Skip to content

A little fun

August 26, 2015

Found this tape dispenser at work in a dusty box.  It’s old, made of metal and weighs a ton. It doesn’t slide all over the table like the stuff we have today.  It comes from an era when taping stuff was far more of a daily task, and consumers demanded a more satisfying taping experience!  A more elegant adhesive device for a more civilized age.

Something about it endeared itself to me.  There’s a warehouse in the back of my office space so I decided to make this a little lunchtime project.

7

First, I cleaned it up.  This tape dispenser has obviously seen some action.  Oh if it could speak. What stories could it tell!

1

Next, I sanded off the original paint. First with 80 grit, then 120, then 320. With such a small thing, it made for quick work.

I looked up this particular model.  It was made by 3M back in the 1950s!  3M was originally known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company.

8

Then I hit it with the buffing wheel and some jeweler’s rouge.  The metal was surprisingly soft and workable. It was so shiny after buffing, my cell phone had trouble focusing.

2

Next I hit it with a coat of primer.  I went to the local Michael’s and picked up some model paint.  Probably a dumb move – model paint is ridiculously over-priced.  But anyway, then I shot it with a coat of gold.

3

Next I masked off some of the gold with scrap-booking tape.  Then I shot it with many coats of metallic red.  The glitter doesn’t really show in the photos, and looks like imperfections, but it’s super shiny and rad.  I decided to go with an EM/Woodrail cabinet art kind of theme.  My masking technique leaves a bit to be desired, but not bad for a first effort.

6

Then I hit it with a few clear coats.  After a few days, the clear coat was set up so I wet-sanded with 1500 grit to take out some of the orange peel.  Then I polished out the wet sand with some Meguir’s auto swirl remover.  Then I put on a coat of wax.

Voila!  Nice and shiny!

5

Now I can tape stuff like a KING.  I’m the envy of, well, no one.  But like a KING!

4

Pinball is in Another World

August 12, 2015

Jersey Jack Pinball Gets Windfall Investment

August 8, 2015

The money from Leonard Abess Jr. will allow Jersey Jack to ramp up production and help it fill 1,500 pre-orders of its next game, “The Hobbit,” the company’s owner said.

http://www.app.com/story/money/business/main-street/2015/08/07/jersey-jack-pinball-investment/31302953/

The rumor mill was that JJP was in question financially so this is great news.  I got to see The Hobbit at ReplayFX last week and the game looks fantastic.  I can’t wait for it to hit the streets so I can try it out.

Cartoon Network Pinball Promo Bumper

August 7, 2015

Pinburgh/ReplayFX 2015

August 5, 2015

So, went to Pinburgh again this year. It was my third time going and a way different experience from previous years as it’s now married to the ReplayFX Game Show.  Pinball, video games, console games, board games, cosplay and seminars all converged at the massive Carnegie Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh.  It’s a decidedly upscale evolution, and while I’d rather be drinking in the parking lot at the PAPA headquarters in Carnegie instead of sipping micro-brews at swanky rooftop beer garderns, the loss of a little down-home charm was forgettable in the wake of an overall vastly superior gaming experience.  It was just better in every single way with 650 players in the Pinburgh tournament, video game tournaments and double the number of pins and vids at the show.

I wasn’t planning on going but ran into a few friends at the Ditka Charity tourney at Phoenix Games in Concord on the day registration opened, and enough people asked me “Have you registered for Pinburgh?!” that I decided “eh, why not?”  Initially it sold out fast, within 24 hours, but a lot of people backed out, despite the huge 700 player cap (400 in previous years).  I figured if I decided not to go I could always back out.

Over time, it seemed like a better and better idea. I turned 40 a couple weeks before and figured this would be a nice birthday present to myself.  I took a week off work, got their early and really made a trip of it.

Below are my random pics of the trip in mostly random order.

2015-07-27_20-29-58_609

The view outside my room. Pittsburgh has some great architecture.

2015-08-03_20-26-14_222

George Bush statue exhibit at Houston airport.  I can’t even.

2015-08-02_20-25-49_353

Guess I’ll bring my own t.p. if I go to N. Dakota.

2015-08-02_16-59-00_667

Billy Mitchell!!!  Complete with giant ’80s mic.

2015-08-02_16-29-22_587

They say that given enough mass in the universe, there’s an exact duplicate of you somewhere.  This might be Tim Hansen’s…

2015-08-02_15-44-56_210

Koi Morris on Gorgar was definitely in the spirit of the event and relaxing after competition on Sunday.  I played that same Gorgar in my last round on Thursday and beat it up pretty good for 600k+.  It was playing great!

2015-08-02_11-54-52_596

Billy Mitchell!!!!  I was surprised how tall he is in person.  He has a formidable presence you don’t really see in pinball. I liked it!

2015-08-02_11-17-06_899

2015-08-02_09-34-16_650

Lexi Lightspeed, by Multimorphic P3.  Fun game and had great flow.  I talked to Gerry Stellenberg for a bit and he remembered me from PPE 2012 where he used my camera rig to show off his prototype.  Things have come a long way since and the game is now in a proper cabinet with amazing graphics, sound and rules.  I asked when he plans to sell them and he said, “When it’s ready.”

2015-08-02_09-33-45_691

The Medieval Madness Remake was on display and available for play, but I got to the show a little too early to play it on Sunday and when I came back it was gone. Sad face.

2015-08-02_09-32-57_178

‘Hercules’, the largest mass production game ever made was out in the lobby. I first saw this game at the Nugget Casino on a Reno trip when I was around 11 years old.  It was so big I could barely reach the flipper buttons.

2015-08-02_09-30-38_155

A blurry photo (sorry) of the game floor from the sky-way above.  As you can see, it wasn’t very crowded.  And as you can also see, there were a lot of games.  I ran into Bob Matthews, an old school tournament legend going back to the late-70s tourneys and he told me Pinburgh would break the record for the biggest pinball tournament, which he attended in the early ’80s!

2015-08-02_09-28-35_124

This was the view outside the convention overlook on the 3rd floor, where you could take a break from the action.  It was relaxing and serene.  I even took a nap between rounds at one point.

With this massive show that included pinball, video games and console games, there’s no doubt that aficionados will compare Pinburgh/ReplaxFX with California Extreme. To west coast friends who missed it, I can say it was sort of a like a dream event. There were few or no waits for games and so many great games to play, you had your pick.  I played ten in a row on Full Throttle.  I played America’s Most Haunted for four games before I even had to play a 2-player.

It’s the first year of this show, and obviously it needs to build local traction, as all shows do.  I ran into Bowen Kerins and asked him about it, and he told me that PAPA definitely has a plan.  They have billboards, contacted the local news media and so on. I have no doubt that if they keep at it this show will get big and extremely popular.  But as my friend Darren said, “I was there first.”

2015-08-01_23-24-11_116

Outside the show was a picture-perfect homage to 80’s gaming, complete with 8-bit Nintendo, a tube-TV, embarrassing family photos, and a DOS6 book on the coffee table.

2015-08-01_22-48-51_348

Billy-freakin-Mitchell!!!

B2015-07-30_12-00-02_590

ReplayFX also featured a DonkeyKong World Champion Tournament with tourney cams.

2015-07-30_12-11-44_892

Pinburgh Competition aisle before play got under way.

2015-07-30_16-22-55_11

Played some Tattoo Assassin, a ridiculous ripoff of Mortal Kombat.  As an old-school Street Fighter player, I lasted two games before I had to let this one go.

2015-07-30_16-24-46_739

The very first game that got me into arcade gaming was Spy Hunter when I was 10 years-old at a Round Table Pizza in Oakland near my house.  It started my obsession with games and I’ve been hooked ever since.  I can still play it like a champ, and put up a few high scores at CAX.  George Gomez was a principle designer of the game and I got to meet him at PPE 2012.

That was awesome.  But Spy Hunter 2 absolutely sucks.  It’s some sort of weird 2-player side-by-side game that is nearly unplayable.

2015-07-31_16-41-53_352

Played lots of Full Throttle and this game is HOT.  Fast, flowy, great call-outs and music, great shots.  Tight, but not too tight to make things a post-fest.  My first game I almost got to Wizard and then the left flipper button shot out of the machine onto the floor!  I laughed as my game ended and then handed the ejected flipper button to a Heighway guy.  I chatted with Andrew, the founder of the company and he was great.

How can I describe the game?  It’s surely unique, given it’s a very fast wide-body.  The looks and lights are amazing and the call-outs are solid.  It can get very fast, very quick!  It’s got a Steve/Mark Ritchie flair with flow but also allows some control.  I guess I’d say Getaway is the closest to it, but with a lot more shots and deeper rules.

There’s a few bugs.  Ran into Brian Domini, the programmer, and he was straight up about them.  During a multi, at one point my flips went dead momentarily.  He knows about it.  Brian is an experienced tournament player and no doubt the code will get the work it needs.

Overall, I was super-impressed with the game and wish I had a few extra kilobucks to get one.  It’s super fast undeniably British.

2015-07-31_17-15-15_65

Billy goddamn Mitchell.

2015-07-31_17-38-47_427

America’s Most Haunted.  Let’s face it: the main toy looks cheep.  But play it and the whole thing changes.  It’s a fun, challenging game.  Decent, not great flow.  The light show is fantastic, as are the sounds.  It made me want to play more to get deeper into the game.  It’s also got a fantastic light show that goes with the theme, not just an “Oh look, color-changing lamps, let’s change them just to show we can change them.”

2015-07-29_14-00-50_199

The Pre-Pinburgh Tourney.   At the Pre-Pinburg tourney I played a dismal first round of 34 (of 36 possible points) in the 9-hole pingolf, so I had a second go (that’s the advantage of showing up early).  In my second try I got 24. Practice makes perfect, I guess.  That qualified me for the Expert Finals.  The Finals didn’t start till 12 AM!  And I had to play in Pinburgh the next morning!

As my luck would have it, I got Jorian Engelbrektsson in my first quarter-final round.

I played with Jorian, Andrew Rosa and some other no-name-like-me, in a 3-game match, and top two would advance.  I had a horrible game on TX-Sector and then rallied back on No Good Gofers with a hole-in-one to tie with Jorian.  Andrew was already ahead of us both, and no-name-like-me had put himself out of contention unless we all tanked the final game.  We went to game 3 on Twilight Zone.

Jorian was up first, and didn’t get the goal on ball 1.  He left the door open, but alas, I didn’t close it.  We both tied with 2 balls.  That forced a tie-breaker on Blackout.  The goal was 200k, I was up first, and tilted out.  It was the right move and I had to try, but that’s pinball.  Jorian, on ball 1, casually put up 200k+.  I was out.

I collected my $20, grabbed an uber and called it a night.  Met some super cool European players as well as other guys from around the States.

2015-07-29_13-52-41_658 2015-07-29_09-57-51_152 2015-07-28_18-16-56_284 2015-07-28_18-07-41_837 2015-07-28_17-58-19_927

After the Carenegie Natural History Museum I decided to walk back, which was around three miles. Walked through the hood.

2015-07-28_17-53-09_262

Beautiful old brick building.

2015-07-28_14-57-20_766

The museum had an amazing precious stones collection.

2015-07-28_15-19-56_914

…and one of the most violent dioramas I’ve ever seen.  A lion attacking a guy on a camel, and not pictured, a dead lion on the ground.

2015-07-28_16-32-24_253

There’s other art besides pinball art. :-)

2015-07-28_17-00-53_320

For just $15 I got to see both the Carnegie History and Art museums.  Definitely recommended if you go next year.

2015-07-28_17-43-34_363

Probably the diviest dive bar I’ve ever seen.

2015-07-28_17-49-10_185

Hoodwalk 2015.  In the bay area this place would have already sold over asking.

2015-07-28_14-37-16_668

I think I would have lasted around 8 seconds in prehistoric times.

2015-07-28_14-12-25_919

2015-07-28_13-57-45_101 2015-07-28_13-14-08_781 2015-07-28_12-18-39_751

One block from where I was staying was Ace’s Break Away and Play, a small arcade where I got some practice in before the tournament.  They had 7 machines, mostly new STERNs, including KISS, and about half a dozen vids.  There was an old school change counter, too.  It was like time traveling back to 1986.

They also had gambling games.  I had to laugh because of course, that’s illegal.  They had a display cabinet of redemption prizes at the change counter, mainly for show, and it was the most pathetic assemblage of prizes I’ve ever seen.  Around noon as I was practicing up on Metallica, the business crowd strolled in, and the bank of “redemption” games was packed.  Sure enough, when someone “hit it big” the cashier was there to pay out “under the table”.

2015-07-27_18-03-42_98

If Andy Kuntz live in Pittsburgh, this sign tells me he would own this cafe and there would be pinball.

2015-07-28_17-21-11_742

And that was my trip to Pittsburgh.  What a fantastic time!

Oh.  How did I do in the tournament?  For those who have never been, the first day consists of five rounds of match play.  Four games per bank and usually four opponents (sometimes 3).  The best score is 12 (12 wins – 0 losses) so it’s a bit different than the usual 4-2-1-0 scoring.  How you do on the first day determines which Division you play in on day 2: A, B, C or D.  I was restricted to C division and above.

My first day went great.  I was relaxed and I wasn’t jet-lagged.  I was playing solidly.  I took breaks, relaxed and cleared my mind after each grueling round.  I finished the first day near the top of B division, which was exactly my goal.  It was very tight, however, with only three wins separating the top of B from the bottom.

On day 2, the goal is to finish high enough in your division to make the Finals on Sunday, which in my case was top 40.  In my first round things didn’t go great.  I got a 5 (5 wins-7 losses).  But in my second round I rallied and destroyed everyone.  I squeaked a win on the EM by 10k points on Monte Carlo to start the action, then went on to obliterate Taxi with nearly 6 Million, my best game of taxi by far.  That win was especially enjoyable because I played the same Taxi at my last Pinburgh and kept trying to shoot the lock shot that already had a ball locked (ugh!).  I went to Revenge from Mars and learned the tough lock shot to get multi, then put up a solid score no one could catch, around 45M.  Despite a slip on Addams Family, I finished with 11 wins and 1 loss.  I was back in the running, in fact, ranked 9th overall.

I went to my next match facing the top qualifier and put up a solid 7.  A few mistakes cost me the 9.  The 7 didn’t move me up or down.  I was still 9th seed.  I had to hold on for two more rounds.  Two 5s would have got me a trip to the Finals.  But if I could keep my 9th seed, I was in double-bye territory (read: likely a $1000 payout or better).

In the 9th round it All.  Went.  Bad.  I got a wonky bank of house-tacular awful.  I got a 2 on the opening EM, but then Road Kings proceeded to destroy me for a zero.  Game 3 went likewise.  The last game, on World Poker Tour, I figured I could still finish with a 5.  Or a 4.  Or even a 3.

The game said NO.  On ball 3, just 1 Million from picking up a point I got housed yet again.  Out of the pops and straight down the middle.  I made a huge, tilting effort to save and got nothing.  The other players in my group just shook their heads.  I got 8 house balls across four games to finish with a 2.  I went from 9th to 59th in one fell swoop.

In the 10th round, Josh Lehan was in my group.  The bank was custom-made for him, including Doctor Who, Mystic and Attack from Mars.

Josh spoke ominous words which I’d heard before, and I knew I was in trouble. See, I played Josh in an EBPL finals a few years ago, and for those who don’t know, Josh is a pinball rules encyclopedia.  He knows what to shoot for on pretty much everything.  Josh has forgotten twice as many more rules of pinball games than you or I will ever know.  In that EBPL final, I had choice of game so I tried to think of the most obscure game available in the hopes he didn’t know it.  I chose Frankenstein.  Josh immediately quipped, “Frankenstein?  I love that game!”  At Pinburgh, when Josh saw Mystic, he said exactly the same thing: “I love that game!”

I took a zero on our opening EM.  Somehow, I took 2nd on Doctor Who (Josh destroyed it).  I then managed a 2nd on Mystic.  With a 3 on AFM, maybe I was in tie-breaker territory.  It was not to be.  I was out, I was done.

I met up with a few other bay area also-rans and proceeded to get very drunk that night, not even caring about the consolation tournament the next day.  One guy missed going to the Finals by just one win.  We drank, talked pinball, talked girlfriends, talked whatever to the wee hours of the morning, really blowing out the pipes.  I woke up at 3 the next day, took a nap at 6 and went back to the show around 10 PM.  I was over it, and now it was time to enjoy the show.  And on the upside, we still had a whole other day to play.

With so much great pinball in the bay area these days, you might wonder if the trip is worth it.  Believe me, it is!  There’s something about traveling 2500 miles to play pinball, meet people from all around the world and playing your heart out that is unforgettable.  I didn’t make it this time, but I’ll definitely be back!  And next time…

California Extreme Tournament

July 25, 2015

Over 11 hours of tournament action for you from last weekend’s California Extreme at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

Qualifying: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_gTmoEH6LM

Finals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLq92m9dZ-Q

WWE, IFPA and STERN team up for new tournament series

July 16, 2015

Looks like this new tournament series will be go way beyond the Launch Party style format we’ve all become used to for the last five years.

Stern Pinball has announced that they are teaming with WWE to sponsor a King of the Ring pinball tournament. They issued the following:

Stern Pinball Announces “King of the Ring” WWE® WrestleMania Pinball Tournament

World’s Leading Maker of Arcade-Quality Pinball Machines Teams with WWE and the International Flipper Pinball Association to Sponsor Worldwide High-Score Tournament

Stern Pinball, Inc., the world’s oldest and largest producer of arcade-quality pinball machines, today announced the “King of the Ring” high-score pinball tournament. The International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA) will administer the high-score tournament, which will be played on the WWE WrestleMania Pro and LE pinball machines. The tournament is open to players around the world and will begin on July 1, 2015 and end on December 31, 2015.

Players can enter by participating in IFPA-sanctioned King of the Ring events:

* Authorized IFPA members will organize sanctioned tournament events.
* The IFPA will establish the tournament settings for the WWE WrestleMania Pro and LE games used in sanctioned tournament events.
* Authorized IFPA members will submit high scores from each sanctioned tournament event to the IFPA.
* IFPA sanctioned events will take place in commercial locations approved by the IFPA. In-home events will not qualify.
* Authorized IFPA members will post high scores and event photos on the King of the Ring Facebook page.
* All photos must be accompanied by the hashtags: #WWEpinball and #kingofthering and include the name, city and country of the location of the event.
* The player with the highest score will remain the King of the Ring until another player tops the score.
* The player with the highest score as of midnight Chicago-time on December 31, 2015, will claim the “King of the Ring” title, trophy, tickets to a WWE event, and $500 in cash.
* The top ten runner-ups will receive WWE pinball related prizes (signed translites, shirts, and more)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 263 other followers