We have always talked about the retro gaming world and how it has effected us in a positive or negative way. But there is another level that we have not even tapped the subject on. The one type of gaming that was there even before the first video games….. Pinball.
This is probably one of the most evolved type of gaming that was created in the arcade. Every time you go into an arcade and see a pinball machine, you will notice that no two tables are alike.. Normally. (Exception of when they took the Family Guy Pinball and converted it directly to a Shrek machine. Same machine, just different graphics and definitely not as offensive as Family Guy. But out of all the arcade games I have owned or played, the one thing that I have always wanted was a pinball machine. There is something about having a table at your own home so you can practice to get better and better. A lot of people that I know in the industry have several machines in their collection. But the problem is they always want more or the latest games.
But for someone like me at this time, I have to go to the local arcade and pop the quarters, or slide the card to play. I’m ok with that for now. But a few months ago, while playing in the arcade, I was approached by someone who was running a pinball league and asked me if I wanted to join. I did not hesitate to join at all. Paying $1 fee each week and then just paying to play the games was good enough for me. But a couple times a month, they have a Knockout Tournament on a Friday night or other special days assigned. And as reluctant as I was to go last week, I did. I had a choice between that or Ant-man and the Wasp. I waited until Saturday for that. And it is AWESOME!!!! But back to the tournament.
There were only four people that were signed up to play which mad me think I actually had a chance of winning the tournament, Two out of the four players are actually top ranked Iowa players. No pressure there. It was at a bar, so I ordered a drink and waited my turn to play. The machines we played were Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Trek, Game of Thrones, Mid-Evil Madness, Aerosmith, Walking Dead, Star Wars, Spiderman, Iron Man and Attack From Mars. The rules were simple, the bottom two scores each game get a strike and if you get five strikes, you are out. Fair enough. It turned out to be a very long night. It started at 8PM and went to about 11:45. But as we were playing, it looked like there was absolutely no hope for me. I did great the first game and probably every other game, but I seriously didn’t think I was doing that good.
One player was knocked out that left me against the two high ranked players. But as the night went along, it was down to two… Myself and Cody McQuiston, an individual who pretty much had the majority of high scores on most of the machines. I shook his hand because I really wanted to go up against him in a challenge. But when you play, it’s not about going up against someone else, it’s about going up against the machine and this one evil nemesis called gravity. The final match was the best 3 of 5. I had really never thought I’d be in this position. But here we go.
Mid-Evil Madness was the first game and the only thing that stood in the way of him winning was not even 100,000 points. It was extremely close. Things just were in my favor because the Trolls kept popping up. I had two different multi-balls. That really helped.
Walking Dead was a no brainer who won that one. I have never really played it. Maybe I should practice these machines more often. I didn’t get more than 30 million. Stupid ball kept hitting the fat zombie and dropping right down the center of the table. But for Cody, it was a piece of cake. He hit the high score with over 1 billion. The battle was his.
Next was Star Trek. Now I’m going to admit, I kinda thought I had the one up on his because I have the Stern Pinball Collection on my Playstation 4. I hold all records on my machine at home. Most loops, highest score. I considered myself a wizard with the Playstation 4. But at the arcade, it Is a completely different story. I did well with the Klingon Multi-ball and also the Vengeance Multi-ball. But every time it started, the balls kept dropping on the right side to the hole or right down the center. Yeah got crushed on this one also by 20 million. Anyone who tells you that virtual pinball and real pinball are the same are idiots! Cause I am one.
Fourth and possibly the final game, Spider-Man. I really want to take a moment to thank Stern for creating challenging machines that only I can accomplish on a good day. And once again, this was not one of them. A few multi-balls here and there, but it just wasn’t enough. I will be honest that I have never played this machine either. I always walked by it, but I was never attracted to it after getting hosed by Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy.
But we played a total of four machines and THEN he started to give me pointers. Where the heck were these pointers before?!?!?! Oh well, live and learn. But the tournament was over and he got his prize money. But as I was walking away, he handed me $6. I didn’t know what that was for. He said it was second place. That really caught me off guard. So in the end, I played pinball for almost four hours and got 1 free drink out of it. That was the cost of my drink.
Will I go back and play again? I was supposed to go Monday night but I was too tired. But I will be back! Oh yes, I will be back to play and possibly become the next pinball championship. I emphasize possibly, because let’s face it…… I suck at pinball!!!!