of which sold at the show
Player One Amusement Group also brough along a mixed bunch of new titles, many of which sold at the show
Rocket City Pinball were also selling lots of custom shooter and start buttons amongst other add-ons
Rocket City Pinball were also selling lots of custom shooter and start buttons amongst other add-ons
Starship Fantasy had already packed away most of their large range of ramps
Starship Fantasy had already packed away most of their large range of ramps
Balls of Steel Pinball and Don's Pinball Podcast were sharing a stand
Balls of Steel Pinball and Don’s Pinball Podcast were sharing a stand
Bob Herbison and Ken Head were exhibiting their restorations
Bob Herbison and Ken Head were exhibiting their restorations
Bob Herbison on his and Ken Head's stand
Bob Herbison on his and Ken Head’s stand
Pinball Wheezer's stand sold all kinds of branded clothing and accessories
Pinball Wheezer’s stand sold all kinds of branded clothing and accessories
Chicago Gaming brought six Pulp Fiction machines for their stand
Chicago Gaming brought six Pulp Fiction machines for their stand
Hangar Pinball took a stand for their games in the front corner of the hall
Hangar Pinball took a stand for their games in the front corner of the hall
More free play games being enjoyed
More free play games being enjoyed

Sunday in the tournaments room means the Texas Takedown Women’s Pinball Championship.

Qualifying took place from 9am until noon, with entry costing $20. There were 68 places available, with all being registered before the start. Additional players were put on a waitlist.

Players played in 8 rounds of 4-player groups, with groups and machines played chosen by the Matchplay tournament software. 3-2-1-0 points were awarded for the finishing positions in each match.

The commentary team and audience for the Texas Takedown Tournament
The commentary team and audience for the Texas Takedown Tournament

After all 8 rounds had been played, the four players with the most points moved on to the final.

They were:
1. Danielle Peck (24 pts.)
2. Tracy Abrahams (19 pts.)
3. Lexi Whittemore (18 pts.)
4. Louise Wagensonner (17.5 pts.)

The final consisted of three games held on the machines Spin Out, Whirlwind and Metallica using a 4-2-1-0 scoring format.

After the first two games, Lexi Whittemore was leading with 6 points, Danielle Peck was close behind on 5 points, Louise Wagensonner had 3 points and Tracy Abrahams had yet to score.

With only Danielle left to play her final ball, Louise had a strong lead with Lexi in last place. It looked likely there would be a tie for first place on 7 points, but Danielle put in a very strong final ball to overtake Louise’s score and seal the win.

Danielle Peck plays the last ball of the Texas Takedown final
Danielle Peck plays the last ball of the Texas Takedown final

The final standing were:
1. Danielle Peck (9 pts.)
2. Lexi Whittemore (6 pts.)
3. Louise Wagensonner (5 pts.)
4. Tracy Abrahams (1 pt.)

Winner of the Texas Takedown Women's Pinball Championship 2024, Danielle Peck
Winner of the Texas Takedown Women’s Pinball Championship 2024, Danielle Peck
The top four in the Texas Takedown Women's Pinball Championship 2024
The top four in the Texas Takedown Women’s Pinball Championship 2024
(Lexi Whittemore, Danielle Peck, Louise Wagensonner & Tracy Abrahams)

When the main hall closes, a presentation ceremony begins in the seminars room where awards are given for the Best-in-Show machines in 14 categories and the draw for the raffle prize pinball machine takes place.

The Best-in-Show awards
The Best-in-Show awards

First though, TPF show organisers Paul McKinney and Robert Harris thanked everyone for coming and thanked all the many vendors, machine owners and show guests who make the Texas Pinball Festival what it is.

Paul McKinney and Robert Harris
Paul McKinney and Robert Harris

The duo then handed the mic to Bill Morrison who, as a member of the judging panel, had selected the runners-up and winners of the Best-in-Show awards this year.

Bill Morrison a.k.a. The Mayor
Bill Morrison a.k.a. The Mayor

Here’s the full list of categories, runners-up and winners.

Best Antique (Pre-1960)
Runners-Up: Relay Deluxe (History of Pinball) & Mystic Marvel (Bob Herbison)
Winner: Cinderella (Stephen Wylie & Stacey Devin)
Winners of Best Antique: Stephen Wylie & Stacey Devin
Winners of Best Antique: Stephen Wylie & Stacey Devin
Best 1960s
Runners-Up: Flipper Fair (John Kemp) & Ice Revue (Empire Pinball)
Winner: Cow Poke (Ken Head)
Winner of Best 1960s: Ken Head
Winner of Best 1960s: Ken Head
Best 1970s Electromechanical
Runners-Up: Fan-Tas-Tic (Tim Finley) & Cleopatra (Louis Marx)
Winner: T.K.O. (Empire Pinball)
Winners of Best 1970s Electromechanical: Empire Pinball
Winners of Best 1970s Electromechanical: Empire Pinball
Best 1970s/1980s Electronic
Runners-Up: Earthshaker! (Cary Hardy) & Nugent (Kevin Moore)
Winner: F-14 Tomcat (Micah Perini)
Best 1990s
Runners-Up: Monster Bash (Eric Smith) & Theatre of Magic (David Kemp)
Winner: Indiana Jones (Kevin Moore)
Winner of Best 1990s: Kevin Moore
Winner of Best 1990s: Kevin Moore
Best 2000s
Runners-Up: Monopoly (Unknown) & Wheel of Fortune (Brandon Haney)
Winner: Austin Powers (Hangar Pinball)
Winner of Best 2000s: Hangar Pinball
Winner of Best 2000s: Hangar Pinball
Best Modern (2010-Present)
Runners-Up: Metallica (Hangar Pinball) & The Avengers: Infinity Quest (Kim Keist)
Winner: Jaws (Bobby Niefer)
Winner of Best Modern: Bobby Niefer
Winner of Best Modern: Bobby Niefer
Best Original
Runners-Up: Space Station (John Daniel) & Terminator 2 (Unknown)
Winner: Future Queen (Tim Hood)
Winner of Best Original: Tim Hood
Winner of Best Original: Tim Hood
Best Newcomer
Runners-Up: Rocky (Marshall Dixon) & Whitewater (Damon White)
Winner: Granny & The Gators (Justin Barren)
Winner of Best Newcomer: Justin Barren
Winner of Best Newcomer: Justin Barren
Best Restoration
Runners-Up: Cyclone (Rick Ward) & Bad Cats (Unknown)
Winner: Batman Forever (Ben Bassinger)
Winner of Best Restoration: Ben Bassinger
Winner of Best Restoration: Ben Bassinger
Best Custom Pinball
Runners-Up: Eight Ball Beyond (Sean Irby) & Motörhead (David Peck)
Winner: SAW (Eric Klotz)
Winner of Best Custom Pinball: Eric Klotz & the SAW team
Winner of Best Custom Pinball: Eric Klotz & the SAW team
Best Classic Arcade Video Game
Runners-Up: Galaga Cabaret (Unknown) & Donkey Kong Cabaret (Eric Stinson)
Winner: Shuuz (Unknown)
Best Custom/Innovative Video Game
Runner-Up: Light Cycles 3-D (Estil Vance)
Winner: Space Paranoids (Estil Vance)
Winner of the Custom/Innovative Video Game: Estil Vance
Winner of the Custom/Innovative Video Game: Estil Vance

The final award went to the Best-in-Show Grand Champion for the best overall pinball or video game at TPF.

Grand Champion
Winner: Friday the 13th (Kyle Smet)
Winner of the Best-in-Show Grand Champion: Kyle Smet
Winner of the Best-in-Show Grand Champion: Kyle Smet

The final part of the show to be decided was the winner of the Texas Pinball Raffle, with all proceeds going to benefit the nearby National Videogame Museum.

The grand prize was a new Elton John pinball machine.

The grand prize in the Texas Pinball Raffle
The grand prize in the Texas Pinball Raffle

Raffle tickets were $5 each of 5 for $20 and they could be purchased from the show merchandise desk just outside the show hall entrance.

All entries were collected in the ticket drum, from which the winning ticket was drawn. The winner needed to be present to claim their prize.

The ticket drum is spun
The ticket drum is spun
The name on the winning ticket is read out
The name on the winning ticket is read out

The name read out was Christine Busick, and fortunately she was in the room, along with her husband, to claim her prize.

The winner of the Grand Prize: Christine Busick
The winner of the Grand Prize: Christine Busick

With the grand prize awarded, this year’s Texas Pinball Festival was officially over.

Out in the main hall and in the corridors, vendors and game bringers were packing everything away for the journey home.

The Stern/Marco/FUN! stand is dismantled
The Stern/Marco/FUN! stand is dismantled
Machines are rolled back to the loading bay for the trip home
Machines are rolled back to the loading bay for the trip home

We hope you have enjoyed our bumper coverage of the 2024 Texas Pinball Festival. With over 300 pictures and 35 minutes of 4K video, it’s been one of our most in-depth show reports yet.

After being a week earlier than usual in 2024, for next year the show returns to its more usual March dates, on 21st-23rd March, 2025.

Naturally, we’ll be back in Frisco to bring you all the action from the 2025 Texas Pinball Festival, right here at Pinball News.

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5 Comments

  1. Jim Hicks

    15th March, 2024 at 4:57pm

    Awesome overview. Thanks Martin! I’m bummed that I had to cancel because of a blizzard so I’ll live vicariously through your coverage. If you have an opportunity to focus on Looney Tunes a bit that would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply

  2. Phil Bradshaw

    20th March, 2024 at 5:36pm

    For the average job 6 pack player and attender of the show it would be nice to know where to find the award winners and even the competitors results on the same medium in a timely manner.

    I keep checking Cary’s YouTube- nothing. And Nothing on TPF website- which is weird.

    Reply

    • Pinball News

      20th March, 2024 at 11:24pm

      We are continuing to add more and more content to our show report, Phil.
      We still have to add pictures of all the vendor stands plus the tournament results. Those will be coming very soon, but we do have all the Best-in-Show award winners and the Texas Pinball Raffle grand prize winner in the report right now.

      Reply

  3. Troy Stevens

    23rd March, 2024 at 10:10am

    Martin what an amazing detailed wrap of Texas Pinball Festival 2024, thank you much appreciated 👍😎.

    More importantly it was a pleasure to attend (all the way from Australia) as it was meeting you and having lunch with you on one of the days.

    Keep up your awesome work.

    Reply

    • Pinball News

      23rd March, 2024 at 10:51am

      Great spending some time with you, Troy. Hope you had an amazing time at the show and got to enjoy some decent IPAs during your trip.

      Reply

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