Our next Trading Card Spotlight features Łukasz Dziatkiewicz who currently is displayed on card number 3170, from the Superstars of 2019 Collection. Łukasz is a freelance journalist, President of the Polish Pinball Association (PSF), IFPA Polish Country Director and a partner of the Jersey Jack Pinball Flipper Club in Bytom. As an expert, Łukasz has appeared on radio and TV dozens of times to discuss his pinball views. Łukasz has a huge billiard collection – collection of over hundreds of objects includes pictures, advertisements, documents, postcards, prints, posters, models, games and accessories, etc. even some billiard tables. Part of the collection are bagatelles, including real billiard bagatelle, which is a pinball forerunner. You can find Łukasz on many different websites including Flippery.com.pl | Polskie Stowarzyszenie Flipperowe.
When did you become the president of the Polish Pinball Association and how long have you been in that role?
Officially in 2014. But before that I was chief of a less formal Polish pinball association. And help in organizing Polish Pinball Championships. Then, step by step, become the main organizer. And chief of PSF (Polish Pinball Association): Flippery.com.pl | Polskie Stowarzyszenie Flipperowe
Do you remember your first pinball machine you played and what do you remember about it?
Sure, as I was a kid. It was between 1978-1980 (I’m 1972). “Four Million B.C.” 1971, Bally. I remember it because of the dinosaur theme. So, I loved them before it was cool. I have no idea how to play. But video games were much more fascinating. Later I remember girls with big boobs and other “bigs” on pins. Real pinball love became during studies in the beginning of 90’. New time (capitalism and freedom in whole Eastern Europe) and new DMD pinballs. This time starting my love to “Shadow”! I got it
Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a video game trading card?
No, that was shock! It was some time after my article about Walter Day for polish video game magazine called “Pixel”. I proposed to Walter to honor also Robert Łapiński, who is publisher of this magazine. He has started as organizer of video game event (mainly retro gaming) called Pixel Heaven (https://www.pixelheavenfest.com/). Then created “Pixel”. After some time, he bought the magazine “PSX Extreme” (we have in Poland three printed video game magazines, not bad right? Robert is our mogul.
What is your opinion of pinball in the United States and how do you compare to Poland?
Poland is a middle size country in Europe 31 years after communism. That’s why we are generally not so rich as western countries. We have 4 big arcade places. So, comparing with USA… or even Western Europe. I love Sunshine & Laundromat in NYC but prefer an old, first form with no bar. That was more interesting than pinball/arcade museums or specializing clubs. Why? Because it was real! Authentic!!! Living place. When I saw it – I was shocked! Especially because it was in a main Polish neighborhood in NYC called Greenpoint. I was walking on the street and can’t believe my eyes. Some pinball neon signs and watchmaker (some Polish lady!) in the front. And their top pinball games, even “Bing Bang Bar” in such good conditions and quite cheap for credits. So, some people came just for laundry, some (like me) just to play pinball, some did both. IT WAS SO COOL!
Did you agree on the pinball ban in New York City in the 1970s? What is your opinion on this topic?
As I know most people (I mean pinball fans) don’t know that there were some pinball-like gambling machines. I don’t like gambling but there were and are some connections (especially producers). Of course, this law against real pinball was absurd. We in Poland have a VERY BIG PROBLEM with that. Many people and also from the media understand the word (term) flipper (as we call the whole pinball machine like in many other languages) as gambling machine! I wrote two official documents (as president of Polish Pinball Machines) just 2 days ago: what flipper (pinball) is, that is not gambling etc. because one guy has a problem with renting some place for pinball. Sometimes Poles called pinball: bilard (Polish name for billiard) or bilard elektryczny (electric billiard) which was an official translation for a long time. Also problematic is the name arkadówka (arcade machine). Most fans, I mean fans of video arcade machines, use it as a synonym of… only video arcade games. As you see we have some PROBLEMS. Why? After World War II we had communism in Poland – no arcade machines at all! It was changed in the beginning of 70’ when Poland was opened for Western things for example: Coke / Pepsi and Marlboro. Some of such products (especially imported not made in Poland on licenses) were sell in special shops (called Pewex: short for Przedsiębiorstwo Eksportu Wewnętrznego – Internal Export Company: was a chain of shops founded in 1972, during the Communist era in Poland that accepted payment only in United States dollars and other hard currencies, instead of the country’s indigenous currency, the Złoty https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pewex). Of course, these shops sold products (also Polish) for much more higher prizes. Typical man earned 20-30$. Monthly! Everything (shops, factories etc) belonged to the government. I write all of this to paint you a little how sick this system was.
When did you first meet or talk with Walter Day and where was it at?
We have never met, no occasion. But I hope we will. It would be awesome to invite him to Poland.
What was the best era for pinball gaming in your opinion?
1990’s dot matrix games. And 21 centuries (after JJP has started) when so many tournaments and events were organized, new companies etc. Real pinball renaissance! I saw how it was coming, I mean because of growing our main event: Polish Pinball Championships. More and more players, after some time also from other countries.
In your opinion, are there enough or too little pinball magazines and conferences?
Media – I don’t know. There are so many sources on the Internet but only two printed magazines. I love printing media, but we are in the 21st century, so… Conferences, I have never occasion to attend any. This is a free market, so it works as usual.
Which company makes/made the best pinball machines and why?
Williams, second Bally. Presently JJP but some Sterns are great, and I didn’t have occasion to play Spooky and other companies. Just two games on “Lebowski”, nice one!
How many members in the Polish Pinball Association and what does it mean to be a member?
Several dozens. It means that you love pinball and pinball tournaments. Main value is our website: www.flippery.com.pl . Our expert Waldemar Banasik, who is global (worldly) class expert and author of 3 books, writes there about pinball news and history. We also organize tournaments in the only tournament place in Poland which is JJP Flipper Club in Bytom. https://www.facebook.com/JerseyJackPinballFlipperClub
I’m partner of it. Jack Guarnieri was our guest!
Before that I’ve visited him twice. And even wrote about it in English: https://www.pinballnews.com/learn/jjpinterview/index.html
What’s your opinion of the console pinball games (Xbox, PlayStation) that recreate the original machines onto the TV screen?
I’m not a big fan of them but I know that these are very popular. And I don’t play new video games. But when I had some occasion, it was cool. Of course, nothing compares to real pinball. For some pinball players conversions of real machines are a good way to practice or understand machine – rules. This is absolutely awesome!
What are your opinions about today’s generation of pinball? How do you compare them to older, classic machines?
Generally, very generally, too complicated. For me best is “Shadow” with the average level of complication. I would call it medium. This is my favorite pin, I got it (in JJP Flipper Club with 5 other games) and never sell it. I’m not a big fan of EM, not my time, but for a great tournament. Such emotions!
If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?
Genius! If I can use more words: such a nice person, so helpful, patience and so modest.
What is your favorite pinball machine past and present and why?
As I said “Shadow”, from the premiere of it. If can choose some more, would be “Tron”, “Hobbit, “TOTAN”
Are you fan of the new digital pinball machines and what makes them better or worse than the standard machines?
As I said, too complicated for me. I also like DOT MATRIX display, some sentiment, relic of good old days.
What does it take to be a pinball journalist?
Earn no money… If at an event and you are the organizer, media and player… I made it many times, exhausted. But I love pinball and popularization of this game. This is also different to write for pinball fans or just for ordinary people. I did both. I’m talking about Poland, but I wrote for Pinball News some articles (Martin Ayub had some work with that, thank you my friend!) and one or two for “Pinball Journal”.
Do you prefer playing pinball alone or against someone and why?
Definitely with someone and not even with some people. Tournament is a cool thing! So at least 8-10 people. I won just one and was so happy.
Do you learn anything from playing pinball?
Practice makes perfect! More serious. Pinball is so much different than other games and sports in that sense, that hundreds (thousands?) titles are possible in tournaments! And each piece is different. I remember when I came to the first tournament in the UK. “Get away”? No problem, I got it at my house. Man! It was a disaster! Same machine but so different!
Are pinball machines good for relieving stress?
If I win – yes! If not. (I used to have some injuries or pains. And still on the wall (behind pinball) “some” marks (signs)…
Where do you see pinball in the next 20 years?
20? I have no idea about 10, but I am afraid that virtual reality would be so perfect that it would be cheaper and so much easier than real pins. Like many other “things” like… sex. Existing? Fascinating? Yes, but I am not sure if I want to check it.
This is one of an ongoing series of articles based on the Walter Day Collection of e-sports/video gaming trading cards – check out more information at thewalterdaycollection.com.