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Vitus 2-1 Pinball Tournament Results and Pics

February 2, 2012

Photos by Henry Huang and poorly edited/enhanced by me.

We did a pin golf.  We got about a half dozen new players including a first-timer named Becca, who tied Mitch and me for the last qualifying spot to go to semi-finals, and then she tied me again with a hole-in-one on Medieval Madness in the tie-breaker game!  Way to go for your first tournament!

Vitus really came through.  Damon, one of the owners of Vitus and a big supporter of local pinball, hooked us up with seven coupons good for a drink or appetizer.  I gave all the new players a coupon and then raffled off the rest.  Playland not at the Beach also provided discount entry coupons.

If you’re not familiar with Pin Golf, the basic idea is that there’s one or more goals on each machine.  Like on The Addams Family: Get two train wrecks, or score 50 Million.  You try to do either one with the fewest number of balls.  So a lower score is better.

When the qualifying round ended the top 8 of the 19 players advanced.  I posted new and much tougher goals for the next round.

Above: Mitch on Medieval

The stroke limit was 6, meaning if you didn’t complete the goal by your 5th ball, you got a score of 6 (bad) for that game.  It also means the best score is 3 (three holes-in-one – completing the goals on your first ball on all three games in the round).

It quickly sunk in for the players that these new goals were not gonna be a cakewalk. You really had to throw your whole game in the ring if you wanted to survive the Semis.  More than tough, they were frustrating!  I like to look for the shots, modes and goals that you wouldn’t go for in a normal game if score is all that counts.  That forces the players out of their comfort zones.  They have to play games they know (and some know them quite well) in ways they normally would not.  Make them shoot the dangerous stuff.

But when you force people out of their comfort zones, look out!  Things get emotional real quick.  And this night proved no exception!

Me: “Hey, I need to write down your golf score on Twilight Zone.  What did you get?”

Player: “You’re an a**hole, Jonny…”

Me: “I’ll take that as a 6.”

Above: Vitus also has Skee Ball.

GETAWAY’s goal really frustrated a lot of people.  The goal was to advance Speed Millions to 4 Million.  This is done by shooting the upper/inner loop four times.  If you miss you have about 6 seconds to get the ball back up there or it starts over at 1M.  I got a hole-in-one right out of the gate, not helping my popularity.  I came back 15 minutes later and the other players were still at it, with that “you have got to be kidding me” look on their faces.  And a few mean looks.

Making the goal even more mean, the longer you play the more likely it is that you’ll light locks.  So you have to get those pesky locks out of the way to pursue Speed Millions.

Above: This rare pic shows 2nd place finisher TJ Beyer’s unconventional playing style.

The other goal that proved to be a fun-filled profanity factory was to collect two Dead Ends on TWILIGHT ZONE.  This is by lighting Dead End via the right inlane and then shooting a tough shot through the bumpers.  Oh, and if you light it, but drain, it doesn’t stay lit for the next ball.  Even I went the stroke limit of six balls on that one, and Jim Vierra got the best score of the 8 players, doing it in 3.

Above: Erin collects a Jackpot on Medieval.

While the Semis/Finals goals were damn hard they elicited some pretty epic play and all-out efforts.  Me, included, we were trying hard.  There were lots of high-5s and elation when a player finally put a run together, not to mention a fair number of “F*ck you, Jonny, I got it, you suck” expressions of love for yours truly.   It’s all good, I take it for the team.

It was great night of pinball with people really pushing themselves.  Several people stayed after it was over to play casuals to try some of the goals again.  Hal was obviously dialed, putting up a huge Grand Champion score of 700+ million on Getaway before he left.

Some of you new or novice players might be afraid of giving it a go, but if you come out, we show you all our tricks and fancy moves, and I guarantee we will make you a better player.  We all started in your shoes.  Plus, we’re a fun bunch!

Onto the results:

Qualifying Scores:

(*denotes advanced to Semis)

(**denotes tied for last Semis spot)

Jim Vierra 8*

Henry Huang 13

Alex Kirsonis 13

Eric Wagensonner 11

Steve Frisvold 13

Zoe Vrabel 6*

Natasha Prats 18

Katie Howard 15

Erin Ray 8*

Mitch Tunick 10**

TJ Beyer 6*

Hal Erickson 7*

Chris Lindboe 13

Darren Ensley 6*

Becca 10**

Amy 15

Kenny 12

Jonny O 10**

Nina G 9*

Tie Breaker for 8th spot: Jonny O, Mitch, Becca on Medieval Madness

Jonny O: 1

Mitch: ?

Becca 1

Both Becca and I defeated two castles on our first ball.  I had the lower game score, so by the rules I advanced.  But being the gentlemen-like sensitive bastard I am, I offered my spot to Becca, though she declined.

Semis Group 1: Jonny O, Jim, Hal, Darren

(*advanced to Final)

Dracula: 2, 6, 2, 6

Twilight Zone: 6, 3, 5, 6

Getaway: 1, 3, 4, 5

Totals:  Jonny O – 9*, Jim V – 12*, Hal E – 11*, Darren 17

Semis Group 2: Nina G, Erin, TJ, Zoe

Dracula: 3, 4, 3, 6

Twilight Zone: 6, 6, 5, 6

Getaway: 6, 6, 4, 6

Totals: Nina G – 15, Erin – 16, TJ – 11*, Zoe 18

Final Group: Jim V, Hal E, TJ Beyer, Jonny O

Getaway: 3, 1, 5, 6

Medieval Madness: 5, 1, 1, 3

Scared Stiff: 4, 3, 2, 1

Totals: Jim V – 12, Hal E – 5, TJ – 8, Jonny O – 10

I went into the Final as top qualifier.  Hal had a shaky semi-final but then got back-to-back hole-in-ones on Medieval Madness and Getaway.  Going into the final game, Jim Vierra and I were out of contention and only TJ could challenge going into game 3, but he needed a great game coupled with Hal having a poor game, and it was not to be.  Congrats to Hal Erickson for some top notch play for the win!

Thanks to everyone for coming out and giving Pin Golf a try.  See you in two weeks on the 15th!

Top 8 Order:

1st Place: Hal Erickson – $50

2nd Place: TJ Beyer – $30

3rd Place: Jonny O – $15

4th Place: Jim Vierra – $5

5th Place: Nina G

6th Place: Erin Ray

7th Place: Darren Ensley

8th Place: Zoe Vrabel

  1. February 4, 2012 7:46 am


    Wait, sorry, pre-registration closed yesterday Mads. Maybe next year.

    (Just kidding.)


  2. ELK permalink
    February 3, 2012 1:37 am

    Do Danes dream of electric pinball?

    The answer is YES! Pinburgh is so much on the list.

    The correct question would be: Will a middleaged farther of three young boys who just bought a house (that needs everything repaired) be able to defend to him self (and the wife and the bank) leaving everything for five days to travel to the states to play a game most people would say he played more than enough of at the age of 14?

  3. Jonny 0 permalink*
    February 3, 2012 1:08 am

    Mads! Are you a go for Pinburgh?

    You won’t believe the next update. I finally got my first game.

    Or did I?

  4. ELK permalink
    February 3, 2012 12:55 am

    Congrats HAL! Strong as ever.

    And Congrats TJ. For second – and for your part in making Vitus such a pinball Mekka. It just overtook Alcatraz on the Danish Tourist Bay Area Must See List.

    Jim – my brother of purple shoes! (can you say that?) Good to see you get the best out in the old guys ;-)

    Jon – please keep reporting. Don’t you ever let your improved pinball skills shadow that you are the best Pinball Reporter on the planet!

    Respect from Denmark!

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